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Smart Locks: Can they Be Hacked?

smart locks hacking

An interesting presentation was given on smart locks at a cyber security convention recently.

Every year in Las Vegas cyber security experts gather for Def Con, a convention for white hat hackers and security professionals. At this year’s convention one thing in particular stood out in the media, two presenters tested 16 Bluetooth-enabled smart locks and found they could remotely unlock them with a little hacking. However, there were some locks that the pair could not hack. Let’s look and why some smart locks are more vulnerable than others.


Using some pretty advanced hacking, the presenters were able to manipulate a smart lock and the owner’s phone into resetting the password. This would allow a would-be intruder to unlock the smart lock as well as lockout the owner. While this worked in theory, it required that the presenters have access to the owner’s phone.

A representative from one of the smart lock manufacturers commented on the presentation in a CNet article saying, “Ultimately, what he showed was that a hacker could hack their own phone to obtain a one-time use key for their own lock. The ability for a user to download and access their own encrypted key has been removed. Our system has never been compromised and none of our users’ smart locks have been at risk.”


One of the most important features the uncrackable smart locks have are two-step authentication and allowing passwords of 16-20 characters. The presenters noted that many of the crackable locks focused more on the strength of the physical lock, while the uncrackable locks spent more time on the cyber security aspect as well as the physical aspects.

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