Q: My home has been broken into on a couple of occasion in recent times, and I’m in search of the most effective option to secure it. Should I keep on with a standard deadbolt lock with a key, or should I upgrade to a sensible lock?
A: The sad truth, based on several locksmiths we spoke to, is that if someone really wants to interrupt in to your property, they’ll probably give you the chance to. The query is how long it can take — burglars in crowded neighborhoods rarely need to be seen fidgeting with a lock.
“All locks are pickable,” said George Abramian, owner of Geo Locksmith, in south Brooklyn. “Everything that gets locked, gets unlocked.”
Indeed, after testing popular models of each traditional and smart locks, our colleagues at Wirecutter found that quite a number of were easily picked, often inside minutes.
After the tests, Wirecutter ultimately advisable one traditional lock (the Schlage B60N, which is “extremely difficult to lockpick”) and one smart lock (the UltraLoq U-Bolt Pro Wifi, which is opened using fingerprints, a keypad or a standard key).
The locksmiths we interviewed advisable that customers buy the lock that they’re most comfortable with — so long as it has a deadbolt. Also, smart locks should include a standard key in case of battery failure.
A sensible lock, which is linked to an app, may be more convenient, especially if you happen to live in an apartment constructing and don’t have a convenient place to cover a spare key, or if you should let someone in remotely, corresponding to a cat sitter. Keep in mind, though, that some apartment buildings have old doors that won’t accommodate smart locks. And some buildings don’t allow them, said Joe Ferrick, owner of the Flying Locksmiths in New York City and Long Island.
What about hackers? We asked Atul Prakash, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science on the University of Michigan, whether buyers ought to be frightened about security problems with smart locks.
There’s all the time a risk for any network-connected device to be compromised, even when the percentages are small, said Dr. Prakash, whose students successfully hacked a sensible lock. He advised smart-lock users to pair the device with a further sensor that alerts the resident when the door is opened or closed, and to pay attention to software security updates.
“Just like every other computer, if the software becomes outdated, that may introduce security vulnerabilities,” Dr. Prakash said.
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