CNET Smart Home
Convenience be damned: Is smart lock voice control really secure?August's Smart Lock works with HomeKit, Alexa and Google Home, but is voice control making home security devices more vulnerable?
[MUSIC] August is the first smart lock company to offer Siri, Alexa and Google assistant voice control. This is great from a convenience standpoint, but what about security? Is it really safe to control a lock with your voice? The answer really varies by platform. Folks using Siri to control their door will need an iOS device with the August lock and Apple home kit configured. They can then lock and unlock their door either within bluetooth range or remotely with a 4th gen Apple TV. No pen or pass code required. That may seem like a potential security problem, but again a burglar would have to steal or otherwise have access to someone's phone to control the door on demand. Alexa offers a custom and a native voice. Control skill. The native skill phrases are more streamlined since you just have to say, Alexa lock the door rather than Alexa ask August to lock the door. But you can only unlock your door with a custom skill command. Since someone could realistically shout at Alexa from outside to unlock the door, you need to create a secret code. As long as you're careful please state around and that it isn't something obvious like one, two, three, four, you should be fine from the security sampling. Google home customers can't unlock doors via voice controller but they can ask the Google Assistance to lock the door and for the status of the lock. August says an unlock voice command is coming later this year. While voice control and lock security is important to consider, I'd personally be comfortable using any of these August integrations in my home. And if you aren't yet sold on a platform, you certainly have options with August. Siri, what's the status of the office door? [MUSIC] Your office door is locked. Great. Alexa, ask Augus to unlock the office door. Okay, can I have your pin code? Sure, it's [BLEEP]. I asked Augus to unlock office door and to update the status. Would you like me to check the state of the lock [UNKNOWN] No thanks. Goodbye. Okay, Google, lock the door. [BLANK_AUDIO] Sure, for that you might like August. Want to give it a try? Yes. [BLANK_AUDIO] Sure, here's August. [NOISE] I am working on your request to lock office door Would you like me to check the state of the lock? No. Okay.