back to article Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

It's something we all do when we get home: rummage around in your pockets or bag, find your keys, identify the one you want and then stick it in your front door to gain access. If you are one of the roughly 28 per cent of households that have a security system, you then need to go punch in a code to turn the alarm off. It's …

  1. david bates

    "The Nest+Yale lock uses Google's Thread IoT protocol to communicate with its Connect bridge – or its Secure home station if you have that. This is a smart move as it puts a buffer between the lock and the internet. It's going to make hacking the door to open a much harder affair."

    Without knowing the ins-and-outs of the security involved I'm can't help but feel this is the triumph of hope over experience....

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      this is the triumph of hope over experience

      It'll sell well to the millennials and urban hipsters. Whereas I won't have one ever.

      Trusting Google? Bwahahahahahahaahahaa!

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Trusting Google? Bwahahahahahahaahahaa!

        One thing for certain - you can trust them to open the door to anyone with a court order. One thing less for the police to bother when they are breaking in.

        1. ad47uk

          Not just Google

          To be honest, would you trust this type of lock who ever produced it? I know I would not, the lock and key goes back centuries and is a tried and tested security product, sure there are ways to get into some of them, but I still prefer my key to some electronic lock.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: Not just Google

            ...the lock and key goes back centuries and is a tried and tested security product...

            That nobody ever picked/drilled/kicked...

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Not just Google

              That nobody ever picked/drilled/kicked...

              You can't pick or drill a lock without standing right next to it. With the right tools.

              Hacking an electronic lock can be done from Outer Elbonia.

            2. ad47uk

              Re: Not just Google

              Which is why I said "sure there are ways to get into some of them, but I still prefer my key to some electronic lock."

              the old locks are still more reliable and can not be hacked.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Jolly good. If they do have a valid reason to break in, better they do so without smashing the door down (and then telling you afterwards you got to pay for repairs out of your own pocket, even if the raid was fruitless).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Trusting Google? Bwahahahahahahaahahaa!"

        Google's Thread IoT protocol

        it is not a matter of trusting google or not, they just created and open sourced its IoT protocol.

        you can always ask yourself why you should trust the lakes of yale who make a good living on selling locks... locks that need replacing. why do they need replacing? because they failed?

        1. ChrisC

          "locks that need replacing. why do they need replacing? because they failed?"

          Umm, yes. Why would you expect a mechanical device which is left exposed to the elements and is almost certainly never given any sort of maintenance, not to fail at some point?

          And then there's the rather healthy business of selling new locks to people who've just moved house and would prefer not to trust that all copies of the existing keys are now in their hands, people who've extended their homes and now have new exterior doors in need of securing, people who've lost a door key somewhere and would prefer not to hope that it's either never ever found or is only ever found by someone sufficiently trustworthy to not do anything dodgy with it, people who're replacing older less secure locks with newer ones...

          No, can't think of any good reasons why lock companies manage to stay in business, guess they must all be up to no good eh.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          I bet you my savings the average lifetime of a Yale lock is more than the average lifetime of this contraption.

          And Yale won't suddenly announce that all their locks will be depreciated in a month and please buy a new one.

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Windows

        "It'll sell well to the millennials"

        Millennials is anyone born since 1980, so it's basically a sneering way of saying "people under forty". Depending on where you live, people under 40 probably make up more than 50% of the population now.

    2. SuccessCase

      It’s not third party access to the locking and unlocking I would be worried about. Always doing what they say on that score is the minimum requirement if they want the company to continue in business. Even one instance of “letting law enforcement in against the will of the owner” would see the business die in an instant. The things I would worry about are: 1. Is truly hack proof? Even if the security is considered very good, security is hard and we have seen too many instances of putatively competent security programmers (hardware and software) making catastrophic errors because there is some left-of-field vector/strategy they have unwittingly introduced or opened their code up to. 2. Camera. In conjunction with 1 are my comings and goings being monitored?

      I installed a remotely accessible webcam in my appartment some time ago for when I was doing contract work in Germany. I ended up unplugging it after just a few days precisely because of the nagging unease the two points above raised.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In before the luddite responses..

      I have no issues with security of this, my problem is the UK website is clearly reviewing a US product for US doors.

      Does this work with 5 point locking mechanisms found on European UPVC doors? Of course it doesn't....

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Does a keypad lock with a good range of options *need* internet connetivity?

      Seem to be the attractive parts of an electronic lock are

      a) Easy to cancel the key code

      b) Audit trail if needed

      c) Multiple codes assigned to different people and/or valid at different times

      None of which needs an internet link.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Does a keypad lock with a good range of options *need* internet connetivity?

        None of which needs an internet link.

        Indeed. The company I worked for 10 years ago has a very similar system (which we sold to rental companies) that didn't involve a third-party having access to your infrastructure..

        (We sold two versions - one that used RS232 comms and one that used TCP/IP... both controlled from a local PC.

    5. Cuddles Silver badge

      "Without knowing the ins-and-outs of the security involved I'm can't help but feel this is the triumph of hope over experience"

      I'm sure I'm not the only one who reads "buffer" as "additional attack surface".

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Mr Robot Smart Home Hack

    I'll just leave that here...

    1. JWLong

      Re: Mr Robot Smart Home Hack

      I'm with you there Dan. And here's another little morsel of thought, Locks only keep honest people out!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you get your phone out of your pocket and use the app if you are carrying shopping? I would have thought it would be easier to put shopping down and tap the code when you get to the door.

    If it was mains powered with a battery back up and using open source software where you could use your own or no server then I would be interested. Until someone offers that I'm not going there. I also have no doubts that if these become adopted by a lot of people that law enforcement will get a back door for the front door.

    1. Jon 37

      > How do you get your phone out of your pocket and use the app if you are carrying shopping?

      Presumably you do that before you get the shopping out of the car.

      But yeah, I agree with your other points completely.

      1. Not also known as SC Silver badge

        "Presumably you do that before you get the shopping out of the car."

        And I imagine most people have their door key on the same keyring as the car key so why not just use that (so none of "it's something we all do when we get home: rummage around in your pockets or bag, find your keys, identify the one you want and then stick it in your front door to gain access")?

        In agreement too because this feels too much like a solution looking for a problem.

        1. oiseau
          WTF?

          ... feels too much like a solution looking for a problem.

          Hmm ...

          ... feels too much like a solution looking for a problem Nest wanting to make a boatload of money from all the clueless morons out there.

          There you go.

          Google's Thread IoT protocol indeed.

        2. steogede

          > And I imagine most people have their door key on the same keyring as the car key.

          I think most of their target customers already have cars with keyless start and keyless entry.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn
        Go

        Bluetooth

        My front door electronic lock opens to a tap on the metal surround & if a suitably authorized phone with Bluetooth activated is in range (or by using the phone app itself).

        In 99.9% of cases something usually needs to be put down in order to open the door by the handle, unless you are a resident of The Village with self opening doors.

        1. James Ashton

          Re: Bluetooth

          In 99.9% of cases something usually needs to be put down in order to open the door by the handle

          Lever handles for the win. Then you can use your elbow or your shopping to open the door.

          1. ad47uk

            Re: Bluetooth

            My front door is to be honest a pain to open with one hand, as you need to turn the key and at the same time press the handle down. It is a security door, I have no idea why they think we needed one, since this house have had a wooden door with a yale lock since it was built.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      That brings up a similar point which I encountered with a safe not long ago. What happens when Murphy strikes the batteries run down at a most inopportune time. At least with the safe the batteries can be accessed from the outside, and a quick changeout put me back in business, but what about this lock?

