The Best Smart Locks For 2022

The traditional key and lock might soon be phased out through the invention of the increasingly popular smart door lock. It is now possible for you to enter your home with a simple push of a button, a swipe of a card or even your phone!

Here at Keytek® we are taking a look at the best smart door locks you can get that will help you secure your home, protect your valuables and overall make your security more intelligent, prompt and effortless.

 

What are smart door locks?

A smart door lock is an electronic and/or mechanical lock that can open wirelessly with the authorisation of users. Most smart door locks take away the need for a traditional key but rather can grant users entry through their Smartphone or a key fob.

 

Types of smart door locks

The most common mean of entry includes keypads, biometric or Bluetooth.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID locks allow for entry by using a key fob or key card; much like the system that is used in hotels.

Bluetooth Enabled Locks

Some locks which can operate using Bluetooth will detect your Smartphone’s Bluetooth ID and can open when you approach.

Keypads and Touch Screens

Early smart door locks used keypads as means of entry, offering the user to set up a unique pin code to gain access. Newer smarts locks have replaced keypads with touch screens with panels instead of buttons, for sleeker design and increased security.

Biometric Entry

Biometric entry smart door locks use fingerprint identification to operate the lock. This is now operating on most current Smartphones.

 

Are smart door locks really better?

The biggest benefits of smart door locks are that they are configurable and can be more secure than the traditional key and lock. With digital locks they can be changed at any moment, should you think that someone has gained the code for your home or stolen a key fob, you can disconnect, reprogram, or wipe any potential security risk within a matter of minutes. Likewise if you would like to give someone temporary access, you would be able to allow someone access to your home but maintain that you have complete control over who is coming in and out of your home.

However, nothing comes without flaws. Smart door locks aren’t better when it comes to an expert hacker. In fact, most smart locks have at least one vulnerability that exposes them to hacking. Some vulnerable features for the smart locks that put them in risk are the following:

  • The device buzzing
  • Plain text passwords
  • APK files decompiling
  • Replay attacks

Are all smart door locks keyless?

Different models of smart door locks will come with different features. Many of these digital locks come with a manual key override in case of fault or emergency. However, some models have committed completely to being keyless and do not have a keyway.

 

Why doesn’t everyone have a smart lock?

Similar to all new technology, it can take a while for people to completely trust in this new type of product. The advantage of the traditional key lock is that you know it is going to work, is going to secure your home and most of all you know how to operate it.

One potential downside there might be with smart door locks is the unknown. What will you do if it doesn’t work, how will I enter my house, can they be hacked to gain entry? These are all questions that someone is bound to have when thinking of making the technological change. However, do keep in mind that as they become more popular, processes and procedures will become more common knowledge.

 

What do you need to consider when buying a smart door lock in 2022?

With the start of the new decade there are some things that you may want to consider whilst you shop around for your new smart lock to make sure it is the best model for you.

How smart is it?

Different versions of smart lock will hold different features; all of which will aim to make your life easier. Before buying a smart lock you should consider what features you would like, for example, you can get models that sense when you are approaching the door so will automatically unlock the door for you.

Replace or Retrofit?

Some models require you to completely replace the mechanism within your door where as others can simply be retro-fitted over your existing lock. Retrofitting models can often be installed without professional help and can take only a few minutes whereas models that require replacing your existing lock will most likely need to be installed by a professional.

Smart Home Integration

The ideal smart lock would be easily paired to other smart home devices such as an Alexa, Google Assistant or Homekit for a fully immersive smart experience. Depending on the model, make and brand of smart lock, you should consider what smart objects you might already have and how you would like for them all to interconnect.

Alternative Entry Means

Some smart door locks will come with a manual key override built into the lock should the keyless technology fail, whereas others may have multiple ways of access for example through keypads, key fobs or a fingerprint system. Having multiple ways of access would mean that should there be an issue with one method of access you would still be able to open your door. When buying your smart lock consider what options you will have should your lock fail and what different options of access each model offers.

 

What are the disadvantages of smart locks?

  1. Hacking

Cyber-attacks occur on a regular basis. If your smart lock is connected to the internet, it is just as vulnerable to hacking as your Wi-Fi. Smart lock manufacturers are beginning to recognise the significance of this and are prioritising cyber-attack resistance. This is one of the reasons to get a name brand smart lock rather than a knockoff cheap one, which leads to the following point, the cost.

  1. Cost

In order to get a good smart lock brand, it will be more expensive than getting a normal traditional lock. It is important to consider how much a suitable smart lock will cost you along with the pros and cons of installing it.

  1. Lost/stolen phone

Have you ever had your phone stolen from you? Or even lost it somewhere and never remembered where it was? Your phone makes a smart lock vulnerable. Because your phone is the key, anyone who has access to it has access to not only your personal information, such as text messages and emails, but also an open door to your entire house.

  1. Batteries

Smart locks, unlike ordinary locks and like any smart device, are battery-powered solutions, and we all know how batteries die. This is one warning to which you should pay close attention. If the smart lock indicates that the battery is low, replace it immediately or risk getting locked out.

