If you’re considering using smart locks, this article will lay out the reasons why smart locks are safe to use.
Feature such as having controlled access to your property, automatic locking of doors, and other advantages of using smart locks give them the edge over the traditional lock and key.
Are smart locks really safe to use? Yes, smart locks are safe. Relatively speaking they provide at a minimum the same level of safety as a traditional lock and key. While building on that foundation with additional features such as access logging and smart phone integration.
This article will also dispel the myths around the perceived risks commonly associated with using smart locks.
So let’s get into it…
Why Smart Locks Are Safe To Use
Smart locks are widely used nowadays for various reasons but one major advantage of using a smart lock is the safety it provides that a traditional lock and key simply can’t. For instance:
Controlled Access To Your Property
Controlled access to your property is a lot easier when equipped with smart locks.
This could be very helpful to those with rental properties that need to allow access to other people for just a couple of days or to those with hired cleaners or dog walkers that need to be allowed entry inside houses without the owner at a certain scheduled time.
Just by using the phone’s Bluetooth or NFC (Near Field Communication), smart lock users can conveniently allow and restrict access to selected people.
This also eliminates the need to use physical keys that are usually left under the doormat and can be unconsciously misplaced or forgotten.
Aside from increasing safety through controlled access to your property, having a smart lock on your door also lets you provide a record of who entered and exited your home at specific times which gives you peace of mind.
You can also monitor door activities in real-time and you can be notified of attempted forced entries if you pair your smart lock with additional sensors like a video system.
Ensuring Your Doors Are Locked
You probably have experienced being away from your home and warily thinking if you have left your door unlocked because you have no way to check.
Well, this is not a problem when using smart locks. Smart locks usually have smartphone applications that can be used to check your door status and also lock your doors even if you are away from home.
Most models notify you of unlocked doors once you leave your house. There are also smart locks that can automatically lock once the door is closed. Scheduled automatic locking and unlocking of doors at specific times can also be done through smart locks.
These are just some of the common smart lock features that can ensure that your doors are secured.
Smart Locks Are Durable
Regular locks are very prone to be tampered by thieves because there are various techniques for picking or destroying regular locks.
While regular locks are easier to force open, smart locks, especially from trusted brands, are proven to be heavy-duty and can even withstand impact from a sledgehammer.
Yet some people may still argue that the weakness of smart locks is hacking. Still, the manual way of breaking into homes is more common than hacking.
The burglars are rarely hackers and they will find it hard to destroy a smart lock. This discourages them to break in through the door.
In addition to these, smart locks, unlike regular locks, can be equipped with built-in alarms that can sound when being damaged or tampered.
Smart Locks Can Reduce Insurance Premiums
Payments for your insurance premiums become cheaper as your home becomes more secured. The standard for approved insurance locks that can reduce insurance premiums is the 5 lever mortice deadlock.
In some areas like the United States, some insurance providers, like Liberty Mutual, provide up to 5% savings when installing recommended smart locks.
This shows that smart locks can be considered to provide the same level of security as home insurance approved locks.
Managing The Risks Associated With Using Smart Locks
You might be having doubts about using a smart lock because you’ve heard that there are risks.
Well, all locks have their own risks and the same goes for smart locks. But don’t worry! Managing the risks of using smart locks is easy.
With smart locks being electronic devices, technical issues can be a problem.
The most common technical risks are the smart locks’ tendency to be hacked and low battery incidents.
Hacking seems to be the most common concern of those who plan on using smart locks.
Smart locks become easily hackable by using weak passwords, device spoofing (disguised communication from an unknown source), and by replay attacks (replaying an authentication message which can gain access to resources).
But there are simple ways to manage these risks such as by regularly updating the application linked with a smart lock and by not sharing your smart lock password.
Bluetooth connection can be more vulnerable to hacking but now, most smart locks already include WIFI technology for protection.
Smart locks that can be integrated into your entire automated home system by using high-grade AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encrypted Z-Wave technology which cannot be easily compromised because it has the same level of encryption used in business-grade virtual private networks.
Smart locks are electronic devices and if not plugged in, batteries must be used as power sources.
However, possible low or dead batteries worry smart lock owners because there is a possibility that they might be locked out of their own homes.
As a solution to this, try to use batteries with longer life and take note when the batteries need replacing or recharging.
Low battery status in smart locks can be indicated in different ways depending on the type of smart lock used. The indicator can be among these three: a flashing light shown in the device or its keypad, an audio signal alert, and a phone notification. Once you receive a low battery indicator, it is best to change your current batteries.
It is also recommended that you opt for smart locks that operate with alkaline batteries or those that have easily accessible battery compartments.
As much as possible, have a fully charged battery available as back up.
The most common physical risk that people worry about when using smart locks is having their phones stolen.
