How Safe Are Keyless Locks? Locksmith Guidelines For New Technology
More people than ever are locking their doors and throwing away the key. Keyless locks and access systems are all the rage these days, both for homes and businesses. This new technology, though it sometimes seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, brings a new level of convenience to home security. However, are these new systems really safe? As any locksmith will tell you, it’s not so clear.
There are many aspects of keyless locks that make them much more secure than standard ones. However, they have their own weaknesses and drawbacks, and you should be aware of both sides before you decide to have them installed on your door.
Keyless entry system: the basic types
There are many different types of keyless entry systems, ranging from simple models that were used decades ago in warehouses, to sophisticated ones packed with extra features that guard the doors of downtown offices and high-end apartments. They are now used almost everywhere! Here are the basic categories of keyless lock:
- Number combination: The original keyless lock, these are opened with a number code. Rather than a keypad, some new models come with touchscreens, and other high tech features.
- Card entry: These use an electronic access card instead of a metal key.
- Smart locks: Part of a wider wave of home automation, you can control these locks with your smartphone! They use WiFi or Bluetooth to communicate with your phone, allowing you to open and close them with a touch of a button. While some large manufacturers have put out their own versions, the most high-profile models where developed by tech start-up’s, such as August, Kevo and Goji.
- Biometric locks: These are opened by fingerprint or retinal scan. Sounds futuristic, but it’s real.
Convenience and other benefits
Keyless locks are undeniably easy and more convenient to use than conventional ones. No more carrying around heavy keys, or worrying about losing them. No more getting locked out because you accidentally closed the door and your keys were still on the counter! Smart locks also come with tons of special features that allow you to program access codes for guests, lock and unlock your doors remotely, make sure your kids got home when they were supposed to, and more.
Keys are often a weak point in home security, since it’s all too easy for them to fall into the wrong hands. Burglars often steal them, pick up spares that people leave under their doormat, or get copies from unscrupulous valets or fake cyber locksmiths, and then they can simply waltz into your home. Without them, your doors are much more secure. Plus, keyless locks can’t be picked or bumped open, methods of forced entry that most conventional locks are highly vulnerable to.
Safety and security
Many people assume keyless locks are safer than traditional ones, but unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. Even though they can’t be picked, they can still be drilled open, or broken by a strong kick or crowbar. You should still reinforce your door with a solid deadbolt to prevent this.
Number combinations have their own drawbacks. For example, if you have a keypad, you need to change the code every so often and keep the buttons clean, so no-one can see which ones are pressed more often. Be as careful with your passcode as you would with any sensitive password. Don’t write it down and be alert that no-one peeks over your shoulder while you type it in.
Smart locks are also vulnerable to hackers, especially if they use a WiFi connection. Even biometric locks aren’t 100% secure against them!
Finally, the fact that this is new technology has pro’s and con’s. On the plus side, many burglars are baffled by locks that look so out of the ordinary, and they’re not going to waste time trying to figure them out on the spot. On the other hand, since they are not yet so widely used, they haven’t been tested in the field the way old-school locks have. Locksmiths can’t really say yet what subtle weaknesses they might have.
Like any security technology, keyless access systems are no guarantee, but rather a way of keeping up in the constant battle against burglars – while making your life more convenient at the same time. Consider them with this attitude and you might find that going keyless is right for you.