 

What are the best smart door locks for 2022?

Best Overall: Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt

£214.76 from Amazon

A good smart lock may make a huge difference in terms of securing your property in a safe and advantageous manner. This smart lock provides the highest level of security while also distinguishing the ways in which you can lock and unlock the device. This smart lock does more than just give you a lock. From simple keys and codes to 24/7 remote monitoring and control, the Schlage Z-Wave comes at top of the list and overall best.

The Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt is a smart lock that combines the best of old and new in a single unit that is easy to install. The lock can be accessed using a keycode, keys, or remote association, and features a touch screen keypad with an implicit alert. It may be expensive compared to many smart locks, but it is well designed and works very well with wireless remote controlling.

 

Best Price: Kwikset Smartcode

£118.52 from Amazon

If you’re looking for a simple way to secure your home every night, smart locks may appear to be too expensive to consider. Generally, there are a lot of budget-friendly options that will provide you with equal levels of security and comfort as the more expensive options.

If you don’t mind foregoing the advanced accessibility characteristics of more expensive locks, the Kwikset SmartCode deadbolt is an excellent way to add smart security to your home. The lock may be opened with a standard key, a keycode, or a bright key that detects the jolt and opens it. Even though it has an old design which is not favourable by many people, it is durable, affordable, and works best with connectivity.

 

Best Aesthetic: Yale Conexis L1

£185.99 from Amazon

This smart lock is the most attractive and discrete model on our list and with all of the different finishes you are sure to find the right colour to fit within your home. Looking like the regular ‘lift and lock’ handles that are commonly seen on uPVC doors, the Yale Conexis L1 is designed to work with existing multi-point locks by replacing the handle and cylinder of the existing lock.

The general functionality of this lock is basic but effective; with the use of the app or a RFID tag you can easily open the door. And as a massive benefit, Yale have designed RFID tags that can be attached to almost anything such as the back of your phone(should you not want to use the app), your bag or even a watch, meaning that with one swipe of a RFID enhanced item you can gain access to your home. Although no external keyway on the door there is a thumb turn internally for easy locking and unlocking once indoors. A downside to this smart door lock however is that it cannot connect to other smart home objects without the use of a Z-Wave module, this optional module (costing approximately £60) will allow the Conexis L1 to connect a SmartThings system.

In summary, we have now only started to see the wonders that using smart technology can do for us, and the ease that it brings. Not only will smart locks give you complete remote control over your door security but they also can come with a wide range of features such as, smart home integration capabilities and forced entry alarms that give you peace of mind that your home is safe.

How to Stay Safe in Nightclubs

With the majority of covid-19 restrictions lifted, the nightclubs of Britain have been able to reopen, much to the delight of young people around the country. While its fantastic news that the country is returning to normal, going back into nightclubs has its risks, and not just because of coronavirus.

 

Drink Spiking

This is unfortunately a practice that targets mostly women. Someone can spike your drink to make you more vulnerable, this could be done as a practical joke, but sometimes the intentions are a lot more sinister, sexual assault for example. Drink spiking is often not reported, so it’s difficult to know the true extent of these events. People often feel too embarrassed to tell anyone if they think their drink has been spiked as it can cause memory loss. Not remembering parts of the night can make it difficult to recall events with any certainty. It can be a very frightening experience and it’s important that you learn to recognise the signs that your drink has been spiked. It’s equally as important that you know how to spot if someone else has been spiked and how to help them.

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What are Drinks Spiked With?

Although you have mostly heard about drinks being spiked with drugs such as Rohypnol, the NHS says that alcohol is actually the most common thing to be used in drink spiking. Shots of alcohol can be added to drinks to make them stronger; this would cause the victim to get drunker more quickly or unexpectedly.

The most commonly known drugs that are used to spike drinks are Rohypnol (roofies) or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), these are known as ‘date rape’ drugs. This is because they can sedate or incapacitate victims, so they are easier to assault.

It’s extremely important to know that these ‘date rape drugs’ are mostly colourless, odourless and tasteless, so are very hard to notice. They also leave the body very quickly, which makes them hard to detect on blood or any other medical tests.

 

Symptoms of Drink Spiking

It’s important to know what the symptoms of drink spiking are. They can vary depending on what the drink has been spiked with. Symptoms can include;

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

Outside factors will affect what symptoms you experience when you’ve had your drink spike; what you’ve been drinking, your size and weight and how much you’ve drank will all cause variations in your symptoms. If your drink has been spiked then you are unlikely to notice seeing as there will be no difference in the taste or colour of your drink. Most date rape drugs will take 15-20 minutes to take effect and the symptoms can last for hours. If you suspect your drink has been spiked and are feeling any symptoms, then get help straight away.

 

Drink Spiking Statistics 2015 – 2019

England and Wales

2,650 reported incidents of drink spiking.

71.6% of victims were women.

75% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

10% of victims were under the age of 18.

15% of victims were over the age of 40.

 

Scotland

137 reported incidents of drink spiking.

81.8% of victims were women.

78% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

There were 2 alleged victims aged under 9.

 

Northern Ireland

53 reported incidents in of drink spiking.

