Imagine you went out of town and forgot to leave a key for your dog sitter. Or maybe you left the house in a rush and can't remember whether you locked the door. What could—or should—you do?
With a traditional lock, you might have to call a neighbor for help or head home yourself. With smart locks, however, you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere in the world. All you need is the right app and an internet connection.
That technology sounds convenient, but are smart locks safe? The short answer is yes, but there are a few factors to consider. We'll walk you through them.
At Asurion, we take care of you and your tech, from protecting your smart home against hackers to choosing a smart home security system. Here's everything you need to know about smart locks, including the pros and the cons.
Are smart key locks safe?
Quality smart locks come with the same safety features as traditional locks, only with the added protection of:
- Required logins. You must have an account and password to access your smart lock's features.
- Encryption. Smart locks mask your login information and other data. Most come with 128-bit encryption, the industry standard, which makes it nearly impossible for a burglar to open your lock without gaining access to your Wi-Fi or learning your password.
- Authentication. Two-factor authentication requires you to take an extra step—typically entering a special, one-time PIN code sent to your smartphone—before changing your lock settings. This extra step improves the security of your smart lock. Learn more in our guide to two-factor authentication.
The safety of your smart lock also depends on you—and your habits. Smart locks rely on the same Wi-Fi network you use for your phone, tablet, computer, and other tech. Setting up a secure home Wi-Fi network is critical, including using strong, complex passwords and keeping your router up to date.
Are smart locks safer than traditional key locks?
They can be, assuming you follow the right online security measures. Smart locks are harder to pick than traditional locks. A smart lock's keypad doubles as a built-in backup system, so if a burglar tries to guess your access code, they'll be locked out after too many tries.
Another factor to consider: The more spare keys you have, the less secure your traditional lock will be. Though sturdy, complex models from reliable brands are still difficult for most burglars to crack.
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How safe are smart locks?
Very safe. You can connect your smart lock with your home security system, so you can see who's at the door or automatically lock it any time your cameras detect motion.
Smart locks also give you more control over who can enter your home and how. Instead of handing out spare keys, smart locks let you create different access codes for different people, so you can track who's coming and going (neighbors, the dog walker, babysitters), and revoke that access anytime.
Can smart locks be hacked?
Technically, smart locks can be hacked through Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi, or an outdated companion app or software. But well-built smart locks are safe and carry little risk in the real world.
The main reason: Most burglars don't know how to carry out the kind of sophisticated break-in that smart locks require. The average thief is much more likely to pop open your front door using a crowbar. If the latter happens, your smart lock will alert you that someone has opened your door unexpectedly.
To lessen the risk of a hack even further, there are some simple steps you can take, including:
- Choose a smart lock from an established, trustworthy manufacturer with high-level security features such as two-factor authentication and 128-bit encryption.
- Create a long, unique password for your lock. Not sure how to do so? Check out our passwords guide.
Smart locks pros and cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to all new tech. If you're trying to decide between switching to a smart lock or staying with your traditional one, consider the following:
- Carry less. With a smart lock, there's no need to bring a physical key whenever you leave home. Depending on the brand and model, you either use a PIN and keypad to unlock your door or an app on your phone.
- Control access. Instead of handing out spare keys to guests, you can create and share unique codes, then revoke that access anytime. If a trusted dog walker or contractor comes by while you're not home, create a time-restricted code to let them in.
- Keep tabs. Get notifications anytime someone opens or closes your door. This can be especially helpful to parents who want to know when their kids get home from school—and if they sneak out at night.
- Skip the hardware store. A misplaced key could be anywhere. But finding a lost smartphone—which you use to access your smart lock—is a lot easier, thanks to Find My Device™ on Android™ and Find My® on iPhone®, both of which help you track down the exact location of your device. To learn more, read our guide to what to do if your phone is lost or stolen.
- Practicality. If you forget to charge your smartphone, you not only can't unlock your smart lock, but you can't call for help because your phone is dead.
- Maintenance. Smart locks require battery replacements and software updates; traditional locks don't.
- Curb appeal. Smart locks leave something to be desired if you care about how your front door looks. They're typically large boxes with bulky keyboards that jut out of the door.
- Learning curve. For anyone who isn't comfortable with tech—and isn't interested in learning—you may prefer to stick with a traditional lock and key.
- Worst-case scenarios. If the internet connection or electricity goes out at your home, or if your phone gets lost or stolen, locking and unlocking the door is tricky. Many smart lock models come with a physical key, but that only works if you keep it with you.
Make sure your smart home is protected
An Asurion Home+ plan provides coverage for nearly all the technology in your home with one simple plan. Laptops, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, smart thermostats, and so much more—even future purchases. Plus, you'll get 24/7 live expert support and robust digital security. Learn more about Asurion Home+ coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.