In the good old space TV series like Star Trek, people had no paranoia at all. Why? They all used smart locks. The hero approaches the door – and it opens. Straight through the sci-fi counterpart of Face ID. Now smart locks already exist and work. Let’s talk in more detail about the types of smart locks, pitfalls and specific devices.
For the paranoid
A lock and key are needed to keep honest people out of your house.
When it comes to smart locks, many switch to a mode of complete distrust of the new technology. The iron door and the iron key remain for our man an infallible totem of security. However, an ordinary lock does not guarantee it.
A skilled burglar opens the lock with a master key in 10 minutes. In practice, the criminal is not even interested in the door, but in the plastic window or balcony on the lower floors, because they are easy to open from the outside. There is a positive trend: since 2016, there has been a decline in registered burglaries in the capital. However, they do happen, and ten mechanical locks on the door do not help.
The smart lock differs only in the way it interacts with the locking mechanism and the bolt (bolt). Instead of a physical key, there is an electronic filling and a motor. Instead of turning the key, enter the code, put your finger on the scanner, or press a button in the app. Conveniently.
But what about the possibility of a hacker picking the lock? It really is. In 2016, security specialist Anthony Rose presented a talk at Defcon about how he bought 16 smart locks from Amazon and broke 12 of them using fuzzing, spoofing and password guessing. Sometimes something worse happens: the company releases an update that turns the smart lock into a regular one.
A blatant situation. Imagine what it would be like if for millennia we had been using notoriously unsafe technology with a well-known hacking method. For example, a lock that opens with a master key, a crowbar, a hairpin, a good blow, and so on. A device that protects property on the entire planet. A ticking bomb.
Humor aside, MIT professor Stuart Madnick summed it up best. Replacing a regular lock with a smart one, we change the set of some risks for others, but at the same time we gain convenience. “Are you ready to trade your car for a horse?” – asks Madnick. For those who aren’t ready, Madrobots has some curious gadgets.
A software bug has disabled hundreds of smart locks
Nowadays, a small mistake made by a programmer, for example, in the number of decimal places or the comma itself (well, they just forgot to put it) can lead to huge problems. This applies to energy, military, aerospace, finance, as well as many others. There have already been precedents with non-working satellites, rockets, smart cars, when software developers forgot to indicate something or were simply sealed. And if we take into account that now even refrigerators are supplied with their own computing unit with Internet access, it becomes clear that in the future we will face problems that seemed fantastic a few years ago.
The developers of this organization released a firmware update that turned smart locks into ordinary ones. Fortunately, this device also has a conventional unlocking mechanism that works in the old-fashioned way, with a key. Otherwise, the owners would find themselves in a much more unpleasant situation than just the need to replace the smart part of the lock and not without calling a locksmith. Nowadays, in every country and in every city there are firms dealing with emergency opening of locks of various types. In general terms, clients who need this type of service for opening locks turn to such firms for help, realizing that it is locksmith that is directly related to locks and their opening.
When calling a burglar, many clients believe that a former thief, robber or a person who has served time for robbery will definitely come to open the lock, in this case a hacker is also added, who will then open your lock with one more wave of his smartphone, but this is not so. Nowadays, the locksmith profession is very popular, and lock pickers have a higher technical education, are registered in special firms, have all the proper certificates and, most importantly, do not have a criminal past.
Anyone can master such a profession, while the necessary qualities will be perseverance, analytical mind, sensitivity of fingers, muscle memory, attentiveness. The desire to pick locks won’t be enough. But the main key to the success of professional locksmiths is many years of experience in opening locks, knowledge of all existing types of calls and understanding of the operation of each mechanism. To determine the opening methods, a real professional must not only imagine the mechanism of the lock, but also understand how the elements behave when performing manipulations. To do this, it is necessary to present each of the opened models of locks individually, to know the principles of the mechanism and to have information about the factory defects of the lock. Knowledge of physics and mathematics is required for competent manipulation of master keys.
The team of professionals at Emergency Locksmiths London has all of the above qualities, has many years of experience in opening locks. And remember that true master bugbears never damage the door in an emergency opening.
Nothing terrible happened, since we live in the 21st century, the spirit of the market economy is hovering on the street, and in your city there is likely to be at least a couple of services or private craftsmen who specialize in emergency opening of doors, or in opening the lock without damaging it. Fortunately, such services work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; for example, the average price in Europe is only £ 29.
So in this case the saying “my house is my castle” somewhat loses its meaning, since the reliability of the fortress depends on a number of third-party factors that the owner of the apartment cannot influence in any way.
The key is needed for emergencies. Usually, smart locks are opened through a proprietary application on a smartphone. The smartphone connects to the lock via Bluetooth 4.0, and the data is encrypted using the 128 bit AES algorithm. To operate, it is enough to be in the communication range. Through the administrator account, virtual keys are distributed to other family members or friends. The lock is compatible with Z-Wave smart home. Connecting the lock to a hub opens up a wide scope for automation, as well as remote access and notifications about who and how used the lock.
Manufacturers of locks should clearly be more careful – if such incidents are repeated, then the interest of buyers in smart locks can wane very quickly. Moreover, not only Lockstate will suffer, but also its “colleagues in the shop”.