67.9% of victims were women.

82% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

There were 2 victims aged under 18.

 

What to Do if You Think a Friend Has Been Spiked

If your friend is showing any of the symptoms of having their drinks spiked, then there are some things you can do to help. It’s important to tell the bar or club manager or a member of staff such as the bouncer. They should be able to help you get your friend to a safe spot.

Don’t leave your friend alone, if they have been spiked for the purpose of assault, then it’s important they are not on their own at any time. If their condition continues to get worse then you need to call an ambulance, it’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations, so have them seen by a medical professional to make sure everything is ok. It might seems obvious but don’t let them drink any more alcohol, as this can make the symptoms worse.

 

Avoiding Drink Spiking

Drink spiking is NEVER the victim’s fault and whilst you should always look to just have fun when you go out, considering your safety will only help to keep your night a good one. Whilst some Nightclubs have started giving out drink stoppers for the top of bottles to prevent someone being able to drop something into your drink, there are a few things that you can be aware of to avoid getting your drink spiked.

 

How to Avoid Drink Spiking

1.      Always go to the bar with a friend

Two eyes are better than one and when you’re on your own it’s easy to get distracted and unfortunately it only takes a couple of seconds for someone to drop something into your drink. Having a friend with you acts as a guard when you might be reaching over to pay and not thinking about your drink.

 

2.      Cover your drinks

Obviously easier to do if you’re drinking from the bottle than a glass but where you can make sure that your drink is covered. This can be as simple as keeping your thumb over the top of the bottle or holding a glass from the top rather than the side.

 

3.      Don’t accept drinks from strangers

This might seem obvious, but it is still important to consider when out and about. You should always look to purchase your own drink or if you do accept a drink from someone else, make sure it is from someone you trust and that you have watched the bartender make it.

 

4.      Never leave your drink unattended

Once again, seems like pretty obvious advice but even leaving your drinks with friends on a table can be a bit dangerous. People can easily get distracted and might not always be paying attention to your drink.

We suggest finishing your drink before heading to the toilets or the smoking area, or if you do leave your drink just buy a new one once you come back. Obviously apply caution with this and don’t down a full drink.

 

5.      Keep an eye on your drink for changes

Whether it has moved, is now missing the straw has turned a funny colour it wasn’t before or is frizzing, don’t risk taking a sip. Although you don’t want to be paranoid, it is always better to be safe than sorry and it can only take a moment for someone to drop something in your drink.

You can also find testing kits with strips that can detect certain drugs, but these are often unreliable and don’t always work. They also don’t test for every kind of drug and won’t detect any extra alcohol in your drink.

 

References:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51021314

Home Security Systems

Home security systems are increasing in popularity as they become more accessible to homeowners over the last few years. But what are home security systems? How do home security systems work? And what are the best home security systems on the market for 2021? Find out all of this and more in our blog below!

 

What is a Home Security System?

A home security system is used to protect the home against burglars by using interconnected devices that work through a central control panel that alert the homeowner to a possible intruder when triggered. A home security system is often made up of multiple parts including the following:

 

Control Panel

The control panel is the hub of a home security section and is what connects all the devices and is the device that arms and disarms the security devices. It is often a small device mounted on the wall with a touchpad and can work via pass codes, voice control or wireless key fobs.

 

Outdoor Home Security Cameras

Outdoor security cameras are usually placed to view the entry points on the exterior of the home and can be hooked up to the mains or smart security cameras can be wireless and connected to the internet. Outdoor home security cameras work by providing a continuous live stream footage that can be sent to your home and often include features such as alerts when movement is detected, infrared night vision, two-way audio and storage. Find out more about Outdoor Security Camera’s here!

 

Indoor Security Cameras

Indoor security cameras are also an option for homeowners who are installing a home security system. Much like an outdoor home security camera the indoor cameras provide live streaming and often include features such as notifications sent straight to your smart phone when triggered. Indoor security cameras are often useful if you have pets in the home or if you are unfortunate enough to be burgled to trace the intruders steps which helps you identify what is missing and helps the police with their investigation.

 

Motion Sensors on Windows and Doors

Motion sensors are placed on main entryways such as the front door or on downstairs windows. They detect motion and alert you when triggered.

 

Alarm

Sometimes an additional alarm is required if the control panel does not have one built in. An alarm sets off a loud ringing sound when triggered by the other security devices which not only alerts you to a possible intruder but more often than not scares off the intruder before they get a chance to enter your home a steal your possessions. Some alarms are also connected to the local police and alerts them to a possible break-in when triggered.

 

How do Home Security Systems Work?

Home security systems work using a term called the ‘Internet of Things’ which refers to the interconnectivity between appliances in the home. In this case it applies to the smart home security system working together to provide seamless protection against intruders. Home security systems or smart home security systems provide warning of an intruder when triggered in the form of a loud siren sounding and an alert sent to your smart phone.

 

Best Smart Home Security Systems for 2021

Our top three picks for the best home security systems 2021 are as follows:

 

Hive Smart Home Security

The Hive Smart Home Security System is a great product for those who are new to smart home security systems and are looking for an easy to use home security system with a sleek, understated design. They offer a wide range of features and 5 different packages including a bespoke package to your home via their quiz online so you can choose the best home security package for you. Find out more on their website here.

