Home Automation

Kwikset Solves the Smudge Attack

smartcode916-2-digitsKwikset has been a leader in door locks for over 60 years. They’ve been making electronic locks, and even home automation integrated locks, for years. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t exactly first to the game of touch screen locks. If you’re not going to be first to market, you better make a great product!

Touch screen locks initially sound like a really cool idea. You get all the great features of an electronic lock without the ugly buttons. But it only takes a couple minutes to think of a movie scene where someone is breaking into a highly secure room by simply looking to see which numbers have been smudged from repeatedly pressing the same code to access the door. Kwikset has come up with a really smart solution to this problem, and they’ve implemented it in their new SmartCode 916 deadbolt.

The problem with the smudge attack is that the only numbers that have smudges, are the numbers in your combination. Kwikset didn’t find a way to keep the lock from getting smudged or dirty, because environmental issues would make that impossible. Instead, they’ve created a simple way to ensure that all the numbers are smudged.

The process is fairly simple. When you arrive home you tap the lock’s touchscreen to wake it up. When you do that it will light up two seemingly-random numbers. You have to tap on these two numbers to fully awaken the lock. You can tap them in either order, you just need to make sure they both get pressed. After tapping them, all the buttons will light up allowing you to enter your combination. Every time you wake the lock up it presents you with two different numbers to tap.

This new security system left us with the “why didn’t I think of that!?” feeling. The only major downside we could think of is having to explain the process to anyone who we would want to give access to our home. Say you’re going on vacation and you’re going to have a pet sitter watching your animals. If you don’t want to explain the wake-up process you can easily disable it by flipping one switch inside the battery cover. In that case they just tap the screen, all the buttons light up, and they simply enter the code.

We think the Kwikset SmartCode 916 looks like a fantastic lock. Look for a full review soon. If you’d like to buy one for yourself the SmartCode 916 can be purchased on Amazon for around $250.



About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.