Guest blog by Ralph Goodman, the lead writer on all things locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks, safety, and locksmith services. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals. For more information about United Locksmith, follow them on social media on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
In part one of this how-to series, we covered how home automation is impacting the future of home security and provided some background information about Bluetooth technology. Now, let’s continue.
Bluetooth and Smart Locks
Years from now, people are going to look back and view smart locks and home automation as a key part of history, and there is no doubt that Bluetooth will be a huge part of those conversations, just as it is now.
There are many questions that people raise when it comes to smart locks and their use of Bluetooth. Is it safe enough? Will anyone with Bluetooth capabilities on their phone be able to walk right into my home? Will I be hacked? Each and every one of those questions is supremely valid and they have been addressed by Bluetooth and many smart lock manufacturers.
Every device that has Bluetooth capabilities benefits from the security practices Bluetooth devices have in place. Bluetooth security has standards that authenticate, authorize, encrypt, and keep your data private. This is done in order to make sure that unauthorized persons do not have access to your devices. Bluetooth also encrypts the data that is transferred between paired devices to make it much more difficult for anyone to get a hold of your private information.
It wouldn’t be much help if someone with a Bluetooth enabled device was able to open your door simply by being there, would it? Smart locks are paired with a primary device, which in most cases is a smartphone. Once your smartphone has been set up as a primary device, your lock can only be operated (unless you use a physical key) from your phone and from whomever you grant access to (in the form of temporary keys or additional users).
For further clarification, let us take a look at the Kwikset Kevo. The Kevo is one of the leading smart lock brands that utilize Bluetooth. When homeowners are installing the Kwikset Kevo, the lock has to be paired with the homeowner’s smartphone via the Kevo app. A back section of the lock is removed and the programming button is pressed in order for the lock to be made visible. This is done to allow the lock to communicate with your phone and establish it as the primary device. Once the primary device has been established, the lock will only respond to that device and any other devices that are added to that network through the Kevo app.
The same concept applies to other smart locks, like the August Smart Lock for example. Once the lock has been installed in the door, homeowners will have to download the August App, enable their Bluetooth connectivity, and scan the lock with their phones in order to pair the devices together. Once the lock has been connected to a primary device, it cannot be paired to another device without authorization from the primary device.
Security and convenience need to be balanced and well thought through when it comes to devices that concern our homes and our information. Smart locks manufacturers and developers have looked at ways to provide both, bringing the highest levels of trusted security while also giving you the ability to provide one-off key access with limitations to allow visiting family members or a housekeeper to access your house without you being there but only when you allow it.
The security features of Bluetooth, coupled with the additional security features that these smart locks have, work to keep you safe. This is done mainly by designating the primary devices that are allowed to exchange data with your lock and other smart devices.
The latest version of Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.2, boasts enhanced privacy safeguards as well as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 128-bit encryption. Needless to say, that’s a whole lot of security.
How Do Smart Locks And Bluetooth Keep Your Home Safe?
Smart locks with Bluetooth capabilities keep your home safe in a variety of ways, and Bluetooth technology has a major role to play in all of these variations. First, Bluetooth is in use in so many different products, as compared to competing technologies. Almost every smartphone comes equipped with Bluetooth, and the same can be said for the vast majority of smart devices on the market. With so many smart devices being capable of using and communicating with Bluetooth, it makes it much easier for homeowners to integrate their smart locks with other smart devices. This casts a much wider safety net, which will help keep homeowners safe.
Also, in comparison to smart locks and smart devices that run solely on Wi-Fi connectivity or other similar protocols, Bluetooth devices are much safer, especially with the advent of the low energy feature of Bluetooth. Smart locks and smart devices with these capabilities do not have to be constantly connected to the Internet, which drastically reduces the chances of someone hacking into your home. In addition to this, they operate with the minimal use of power, which in turn makes them long lasting and efficient. These two features go hand in hand to make it nearly impossible for someone to infiltrate your network. Bluetooth transmissions are also done through adaptive frequency hopping. This doubly ensures that the proper transmissions are being sent from one point to another without any external interference.
The main flaw of Bluetooth transmissions over ad hoc networks is the lack of network access control, however, this issue is nullified by authentication methods that make sure that only authorized ‘nodes’ can inject traffic into a network. In this case, your smartphone would be the authorized node attempting to communicate with your smart lock.
There is no doubt that Bluetooth technology will have a hand in shaping the future of home security. It is already a major talking point when home automation is being discussed and with good reason. Bluetooth continues to pave the way to making life more secure, convenient and efficient and smart locks and home automation devices are just a small part of the big picture.