 

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe home security systems are another product we love for ease of use. You can simply open up the box and get it running, no tools or experience required. SimpliSafe also offer a few different home security packages so that you can choose one that suits your home and needs. The most basic package ‘The Foundation’ retails for just £200 and includes the hub, control panel, entry sensor and SimpliCam camera which is a great deal. What is really great about SimpliSafe is that there are no contracts. Find out more on their website here.

 

Blink

Blink home security systems are perfect for those who already may have Amazon smart home products as it is an Amazon company. The camera’s start at just £35 and are controlled by Alexa so you can say ‘Alexa show me the front door camera” for example making Blink really affordable if you already have Amazon smart home products in your home. Find out more about Blink on Amazon here.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated in helping people secure their homes across the UK. If you enjoyed this blog why not check out How to take a Taxi Safely and The Future of Security 2021: Ring Indoor Drone!

 

 

https://www.security.org/home-security-systems/what-is-a-home-security-system/

https://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/how-do-security-systems-work/

 

 

Keytek Joins Checkatrade!

 

We are now proudly a member of the UK’s number 1 way to find trusted tradespeople, Checkatrade! As the UK’s leading Locksmith community, we continually strive for excellence as we set the standards for the industry and being a Checkatrade member is a further commitment to our high standards of practise.

 

What is Checkatrade?

Checkatrade is the ultimate place for customers to find professional, reliable, and trustworthy tradespeople, with their list of certified members ranging from builders to plumbers to Locksmiths to gardeners. They offer a partnership between members and customers, where only the best businesses are connected to customers to ensure excellent products and customer services.

All members need to adhere to ‘The Checkatrade Standard’ where 7 detailed guidelines are laid out, providing best practices for everything health and safety to resolving issues. Compliance of these guidelines ensure that all members are up to scratch and customer receive only the best experiences.

Checkatrade also provides customers a platform to leave detailed and informed reviews about businesses to share their experiences with other would be customers and to ensure the real gems of the industry shine through.

 

Why Have We Joined Checkatrade?

From the outset, Keytek® Locksmiths has been committed to providing customers with experienced, professional, and trustworthy Locksmiths and we believe Checkatrade matches us in this vision.

We, as a leader in the industry, are committed to the further education and expertise of all Locksmiths to ensure that all customers receive only the best Locksmith services. We feel our partnership with Checkatrade ensures that customers can be assured of the excellence that we as experts provide. To become a member, we had to meet a specific criteria with our qualifications, insurance references and code of ethics vetted rigorously by Checkatrade experts to confirm our high code of contacts already in place.

 

Receiving Customer Feedback Through Checkatrade

All Keytek® Locksmiths adhere to a professional code of conduct, where feedback plays an important role. We strongly believe that customer feedback is an essential part of maintaining our high practices of conduct and now that we are a member of Checkatrade, it has opened another platform where customers can share their experiences with us, and we can continually self-assess to ensure service excellence.

 

What this Means for Keytek Customers

For all Keytek® customers; whether past, present, or future, our membership with Checkatrade ensures that they will not only continue to receive excellent customer service but are offered even more avenues for feedback where we can continue to improve and adapt our services.

We strive to consistently raise our already high standards and to further promote the confidence that customers can have in their home security and the standards of the Locksmiths they are calling out.

Locksmiths are often called out in times of crisis and stress and ensuring professionalism and expertise from all Locksmiths in the industry through partnership with external moderators only raises the bar for the industry as a whole. We believe our partnership with Checkatrade not only be hugely successful for both customers and our Locksmiths but also for the entire industry.

 

Regulating the Industry

Unfortunately, as an unregulated industry, there are many rogue Locksmiths out there that don’t offer the professionalism and standards of practise that we would expect from our Locksmiths. This can lead to over pricing, lower standards of practise and no accountably for poor services.

This can understandably cause potential customers to be wary when booking with a Locksmith so our partnership with a recognised regulator such as Checkatrade we hope will only increase customer confidence.

Luggage Locks – The Guide to Luggage Security

Have you booked your trip away for 2021 yet? You may have everything in order but have you remembered to think about the security of your luggage whilst it is in the hands of the airport or when it is sitting in your hotel room when you’re out for the day? Whilst you may have thought to remember to ensure you and your belongings are insured, there is no harm in taking a few extra security measures so you’re not left stressing about your lost things when you’re enjoying your well earned break!

 

Types of Luggage Locks

There are a variety of luggage locks on the market but which is the best to keep your luggage secure to prevent theft?

 

Luggage Key Lock Padlock

Luggage padlocks that operate with a key are one of the most popular padlocks on the market as they can be used for a variety of uses from securing your luggage to securing your garden shed.

The benefits of using a simple key operated padlock are that they are cheap and easily found in any local hardware store. On the other hand, these types of locks are easily broken as the keyhole can be subject to interference and keys can be easily lost, rendering the lock useless.

