Smart home series – Are smart door locks secure enough?

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We've come a long way from Mesopotamian door lock systems. But are the new smart door locks and automatic operations actually more secure? Or are we still vulnerable to attacks and burglars just like before?

Ever since we understood the value of keeping our possessions to ourselves, the importance of locks became vital in our lives. All of this started with the invention of the wooden pin lock in Mesopotamia some 6000 years ago. In fact, door locks have always been complex from a design perspective, which you would expect from a security device. These days, having technology tell you to let Siri take control of your door lock or having one that responds to your fingerprint can make you hesitant.

It’s not that smart door locks aren’t secure, but they aren’t exactly flawless either. You don’t want to risk making your home vulnerable to attacks just because you have a smart door lock. However, statistics say that homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into. So, whether or not we should be using them in our everyday life is still debatable.

Old door locks

Old door locks

What is a smart door lock?

If we had to summarize smart door locks in a sentence, we’d say that they make your door more clever. They do a lot more than just serve as a simple deadbolt for your door. So, whether they’re attending to a delivery guy or automatically unlocking the door for a guest while you’re away, these locks help you tackle everyday issues in a more convenient way. However, not everything comes without a consequence.

Last year, over 200 AirBnB customers were impacted by a software update glitch on one of Lockstate’s smart door locks. While not being able to enter your home because of a door lock issue might sound trivial at first, a non-functioning lock leaves your home defenseless.

However, with services like Amazon Key coming into play, we can only hope to see more advancement in the home security field of door locks in the coming years. As MIT professor Stuart Madnick says,

“There is always a risk that a net-enabled lock will get bricked or hacked, most likely due to the actions (or carelessness) of the owner. But old-fashioned key-and-lock solutions have their own user-created risks. One of my popular sayings is: ‘You may buy a stronger lock for your door, but if you still leave the key under the mat, are you really any more secure?’”

Types of smart door locks

1. Smartphone Controllable – You can easily control these locks from your smartphone and give virtual keys to your guests for specific time slots.

2. Biometric – These locks respond to your fingerprint and are considered much more secure compared to others.

3. Key Fob (Proximity Lock) – To operate these locks, you need to carry the key fob in your pocket. Whenever you’re near the lock, it either opens automatically or you need to press the fob button for it to open.

4. Surveillance Systems – Other than serving as locks, these systems also come with a camera that records any activity surrounding the lock.

Five latest examples

August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

This system gives your smartphone the power to be a smart key for your door. There’s no more need for physical keys. Totally advanced for your modern world, the Smart Lock Pro comes with the August Connect Bridge. Price: $199

Lockitron Bolt Keyless Door Lock

This door lock comes with a deadbolt-style smart lock as well as a bridge. Connecting via Wi-Fi, you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere in the world. Using the app for iOS and Android, Bolt is perfect for granting entry for friends and family, service people, and even Airbnb owners. Price: $99

Yale Real Living Keyed Touchscreen Deadbolt

This lock seamlessly integrates into the rest of your smart home suite, which expands its functionality. The Touchscreen Deadbolt allows you to enter your home with a simple yet secure PIN. Price: $179.99

Otto Smart Digital Door Lock

This system takes its design seriously, so it looks as great as it functions. Remarkably small, the Otto Lock installs directly into your door. As you get closer with your smartphone, the Otto Lock recognizes your presence. Price: $699

Otto Smart Digital Door Lock

Otto Smart Digital Door Lock

Latch M Series Intelligent Door Lock

You can use your smartphone and a simple tap, a smart card, or even an access code to unlock your home. In addition, you get full security with the built-in camera. When someone approaches, the Latch M Series automatically takes a snap to record it. Price: $399

Latch M Series Intelligent Door Lock

Latch M Series Intelligent Door Lock

Should you buy one?

Having a smart door lock comes with many advantages. If you’re tech-savvy enough, there’s no harm in going for one of these locks. It will allow you to monitor your door or receive packages even when you’re out of town. But like with any technology, smart locks are also hackable. So, to ensure you’re taking enough care of your house when you’re away, make sure to get a smart lock that also operates as a standard lock and key. You can also check some of these useful tips from Houselogic on how to make your front door more secure. Will you be getting a smart door lock for your home?

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Madhurima Nag

Madhurima Nag is the Head of Operations at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a digital marketing lecturer/speaker and loves to voice her opinion on marketing, crowdfunding and gadgets (of course!) in general.

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