      At least with a physical lock, no batteries are necessary, and with the Kwikset Smartkey system, locks can be rekeyed in seconds allowing for temporary key sets while you're away (you simply rekey them back when you get home). All mechanical, so no electricity necessary.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Someone else mentioned the Kwikset lock to me not long ago when I was doing the insurance renewal checklist. The main issue I had was that after googling it I found this video that made me think twice.

      2. Jtom Bronze badge

        The power seldom goes out here. When the batteries die of a natural death (which all eventually do), I would likely put the chore of changing them on my to-do list, which is very long. Of course, that's the time that the mains will fail.

        As stated elsewhere, a lock mainly keeps honest people and stray kids out, but it also encourages bad guys to seek softer targets. We are just competing against each other. "Look, I have an 'alpha' lock. It's less work to rob the guy over there with a cheaper lock."

        And this segways into another burr up my backside. We spend all this money on locks and security systems because of criminals, yet the money is never included in the cost-of-crime figures. If they did include them, people would understand the appropriateness of harsh sentencing for those necessitating these expenses.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      How do you get your phone out of your pocket and use the app if you are carrying shopping?

      You should not need to. A few years ago I had some demented plans to add proximity opening to my front door lock using bluetooth. The use case was the kids losing keys but never forgetting their phone. I gave up after figuring out just home much work do I need to do to secure it properly.

      A recent revisit of the same idea from a wifi perspective was ditched for a similar reason. In fact wifi is even worse. While you can sort-a contain bluetooth so it works only in front of the front door (at least you think so) wifi will always be all over the place so you cannot get a proper phone location.

      In any case, the kids stopped losing the keys so there is no longer a use case and I have other stuff to occupy my time (f.e. the annual spring overhaul of all bicycles which is happening this morning).

      If they start losing them again I may actually consider using NFC for that. The only thing which should "just work" tm and no need for any f*** apps.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Devil

        I found that simply refusing to come back home to let them in until it was convenient really improved the kids ability to remember their keys!

      2. Chris 125

        I'm in exactly the same position. Kids losing keys meaning replaced locks at £20 a time. They don't keep their Bluetooth turned on as they're under some 2012-style belief that it runs your battery down.

        There's probably a solution using MAC addresses. I've got a Samsung SmartThings setup where the presence location is notoriously flaky and needs the app installed on every phone. Cue kids wailing "we don't have enough space for the app, waaaah". Whatever. But what I can do is run a script on my Asus router (it will work on anything that runs a WRT-style environment, or perhaps even Tomato) which checks for their MAC address every 10 seconds and flips a virtual switch via HTTP, notifying SmartThings that they're home. Typically works as they walk up the path. It has the benefit of it needs nothing installing on their device, they just need to connect to the WiFi - which they do, constantly, because teenagers.

        1. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

          Chris, you know your mac address is a software config right? You want to base your home security and not letting in strangers on the basis that they also don't know this fact?

    4. mrfill

      You get someone else to carry the shopping. ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You might be onto something here, deal with the kids by getting them to carry the shopping, genius.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Kids carrying the shopping

          Good idea in principle but.

          Sadly No 1 Child is in New Zealand and No 2 Child is in Vancouver.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Kids carrying the shopping

            At least they are nice kids.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You might be onto something here, deal with the kids by getting them to carry the shopping, genius."

          OR it might convince them to kill time be becoming delinquents so that when you get home you find a constable with them and some explaining to do...

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "If it was mains powered with a battery back up..."

      That was one my first thoughts too. Why not an external power source option which can keep a rechargeable battery topped up in case of power outage?

    6. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

      re: if it was mains powered

      I am seeing both benefits and disadvantages to hooking up the external door(s) to mains power...

      1. Simple Si

        Re: re: if it was mains powered

        I was thinking the same thing. Would be great to if the door handle wirede to mains could tazer any undesirables who attempt unauthorised access and then using the nest webcam post the video to Facebook. What could go wrong...

      2. Def Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: re: if it was mains powered

        I am seeing both benefits and disadvantages to hooking up the external door(s) to mains power.

        All of them, unfortunately, too large for this ̶m̶a̶r̶g̶i̶n̶ forum.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: re: if it was mains powered

        "I am seeing both benefits and disadvantages to hooking up the external door(s) to mains power..."

        Done properly, it could discourage people from trying their luck hoping the it's unlocked :-)

        But I suspect by "mains", people are referring to a mains powered adaptor to push 5-12v into the lock unit.

    7. LucreLout Silver badge

      I also have no doubts that if these become adopted by a lot of people that law enforcement will get a back door for the front door.

      As an alternative to them using The Key (a large heavy battering ram) to smash the door to pieces, I can't see the problem. They're unlikely ever to be allowed warrantless entry, so the only real difference is when they leave, your door still works.

      1. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

        And of course that back door will be so secure that only law-abiding agents will be able to use it, never the bad guys, right?

  4. Dr_N Silver badge

    Keyless entry for residential property?

    Anyone installing this chez them deserves everything coming their way.

    Insurance company - "You were burgled but there's no sign of forced entry? That's a shame. Goodbye."

    1. David Webb

      Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

      I would be more worried about fire, say there is an electrical fault with the device and it catches fire (it can happen), now your point of exit in case of a fire is suddenly on fire. In a flat with only 1 door, being on a high floor and having the door itself catch fire doesn't seem like a good idea to me. (okay, the door itself won't catch fire, modern ones should be made of metal)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

        I can only presume you have NOTHING battery powered in your house in case it catches fire. Or battery powered objects are not allowed along a three feet wide path to the front door in case your TV remote explodes all by itself but you can't step over it to escape.

        What about your smoke alarm? That's got a battery in it. What if that catches fire? The irony.

        1. David Webb

          Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

          I have plenty of objects in my house that are battery powered, my smoke alarm iirc is wired into the mains with battery backup, same with the CO2 detector, by my front door is a set of double doors leading into a tiny closet where the fuse box is contained, a fuse box which is designed that in case of fire it will contain it as long as possible. As well as the double doors giving secondary protection against a fire on the fuse box.

          In the passage way leading to the front door there is a light switch and a light (naturally) and nothing else. If there was an object on my front door which could catch fire, the door itself is made of metal so is again, designed to prevent the spread of fire quickly.

          If my 18650 battery was to catch fire then they would catch fire in an area where I could say "oh dear, a fire, I best go through the front door and smash the fire alarm button to warn everyone", if my electronic lock caught fire then the fire would be, you know, at the fire escape. In fact, if anything in my house was to catch fire I would be able to escape through the front door, except in the case of the front door being on fire.

          Not really sure what part of "best not to put something which could catch fire infront of the fire escape" went over your head, was it that you have no spatial awareness so are unable to comprehend that having a fire in the kitchen is very different to having a fire at the point of egress? Heck, I could even quote the old adverts "get out, get the fire brigade out, stay out", the "get out" part is really important here, you get out via the part thats currently on fire because of a fault in an electronic item which is attached to the object you use to escape in case of a fire.

          I could go on all night with with this, I really didn't think I would have to explain to a reader on this site the potential danger from a fire at the fire escape.

          Oh, and if my smoke detector caught fire, I would leave through the fire escape as the second smoke detector would start making a horrible noise.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

            @ David Webb:

            I believe the previous poster was referring to a scenario when the front door WAS the fire escape because it's the ONLY egress from the flat, being built in a time when a second egress wasn't mandated or possible.

            Although, as I do not reside there, I myself question this, as last I checked, most municipal fire codes in the US that I know require ALL points of occupancy to have at least TWO points of egress in case one is blocked by fire. AND that older buildings needed the second egress retrofitted in at some point in the past by way of evolving fire ordinances.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

      Insurance company - "You were burgled but there's no sign of forced entry? That's a shame. Goodbye."

