Can a Smart Lock be Picked? (The Real Vulnerabilities)

Many years ago someone broke into my house. I decided it was time to ensure I know my house was as safe as possible. After the break-in, is when I heard about smart locks, and learned if I had one of these, my home might not have been burglarized. What I wanted to know is what can I do to protect my family going forward and how can I ensure this kind of theft never happens again.

Still some you might be wondering, Can a Smart Lock be Picked? Well, this is why I have written this detailed post to help you get the answer to this question.

Can a Smart Lock be Picked

Smart locks are almost impossible to pick. Many of the models out there was as well such as the Kwikset and others are also not able to be gotten into by any traditional methods used for lockpicking.

The smart lock was debuted in 2006 at the Dutch Open. There were many master locksmiths and amateur pick locks from all over the world who tried to open it. Since then many people have learned how to do so. However, this is not the work of the average criminal, but the work of masters who have years of experience attempting to accomplish the feat.

So, can smart locks be picked? Yes, they can, but not by any of the traditional means are used by the average thief. Therefore, if you had one on your home, you would be much safer than someone who did not have a smart lock.


How do Standard Locks Work?

There are two central locks, a simple key lock, and a deadbolt lock.

Key locks work via the small cylinder in the middle of the doorknob and attach to the door.

All the parts are inside this main cylinder are then activated by the key to lock the door or unlock it depending on the direction the key is then turned.

When a door is open, there is a part called a tang it is inside the cylinder of the lock. When locked, the tang is both in and out of the main barrel.


How do Door Locks Function?

To move the tang, you need to have a key.

When a key is inserted into the keyhole, it turns a piece of the barrel called a cam. The cam then triggers a spring which then moves the tang forwards. The forward movement from the tang then secures the door to the wall itself. It is impossible for the tang to come out unless the process changes.

There are also some doorknobs with buttons. if the button is pressed, this then means the spring will be released. The design of these doors is such when the knob has turned the cylinder then turns the tang, it can be moved without a key. In this situation though, the key will still be needed to open the door.


How Does a Key Open a Lock?

The cylinder lock is designed so there is only one way they can be rotated and it is with one key. The same key is the only way it can move, turn, or open the door. Inside the lock, there are many pairs of pins and also have tumblers.

Each pin is a varying height. The pins are also inside are too different and rest in a shaft. These rotate through the middle of the cylinder itself and in the space around it. Some springs are then holding all the pins in place ensuring they have a place in the shaft and the bottle.

The bottom pins pair with the rest in the barrel and are a part of the plug when there is no key. The upper pin itself can sit halfway in the middle of the cap and then on the outside as well.

It is the placement, allowing it to secure inside and keeps it from rotating to open. This pattern means the door is locked and will not budge.

Keys are designed with notches, and lines up with all the pins and move them to height it is necessary to open the lock.

There is a clear distance between the bolt and the pins, and it means there is a way for the cylinder to rotate. The cam can release spring, and it will shoot forward at this point, and the door will be unlocked.

There are also keys out there they do not have the right pattern of notches. These will not move the lock to open, even if they fit in the keyhole.

Also, check out our article on Is There a Lock That Cannot Be Picked?


How Standard Locks Are Picked?

Most lockpickers buy a standard lock picking kit online. With a few watches of YouTube videos can learn the tricks of the trade.

The simplest method for picking a lock is known as raking. The lock picking happens with a rake tool. The process of raking pushes all the pins at one time. Meaning the picker does not have to understand the inner workings of the lock.

There needs to be some basic understanding but not much more to be able to open the door. It is unnecessary to know the entire process, but need to understand the steps.

These are the steps that are executed by the common lockpicker.

  1. Insert a tension wrench and apply tension to the lock.
  2. Add the rake in the keyhole.
  3. Pull the rale in and out of the key holder. Move the rake up and down in the keyhole.
  4. Repeat these steps over and over. Turn the lock and see when it opens.
  5. If the bolt does not open apply more tension and repeats this process.

The process itself although simple can have mistakes made when it is being executed.

The most significant error caused by common picklock is the amount of tension. Some locks will not be broken by this picking.

There is also a more complex method of picking a lock for the more accelerated learners. The more complicated process is by moving single pins and can take a very long time to do for the average picklock.


