The Pros and Cons of Smart Locks

One click is all it takes to lose everything. We are in a cyberwar, and you can either be a defendant, or you could be a hacker.

One of the questions people raise is about smart doorbells, smart locks, door access control and whether these are good investments. Are these technically safe? 

The Safety of Smart Locks

What it really comes down to is, what is the functionality versus what is the risk. So if you have a doorbell that as a camera, when somebody rings the doorbell, you can turn on the camera and see who it is. You can even talk to them, and in some cases even give a verification. So if a signature is required for a package, they can still leave the package on your doorstep. Now that’s great functionality. The functionality outweighs the risk. 

The Issue of Cybersecurity 

The problem is in cybersecurity. Most people never think about the negative, they never think about the impact. And they never think about what could happen. As long as you’re willing to accept that risk, we’re in great shape. 

Here’s an example: say you’re expecting an Amazon in-house delivery. Amazon has special locks that you can put on your door. And when you’re not home, that delivery person will go and put the package inside your door. Now most people don’t allow it, that’s crazy. Who would do that? That’s nuts. That’s the biggest security risk on the planet. But some people still do it.

Let’s say you live in a townhouse on a fairly busy street. So if packages are left out front, for two or three days, somebody can see it, somebody could not only know that you’re not home, and they could potentially pick it up. 

Alternatively, you might not have an overhang and live in a rainy area. And it rains a lot in Northern Virginia. So I’ve had many cases where packages were delivered. And I wasn’t home for a few days. And by the time I got home, the package was completely soaked. 

With Amazon home delivery, they are not allowed inside your house. They open the door, they put the package inside and they shut the door. Next, they don’t have the code for the smart lock. When they go to your door, they take out a device and somebody gives them a one time code that only works once opens the door so they can get in. You can also have a camera inside my door and I get notification. 

 So whenever there’s an in house delivery, you can get a text that says someone’s coming in the house with the link and you could turn on the video and watch and see that they put the package and lock the door. Of course, you can verify the doors locked. Also, you can turn that setting off at any time you want. 

At the end of the day, you have to measure this against your own lifestyle. What is the benefit you’re getting? What are the risks or exposures and can you live with those risks? And as long as you do that analysis, then depending on your lifestyle and what you do, smart doorbells and smart locks might be a smart thing—or it might be a dumb thing. Do the analysis, know the facts and then you’re making good smart decisions.