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A Firmware Update Just Bricked LockState Smart Locks, Leaving Some Stranded

16 August 2017, 9:25 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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About 500 smart locks from LockState were bricked because of a faulty software update, causing some upset and concern. The mishap might be seen as evidence that connected devices pose some serious risks.  ( LockState )

In a real-life nightmarish scenario not far from being its own Black Mirror episode, a certain LockState smart lock malfunctioned because of a firmware update, causing a series of inconveniences.

The issue is further compounded by the company's lack of response, according to some affected users who took to Twitter to air their complaints.

Hundreds of internet-connected smart locks were rendered inoperable last week after the company released a faulty software update. Over the past week, the company's Twitter feed has been hit with wave after wave of complaints from customers who suddenly were unable to unlock their doors for some reason.

LockState Failure Affected Airbnb Customers Too

It gets worse: The specific model that was affected, the RemoteLock 6i, is the one used in a partnership with Airbnb called Host Assist, which enables homeowners to remotely provide guests with unlock codes. The mishap prevented some Airbnb guests to use the function and owners to remotely unlock their doors.

The reason behind the bricking is LockState erroneously pushing out an update for 6i locks that's actually developed for another model. John Cargile, the company's marketing manager, confirmed that the failure affected about 500 smart locks.

For its part, LockState is offering affected customers two options: either they return a component of the device so it can be fixed and returned after five to seven days, or they can request for a full replacement, which will take 14 to 18 days. For those stranded, LockSmart's RemoteLock 6i comes with a physical key for emergencies. Some may see this recourse as unacceptable, but LockSmart doesn't seem to be planning on making the process faster. Expect due coverage when it decides to change its return policy in light of the failure.

"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," the company said.

The Danger Of Connected Smart Home Devices

It's a simple enough solution, but the thought of 500 homes with suddenly inoperable smart locks is no laughing matter. This kind of scenario only belongs in a big-budget sci-fi flick, not in real life. The potential repercussions of such a failure is unimaginable. LockSmart's mishap is perhaps another proof that internet-of-things devices isn't always best, or isn't worth risking your safety for.

For now, take this as one example of the risks associated with attempting to make your home more connected. Smart home devices are looking more like the future, but right now, we still have kinks such as this to iron out.

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