Post-COVID Home Security, Part 2 - 2021
Post-COVID Home Security, Part 1 - 2020Home Security, Part 2 I sold my house in 2004 and didn’t care about home security until my new purchase in 2018. And even then I felt no urgency until the pandemic appeared, followed by riots and looting. I researched smart locks for

I sold my house in 2004 and didn't care about home security until my new purchase in 2018.  And even then I felt no urgency until the pandemic appeared, followed by riots and looting.  I researched smart locks for weeks without a clear choice until I defined three criteria:

  1. No exterior physical keyhole
  2. No quick-open inner latch
  3. Controllable from my phone

1. Mechanical locks are ridiculously easy to pick.  They're often hackable in a minute or two. Security is from social convention, not physical reality.  That was fine in the pre-COVID world but social conventions are being challenged now.

2. Three of my doors have side windows, so an attacker could cut or break those windows, reach inside and flip the latch.  So I wanted a keyed interior lock instead of a latch.

3. I wanted control from my phone through Bluetooth.   Its limited distance means a hacker must enter my property to access the lock.  Wifi access seems cool but it exposes my house to many hackers who I can't see or track.  It buys me risk but no benefit I care about.  The last thing I want is Google or Microsoft or Facebook monitoring and controlling everything in my house.

Only two products met my criteria.  The Yale YRD256 with a phone-like touchpad and the Level Lock.  I chose the Level Lock because it gave me full control over the exterior and interior key surfaces.  

Here's the outcome - there's only one hackable interface, Bluetooth.  I like the mental effect on a potential burglar as there's nothing to work with.  I'm sure they'd realize it's a wireless lock but that's another story.  This door says "go to an easier house".

This isn't a standard setup.  I only found one manufacturer (Kwikset) that sold the blank exterior plate and I purchased a double dead-bolt for the interior keyset and discarded the exterior keyset.   I also had to cut down the screws and cam bar.  There's a possible commercial product there, although there are fire code considerations. (update: Schlage sells a blank exterior plate as part of a complete deadbolt kit but it's not keyed)

The side window could be cut or broken into.  Here's how the interior looks:

I avoided an integrated home security system.  If you look closely, you'll see that their mission is to monitor, not prevent.  Most don't have deadbolts, garage controls, pepperspray, etc and the ones that do are through partners like Yale, etc.   Their job is transmitting data to a huge, centralized entity like Google or Amazon that cares more about information than my safety.  My safety is a SECONDARY consideration.

Go ahead.  Look at those systems again with that thought in mind.  They were designed with pre-COVID assumptions, such as:

  • the attacker fears identification
  • your information goes to "trustworthy" corporation
  • 120v power is always available
  • the police will respond
  • the network is always available

I wanted a system that prevents an attack rather than records one for profit.