      This type house security is reletively modern. Car companies have been doing to for longer. And look how many "secure" cars are stolen using tech to by-pass the keyless security,

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Keyless entry for residential property?

        "And look how many "secure" cars are stolen using tech to by-pass the keyless security,"

        While I agree that the security in the product may just be imaginary, the new car security systems are usually bypassed with a flatbed tow truck. It's a bit more difficult to tow a house.

  5. Jan 0

    Lock makers that you can trust?

    The easy way to stop your door being kicked in is to have an outward opening door, meaning that the would be intruder has to kick the entire door frame in!

    I'm not sure that I'd trust the company that convinced most UK households in the last century to use its easily circumvented rim locks. If I wanted one less key, I might consider an Abloy mechanical combination lock, but Abloy keys are so small and neat that I'll continue to use their keys.

    As for the IoT stuff, well your home IT system could detect your 'phone as you approached and switch the house on, or you could send it a message from further away if it needs to heat or cool some rooms.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

      > home IT system could detect your 'phone as you approached

      Yes, I have an Android app that I wrote that tells the Raspberry Pi to open the garage door when I'm 70 meters from home. It also turns off the GPS and cell data on the phone, then turns on wifi. It then closes the door after I ride in, and unlocks the door from the garage to the house.

      It uses TLS security that checks that the phone presents a valid certificate.

      You have to root the hell out of the phone because Google don't want a regular app controlling the cell data connection and turning the GPS on/off.

      It was borne out of the fact that the controller board and limit-switch system of my 25 year old garage door opener died, so I hooked up the Pi and some reed switches, plus the fact it's a pain in the ass to deal with a garage door opener on a motorcycle.

      Of course if the power fails, or the phone dies, I have to dig out the key and try to remember where my front door is... (edit: not helped by the fact that my "front" door is almost around the back of the house)

      1. quxinot

        Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

        > plus the fact it's a pain in the ass to deal with a garage door opener on a motorcycle.<

        Wire a spare opener onto the motorcycle and use an addon switch (PMR makes some nice ones).

        Arguably insecure if the bike is stolen, but to be fair if your car is stolen and has an opener in it, you're in the same boat as far as having an opener floating around out there.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

        plus the fact it's a pain in the ass to deal with a garage door opener on a motorcycle.

        You may want to rethink the shape of the remote then.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

      In the UK most of our doors lock into multi point latches into the door frame, built into the door, and we can swap out the key barrel. There are multiple ways to secure the door. If you are trusting a single latch mechanism, then yes, you would need an entire frame to stop it being pushed in.

      1. TonyHoyle

        Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

        This lock isn't compatible with modern doors like that - only old style wooden doors.

        Not that this is likely to be a problem because google don't sell it in the UK or even appear to have any plans to (something that the register completely forgot to mention for some reason).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

        In the UK most of our doors lock into multi point latches into the door frame,

        But the majority of doors with multipoint locks feature UPVC panels that don't resist a good kicking. You certainly can buy robust composite, wood or steel doors, but those appear to be very much in the minority. But in any event, it is the glass of doors or windows that is the weakest point against a forced entry.

        The best defence against burglary is a high detection and successful prosecution rate (of the perpetrators).

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

          "The best defence against burglary is a high detection and successful prosecution rate (of the perpetrators)."

          It's true, a conviction for burglary will put your local burglar out of action for a few hours whilst they're in police custody being charged and at court; during which time they'll be unable to break in anywhere.

          But I suspect you thought that the small fine (which will go unpaid) or community service (which will go unserved) would be a deterrent.

          Unless there's been violence and a weapon used then a custodial sentence is unlikely. Or by some miracle it's gone before a proper judge rather than a magistrate defendant has annoyed them by skipping bail.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: multi point latches

        Most insurers demand multi point latches at both the front and the back door so if you don't have one I'd check your policy.

        I also wouldn't worry about the door, it's the windows these days, someone I know had their car stolen when the thieves took the frame out of the front window.

    3. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

      If your door opens outwards an intruder can grab it and pull it all the way open. If it opens inwards you can block it.

      1. JulieM Bronze badge

        Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

        All 65kg. of me?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

          It's a lot easier to buttress against a push than to guard against a pull. Positioned right, even 65kg can resist quite a force. Once saw a TV ad for a little brass thing you stick in the floor that could take some serious abuse; odds are the door fails before it.

          There are several reasons most home doors open inward. One is as mentioned to allow them to be barred or barricaded. Another is (with entry doors) to make it easier to escape hostile weather (with businesses it's usually the reverse; you want it easier to get OUT than IN due to the potential for crushes in an emergency).

          1. muddysteve

            Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

            Do you really want to open a door outward into your visitor's face?

            1. teebie

              Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

              Often

    4. JulieM Bronze badge

      Outward Opening Front Doors

      Nice idea, but I get the impression it might be a problem in buildings which front directly onto the street. Such as the Victorian two-up, two-down I live in. (Complete with outside toilet; whose door opens inwards for a different reason that should be obvious.)

    5. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Lock makers that you can trust?

      <quote>...to have an outward opening door...</quote>

      One of the disadvantages of an outward swinging door is that the hinge pins are exposed. Unless you have tamper resistant hinges, removing the hinge pins is very easy to do.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Convenient... until it's discontinued

    So how long before Google decides it's not enough of a profit center and discontinues it, like they did with Revolv and everything else other than search, maps, and Android?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Convenient... until it's discontinued

      Not long at all. Google door locks are a finite (and IMHO small) market, buyers won't replace them if they fail quickly, so there's little repeat business, and Google will only remain in the game if buyers subscribe to the Google "home" model of multiple appliances all interconnected, and all passing lots of lovely data back to Mountain View.

      Which means that standalone purchases (with the Nest Connect) won't contribute to Google's decision about dumping the product, and the longevity of the product is decided by the tiny, tiny number of people willing to spend several thousand on Google products.

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    How long before forced upgrade ...

    when google decides that it will no longer support that model and wants you to buy a new one ?

    The lock in my front door is 30+ years old ... will this Nest product still be working in 30 years ?

    1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

      Re: How long before forced upgrade ...

      "The lock in my front door is 30+ years old"

      as far as security of a lock that's been in use for 30 years, I would imagine the tumblers in that lock are quite worn. Someone with the the most basic knowlage on how to pick a lock could open it. When I say basic, has seen how to position a tensioner and wiggle a probe over the tumblers from a kit they bought from ebay for a fiver.

      being 30 years old, it would have been made in the mid to late 80's most likely in or around Birmingham and being British made, the tumblers would most likely be made from quality stainless steel, but still would have worn down over 30 years.. from the mid 90's onwards locks were sent overseas to be made as cheap as possible, lighter metals that would weir out within 10 years with just moderate use.....

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: How long before forced upgrade ...

        If you know how to pick a lock it doesn't matter if the tumblers are worn or not. If you don't know, it also doesn't matter if they are worn. If you usually enter via your garage and don't insert a key in your front door very often, even over 30 years it will still be in like-new condition.

        You're dodging the real issue though, which is that Google is unlikely to support this Nest lock for more than about five years, so the true cost will be vastly higher than a regular lock over a 30 year period. Maybe the sort of people buying these figure they'll be in a new house in five years, or aren't smart enough to understand that the support window for tech (especially where Google is concerned) is quite short.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How long before forced upgrade ...

