Digital Door Locks: Are They Safe?


Your smartphone can do everything but change your baby's diapers, so why not use it as your home doors' key?


  • This application for Android and iPhone locks and unlocks a door when you tap twice.
  • The setup retains your old-fashioned keyhole for old-fashioned key use in case your smartphone's battery conks out; or for residents without mobiles.
  • Connects via Bluetooth.
  • Allows you to dispense virtual keys and track their use.
  • Lockup after you leave can be pre-set
  • It senses when you're approaching and will unlock automatically.
  • Installation doesn't take long.

Kwikset Kevo

  • As sophisticated like the August.
  • Retains the keyhole but replaces the entire lock.
  • Connects with Bluetooth.
  • The touch sensor allows you to lock and unlock by touching the deadbolt as long as an authorized phone is within range.
  • Tracks coming-and-going activity with an iPhone app.
  • Dispenses unlimited numbers of 24-hour virtual keys.
  • Fee of $2 for more than two permanent keys.
  • Installation can be tricky and may exceed an hour.
  • Sensors aren't 100 percent effective in that they might "think" you're inside when you're outside when it's time to unlock the door. The company says this occurs to under one percent of users; a software patch can fix this.
  • Wireless key fob


  • Connects with Wi-Fi.
  • According to at least one user, it didn't fit one of his doors due to the motor that attaches to the existing deadbolt latch.

If you like the idea of smart locks, ask yourself what would you do if your lock's battery dies and you're outside late at night in the rain wanting to come in? True, the lock's app will warn you when the battery is getting low, but anything that's electronic or even keyed is never 100 percent fool-proof.

What if your mobile runs out of juice? Well, if you have a physical key on hand, problem solved, but if you must always carry a physical key or hide one or use a key-safe for backup, it almost (not totally) defeats the purpose of this technology.

The lock's motor might fail. This is where the physical backup key comes in. If you misplace your mobile, you'll need to log in from somewhere else and set your account to deactivate the keyless entry.

And then there's the issue of hacking. It would be difficult, but not impossible. But then again, don't you worry anyways about physical intruders? Regardless, a home security system must be present.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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