Smart locks are getting increasingly popular and prevalent as we automate our homes for convenience and added security. However, some potential users are still unsure if smart locks are really an upgrade to a regular deadbolt lock.
It’s a healthy instinct to wonder if more technology will allow criminals to exploit unforeseen weakness. With a basic lock you know what you’re getting. But first time smart lock owners are scared of protecting their homes and business with a relatively new technology.
So here are 10 things to consider if you’re wondering if smart locks are safe or not:
1. Lock-pick proof
Traditional locks are always prone to lockpicking. Most petty criminals worthy of that title know have tools that can be used to manipulate or dissemble a basic lock. A pick tool can be bought for about $10 online. Smart locks eliminate this major weakness.
Unless the intruder knows the code or has been able to hack into your app, there’s very little that they can do to get inside. Except of course smashing the door, but that’s always an option.
2. Wave those keys goodbye
Smart locks are also safer because missing and stolen keys are no longer a concern. If you have a rental property or a large household you depend not only on your own good practices when it comes to keys but also of many others.
Having to get new keys or replacing the locks if you lose yours can be costly and time consuming. These problems are also eliminated with a smart lock, since all you need is a code that can be easily memorized and replaced with a new one when necessary.
3. Multiple entry codes
Another safety benefit of smart locks is the ability to issue multiple entry codes. So if anything happens, you can access the lock history and know whose code was used and when. It also makes it easier to change or delete codes, since you can specify which one is no longer necessary.
So if you have a rental property, you could be issuing new codes to every person, without having to change your own code and memorize it all over again. This is a serious advantage if you’re renting a place out or have a large household.
4. Remote access
Having remote access to the lock via the phone app can come in handy. If you have guests coming over but you’re running late, you could allow them to get inside instead of waiting out in the cold. It could also come in handy in case of a fire or health emergency involving your loved ones.
However, this is the main security concern with smart locks because if a hacker is provided access to your phone (physically or through a cyber attack) they could easily open the door.
So it’s highly recommended to have a screen lock for your phone. It’s also wise to create a strong password for the app which includes large and small letters, numbers and special signs. And of course, make sure that you’re using a completely different password, in case your other account(s) get hacked.
5. It signals you have money
Let’s face it, the more you invest in your home security, the more it gives off the vibe you have some treasures stashed inside. Smart lock is more expensive than a cheap deadbolt and it looks very high tech and aesthetically pleasing. It can elevate your status in the neighborhood in a positive and negative way from a security perspective.
6. Requires WiFi connection
Some smart locks require Internet connection to be used at all. Others only require it for some features like remote access. This depends on whether the smart lock has a keypad or is purely app-based. Of course, Internet connection can fail, the app can crash or your phone can go missing. This can cause a bit of a headache as you’re left stranded in or out of the locked premise.
In case of such a scenario, the problem can be solved by finding an online connection, installing the app on another device etc. Such scenarios aren’t very common, but they can happen. Still, we need to keep things in perspective: keys can also fail, get broken, go missing. The result would be the same in both scenarios.
Final Word: Are Smart Locks Safe?
Smart locks provide many safety benefits when compared to traditional locks. The ability to create multiple entry codes for different users is a way of raising accountability in a household or business environment. There can be no guessing who’s responsible for an item gone missing if it disappears on their watch.
However, this isn’t an exclusive advantage of smart locks: the same (and even better) result can be obtained with a security camera since it can provide visual proof as well. Ideally, you’d use both a smart lock and a security camera for optimal safety.
The ability to create many entry codes is also a security advantage when dealing with temporary residents. Lastly, remote access is advantageous in cases of emergency when it can save your property or loved ones. The only safety disadvantage comes from the hacking risks associated with the app. But with new, highly encrypted protocols that are used by reputable smart lock companies the risk is getting smaller each passing day.
Overall, I’m a proponent of being different when it comes to security. Most criminals are used to lock-picking and other low-tech break-in methods. They are much less accustomed to dealing with smart technology. And let’s face it, there are less clever hackers than there are petty half-educated thieves looking for a quick buck.
So the risks of break-in are reduced with smart locks by the simple fact that there are less criminals who know how to exploit them. I personally have August Smart Locks (link to Amazon) at home and I’m very pleased with the convenience and safety that they provide.
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