Should You Worry About Your Smart Locks Being Hacked?

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Smart locks are the latest new feature on many home automation systems, of which over 1.5 million were installed in U.S. homes in 2012. These devices add a whole new level of convenience that ordinary locks can't match. However, they may prove vulnerable to a newer and more sophisticated kind of threat.

The following takes a look at the threats posed by smart lock hackers and how smart lock manufacturers are dealing with these threats.

The Power of a Few Keystrokes

With smart locks slowly gaining acceptance and popularity, bump keys, drills and other traditional lockpicking tools are giving way to laptops, smartphone apps and a reliable wireless connection. Many home automation products are heavily reliant on wireless Internet connections, making them highly vulnerable to burglars using the latest in hacking tools to break into your home.

There are several avenues of attack that a determined hacker can pursue to bypass or even defeat a smart lock:

  • Brute force hacks can be used to essentially guess the right door code combination through an extraordinarily quick process of elimination. However, most smart locks are well protected against this. Many locks offer 128-bit encryption that makes quick brute forcing take too long to be worth the wait.
  • A smart lock's Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection can be used against in a variety of ways. For instance, hackers can crack an encrypted Bluetooth or secured Wi-Fi connection and use a custom app to take control of the door and modify its settings.
  • Sophisticated hackers can stage a "man-in-the-middle" attack, where the hacker inserts his or herself between the smart lock user and the lock itself. Any information sent between the user and the lock can be picked up by a malicious user without the innocent parties realizing what happened until it's too late.
  • Hackers can also spoof digital keys used to control smart lock access, allowing anyone with the right permissions to enter and exit your home at will.

How Lock Makers are Fighting Back

Many companies specializing in smart locks and other home automation technology have realized many of these security vulnerabilities. As a result, these companies are fighting back with their own improvements in smart lock security.

For example, ongoing improvements to wireless and software encryption have helped foil and frustrate most hackers. Smart lock manufacturers have also been focused on patching bugs and other exploitable weaknesses in their software apps.

If a hacker becomes brazen enough to actually enter the residence, they may have to contend with other built-in measures against break-ins. Some smart lock systems are equipped with a camera that takes snapshots or records video footage of anyone entering or exiting the premises. The recorded information can then be forwarded to law enforcement to possibly identify and aid in apprehending the suspects.

For more information about smart locks, contact a company like Irvine Lock & Key.

Other Ways You Can Protect Your Home

There's only so much that a smart lock can do to protect your home. In the end, it comes down to the measures you're willing to take to keep your home safe and undisturbed by burglars.

Practicing secure home networking is one of the best and smartest ways of protecting your home against smart lock hackers. This includes changing both the default name and password of your router to a completely unique and original identifier. You should also make sure you're using WPA2 or WPA encryption instead of WEP, which can be easily cracked in just a few short moments.

You shouldn't forget about the relatively low-tech ways you can discourage burglars. With these measures in place, you can keep your home from becoming an easy target to most burglars.