Stolen phones can be a problem because most smart locks require phone access. Although accessing smart locks does not solely rely on smartphones, it is best to have other devices that are acknowledged by your smart lock.
It could be the smartphone of your trusted family or relatives. You can also use smart locks with keypad or fingerprint sensors.
In case the stolen phone is used to attempt entry to your home, it is also recommended to implement two-factor authentication for your smart lock.
Continuous Improvements In Smart Lock Technology
Here’s another reason why you should not have doubts about using a smart lock.
Unlike traditional locks, smart locks are continuously improved to adapt to the changing needs of the market.
Technological Advancements In Smart Locks
Some smart locks can be equipped with a video system that lets you record the people trying to access your door.
Once you receive a notification that someone is accessing your door lock, you can then check the real-time video from your application.
This lets you conveniently know who is in front of your door and if it’s someone you are expecting to arrive, you can just do some clicks on the application and the door will be unlocked for them.
There are several integrated layers of protection for smart locks such as PIN, keypad codes, voice, or biometric authentication.
If at first your smart lock lacks one of these, expect that the next updates will include these features. The smart lock market is getting competitive already and companies make sure that their products do not get left behind.
Another upgrade in smart locks is no longer having a visible keypad outside the door and instead, other features are being incorporated like the automatic unlocking when you are near your door.
Having no exterior keypad makes it impossible for lock tampering from the outside.
Security Features Are Constantly Updated
There are also continuous improvements related to the security features in smart locks.
The world now relies heavily on electronic transactions and along with the major improvements being done collectively in this matter, smart locks get to be updated too.
Manufacturers of smart locks also continuously respond to reported vulnerabilities by their customers.
Available Fail-Safe Features
Some smart locks may contain an override mechanical lock cylinder that allows access to owners when the device runs out of power.
Ways To Maximize Safety Provided By Smart Locks
Here are some things you should know when choosing and using smart locks!
Choosing Your Smart Lock
When choosing your smart lock, you can opt for a smart lock with back-up means of entry.
This can include a fingerprint scanner, an RFID (radio frequency identification) card, a key fob, or a metal backup key.
You can also do prior research and choose a smart lock with several layers of security such as device attestation (being able to set a baseline security stance when any device requests access), cryptography (use of codes for protection), software isolation (preventing an application to take control of your software), access control (limiting who sees your data), and a security monitoring system.
Another thing you need to check is its compatibility with your existing smart home technology.
Make sure that your chosen smart lock can be smoothly integrated with your smart home technology before buying. For trusted brands of smart locks, you can try browsing products from August, Yale, and Schlage.
In terms of durability, security, connectivity, and over-all design, these three have a lot of recommended products you can choose from.
Additional Tips For Using Smart Locks
No matter how advanced your lock is, a weak door will always be easy to break-in so make sure to regularly check on your door condition and keep it strong and sturdy.
For smart locks with physical keypads placed outside the door, make sure that there are no signs of frequently pressed numbers. This could cause trouble if burglars happen to figure out your passcode based on your frequently pressed numbers.
For first time users, you can first try installing smart locks on your internal doors before proceeding on using it on external doors so that you’ll get used to these types of locks first.
Smart locks are very different from your old typical locks. You need to be fully informed and aware of its smart features before being able to efficiently utilize a smart lock.
Popular Smart Locks This Year
August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
This smart lock is noted to be the best smart lock overall. It is easy to use and has a simple installation process. It is smaller in size than its original model.
True to its name, August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, now has a built-in WIFI so it no longer requires an August Connect bridge for connecting to your smart home technology.
It is a lock that allows you to still use your old keys. Compatibility is also not an issue as it lets you operate using Alexa, Google Assistant, and Xfinity. It also has its own door sensing feature and can store unlimited codes for access.
However, its keypad must be purchased separately.
Unlike the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, Schlage Encode has its own loud alarm system that activates once tampering is attempted. It also guarantees a simple installation and set-up. When you purchase this lock, the keypad is already included.
However, it can only store 100 access codes. It can be operated using Alexa and Google Assistant plus, it also supports Amazon Key.
Yale Real Living Assure SL
When it comes to lock design, this smart lock is on top of its game because of its attractive and simple design. Just like August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, it does not have its own alarm system.
It can be operated using various smart home technologies like Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit, and SmartThings. Unlike the first two mentioned smart locks, it cannot be opened using a physical key.
Just like any lock, a smart lock can have its own risks. This does not change the fact that this type of lock can still provide the safety and security that you deserve.
A trusted smart lock is safe to use but you also need to be wise enough in making sure it is properly maintained and technologically up-to-date.
Although more expensive than a traditional lock, a smart lock is a trustworthy tool and a good investment for your smart home.
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