Keys used to just be keys; doorbells used to just be doorbells. But with advancing technology and a heavier emphasis on home security, the word “smart” has been thrown in front of numerous product names. So, what exactly does this word mean? When it comes to smart locks, the word “smart” means that the lock can connect to other technology. Just as your smartphone can connect to the internet, a smart lock can connect to your home Wi-Fi.
This connection is what provides convenience and makes it possible to activate the lock remotely – as long as you have an internet connection. However, while Wi-Fi connectivity brings along the many benefits of technology, it also brings along some weaknesses. This often leads people to wonder if smart locks can be hacked.
Just as no two standard locks are the same, no two smart locks are alike. If you are considering installing smart locks and are worried about safety, the following information should set your mind at ease.
Smart Locks Are Convenient and Safe
While no two smart locks are exactly alike, they tend to share common features. These features can be broken down into two main categories: those that contribute to the lock’s convenience and those that contribute to the lock’s safety.
Mobile access: Smart locks can connect to a mobile app, allowing you to lock and unlock your door from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, as well as keep track of how often household members or guests come and go.
Nighttime illumination: A backlit keypad makes it easier to see in the dark so that you aren’t fumbling around trying to press the right keys at night.
Reminders and automation: By setting reminders or programming your door to lock after a certain amount of time automatically, you eliminate the possibility of forgetting to lock the door.
No more lost keys: Smart keys eliminate the need to have copies of your house key floating around to let everyone in and out of your house as needed.
Change access codes: Instead of having to install a whole new lock, which is what you have to do with a standard lock when you lose track of who has a spare key, you can simply change the access codes instead.
Custom user access codes: Many programmable locks allow you to create custom user access codes so that each member of the family, or each guest, has a different code. That way, you can tell when it’s the dog walker entering your home or your kids getting home from school.
Limit access: By not having to have spare keys floating around, you eliminate at least one way for someone to break into your house without even trying. And if you want to take away access from someone, you only need to change the door code.
Work in conjunction with your security system: Smart locks can also be integrated with home security systems and cameras, allowing you to see who is at your door and lock and unlock the door for them accordingly.
Emergency automation: You can set up emergency automation, such as locking the doors anytime there is motion detected on your camera system.
Bump guard: ADT’s smart door locks come with patented bump guard technology. Lock bumping is a technique that lock pickers use for picking a standard door lock.
Monitor who comes and goes: Keep track of who comes and goes with alerts sent from your phone.
ADT’s Smart Locks offer all of the above features, in addition to the ability to be added to the ADT mobile app, where you can control all of your home security and smart home devices to allow them to work together.
Is It Possible to Pick a Smart Lock?
Classic pin and tumbler locks work by inserting a key into a cylinder that contains pins of varying heights. The key will have notches in just the right places to line up with the pins and raise them to the right height so that the cylinder can be turned and the lock can be opened.
There are two ways to pick a lock:
Raking: One of the most basic lock picking methods is called raking. Lock-pickers use a special rake tool to push the pins in one at a time without the key.
Bumping: Another picking method is called bumping, in which the lock picker inserts a so-called “bump key” into the keyhole then taps or bumps it, eventually jolting the pins into an unlocked position. This method typically doesn’t even damage the lock or leave any trace that it has been picked.
A deadbolt that uses disc tumblers or another alternative to the pin and tumbler setup, however, cannot be picked with a bump key or by raking.
The bottom line: Well-built smart locks are much more difficult to pick than standard locks and require complex techniques that your average criminal does not likely have in their toolbox.
Additionally, they come with a built-in backup system with the keypad. Most are set up so that if the wrong code is entered too many times, then the lock times out for a while. This prevents someone from just walking up to your door and trying a bunch of numbers to see if they get lucky.
Can Smart Locks Be Hacked?
Because smart locks connect to the internet, many people wonder if they can be hacked. When it comes to security, some smart locks are better than others. You need to make sure you purchase any smart lock from a reputable company. Look for the following features to make sure your lock is safe from hacking:
128-bit encryption: This is the same encryption that keeps your credit card information safe when you shop at online retailers.
Two-factor authentication: If you’ve ever tried to log into an account and had to get a text with a verification code because your device wasn’t recognized, this is two-factor authentication in action. It forces any attempted logins to your account to be verified when a new device is detected.
Long passwords: The longer and more complex an account password is, the more difficult it is to hack. Brute force attacks (in which a hacker runs a program testing all combinations of characters to guess at passwords) simply can’t crack a password that is sufficiently long enough due to the computing time required.
Z-Wave technology: This is a wireless technology that allows smart devices to communicate with each other and your smart hub. It is similar to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but Z-Wave is often considered safer because it uses proprietary code and allows for the use of strong encryption.
The importance of getting your smart lock from a trusted manufacturer and having it properly installed and set up cannot be stressed enough. Because some smart locks can be hacked, you want to make sure you choose one that can’t.
Are Smart Locks Any Safer Than Regular Locks?
No lock is perfect, and when it comes to choosing one for your front door, there are many factors to consider, including ease of use and safety.
When it comes to comparing smart locks to regular locks, it can be a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Some oranges are better than other oranges, and some apples are better than other apples, but by what criteria can you compare the two fruits to each other?
Traditional door locks can range from the inexpensive, poorly made, and easy to pick to the more sturdy, complex, and tamper-resistant. Some smart locks, as well, might be fairly easy to break into if they are poorly made and not sold through a reputable company.
A safe smart lock will have all of the built-in safety measures of a standard lock in addition to safety measures in place to prevent hacking.
The weakness of a well-built traditional lock often stems from the key – if someone is able to find where you hid the spare, or a key copy gets in the hands of someone you don’t want to have access to your home, then the lock doesn’t even need to be picked.
The bottom line: With a well-built smart lock, not only is it unlikely for anyone to get a hold of a spare key, but also standard lock picking techniques will fail, and electronic access through hacking becomes nearly impossible when two-factor authentication and 128-bit encryption are enabled.
Get Your Smart Door Lock Installed by a Trusted Source
Smart locks can add both convenience and safety to your home. This convenience and safety are greatly enhanced when your lock is integrated into a larger home security system.
Smart locks are just one of many smart devices you can have in your home. These devices can be controlled and monitored remotely, as well as automated either by setting a time for them to activate or by creating an automated program that initiates several of them at once.
If you are ready to get a smart door lock installed today and would like to connect it with your security system, the experts at ADT can help! Just reach out at 1-800-246-9320 and we’ll help you create the perfect home security solution for you and your family.