Technology Is Unlocking A Lifestyle Without Keys — And Experts Say That Invites Risk

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — More companies are designing household appliances, whether it be garage doors, dishwashers, even the door to the house, that users can control with their cellphones.

Home automation is becoming the new norm, which has cyber security experts warning that with convenience comes risk.

The August Smart Lock is one of many “smart locks” on the market. By simply tapping the app, residents can unlock the door and monitor the comings and goings of guests.

Locksmith Maria Guadamuz showed how easily it works: “It’s telling us that the door is open. It’s in green. And we are going to go ahead and lock it at this time.”

It may be handy but that convenience can come at too high a cost.

“We need to understand: if we give you access to your home, that means others have the potential to gaining that access,” according to Clifford Neuman, director of University of Southern California’s Center for Computer Systems Security.

He says that mobile phones and home wi-fi systems are vulnerable to being hacked and that could compromise home security.

“Smart phones are especially vulnerable to viruses, including the passwords that unlock your door,” Neuman said.

Newer smart locks use bluetooth technology and bypass a home’s wi-fi, which manufacturers say is safer.

Neuman says when using a smart lock make sure to take certain safeguards, such as limiting the time others can use the app to enter the home.

“You don’t have to allow some worker, some delivery guy into your home,” Neuman said. “It’s important to understand those risks so you can utilize those services to mitigate the impact.”

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