A lot of people (including myself) have been sceptical over the various smart locks that have been released over the last year of so, personally, I don’t think there’s much better than a key and I don’t want to open up my locks to the internet, and for good reason, the internet and technology on top of that can be hacked, overridden, and sometimes annoying, even if keys are already a major annoyance in my life.
One of those reasons was given a real-life example as a 31-year-old Missouri man posted about his own smart lock tale on Reddit and to Forbes this week.
His story started a month ago when he decided to set up his home with some new “smart” technology that will hopefully make his home easily to manage and slightly cooler to use.
He built this system around Apple’s HomeKit technology, situating a HomeKit-connected iPad Pro in his living room and setting up a total of 30 Philips Hue LED bulbs, two Ecobee Wi-Fi thermostats, eight remote temperature sensors, and an August Smart Lock to keep all that safe, or as he hoped.
In what will only become a new technique for malicious types to unlawfully enter your home, Marcus soon found out that this system allowed anyone to simply state out a command in order to open up his front door.
He explained with the following:
I’m pulling out of my driveway and [my neighbor] runs up and asks to borrow some flour to fry wings for an office wing party/contest; dope.
So I put the car in park to go back inside and he’s like “I’ll let myself in.” I’m stunned, like what the f*ck. Dude walks up to my front door and shouts, “HEY SIRI, UNLOCK THE FRONT DOOR.” She unlocked the front door.
To put this another way, the neighbour unlocked his front door by simply shouting at his iPad Pro. Apple responded to this with a statement, in which they said that all users should enable passcode authentication.
While this would solve the problem, it removes the whole point of having this command in the first place, as Marcus stated himself:
I’m using the iPad the way it was marketed. It’s not, ‘Hey Siri,” and then go up and enter a PIN.
So this gets us thinking, why doesn’t Apple simply remove the ability to open up smart locks with voice commands? Amazon already does this with the Amazon Echo, only allowing users to lock and check the status of lock, as this is what Marcus ended up doing anyway.