Ziptide April 2018

April 2, 2018

Modern Trend

Dear Gale,

Thought I would offer some thoughts from a retired locksmith as a letter to the editor!.

Times are always changing, although the mechanical lock has served well for centuries (millennia!!), and the pin tumbler being king for over a century.  And now security is being heavily handled more and more by electronics. 

The home integration movement has really gone wild, interconnecting everything from cameras, lights, HVAC, and locks.  Not to mention the refrigerator!!  It's great to be able to control the lock from anywhere over Wifi.  For instance, that's a great solution to the kids always losing their keys.  They can call you when they get close to the front door and you can open it for them from work or away or anywhere.

But here's the caveat.  I would guess there are more people that are capable of hacking, than know how to pick.  The home invasion of the future may no longer involve broken windows or forced doors or garage doors.  Instead, the hacker would just disable the alarm and open the door from his cell phone.  Or, like the identity theft industry, hackers would generate files of places and sell the access to the crook.

So we need to be careful if merchandising some of the electronic locks.  I haven't read much (actually I don't remember any) about how they are protected from hacking, any more than the general Wifi industry has done.  When a target becomes especially profitable, the effort and degree of expertise expended becomes greater!

Thanks for sharing, and I still try to keep up with the industry, though electronic access beyond commercial was in its infancy when I retired.

David Hauke

Retired locksmith/security technician at University of DE

PS. I had an electronic background and set up the early electronic door security and access control at the UD.  Since there was nothing on the market that was any good at door prop control, I designed a system --we had to even make our circuit boards!  When I retired, the commercial replacement (since no one else knew how to work on our homemade system) couldn't even duplicate all the security features, nor ease of testing (I also created the plug-in test tools).  The new testing actually did test with better numbers, but some readings could be confused as to what was actually wrong.  I was called an Electronic Locksmith since security technician was not yet a recognized position.  If the problem was mechanical (just notified to us by the electronic), I could fix both the electronic and the physiccal, which wasn't that way after I left.

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