If you’ve done some research on Smart Home solutions and Smart Locks, and tried to share some thoughts with your friends or partner, you’ve certainly been asked the following: «Are Smart Locks really safe?» Incomplete information leads to Smart Locks being displayed in a completely wrong light. In this article, we will debunk several of these oft-heard myths and provide solid arguments for the next discussion.
«Smart Locks make your door lock unsafe» – false!
Most manufacturers of electronic door locks offer retrofit solutions. This means that the Smart Lock is mounted onto the existing door cylinder. This is usually a much easier solution: if the lock doesn’t have to be exchanged, you can continue to use your old key. You will not incur any additional costs. If you move to a new house, you can simply bring along your retrofit Smart Lock to your new place.
Since the lock cylinder stays the same, a Smart Lock in no way alters the fundamental security features of your lock. Regardless of whether you use a Smart Lock or not, we always recommend investing in a high-grade, secure lock cylinder.
«Using your smartphone to lock the door? That can’t be safe!» – false!
The concept of installing a Smart Lock to then unlock the door using a smartphone often makes people uneasy. What happens if my smartphone gets stolen? How can I lock the door if I run out of battery? How can my children lock or unlock the door if they don’t have a smartphone yet? There are easy solutions to all of these problems. If you lose your smartphone, another authorised person can simply remove your access rights – your personal, digital key. This comes with a great benefit: the rights can be withdrawn in a matter of seconds and you don’t have to replace the entire lock, as you would have to do if you lost a conventional key.
If your battery is empty or if a resident doesn’t have a smartphone, several Smart Lock extensions can come in handy. To name an example, Nuki also offers different access solutions: using an entry code or a small Bluetooth remote. Of course, you can also continue to use your old key as an additional backup.
«Anyone can simply remove a Smart Lock from the outside, right?» – false!
Many well-known manufacturers of electronic door locks, as well as the Nuki Smart Lock, offer an access solution which is installed on the inside of the door. This makes it impossible to recognise a Smart Lock in your home from the outside. A great additional safety feature which should also be considered when buying a Smart Lock.
«Smart Locks are easy to hack» – false!
All Smart Home products, including Smart Locks, are often scrutinised because it is assumed they are easy to hack. The uninitiated often find it difficult to judge to which extent a certain Smart Lock model is protected from dangerous hacks. The security of Smart Home products is a popular subject of television and newspaper reports; many of them are tested in the lab under conditions very different from everyday environments. That’s why the verdicts are often patchy and stir up additional insecurity. However, independent safety experts and research institutes do offer reliable information, such as the AV-Test institute or Avira, who are specialised in IT security. They often publish their test report on their blogs; the websites of Smart Lock manufacturers usually list these test certifications. Another important security characteristic revolves around the transparency provided by Smart Lock manufactures about their encryption and data transmission protocols. At Nuki, for example, we have published our end-to-end encryption concept on our blog.
Bonus: Smart Locks actually add to the security within your own four walls
Depending on the Smart Lock model, there are special features which help keep your home safe. The Nuki Smart Lock can, for example, lock the door every day at 10 p.m. in case the door wasn’t already locked manually beforehand. You can also use the Nuki activity log to check whether your door is locked and your kids have arrived home safely – at any time and from anywhere. If you’re already living in a Smart Home, you might also have a smart doorbell. You can combine your intercom with a Smart Lock to access the video feed while you’re on the move, to check who’s ringing your doorbell and open the door.