Thursday, 21 September 2017
News Tech

Smart lock vendor accidentally bricks its own locks through firmware update


A perk of connected devices, or at least what gadget manufacturers will tell you, is they can receive over-the-air updates to keep your device current. Those updates don’t always go as planned, however. In fact, they can go horribly wrong. Take a company called Lockstate, for example, which attempted to issue new software to its LS6i smart locks last week and ended up bricking devices. That isn’t great.

In a statement to The Verge this weekend, the company said a “small subset” of customers’ locks were unable to communicate with Lockstate’s servers. Again, let me just reiterate: these are locks used to secure physical homes. Okay, I’ll keep going.

The company says, “We immediately contacted each and every customer that was affected and we are working to get all affected locks back online. We have already fixed the problem for many of these customers but for some we need to get their locks back for a reset, and then ship it back out to them.”

So really, the problem isn’t totally solved unless users actually ship their lock back to Lockstate for repairs. Granted, the company will pay for shipping and a year’s worth of a premium subscription service, but this is probably the worst-case scenario for smart locks, especially considering Airbnb recommends the 6i. I’ve previously written about the problems connected devices can introduce, including becoming botnet targets and potentially failing in serious situations. I’ve also written about other smart locks having poor security. This is the future, though, so just recognize the risks if you want to make your home more connected.



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