 

Combination Luggage Lock

Combination locks are keyless forms of locking your luggage together, instead of using a key to secure the lock they use a combination of 3+ dials of which the user sets a pin code to gain access once locked.

Combination luggage locks are much more convenient than key operated locks as there are no other compartments to carry around and potentially lose. They are stronger than their counterpart as there is no weak point, as there is no keyhole but again the lock is rendered useless if you forget the code.

 

Cable Luggage Lock

These security luggage locks are similar to combination luggage locks but instead of a stiff shackle it has a flexible, extendable cable so that it can easily pass through multiple zipper points on luggage.

vCable combination locks are perfect if there are multiple compartments on your suitcase or backpack, there is no need to fiddle around with multiple locks as a cable lock is able to do the job of multiple locks. Additionally, if you wish to secure your luggage to solid objects there are extenders available to buy to be able to do so. The disadvantages of a combination cable lock are the same as a regular combination luggage lock.

 

Key Card Luggage Lock

These locks do not require a key or a combination code to gain access; rather they use a key card to unlock the padlocks.

Key card locks are a great alternative for those who may lose a small padlock key or forget the pin to their combination lock. Most key card locks come equipped with 3 cards, x2 credit card sized so they fit nicely inside a purse or wallet and one smaller to fit onto a key chain, making them harder to lose than standard padlock keys. There is still a disadvantage to these locks as no lock is 100% secure and it is possible to lose all three key cards.

 

Why You Should Use a Luggage Lock

Using a luggage lock can help to deter opportunistic baggage handlers or security officers to rummage through your suitcase or bag at the airport once it’s checked in, furthermore it ensures that your bag stays closed through transit so that your underwear doesn’t become sprawled on the tarmac.

Using a luggage lock just gives that extra layer of security and peace of mind that when you aren’t with your hold luggage that your stuff is secure. We would however always recommend that anything of significant should be carried with you in your hand luggage.

 

TSA Approved Luggage Locks

TSA approved luggage locks are great for those travelling to the US. This is because the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents are required to spot check through the luggage that comes through US airports. TSA approved luggage locks are all accessible through a universal master key, meaning if your luggage is checked in airport security the TSA can open the lock with the universal key without causing damage to your TSA approved lock or to your suitcase.

If you are travelling to the US and lock your case with a non TSA lock the agents are within their rights to do whatever they have to do in order to gain access, including damaging the lock rendering it useless. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of yourselves and other travellers.

 

Luggage Lock Alternatives

A great alternative to using a luggage lock to keep your zip closed and secure from chance burglars is to use a cable tie. These can be picked up very cheaply in any local hardware store, these will work just as well as a lock to prevent your luggage from spilling open and are much cheaper to replace than a lock should your luggage be checked and prised open by airport security.

 

Luggage Straps

Security luggage straps are a great way to keep your belongings secure against the rough and tumble your luggage goes through at the airport. Luggage straps work by wrapping tightly around a suitcase and clipping shut with a clasp. They are adjustable in length to ensure a snug fit and are available in different colours or with a personalisation option so your luggage is clear to spot amongst the rest.

Additionally, there are security luggage straps on the market which include a combination lock on the clasp which will keep chance burglars at bay as well as some including a name tag so that it is easily identifiable to airport security should you and your luggage arrive at different destinations.

 

Luggage Tracker

Another way to help keep your belongings safe is to buy a GPS luggage tracker. These are usually small, lightweight bits of technology that fit inside your case and most claim that they are traceable from anywhere in the world. The majority of GPS luggage trackers include an app that works with your smartphone so if your luggage was to disappear whilst travelling, you can easily track it down with a click of a button!

 

Clingfilm

Using cling film to wrap around your luggage has been a method used by many for years. Cling film is a one-use plastic and is extremely bad for the environment, so in this case we recommend that you avoid using it for your luggage.

 

The Top 5 Luggage Locks

Diyife TSA Luggage Locks

This lock is our top pick for the best luggage lock to secure your suitcase. A standard 3 dial combination lock with a cut resistant steel cable that will fit through most zipper holes ensures that not only can this lock be used on pretty much any luggage but your stuff inside is secured as it travels. If you travel to the USA frequently, this lock is even TSA approved and should for any reason they need to open your case, to get their key out they must re-lock this luggage lock.

Coming in a pack of 2, this luggage lock costs £7.99 can be bought from Amazon.

 

eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock

For those who are tech savy, the eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock may be for you. The most expensive lock out of our top picks but it takes away the need to remember a combination code or a key and simply opens with the use of a smart phone, smart watch, or the accompanying NFC Fob. Compatible with both IOS and Android, not only does this lock secure your bag but you can use it to track where your luggage is, ensuring that it is always safe. Unfortunately, the battery of this lock isn’t rechargeable, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly as you will have to buy a new lock once it runs out, however the battery life supposedly lasts approximately 3 years! (or 4000 lock/unlock cycles).

You can currently buy a pack of 2 for £35 or a single lock for £19 from Amazon.

