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500 Smart Locks Fail After IoT Update

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 15, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You know how frustrating it is when you get locked out of your phone?

Now imagine getting locked out of your house -- by a so-called smart lock. Don't you just want to smash the thing?

Take a number because faulty software locked out hundreds of homeowners. It's another example of a possible plague for the Internet of Things. This hits close to home for the legal field, as many attorneys are beginning to use IoT devices in the course of their workday.

Locked Out by System Error

LockState, which manufactures internet-connected locks, announced that a system error shut down RemoteLock 6i. Customers, including Airbnb users who employed the remote locking system, responded with their own updates on Twitter.

"Are you a stranded @Airbnb guest?" one user posted. "@Lockstate just BRICKED a bunch of 6i locks. But they won't tweet updates. Trying to hide their screw-up?"

According to Ars Technica, the problem occurred when the company accidentally sent the wrong firmware update to the smart locks. It hit about 500 devices.

The company said it fixed the problem for about 85 percent of its customers. They can use a physical key in the meantime.

IOT Crash 2.0

It's not the first time something has gone wrong for the Internet of Things.

"Friday, October 21 will long be remembered as the day the Internet of Things crashed," Christoper Burgess wrote last year.

During a 30-day period, a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacked companies such as Twitter, Netflix, LinkenIn, and more. The attacks, which send non-stop queries to targeted IP addresses, leverage insecure devices -- like remote locks, video cameras, baby monitors, etc. -- on the Internet of Things.

The LockState case raises the lawyer's question: Who pays when IoT things go wrong?

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