Home Lock Tips for College

Allston Village Metro

Livin’ It Up In Rat City: College Living and Home Locks

Ah, Allston. As a junior, I’ve had my fair share of crap living in the area of Boston appropriately dubbed ‘Rat City’. I’ve had plumbing issues, electric issues, and issues (luckily not any rat issues, but I have grown fond of hearing them fight to the death outside my bedroom window), and like every college student to have ever lived, I’ve locked myself out of my apartment. When this happened and left me to wait until someone else came through the door, get up to my porch and slither through my window into the living room, I realized how easy it would be to break into my apartment.

This led me down a rabbit hole of learning way too much about home security, residential locksmiths, and efficient locksmith services for me to ever continue operating under the assumption that I’m cool. But because we live in a city, and I’ve heard of too many of my friends getting robbed, I thought I’d share some helpful tips about home locks and security.

Actual photo of a rat friend
Actual photo of a rat friend

Changing Your Locks

So for those of you moving in apartments in Allston, there are so many people who come through these living spaces, it’s almost guaranteed many people still have keys to your apartment. If you’ve got the cash, it’s really best to get your landlord to change the locks. It can give you a whole lot of peace of mind, knowing you and your roommates are the only ones who have keys. There are two principal ways of doing this: you can rekey the lock, or you can replace the locks entirely.

The ANSI Rating

Sounds fancy, right? Apparently, locks are given ANSI ratings, Grade 1, Grade 2, or Grade 3. Grade 1 locks are provided by residential locksmiths, and most apartments have these. Grade 2 locks are a little more secure, and Grade 3 are used by commercial locksmiths. As college students, you probably don’t need any higher than Grade 1. Some people may be tempted to get Bluetooth or touch screen keys (if they had that much money to throw around), but beyond their trendiness, make sure they’re actually secure.

Getting to Know Your Local Residential Locksmith!

In the end, it’s probably most cost effective to just re-key your current locks. And once you get new locks, maintain them. You can use Teflon or other dry lubricants to get all the gunk out of your locks. If you copy a key that’s been used a bunch, it’s not very likely to work (this has happened to me), so make sure to keep an extra of the original key.

And hey, if you’ve stumbled across this blog, and you happen to live in Clearwater, Florida, ABC Locksmith Clearwater provides great commercial and residential services!

Security in The Internet of Things

Closer Than We Think in the Age of The Internet of Things

At 7:30, your alarm wakes you up with your favorite song. After a few refrains, a calming voice chimes in to remind you that you wanted a reminder to pick up the dry cleaning today.

As your toes touch the bathroom floor, the lights turn on, and the news comes on as you enter the shower and the water hits your skin at precisely the right temperature.

As you’re brushing your teeth, you remember you forgot to order roses for your anniversary. Once you spit out your toothpaste, you call out:

“Alexa, order a dozen roses from the flower shop on Main Street and have them sent to Melissa’s work address.”

‘Ok’, it responds. And it’s done. You slip on your suit, and you head downstairs to where your coffee is brewed. You grab it as you head out the door, as the thermostat automatically goes down, as the lights automatically shut off, and the garage door automatically closes.

Jon Hamm in Black Mirror's episode 'White Christmas'
Jon Hamm in Black Mirror’s episode ‘White Christmas’

Master In Charge of the Internet of Things

This may sound like an episode of Netflix’s modern anthology series Black Mirror (specifically White Christmas, which, if you haven’t seen, you should get on that right about now), but this integration of home systems, called the internet of things, is one of the most popular tech items on the market right now. Amazon Echo and Google Home are just two examples of devices that integrate various home systems to make them more immediately accessible to the user.

Although this could simplify some of our day-to-day, this technology is developing very quickly; so quickly, in fact, that the industry struggling to develop smart home security at the same pace. Beyond the distaste for a lot of men buying a device with a feminine voice to do whatever they say (that’s a discussion for another day); beyond the Promethean concerns of man becoming too big for his bridges, the integration of smart home technology is very vulnerable to hackers.

Alicia Viikander in 'Ex Machina - Internet of Things'
Alicia Viikander in ‘Ex Machina’

Hackers and Smart Home Security

Although we may not have to worry about our smart homes enslaving us just yet, other humans, who may be more technologically savvy than the average Amazon Echo purchaser, we may have to be wary of.

With all of our home technology interconnected, people can actually hack into locks or shut off alarm systems. Researchers at the University of Michigan and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence have conducted experiments exposing how various systems connected to the internet of things can be breached with ease.

Luckily, there are organizations and companies developing smart home security at this very moment. Amazon and other providers provide frequent updates that can aid in security. But these are still vulnerable devices, and can be best protected by a local locksmith, or going invisible with Tor software. Tor’s are enabled when websites or systems want to hide their location. Although it is difficult for the layman to set up, Tor’s Guardian Project offers top notch security.

As our tech advances and adapts, we have to remember that hackers adapt just as fast.

For more information about home security, explore Locksmith Sarasota’s website.