          If you know how to pick a lock it doesn't matter if the tumblers are worn or not. If you don't know, it also doesn't matter if they are worn.

          that's not entirely true.

          a standard cylinder lock, straight from the box, new from the factory is probably the most simple lock to open without a key. A moderately skilled picker can do it within a minute or two... a 30 year old lock that was never modified will be open as quick as in the movies to a skilled picker.. no longer than 2 minutes for an unskilled, but knows what "indicators" they are looking for.

          what many people do is make modifications to the lock so that it hides the indicators you are looking for when trying to tip a tumbler. it gives a false indicator. Then the only way to get past that false indicator is to reset. with a lock that has 5 tumblers, by the time you get to the 3rd or 4th tumbler and you have hit 2 or three false indicators you are probably 20 to 30 min in at trying to pick it.

          at the end of the day, very few locks are pickproof, if any. but its about how long it takes. A thief is not going to spend much more time picking a lock than would look normal for someone opening a door with a key. they will go and look for a quicker entry point. you will never make your home impenetrable to an unauthorised entry that is practical to live with. Best you can do is make it too much of a pain in the arse.

          I used to run a guest house in Blackpool, We used to refuse stag an hen groups because they were just too much of a headache and the bane of my life was keys. the amount of people that would loose keys was getting stupid. We ended up with RFID keyfobs on all the doors so that a guest could open the front door and the room door with a single fob. if they lost them it was not a big deal to cancel the fob off the system and program a new one. Fobs used to cost about £2 each but the guests thought they cost a lot more so where more careful with them. In the 5 years we used them I think we lost 2 where the previous 10 years we had to put a new lock set on every door just to be sure....

          I still use the key-fob on our front door, it runs on mains power and gets a battery backup from the alarm system and if that was to run out then the door lock would fail in a locked position and you had to revert to using a key. To date it has never failed and does get tested regularly, as well as the ability to open with a key,,,,

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: How long before forced upgrade ...

        Or you could have the fun I've got going on... developer thought that it'd be good to use commercial grade stuff for everything. Wish does mean we've got nice composite wooden doors but the mortice and and latch is some weird size that no one stocks (being larger that normal) and had lead me down the rabbit hole of finding out that in the UK we have about 5 different lock types commonly. Two of them most certainly can't use this sort of lock (think old fashioned 5 pin long key or pvc door locks). Whislt the other 3 world be possible but requires making sure customers know the difference (yale type, euro profile and oval profile. I'm also aware of how little effort is required to get round the euro/oval profile doors and is worrying when you think about it)

  8. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    To be honest I'd prefer a hands-less key. Almost like that of my car. I know there are drawbacks to it which is why it'll be a long time before I fit such a thing, But the idea of my front door automatically unlocking as I approach it does appeal. My car almost does that except that I have to put my hand through the handle and wait half a second. And when leaving work what I actually have to do is walk to the front door, put my hand through the handle, wait half a second, then step back to the rear of the car to put my bag on the back seat. If I drove the car forward into the bay it might work better but I prefer to back into parking bays.

    But yeah the security aspects of some kind of near-field presence detection do bother me and I think we all know about the MITM attack vector around keyless entry on cars so that needs to be resolved.

    As for the thermostat control - big meh. I have a better idea. Why doesn't the reviewer just fit a timer to his system and tell it to get the room temperature where they want it by - oh - 6pm on a week day? Chances are that's when they usually arrive home and that means instead of walking into a hot house with the air con blasting a cold draft everywhere they will walk into a room that is already at the right temperature and the air con softly murmuring. The neat thing about that is that timer control systems have been available for just that task for several decades now. And they are cheap.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "The neat thing about that is that timer control systems have been available for just that task for several decades now. And they are cheap."

      But then other people's lives don't run to a schedule. Say they're on call or simply don't have the same job every day. Then wouldn't a proximity-based system be the best option given there's no consistent time for a timer to work?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        For people with a truly random schedule a proximity based system might be the best heating/cooling system they can hope for. But most people's lives just aren't that random. This might be the 21st century but 9-to-5 is still a thing for most of us,.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Not where I stand. Over the years I've seen people come in earlier and earlier until I regularly see people who once reporting in for the 7-o-clock shift come in for coffee and donuts before 4 in the morning. Seems bosses are trying to look for the people who have evolved beyond the need for sleep ("Bed is for the dead" and all that).

  9. hugo tyson

    Why's it mounted on the door?

    Why do they keep mounting locks on the door? If it were mounted on/in the frame, with the striker plate/box in the door, then you could run wires to it for power and cat5, solving several problems....

    1. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

      Or embed terminals in the deadlock to make contact with those in the box mounted on the frame / wall.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

      I assume because you want the handle on the door as that's the bit that moves. Having the handle operate the latch means that opening the door is a one-handed operation and integrating the deadbolt makes for a one box solution.

      You'd need quite a big frame to fit a decent traditional bolt (because it has to be able to accommodate the bit that would be in the door when the door is unlocked).

      A lot of door entry systems use electric strike plates (precisely because of the ease of wiring), though they always seem quite flimsy to me. I suppose you could make an unlocking strike from a motorized vertical bolt in the frame - that might be be a bit more secure without having to rebuild the entire entrace to accommodate it.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

        I assume because you want the handle on the door as that's the bit that moves. Having the handle operate the latch means that opening the door is a one-handed operation and integrating the deadbolt makes for a one box solution.

        But the handle *never* operates the deadbolt - only the latch. If the bolt were withdrawn into the wall, the handle and latch would still work as advertised.

        I wouldn't build the lock into the frame, I'd build it into the wall. Frame size then becomes irrelevant.

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Why's it mounted on the door?

      Why do they keep mounting locks on the door?

      You are correct that frame-mounted would be superior in many ways, but the reason they are not offering that is simple - ease of retrofit.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Nope

    My front door key is on the same ring as my car key, so it will already be in my hand.

    The lock is a common pattern that is reasonably secure, as well as benefiting from a degree of 'security by obscurity'. The chance of anyone bar a locksmith having a key that will fit is pretty remote. Besides, I have pretty good neighbours who would take interest in someone standing there trying a bunch of keys!

    Nobody can take their time secretly hacking it while sitting in a car in the street, and no organisation can suddenly withdraw access without warning.

    It is unaffected by power failures of any sort.

    As for break-ins, once in that scenario all bets are off.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Nope

      I've seen proof of concept of cutting keys from a photograph so hold those keys tight and look out for parked vans with tinted windows.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Holmes

        Re: Nope

        One of my ex-bosses cut a key from memory & used it successfully.

        The prison service did take a rather dim view of that activity.

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/chapter-of-errors-led-to-parkhurst-escape-1577985.html

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice advertising

    Now, the first, second and third through twenty-fifth rules of home automation: do not rely on a fucking "cloud". Rules 26 onwards are variations of "especially not Google's".

    Regardless of any possible and very much debatable advantages convenience-wise:

    1. The bit about not knowing where to drill is utter bollocks and shows the author doesn't know the first thing about locks or methods of entry in general.

    2. Given that the thing is battery-powered a well-prepared homeowner will still want to have at least one other door with a classic lock, for which a key must be available outside the house, else an unplanned battery change could get expensive, what with involving destructive entry.

    3. If I need to enter your place there is a good chance the door is not the first point of entry that I will check. Windows are usually more convenient to defeat and are often found open in the first place (and can be cheaper to replace if damage minimisation enters into the equation). In moments of extreme expedience, it is not unheard of to ram a wall with a heavy vehicle. In beween those two there are hundreds of ways of getting in, destructive or non-destructive, silent or noisy, stealthty or non-stealthy, quick or slow.

    Talking in an emergency services context, but the principles are applicable whatever your motivation for going into someone's residence.

    Apart from leaving in a civilised place, I have come to find it so pointless over the years that my front door is never locked. Provides about the same security as your usual residential arrangement but beat that solution in terms of price and convenience if you can.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Nice advertising

      Mostly agree with what you say, however a few points:

      > 2. Given that the thing is battery-powered a well-prepared homeowner will still want to have at least one other door with a classic lock, for which a key must be available outside the house, else an unplanned battery change could get expensive, what with involving destructive entry.

