Safe and unsafe: Smart Home door lock for Alexa and Siri from August (or other manufacturer)

Smarthome security security August smart door lock unsafe

Smart home security. It sounds a bit like an education course in kindergarten: you have to make sure that Alexa and Siri don't incite August to open the door to strangers. However, these names and measures are about home automation. Who z. B. the August Smart Lock (or a model from Abus, Nuki Home Solutions, eqiva, etc.) built into the door to close the door with a voice command via Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot, Apple device or similar systems via HomeKit connection open, so should not only allow the corresponding command, but also specify a security code for it. Viewed objectively, however, such a security code is no guarantee for the security of the system.

An August Smart Lock as an example for HomeKit compatible locks that can be opened via Siri, Alexa and Co. However, smart home security is endangered by such locks. Image source: Amazon

An August Smart Lock as an example for HomeKit compatible locks that can be opened via Siri, Alexa and Co. However, smart home security is endangered by such locks. Image source: Amazon

Concrete example with August Smart Lock and Siri

Whether via Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple, via "Okay Google" or whatever: there is no clear and secure voice recognition, then basically everyone can shout: "Hey, any voice assistant, open the front door!" This is how it happened last summer to a user who paired an August Smart Lock with Siri on the iPad via the HomeKit. The story is available for reading on twitter. Fortunately it was only the neighbor and the homeowner was there. However, such a scenario can also take place in absence or at night and with intruders instead of with a friendly neighbor.

Small note: Of course you can turn off the voice assistant in your absence or at night or take the necessary device with you - but that can be forgotten or viewed as an undesirable additional measure - after all, you set up a smart home to be lazy;)

Is a security code ideal for securing your smart home?

Hardly ideal, but a step in the right direction. For example, if you ask Siri to open the door and ask her for the password, then you just have to add "Eins Zwei Drei Sir Apfelot is cool" so that the door really opens. But that this is not listened to and recorded - especially if you want to open the door from the outside - that is not guaranteed. If you are evaluated and the burglar knows when you will be home, then he only has to do it for a short time a small voice recorder place and he has the code - even as an audio recording for critical language assistants.

So it's better to use an app instead of a voice command?

At first glance, the silent operation of smart home devices via app or remote control is probably the safer alternative. But actually only if the communication between the Smart Lock (or other device) and iPhone / iPad or Android smartphone / tablet is implemented via NFC (Near Field Communication) or Bluetooth. If everything is done via WiFi and the Internet, there is a high risk that hackers will take advantage of the system to either “only” open doors or let your house go completely crazy. Do you already have doors, lights, shutters or household appliances integrated into the smart home and via the network? Then please have a look this little plusminus report from ARD at ;)

My layman's conclusion on smart home security

If you take all this information together, look at the smart home and the children's group Siri, Alexa and August critically, look at the fact that many users are healthy enough to open doors themselves, and at various other facts, then you can come to the conclusion: It is an unnecessary risk! A mechanical lock or two, as well as good old metal keys, are best off.

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