With large-scale data breaches constantly in the news, it’s no wonder that many people have concerns about the security of “smart” home systems—and no device raises more eyebrows than the smart lock. Despite the potential vulnerabilities of these digital deadbolts, they’re probably more secure—and definitely more convenient—than the traditional lock you’re using now. But are smart locks safe for real? Let’s dissect.
Are Dumb Locks Really Safe?
We tend to take the security of standard door locks for granted, but if you’ve ever experienced a home break-in, you know that they’re relatively easy to breach. With a few instructional YouTube videos and an inexpensive tool kit, most people can learn to pick a standard lock in a matter of minutes. While would-be criminals generally look for an easy target (such as an unlocked door or open window), the truth is that if they wanted to get in your home, they’d be able to do it with minimal effort. All your lock does is make breaking in a little more riskier and more time-consuming.
Can Smart Locks Be Hacked?
If you choose your password carefully, it’s unlikely that a bad actor will be able to activate your smart lock. Most smart locks, especially those linked to a larger home automation or alarm system, rely on highly secure AES-encrypted Z-Wave technology that’s almost impossible to hack. Even smart locks that use Wi-Fi technology use the same level of SSL encryption that financial institutions use to protect your account.
The weakest link in your smart lock system will always be the quality of the password you set. Don’t use the same password you use for your social media, bank or alarm system, and steer clear of dates, addresses or other passwords that would be relatively easy to guess. These guidelines can help you choose a password that’s virtually un-hackable.
What Do Smart Locks Tell Criminals?
Perhaps the greatest weakness of a smart lock isn’t the functionality of the lock itself, but the message it sends to criminals on the hunt for a valuable target. Smart locks suggest that your home may be filled with high-tech devices and other expensive goodies that thieves can use to make a quick buck.
Alongside your smart lock, you should consider investing in a few additional security measures to fully protect your property and loved ones, including:
- Upgraded strike plate: This small, inexpensive piece of hardware reinforces your existing door frame to makes it more difficult for an intruder to physically break down your door.
- Visible security cameras: These act as a deterrent as well as collect evidence in the case of a home invasion.
- Monitored alarm system: For a modest monthly fee, you’ll have peace of mind knowing law enforcement will be dispatched to your home at the first sign of a break-in.
Are Smart Locks Safe? The Bottom Line
Both smart locks and traditional locks have vulnerabilities, and they mostly just serve to slow criminals down and make your home a more difficult target. If you prefer the convenience of a smart lock, your home won’t be any more or less tempting to thieves—and if you’re really serious about protecting your home, an enhanced strike plate is a cheap and easy way to shore up your home security.