      As the article itself states, there is an external battery terminal that can be used to hook up a 7-volt battery to provide enough power to enable a single unlock cycle. I have a stand-alone (non-smart) electronic lock and it has standard 9-volt battery external terminal to power it in an emergency.

      > Apart from leaving in a civilised place, I have come to find it so pointless over the years that my front door is never locked. Provides about the same security as your usual residential arrangement but beat that solution in terms of price and convenience if you can.

      This is a very bad idea. Most residential home burglaries are burglaries of opportunity. Lowlifes walk around the streets, walking up to front doors (or back doors at night) and see if it's open. If it's locked, move on to the next house. If it's unlocked walk in, steal anything they can near the front door area - or further in if the house is unoccupied.

      This happened to me once, unlocked front door because I was home. The front door and couple adjacent rooms (couple bedrooms) were un-observable from the location the rest of the residents were in at the time. The prick walked off with about £2500 of loose valuables from the first room (watches, some electronic media-player type devices. a passport, etc) and would have been in and out in less than a minute.

      A friend was up late one night (2 or 3 am) watching TV, went to the kitchen and a man was walking out of the unlocked back sliding glass door and ran off. He'd come in the unlocked back door, found my mates wallet on the kitchen table, and ran off with it.

      This is normal and the most common type of burglary. More planned ones where locked premises are burgled are significantly rarer.

      So even cheap locks will reduce your likelihood of being burgled - if they are used.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Nice advertising

        there is an external battery terminal that can be used to hook up a 7-volt battery to provide enough power to enable a single unlock cycle. I have a stand-alone (non-smart) electronic lock and it has standard 9-volt battery external terminal to power it in an emergency.

        How do you think either will stand up to 230V or more being put through those from my portable inverter?

        Maybe try it before someone else does ;)

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Nice advertising

          How do you think either will stand up to 230V or more being put through those from my portable inverter?

          Probably the same as 90% of the house-locks in use out there would stand up to a bump key (hint, they don't).

          The sort of criminal who is looking to break in who would be carrying something like that would also likely be carrying a bump key.

          Or, if they were destructively inclined such that they would be breaking the locks (i.e. be putting 230V or more through an electronic lock), then breaking a window or kicking a door in would also likely be part of their tool kit.

          Besides, this isn't a Star Trek bridge control console, unlike them we do have these things called fuses that can be placed in-line to prevent a power surge from propagating through the system. Sure, it might mean I can no longer apply an external battery to provide the power to open it in a flat-battery situation (assuming the fuse/cut-out circuitry isn't user replaceable), but I'd rather a tampered-with but still locked lock than a tampered-with but unlocked lock (say that fast 5 times...).

  12. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient"

    Leaving the door open is also "surprisingly Convenient"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient"

      > Leaving the door open is also "surprisingly Convenient"...

      Not really, it gets cold in the winter and dusty + full of bugs (no pun) in the summer.

      Leaving the door unlocked however, that is a different story. See post above yours.

  13. js6898

    why a 7v battery? 9v maybe but 7v? yes they are available of course but who has a spare 7v battery lying around ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > why a 7v battery? 9v maybe but 7v? yes they are available of course but who has a spare 7v battery lying around ?

      Why a 9v battery? Make it 24v so if it's about to run out you can borrow one from your artic parked on the driveway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "why a 7v battery?"

      Possibly a nominal 9v alkaline battery that allows for some shelf-life self-discharge?

      Many NiMh rechargeable PP3 batteries are 7.2v when fully charged viz 6 x 1.2v cells. Others give 8.4v - and some have enough cells to give a good 9v.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        7V

        Does sound sort of nominal.

        But a good pocket radio design even 50 years ago assumed end point of a 9V PP3 was about 5.6V. The endpoint of a cell is regarded as about 0.9, or 1V to 1.05V for decent life on an NiCd or NiMH, which are only 7.2V or 8.4V fully charged (6 cells vs 7 cells). An Alkaline PP3 with 6 cells is almost 10V when fresh with no load. Some use 6 x cylindrical cells like AAAA and some slightly higher capacity use 6 stacked rounded corner button cells. The Rechargeable are only button type if 7 cells, otherwise cylindrical or button. The "Carbon" layer PP3 are about 460mAH, due to layer construction, and are better than cylindrical Zinc Carbon or Zinc Chloride, though shorter shelf life than Alkaline PP3.

    3. ab-gam
      FAIL

      What is this "7v battery" you speak of?

      1- I'm a technically inclined person, and I've been kicking around for many more decades than I care to contemplate, but I've never heard of such a beast. Is this something Euro/Brit specific like round power outlets?

      2- Even if / when I find out what said beast is, I doubt I'll be able to find one easily in my moment of need.

      1. Boothy

        Re: What is this "7v battery" you speak of?

        @ab-gam

        Nope, not a Brit/UK thing, plus this lock seems to be designed for the US market, and from a US company, so I don't think there is much UK/Euro influence in there.

        A very odd voltage indeed. I could understand a 9v PP3 type battery, common everywhere as far as I know, small and convenient. So would have thought a PP3 would be a much better option.

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    did you notify your Home Insurance Provider?

    If you didn't then you should not be surprised to hear them say

    "Sorry, you are not covered."

    I'd be very surprised if this lock meets the relevant standards for use in UK properties. That is more often than not a requirement for getting insurance.

    Oh, and don't forget to wipe down the keypad after use because thieves can easily see what numbers are used. Far fewer combinations to try then even if they just get one or two numbers.

    anyway, as this uses Iot and even worse Google's IoT then what happens when Google fail to take over the market in door locks and decide to kill the whole kit and caboodle? It would not be the first time they have killed a product line after 1-2 years.

    You are left high and dry.

    sorry, not going to bite. Keep on trying though. IT makes for nice reading at the weekend.

    1. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: did you notify your Home Insurance Provider?

      I had a client move into a shared office building for a couple of months, I advised the building owners to clean the pad.

      4 numbers clearly dirty, 1 and 9 were part of them.

      So by most people's normal choice of a date there were 2 combinations that would open the doors.

    2. MartinCat

      Re: did you notify your Home Insurance Provider?

      My UK insurer insisted on a 7 lever mortice deadlock with a box striker AND a Yale-type for my new wooden front door. Well, they didn’t “insist” exactly - it’s just the premium would have gone up by more than it cost to get a locksmith to fit them.

  15. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    > You can either press the Yale button at the top, or leave it to lock itself. If, for whatever reason, it doesn't lock, it lets you know immediately with big yellow warnings on your phone and an LED on the lock.

    That LED, I hope, is on the inside right? Otherwise, your lock is sat there telling anyone passing that it failed to lock after you drove off because you were running late.

    > If you are a paranoid or security-conscious person you will have already decided that the idea of a smart lock is a horrible, terrible thing.

    I'm not convinced it's a sign of paranoia to point out the flaws with these things. The write-up focuses primarily on usability, and it's seldom the usability that draws the criticism.

    > The Nest+Yale lock uses Google's Thread IoT protocol to communicate with its Connect bridge – or its Secure home station if you have that. This is a smart move as it puts a buffer between the lock and the internet. It's going to make hacking the door to open a much harder affair.

    Or, potentially, has just increased your attack surface.