 

Master Lock 4688D Combination Lock

One of the most popular locks on the market, the Master lock is a favorite because of its versatility and resistant features. The flexible cable makes it easier to secure zipper holes together. Another 3-number combination lock, this one is TSA approved. Compact, lightweight, and secure this lock is a good choice for all.

Find it on Amazon for £15.98.

 

Tarris TSA Lock Search Alert

TSA approved but with a built-in search alert, so should you be a frequent flyer to the USA this lock will tell you if your bag has been opened and inspected. The indicator changes from green to red if the lock has been opened by an agent, but otherwise the lock is just a standard 3 number combination lock.

This lock is slightly more expensive at £15 but is well worth the expense if you are a frequent flyer. Find it on Amazon.

 

Forge TSA Approved Ultra-Secure Dimple Key Travel Lock

Known for its durability and versatility, the Forge Lock is a simple key lock, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or fumbling with a combination lock. Little known fact is that if your luggage is opened by the TSA they are under no obligation to resecure the lock, however with the dimple key they must lock the luggage before they can remove their key.

Find a pack of 2 for £15 on Amazon.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more security tips and information check out the Keytek® Locksmiths blogs on our website! We are the largest Locksmith community providing emergency Locksmith services across the UK!

How do TV and Film Keep their Secrets Safe?

In this day and age of television on demand and people binge watching TV shows, the TV and Film industry have had to up their game to prevent spoilers coming out before shows and films are released.

There’s a rumour that Amazon have employed military style security to guard the secrecy of their new Lord of the Rings series. It seems there is a ‘bunker’ with a security guard on the door and fingerprint scanners, all to protect the writer’s room. Sceptics might say that the overdramatic security is a publicity stunt to peak people’s interest in their new TV show. Either way it’s a drastic way to keep the details under wraps. This is not a new trend however, the TV and film industry have been closely guarding their secrets for a long time and it seems the bigger the show/film, the bigger the security.

Television

The whole country seems to be caught up with Line of Duty fever at the moment and with the finale airing this Sunday, viewers are clamouring to find the secrets to the shows ending. Being one of the most popular TV shows in the country, you’d think they would have all kinds of tactics to keep the information safe. However, their security protocols are pretty old school. Everyone involved has to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) meaning they could get sued if they tell anyone information (this does include spouses and family!). They also film in Belfast, which means they avoid a lot of the paparazzi that you would find in cities like London or Manchester. One thing that might surprise you is that the cast, even the main actors, are not told the shows full plot line. They are often only given their own lines, or parts of the scripts and they are NEVER given the script as a whole. This means that they are in the dark of what will happen when the show actually airs. For a show that is so popular and one of the few shows that comes out weekly, they do pretty well to keep the endings of the police drama a secret.

You might remember how the whole country became obsessed with Broadchurch a few years ago? Well, this meant the security had to be tightened on the subsequent series. Scripts were sent out with false titles (Tea and Sympathy) and the head writer Chris Chibnall used an alias and had alternative scripts written. All this so the public could be surprised by the twists and turns week to week.

One of the most closely guarded secret in the UK television industry is the identity of the new person playing The Doctor in Doctor Who. For years the speculation around this makes the headlines, bookies suspend odds and people scramble to find out ahead of time who it could be. The BBC employ classic tactics such as having people audition for fake parts, with fake names and over skype to stop any chance of a spoiler leaking. They will also take any person who leaks a spoiler to court, hopefully deterring anyone else from doing it.

 

Hollywood

You might think that the UK TV industry goes to some extreme lengths to protect their secrets, but it’s nothing compared to that of what the Hollywood film industry do to stop movie spoilers coming out. Part of the difference is that the American press are more intense when it comes to finding out spoilers. Flying drones over film sets, bribing crew members and hacking laptops are only some of the techniques that have been employed to find out the plot twists of the most recent blockbusters. So, it makes sense that the big movie companies invest heavily in security tactics to prevent leaks.

The most well-known film franchise of recent years is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these films have employed some radical techniques to prevent leaks. The actors weren’t allowed to take any scripts home with them and all scripts would be accounted for at the end of every day and destroyed. This made sure that human error wouldn’t mean the script was lost and then leaked. Actors would also only be given the scripts for scenes that involved them, meaning they were in the dark about what was happening in the rest of the movie. The cast were also banned from taking any photos from behind the scenes, in case any information could be gained from the images.

Disney had a similar technique on the set of the new Star Wars films, they would print their scripts on red paper, meaning that if anyone attempted to photocopy it or scan it, it would be completely unreadable. On one major Hollywood film, the actors were sent scripts electronically and they would self-delete after a certain amount of time. They were also cautious of drones flying overhead with cameras (as information had been leaked this way before) so sometimes actors would have to cloak themselves in blankets to walk to a covered set.

Big film companies also add things like unique watermarks, or slight changes in the script, so if there is a leak, studios can identify where the leak came from. Studios also have the ability to block sites that share leaked information, and stop them from showing up in searches. Google recently revealed that they receive over 2 million take down requests per day. Studios can also sue websites that feature leaked, confidential information. This means that even if they did receive spoilers, they may not want to publish them anyway.