How Smart Locks Work?

How Smart Locks Work

Having a smart lock is an investment in the safety of your family. There are three main kinds out there. There is the one fits over your deadbolt, the ones are in a place of your deadbolt, and the ones are a part of the entire door.

The lock will cost a few hundred bucks, so need to you find the best option for your family.

There is a little homework you need to do before you are running out and buying a lock.

  • You need to make sure you know how your deadbolt works.
  • You need to see the door is the right thickness as well to fit a smart lock.

There are many other little quirks you need to know before you install a smart lock. Some models of smart locks have alarms built into them when they are tampered with.

If safety is a priority, you must make sure you choose one of those models. 

There are many features out there in the smart lock to address. Many of the original bolts use virtual keys; these can be a pin code, a button, an application, or biometrics.

Having this functionality makes it easier for the owner to get in and out of the house.

Besides making things easier for the owner, it makes them more complicated for a thief. If biometrics are utilized, there is no way that these can be faked or feigned by a thief.

Since biometrics like fingerprints are completely individual for a homeowner. Biometrics is one of the most secure smart lock authentication methods.


Why Smart Locks Can’t Be Picked?

One of the most famous smart locks out there is of August; The August Smart Lock has not been picked. Even by the best pick locks, or the best bump key.

The lock is opened with the use of your smartphone alone. There is a key that can be used from the outside of the house if this is too complex. One thing to consider is the device requires electricity. When it is being used if a power outage it would be essential to have a generator already hooked to the house.

This kind of tech is safe from all thieves. If there was an issue down the road allowing someone to pick the lock. The fix would be a software upgrade.

Other features of smart locks enable you to look at your home when you are not. Adding a camera to the lock and see people at your doorbell. If you are using Wifi you need to ensure you have a backup in case it goes out.

If you have many people who are coming and going at your house, one thing you can do is ensure the family has smart codes. Use means you will be able to turn off their accessibility with the system as soon as completed.

If you have Airbnb renters, this is also an excellent way to make codes. So you can let them have access to the property for the time allotted and then remove it.

There are many benefits to being able to grant and take away access to your property. There are many people like maids, babysitters, a dedicated handyman, lawn care people, and others who need temporary access. Creating codes and issuing them is a great way to allow this access.

If you have a standard family code, you want to change that as well at least 1x a month so you know no one who should not have it does.

Some smart lock owners are so careful, they issue a separate code for every person. This enables a family to have security and track of who is coming and going.


Related Questions


Why is it a fantastic idea to use a smart lock?

If you have a quick lock, and a pin pad, worrying about people losing their keys is a thing of the past. If you lose your keys this is one less thing to worry about. Or if you have little kids who are forgetting their keys, now they only must remember a code. Turning on and off access is as simple as resetting a system can be done from a phone.


Why do I need to understand all the mechanics of my door before installing a smart lock?

It is a must to ensure you can handle all the functions of the lock you are installing. This means you need to know the kind and the stipulations of the bolt. You need to know the type, the measurements, and ensure you have all your door details.

Many home stores sell smart locks, or as ordered. You could take the dimensions of your door to a store and talk about your needs with the staff.


What could I add to my house to increase my security besides a lock?

If you want to ensure you are always going to be ahead of the game, you need to think of safety. Here are some ideas.

Some floodlights, timers, and a security system is a great way to take your security to the next level. You might also want to add a dog for protection would help you to prevent burglars.

And then you are ahead of the curve and not behind it.


Conclusion: Can a Smart Lock be Picked?

In conclusion, you should be looking at smart locks for your house. Maybe you are interested in finding one that will fit over your existing deadbolt or allow you to integrate a security system. The ability for a homeowner, to see who is knocking on my door all the time and who is coming and going is priceless.

You should look forward to showing this to my family and ensuring they feel much better about their safety. Safety is more about having peace of mind rather than all the accessories that can be added to a house.  Time to upgrade to a smart lock!

Learn about all the options you can. To suit your needs and your door when you are ready, and you will be surprised at what you can do to improve your home. Now is the time to refine everything you may have thought about the home.

Why can’t a home be comfortable and smart?

There are many ways to revolutionize your home as well as your life with additions like smart locks. Options out there will empower you to take control and watch all the needs and functions of your home. Know your options!

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Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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