    Not having it talk directly to the internet is a good move (and one I wish more would follow), but it alone doesn't automatically mean you're now much safer. The bridge/home station is now part of your attack surface, and it might still be possible (somehow) to convince the lock to communicate with the wider world. You could actually be worse off, especially in the wider market where certain manufacturers may well think "it's never going to talk directly to the internet, so don't put any effort/expense into fixing that bug"

    It's good the lock works for the author, but they're definitely not for me and likely never will be. There are just too many issues that need to be addressed in the wider world of IoT. One of those issues - manufacturers actually supporting their kit for prolonged periods - is addressable, but is just the very first stage.

    Even without that, I'd much rather a multi-point lock.

  16. Christoph Silver badge

    Drilling Brass

    Using Brass to prevent drilling? How does that help? Drilling Brass is slightly more tricky than steel but with the right drill and the right technique it's perfectly straightforward - I've seen it done in the engineering factory I worked at years ago. Don't try it with a normal drill though, it will jam.

    You chamfer the leading edge of the drill so it's a blunt chisel rather than a sharp edge. This breaks off the brass in small chunks rather than the spiral swarf you get with steel, so you have to keep withdrawing the drill to clear those chunks. Then it just works.

    You'd presumably need to swap out the drill when you hit a different material so it makes it a bit more slow and tricky, but surely not massively so?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Drilling Brass

      A nitride coated drill bit of around 8mm on the slow setting of a decent cordless drill will go through any brass and steel cored lock that I have met so far, the little springs that drive the tumblers on a Eurolock will pause it for a moment but that's all. I work with a maintenance team and lost keys/jammed locks are common enough in a fair sized company with some older properties, most are easy to get through.

      Oddly, if you turn up at a door in a workman like fashion and start drilling the lock out, even in a public place, no one gives you a second glance.

      The only time I have been questioned was in my early twenties on a Sunday morning trying the keys from a big bunch on a bank door, a panda car stopped and asked me facetiously if I needed help.

      We had a painting and decorating contract with the bank and often had keys, getting into any bank is relatively easy, getting into the vault, a little harder, not difficult in an engineering sense but definitely takes more time, plus the alarms have been quite sophisticated for decades.

      One the things that should be a no on this nest thing is the option to automatically switch off the alarm when keying the lock, having to go in and disable the alarm is like two factor authentication, more secure and safer.

      This is yet another fix for stuff that is unbroken.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Drilling Brass

      "Don't try it with a normal drill though, it will jam."

      Isn't that the point though? What burglar is going to go equipped for a job that's going to take longer that usual? As others have pointed out above, the vast majority of burglaries are opportunistic, eg unlocked doors, open windows etc. I wonder if there are any stats on the type of break-ins? Just how many burglars go equipped with a drill at all, never mind one for drilling brass. This feels like we are heading into the realms of pro burglars who will be after much more valuable takings than in the average house.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Drilling Brass

        A nitride-coated ("Gold") drill bit is now normal.

        You can buy a pack of 50 for £30. They aren't great but they are good enough.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Drilling Brass

        It's trivial to modify a normal twist drill to handle brass, so I'm surprised that brass is considered to be a viable extra layer of security.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know a couple of people who have had the burglars in - in both cases access was by removing a window.

  18. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Devil

    Um, our doors have multipoint locking. You lift the handle and multiple prongs, effectively round steel deadlocks, all round the door slot into the metal around the inside of the door frame. The whole thing is steel. I've been into the one on the back door because whoever installed it aligned all the bolts to the very top of the slots and wood moves with the seasons. I have moved the strike plates up and down by drilling new screw holes for them. I have even had that door off, it is HEAVY.

    Watch the police reality shows or the news. When the police are faced with a new multipoint locking door they don't even try to bust the lock, they use the ram to take out the middle panels instead. They are the only weak point of such doors.

    How is Nest going to effect that? are its servos strong enough? My wife isn't always, it sometimes needs an extra shove before the key will turn.

    So, to install a Nest door lock I must downgrade my door's physical security. No thanks. The window salesman made a point of noting that their sealed units are under pressure from the gas inside. If they get broken it sounds like a gunshot. They are multi point locked in the sashes too. They are insurance rated when locked into the partly open position.

    Burglaries have and are going down because homes are becoming impregnable unless you leave a window open for an opportunist thief. That is why muggings and grabbing stuff from the backs of scooters are going up. We are no longer so vulnerable in our homes so the yoof have to target us on the hoof instead of burgling us.

    1. TonyHoyle

      It's clear from the information shown so far that these IOT locks aren't compatible at all with multipoint lock systems. Which means to install one you'd basically have to replace the door - to get worse security.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      @Muscleguy.

      I have recently installed new front and back doors on my house, a while before I bought it, it had squatters in there. I bought steel doors that come with the frame in a two panel Georgian style, the locks are 5 point with 3 security hinges that have lugs protruding into the frame when the door is closed, the inside of the door is foam filled but has welded connectors throughout the inner structure. When I fitted the frames I used frame fixings that go 15cm into the wall so to get past my doors requires destroying the walls. My windows all have bars on them too (Standard for Spanish country houses), there is always an accessible key close to each door from the inside to allow rapid exit in the case of fire. I can't imagine any IoT device that will make me feel better than the secure system I have.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Burglaries have and are going down because homes are becoming impregnable [...]"

      Things inside houses that are relatively portable are no longer worth an opportunist thief stealing for a quick sale. In the past TV, hi-fi, and video recorders were relatively profitable. Nowadays they are so cheap to buy new that they have become disposable commodities. Expensive TVs tend to be rather larger than even a car would accommodate.

  19. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Oh and how is all this powered? batteries by any chance? When the little 12V battery in our doorbell died the doorbell wouldn't ring. No biggy, you could always knock. But what if the Nest runs out of battery? While you are away on holiday for eg so you can't respond to the notification?

    We're off to NZ for our youngest's wedding next week. I have no worries that our keys won't work while we are away.

    Our old door, Yale lock and deadbolt forced me to break in once. I walked out the door and closed it before realising I didn't have a key with me. A case of the wrong trousers. My wife was working away.

    I only had to trigger the Yale bolt. So, I did have access to my garage workshop. Hammer, chisel, card scraper. Chisel moved the wooden strip protecting the door and the card scraper (hard thin metal plate) was slid into the gap by the Yale bolt and tapped with the hammer until it slid past the bolt and I was in. Note a credit card was not strong enough. Don't keep your locks really well greased.

    Our new mutlipoint locking front door has one key and you cannot lock it without the key so I can walk out the door without worrying about it locking behind me. A key with a 1Fr coin for a fob sits on the inside to enable locking at night and easy and quick egress in the event of fire.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      In previous houses where we've had a Yale, I've found that even that level of effort hasn't been necessary when I locked myself out.

      Find long stick and push it through the letter box, getting your arm as far through as possible, then manouevre to find and operate the release on the inside. Obviously much easier if you've got glass in or near the door so you can see, but perfectly possible without too.

      Much prefer a good multi-point system, though you do have to break into the habit of remembering to actually lock it. That said, a family member has one where locking is simply a case of pulling the handle up. Seems like the worst of both worlds to me, as you can trivially lock yourself out without a key, or in fact, lock yourself in without a key. Some might view having to put a key in the lock and turn it as an inconvenience, personally I see it as a good sanity check to make sure you've actually got the means to re-enter when leaving

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A neighbour locked herself out one day. After a few experiments I was surprised how quickly I could depress the inside handle by manipulating a wire coat hanger and a walking stick through the letterbox. Just a matter of seconds.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "A key with a 1Fr coin for a fob sits on the inside to enable locking at night and easy and quick egress in the event of fire."

      Some burglars come equipped to fish through the letter box to pick up nearby keys.

  20. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    High security?