 

So, it seems that movie and television studios are going to more and more extreme measures to keep their secrets from being leaked. Do you think that these measures are appropriate? Or do you think it’s all one big publicity stunt?

 

References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-movie-studios-prevent-leaks-2016-1?r=US&IR=T#studios-protect-alter-watermark-and-destroy-film-scripts-3

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/apr/09/spolier-alert-tv-and-film-protect-their-blockbusters

https://screenrant.com/hollywood-script-security-leak-prevention-2013/

https://www.cinemablend.com/new/How-Far-Marvel-Now-Going-Prevent-Leaks-86497.html

Staying Safe Whilst Walking Alone

We here at Keytek® are in firm support of ensuring that everyone has the right to walk home safely. We want to express that the below tips and products are not the solution to the difficult situation we find ourselves in now, but rather suggestions on how you can try to keep yourself save in these uncertain times.

 

The realities of walking alone, especially at night, can be daunting. This leaves many feelings unsafe and anxious whilst exercising, commuting, or travelling. In our society, the idea of “text me when you get home” is a constant reminder that we need to be vigilant when travelling alone and need to be cautious to keep safe, no matter our age or gender. We have done a bit of research and have compiled a few things you can do to try and keep yourself safe and the most important apps to have on hand.

 

Tips to Stay Safe When Walking Home Alone

We would never recommend that anyone walks home alone, we would always suggest trying to walk home with a friend or in a group, however if you do end up walking home alone there are a few tips you could consider. These tips not only are suggested to make your journey safer but also help to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling.

 

1.      Think About Your Footwear

The first tip you might hear is that you should always wear appropriate footwear when walking, and unfortunately it is true. Although a nice pair of shoes might match your outfit perfectly, if there is a chance that you might have to walk home, we would always suggest wearing comfortable shoes.

This doesn’t mean that you need to carry around a pair of running trainers, but rather consider a pair of comfortable flat shoes or a pair of worn in comfortable shoes.

2.      Plan Your Way Home

If you find yourself walking home on your own, no matter what time of day it is, make sure you know where you are going and that you stick to as many main roads as possible. Walking through an alley might save you a few minutes but it’s not worth the extra risk that comes with it. Not only will knowing your way home make you feel safer, but it will also help you to feel more confident whilst walking.

3.      Phone a Friend

If you feel nervous or anxious, phone a friend. This can be a partner, friend or relative, but give them a call and stay on the phone with them until you reach your destination. This will allow you to feel more relaxed as you focus on getting to your destination and will help to make you less of a target for crime. Be cautious however to remain aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t distracted from traffic or others.

4.      Keep Your Keys in Your Hands

This might seem overzealous, but it means that when you reach your destination you can enter quickly, without having to fumble around in your bag or become distracted at the door.

5.      Try to Remain Calm and Confident

Easier said than done but being sure of yourself makes you a lesser target for crime. Walk calmly and steady to show that you aren’t panicked and are aware of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to look people in the eyes or even greet them as you go past.

6.      Carry a Whistle or an Alarm

If you are nervous, or regularly walk home alone, consider carrying an alert whistle that is easily accessible to you when walking. This can help to alert others in the vicinity that you feel unsafe or threatened and need assistance.

7.      Walk in the Direction of Oncoming Traffic

Walking into traffic ensures that you are more aware of the cars passing you by and can prevent a car from coming up behind you.

8.      Avoid Carrying Multiple Bags

Try to carry as little bags as possible as carrying multiple can give the impression that you may have valuables on your person, and it can also restrict your ability to react quickly if need be.

9.      Don’t Distract Yourself with Your Phone

It can be easy to resort to looking at your phone for comfort, but we strongly advise against this as it can distract you from your surroundings. Refrain from texting or playing a game as it takes your attention away from your destination and can make you a target for crime. Listening to music through headphones may seem like a good idea but it makes it harder to be aware of your surroundings leaving you vulnerable to people approaching or road traffic.

10.  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you feel unsafe, or are feeling threatened by another person, don’t be afraid to walk into a supermarket or hospitality establishment and ask for help. Surrounding yourself with people if you feel you have become a target will reduce the risk to yourself and help you to find a solution. For example, if you feel unsafe, walking into a supermarket and asking for help will always start to deescalate the situation and someone can hopefully help to find you a way home safely.

 

If you ever feel that you are not safe or are being threatened, don’t just ignore it or carrying on walking home, always look to find help and place yourself into a situation where it is harder to get to you.

 

What Should I Do If I am Being Followed?

The feeling of being followed is unnerving and unsettling and although thankfully is usually just a result of feeling uncomfortable or an overactive imagination, it is important to ensure that you take your instincts seriously and remain calm as you get to a safe location.

 

1.      Stay Calm, Steady and Confident

Controlling the fear is important as it allows you to think rationally. Your gut might tell you to run for it, but in fact this could put you in more danger. The best thing for you to do is to subtlety pick up the pace ever so slightly and see how the person following reacts. Have they sped up? Have they remained at the same pace?

Most of the time, the person we think is following isn’t, so taking the few seconds to calm down and assess the situation can make the world of difference.

