Keyed vs Bluetooth Locks: Which Are More Secure?

Bluetooth locks have become increasingly popular in recent years. A type of wireless “smart lock,” they live up to their namesake by relying on Bluetooth connectivity with a paired device to function. While switching to a Bluetooth lock may sound harmless enough, though, it may result in a lower level of security.

What Is a Bluetooth Lock?

A Bluetooth lock is a type of lock that uses Bluetooth connectivity to open. Developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group – a consortium of over 35,000 telecommunications and information technology (IT) companies – Bluetooth is a standard for short-distance wireless communications. It specifically uses radio bands ranging from 2.400 to 2.485 GHz. Technical jargon aside, Bluetooth is a specification that allows two or more devices to communicate over the air.

Unlike keyed locks, many Bluetooth don’t have an opening for a key. To open them, you’ll need to move a paired Bluetooth device within close range of the Bluetooth lock. Most Bluetooth locks work in conjunction with a smartphone. Once your smartphone is within range, the Bluetooth lock will open.

Bluetooth Locks Can Be Hacked

While Bluetooth locks are undoubtedly convenient, they aren’t foolproof. Bluetooth itself isn’t particularly secure. And while most Bluetooth locks use an encryption algorithm, they can still be hacked. A determined hacker can essentially open a Bluetooth lock by cracking the encryption algorithm. Of course, he or she must be within close range, but hacking is a serious concern when using a Bluetooth lock.

The Bluetooth Device Key Could Be Lost or Stolen

There’s also the potential for the Bluetooth device key, such as a smartphone, to be lost or stolen. According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over one in 10 smartphone owners have had their device stolen. If you use your smartphone to open a Bluetooth lock and someone steals your smartphone, the thief may use it open your lock. If you’re going to use a Bluetooth lock, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye over your smartphone or other Bluetooth device key at all times.

Choose a Keyed Lock for Maximum Security

For maximum protection against property theft, you should skip the Bluetooth lock and, instead, stick with a heavy-duty keyed lock. Unlike Bluetooth locks, keyed locks can’t be hacked, nor can they be unlocked using a lost or stolen device. As a result, keyed locks offer a superior level of security compared to Bluetooth and other wireless "smart" locks.

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