    Setting aside the usual 'elephant in the room' of really secure doors (the glass in the windows) I do have to question the basic premise. If you live somewhere where you are worried about the likelihood of people kicking in the front door, or drilling out the lock and stealing your valuables, or you are in the 28% who have home alarm systems, I have two suggestions. 1) Move or 2) don't bother with any valuables

    Okay, I'm lucky. I don't have anything worth stealing and I live in the impoverished wilds of rural Wales, but what sort of life is it when you feel you have to live in a high-security prison, albeit one where you have a key?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: High security?

      Apparently you've got a computer so I presume it's a rubbish one. A burglar wouldn't know that it is rubbish though. Until I pointed it out. Obviously lbhef vf gur ubhfr jvgu ryrpgevpvgl

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: High security?

        Actually I communicate on-line by sending messages by semaphore to a mate on the next hill who types them in for me (hat tip to Owain y We - diolch boi!) .

        I did think of that the value of computers, but to be honest I don't think the resale value of most computers and monitors, particularly 'hot' ones is particularly high these days. A new one suitable for most people is a few hundred quid. Hardly worth the hassle and risk to get £50 down the pub or the pawn-shop. A bad person has to do a lot of work to remove any identifying data and marks. I think upmarket phones are a better bet.

        And totally off-topic, but the comment about a burglar not knowing it was rubbish. A mate used to work in IT for the Met plods quite a few years ago and had to go on raids with them to point out which things were computers, and floppy disks etc and actually needed to be seized and which things were adding machines and tills (old-style) which could be safely ignored.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: High security?

        Apparently you've got a computer...

        Just an Android phone I bet; and when his house was done over, the burglars left a second one behind.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: High security?

      "Setting aside the usual 'elephant in the room' of really secure doors (the glass in the windows)"

      Which itself sets aside the usual solution for places where the windows are targeted (burglar bars set into studs or concrete--the only quick solution would, like those doors, be VERY destructive)...

  21. Michael Kean

    Solar?

    I'm surprised they don't include a solar panel on the outdoor component. If the AA batteries can last six months in standard use, I would think a LiPo battery, trickle charged by the panel during the day, could provide a significantly longer life in some situations.

  22. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Wonder how well it stands up to cold chisels

    Had a safe problem once with a very similar looking lock. Locking mechanism itself had failed so the electronics and mech backup were not a good attack surface.

    Locksmith returns with a hardened steel rod, 1/2in dia, a 2in wide cold chisel, a 16lb sledge hammer and very large assistant. Shot one was with the cold chisel very nearly tangent to the front surface of the safe... Lock goes flying across the room. Second and third blows with rod to guts of lock mechanism proper modified it to the point where hand tools did the job of moving the mechanism. 5 minutes versus a $400-$500 lock.

    Mines the one with the nice deadbolt, right next to a floor to ceiling set of stained glass sidelights. Both at the insistence of the wife...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My place already does all that.

    The door opens for me every time I approach, the thermostadt is adjusted to the proper temperature so the home is a comfy bliss when I enter, & I never have to worry about forgetting my keys...

    But then I'm filthy stinking rich & employ a butler. /Sarcasm

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the delusions of grandeur in the pockets...

  24. JulieM Bronze badge

    Even Easier Solution

    Come home with rucksack and 2 hand bags of shopping. Open door (which was never locked In the first place). Deposit shopping.

    As long as there is an actual slot for a key, and it isn't flapping open, people are going to assume a door is locked.

    Plus, anyone entering my home is going to think I've already been burgled anyway .....

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Even Easier Solution

      Those up to no good tend to quietly drive up the street in their van and walk purposefully up to each front door holding a cardboard box, and try the door.

      If it doesn't open, they try next door. And next door.

      If it does, they go in and make their "delivery".

  25. Lee D Silver badge

    If keys are a problem, buy an electronic door lock.

    RFID/Mifare fobs are dirt-cheap nowadays.

    The real problem is - house insurance. If you are broken into, you have to show that they forced entry. If your lock can be opened without showing signs of forced entry, your house insurance won't cover you. Even if it did, they require it to be up to a stated British Standard.

    If you're prepared for your house insurance to be invalid (or do without entirely), sure, change your locks. It's really easy. But not for some cloud-connected shite. GSM-controlled and RFID-controlled locks are everywhere in business, they are bog-standard access control items. They also do everything this thing could possibly do, without all the hassle and expense.

    And then if you want all that stupid integration stuff (When lock opens, alarm turns off? Really?), you can easily get a home controller that does that. But I wouldn't touch Nest for it.

  26. Davidcrockett

    Whilst this all sounds marvelous I can't help thinking it's just another thing to worry about. A conventional lock needs next to no attention to use it. Whilst temporary access codes and all that sound useful I suspect the chances of it going wrong, batteries going flat, company ceasing to support it, etc are orders of magnitude more likely to happen than my cleaner sneaking back in and ransacking the house.

  27. mark l 2 Silver badge

    One concern i would have with these locks, which you don't get with traditional key locks is someone watching you enter your pin and then coming back at a later date to enter your property. no breaking in needed and would possibly mean no payout from the insurance company.

    I can see in some situations where it would be useful, as the author mentioned if you have an short term rental property such as Airbnb this would make things easier no worries about keys being lost etc.

    I would have thought a mini USB style connector would be better for battery boosting in the event the internal batteries are dead. You could use a mobile phone style battery bank or even your phone with the correct cable.

    I recently swapped out the euro cylinder on my doors for 3 star ones, after a series of break-in in my area where burglars would snap the cylinder and this would enable them to unlock a multi-point locking door with just a hammer and some pliers.

    Thought it might be a locksmith job but its really easy and took me about 10 mins and 15 quid per door.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Rental properties

      It's not even much use for rental properties. Many cottages or flats I've rented in recent years just have a keysafe on the wall nearby, with a combination and a set of keys in. Change combi after each guest. Okay, trust them bot to cut a spare set!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Rental properties

        If you're that concerned, get a lock cylinder which you can rekey by yourself. That way, you can just change the keyset after each tenant. Even IF they copy the key, it won't work anymore.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IoT - Just a patch or hack anyway from finding an open front door

    IoT firms have shot themselves in the foot too many times before.

  29. Spartacus Mills

    if this takes off then the same people who currently spend half their lives looking for misplaced keys will be the same ones who manage to continually mess up by forgetting codes/losing phone/internet etc.

  30. Swiss Anton

    ... front door key off the bunch of keys ...

    When I read "... front door key off the bunch of keys ...", I remembered I still had the key for the front door of my late mother's house on my key ring. I don't need it anymore as we've just sold the house. It was a somewhat poignant moment taking the key off my key ring.

  31. Shart Tank

    9V, not 7V

    Perhaps 7-volt is a typo? The Nest website says that a standard 9V battery can be used to temporarily power the door lock.

    https://nest.com/ca/support/article/How-to-lock-and-unlock-the-Nest-Yale-Lock-if-the-battery-is-drained

    "If you need, you can use a 9 Volt battery to temporarily charge the lock, so you can enter your passcode on the lock’s keypad to lock or unlock it."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 9V, not 7V

      "Perhaps 7-volt is a typo? The Nest website says that a standard 9V battery can be used to temporarily power the door lock."

      A nominal 9v PP3 alkaline battery can usually still deliver 7v after being on the shelf for quite a while. A typical rechargeable NiMh PP3 will often only have six cells - delivering 7.2v maximum.

      In my experience most people are lacking even the most basic electric theory. They do not understand the difference in the spec of the batteries they buy. Often they go for lowest price of the appropriate labelled type like "PP3". It is not unusual for neighbours' kids to bring me their R/C cars to fix - and they have a mixture of different technology and capacity "AA" batteries in them.

  32. Skizz

    Surprised...