2.      Change Direction

If you know the area well, an option to see if you are being followed is to slightly change direction. This could be taking the longer way around or crossing the road when safe. If the individual copies your movements, then you should seek help immediately.

3.      Go Somewhere Public

If there is no-one at home or you feel threatened, we recommend that you go to a crowded public place where you can tell someone about your fear. At night, it can be harder to find a safe place, but places such as bars and supermarkets might be a good option. Express your suspicions to a member of the security team or member of staff who may be able to help or remain at your side until the police arrive.

4.      Don’t make it Obvious

If you feel a serious threat that someone is following you, don’t make them aware of this. Panicking, running or even looking over your shoulder can give the game away which might prompt a confrontation. Whilst they believe you unaware, you have the advantage to get to a safe place without raising suspicion.

5.      Call the Police

If the situation calls for it, discreetly call the police and inform them of the threat. The trained phone operatives will help guide you through the situation whilst they get help on the way.

 

Best Personal Alarm Devices for 2021

 

TooDoo 130db SafeSound

Stylish and practical, this device can attach onto your keys, purse or bag and once activated sets off an alarm. At 1030 dB and with a range of 600 feet, the high-pitched beeping is both an effective alert and deterrent. As an added feature a built in LED is situated on top which boasts a light of 80 lumens.

To activate the alarm, the top strap needs to be pulled from the device, this will then sound the alarm, which will last for 1.5 hours uninterrupted on full batteries. To deactivate the device, the pin at the end of the wrist strap simply needs to be replaced into the slot.

 

Safesound Personal Alarm

Small, compact, and effective, this alarm is connected to a keychain that allows you to attach it easily to your bag, purse, keys or even belt loops for easy access. In an emergency you simply need to pull the pin out of the top of the device or press the SOS button twice, which will activate 130-140dB alarm to alert others around you. As an added feature there is a LED light at the end of the device to illuminate dark surroundings.

As an added benefit, you can get this device in different colours which makes it easier to match with your bag or keys so that it can be more discreet.

 

Heart Shape Personal Security Alarm

A more discreet alarm that looks more like a keychain, this device is a reflective heart shape but is also a deceiving alarm. Simply pull the pin from the top and a 130dB alarm will sound that can be heard from up to 600 feet, alerting others that you feel threatened or are in danger. The battery included has a yearlong 365-day standby time, ensuring that should you need it the alarm will sound.

 

Phone Apps to Keep you Safe

One Scream

This app is the perfect companion for those travelling alone, especially at night, to feel more confident that even if you can’t reach your phone or personal security alarm in an emergency you are still offered some protection.

How does the app work?

When running on the background of your phone, One Scream can detect a panicked scream, identify your location, and send an alert to help to your dedicated emergency contacts even if buried at the bottom of your bag.

When you are in danger and cannot reach your phone

  1. Your panicked scream triggers the app.
  2. A loud siren is activated, the phone starts vibrating, and a notification pops up.
  3. There is a 20 second period to allow you to cancel the alarm.
  4. If not aborted, an automated message is sent to your emergency contacts alongside your location.
  5. If you and your emergency contact have an android phone, a phone line is opened so that they can hear the real events.

How to set up the app

To set up the app, simply add up to 3 different contacts to be notified when you need help and activate the app to run in the background of your phone whist you are on the move. Your emergency contacts will also need to download the app from the app store to get the notifications should there be an emergency.

 

One Scream FAQs

What if I don’t have signal or a connection?

If you don’t have signal, the app will still work in terms of creating a loud siren but will not be able to notify your contacts. Not to worry however as this is still a very effective alert system for people in the surrounding area and acts as a deterrent.

Is my location monitored?

Your location is only detected when the app has activated due to detecting a scream, otherwise your location is not shared.

 

Parachute

When an emergency occurs, the Parachute app starts a visual and audio live recording whilst also sending a live location to your designated emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts can then access the live recording to understand the situation and see in real time what is going on, whilst also allowing you to see the status of the alerts and whether the alerts have been successfully received.

How to set up the app

Once downloaded from the app store, the app requires a monthly subscription, however with the vast amount of features the cost is high value for money. You then need to allocate emergency contacts with information for how to contact them.

 

Emergency SOS (ISO, Apple)

A built-in feature for Apple phones, this allows for an emergency SOS to be sent out to both your emergency contacts and the local authorities to alert that you are in need for help.

How does it work?

Once set up in the phone’s settings, you simply press the lock button on the phone 5 times to activate the emergency SOS, from there a loud siren activates from the phone and you have 5 seconds to deactivate the distress call before your emergency contacts are notified of your situation and your location and a call to emergency services are connected.

How do I set up the Emergency SOS?

The emergency SOS is already active on all iPhones but should you wish to add emergency contacts, you need to go into the settings searching for ‘emergency SOS’.

How to add emergency contacts

  1. Open the Health App and tap your profile picture.
  2. Open the Medical ID.
  3. Select Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Scroll to the emergency contact section and tap the green plus button.
  5. Create a new contact with their details and their relationship to you.
  6. Tap done to complete.