    ...there isn't a version with the lock/keypad in the door frame - can have more than one bolt, harder to drill, can be run off the mains with battery backup, no big lump on the door. OK, harder to install I grant you that. I presume the bolt is attached to a solenoid of sorts, so have multiple bolts.

    I'll take royalties on that idea thank-you-very-much!

    Dave

  33. AKemwave

    The Lock Must Handshake with Google?

    Besides all the other problems previously mentioned, what happens when your ISP is down, or in other words telecommunications is no longer available? I need a good new home security and lock system. But nope. Even if it is something as good as 99.999 % of the time, what back in telephone engineering days was called the 5 nine's, if other links in the chain do not meet your standards, you can expect to be locked out.

  34. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Time to ditch the front door key?

    Not for anything that uses wireless only. I've frequently needed actual key & lock on car, yet battery was fine on fob & car. Also look at Rav4 and other car electronic locks.

    Not for anything that connects to Internet.

    Not for anything owned by Alphabet/Google.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Otherwise

    Or, you could use my solution. Live in the country were you don't have to leave your house locked. I've lived in my present address for 30 years plus, and for most of the time the door has been unlocked. AC for obvious reasons

  36. DougS Silver badge

    "It's going to take a pro to get past it"

    Is the author SERIOUSLY that naive?

    All its going to take is ONE PERSON to figure out where to drill it, and then everyone else just needs Google.

    And only a moron would have a "smart" lock as the only way into their house. What's wrong with leaving a traditional lock on a back/side/garage door, so you have a way in if something goes wrong with it? I sure hope no one is dumb enough to believe that a smart lock improves their security. It improves their convenience only.

    I'm going to laugh when in a few years people start having their house robbed due to a security issue with a no longer supported smart lock, and insurance companies deny those claims because they failed to properly secure their house.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: "It's going to take a pro to get past it"

      > I'm going to laugh when in a few years people start having their house robbed due to a security issue with a no longer supported smart lock, and insurance companies deny those claims because they failed to properly secure their house.

      Not to mention that there may potentially be a lawsuit against Google pointing out that the information the intruder needed was the top result in a Google Search, and that Google therefore helped the intruder defeat Google's security product.

  37. Thomas Martin

    So what happens if you kick off the touch pad or otherwise dislodge or remove it? What does it expose? Something a wrench/spanner can manipulate? Something a screwdriver can turn? If someone wants to get in to your house, they can and this lock will not stop them nor possibly even slow them down.

    Oh and most burglars don't come in the front door. Most likely they would use the other door, one they can drill or kick in as well. :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't they just do that with an ordinary mechanical setup, though? Even if collared, a few minutes with a cat's paw should expose enough innards to wrench off the cylinder and work at the mechanism directly.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure it's great, like their thermostat..

    ..that's "automatically learned" to put my heating on for 14hrs per day :-\

    It's only had two months to learn our comings/goings/preferences.

    Turned that crap off and manually set the schedule. What a load of poop!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think we're overlooking the basic function of a door lock. It isnt designed to be unpickable or uncrackable. A door lock is supposed to be a simple deterrent. If someone wants in they can just cut a window and let themselves in.

    Case in point : Someone a couple of years ago thought it would be funny to call the police and tell them i was dead...

    Cue the police turning up with a ram, after that failed on my 5 way locked, metal imbedded door, they jemmied the window of its hinge and climbed in that way.

    People are always reinventing the wheel, and right now a security door with 5 or 7 way locking is a much better investment than any lock. So not for me thanks.

    Anonymous because i dont want people tracking my house down

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      What would've happened if they turned up a place with your door setup AND burglar bars?

  40. RogerT

    House insurance

    I've just been looking at the T&Cs in my home insurance and I'm pretty sure this lock would not comply with the specification of locks that I'm required to use.

  41. lglethal Silver badge
    WTF?

    28% of what?

    "If you are one of the roughly 28 per cent of households that have a security system.."

    28% of households have a security system? I assume thats a US figure? But even that seems ridiculously high. Silicon Valley/San Fran, maybe. Where does that figure come from?

    I have to admit, I have never lived in any place, and dont know any friends who have a security system installed. Thats in Aus, the UK, Sweden and Germany. So 28% of households (businesses are a different story) seems to be a very cherry picked figure.

    Lets do a quick El Reg survey - if you have a securty system downvote this post, if you dont upvote. We'll see if we get anywhere near 28% of downvotes...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 28% of what?

      "I have to admit, I have never lived in any place, and dont know any friends who have a security system installed."

      Several neighbours have very visible "alarm" boxes high on the wall - complete with blinking LEDs. I suspect that is all they are - dummies (the boxes - not the neighbours).

      My security system is accidental. Visitors often brush against the hall's ceiling to floor decoration that consists of a cascade of five sets of tubular chimes. The loud jangle scares the life out of them.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...need to go punch in a code to turn the alarm off."

    Until recently, we had to use tubular security keys to switch on/off the alarm system. I've installed an eBay-cheap but surprisingly-lovely RFID Panel that is vastly more convenient. It also looks modern, not 1980s.

    The RFID Panel is actually intended for access control (door locks), but the output relay contact is also perfect for Arming and Disarming the alarm system. I've added two more status LEDs, very easy.

    RFID tags are not super-secure. But probably good enough.

  43. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
  44. NanoMeter

    There's a Youtube video for that

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CQA3X-qNgA

  45. The Average Joe

    Nest is riddled with developers that are complete idiots

    well, you have to be a raging moron to require IPv6 to register your nest thermostat. After that you can turn it off. How many furnace guys are going to know how to enable or disable IPv6??? I see a TON of hacked networks thanks to Nest!

    Too bad we could not ban those developers and designers from ever touching any IOT device ever again...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More shit to go wrong and be supported

    Manual lock 1.0: A bit of graphite, very occasionally.

    Uberlock 2.4.54: Hardware and software updates, electricity/batteries, wifi router, internet connection...

    Hmmmm

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: More shit to go wrong and be supported

      Worse than that.. if heat/cold makes the bars go with plenty of friction the motor than moves them might not be strong enough --> stuck out.

  47. mbiggs

    Then there's users who have configured other IoT tools....

    ....allowing anyone to shout through the letterbox "Alexa, open the front door".

    *

    ....and most likely other (more technical) hacks on the IoT infrastructure.

    *

    By the way, who (exactly) needs to manage their front door lock from Outer Mongolia?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Then there's users who have configured other IoT tools....

      Speak for yourself.

      - Genghis

    2. Markflett

      Re: Then there's users who have configured other IoT tools....

      Airbnb owners - dog walker and cleaner access to name just a few

  48. JohnFen Silver badge

    Non-starter

    Why is the internet involved with this at all? That seems pointless and introduces a whole host of security problems (including data slurping on the part of the provider). This is what make other Nest products, such as the thermostat, nonstarters for me as well.

    1. Markflett
      Happy

      Re: Non-starter

      fortunately you're not forced to buy one

  49. Mage Silver badge

    Secure

    Nest & Yale think they can do this securely?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/25/hotel_room_key_security_flaw/

  50. Markflett

    Designed for flexibility not Fort Knox security - lets keep some perspective please

    A lock ONLY keeps out an honest person, can't see why we're getting hung up on levels, or strength of security. What's more many of you Americans keep a loaded shotgun by the bed anyway, don't you? ;-) - Anyway, bad guys will simply break a window - Where I feel this device will bring value is when running an AirBnB type operation like me, or need to provide audited access to others to enter your house such as cleaners or dog walkers. Now I don't actually have to be there to give, or receive a normal key to our self contained accommodation - now that's flexibility. The rest of you would be best advised to stick with your standard keys along with any downsides that brings.

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