Are you always losing your keys or locking them in your house or car when you're on the outside? Are you on a first-name basis with your local locksmith? You're definitely not alone, as this is a common problem among a lot of people. Keys are small, and they're really easy to forget about, even if they are on a keyring with other keys. With a busy life and lots on your mind, it is a simple matter to neglect your keys. You may not even realize you've lost or locked them in something until you need them. That is why so many people find the new virtual key apps so appealing.
With a virtual key app, you can literally download your key from the cloud anywhere you have wireless internet service. It's a great way to make sure you never lose track of your keys again. But are these apps secure? Could a thief gain access to your keys through these apps and use them to break into your home, car, office, or other secure location? Before you download that app, here's what you need to know about virtual keys.
1. Anyone Can Get a Copy of Your Keys If You're Not Careful
The most common virtual key apps (and there are several) allow you to take a picture of your key or individual keys. These pictures are uploaded to the cloud, and you can download them to your phone or other mobile device whenever you need them.
If you've lost your keys or locked them in somewhere, all you have to do is take your phone or tablet to a locksmith or other key cutting place. Show the worker there the picture of our key, and a copy can be made for you very quickly.
However, the convenience of knowing you will never be without your keys for very long is offset by the potential for theft. If your mobile device is stolen, the thief could potentially gain access to the app and your keys.
Most electronics thieves are smart enough to unlock your passcode, so once your device is stolen, anything you own that requires a key is vulnerable to additional theft if you've put a copy of the key on the app. Key cutting places have no way of knowing if they are making a copy for the correct person or not, so they have to go ahead and do their jobs.
2. Your Keys Can Be Used Against You
One of the things people like about virtual key apps is that they can send copies to friends, family, employees, and love interests, and they can get their own copies made if they need to gain access to a person's house, car, or other secure area. This is great if you are on good terms with the person and trust them.
However, if your relationship goes sour, such as through having to fire someone or break up with them, those key copies can be used against you. According to ABC7Chicago.com, you can't get them back once you've shared them through the app. If you want to keep your belongings secure, you will need to get a locksmith to come out and re-key everything that might be compromised through your key sharing.
3. Thieves Can Take Pictures of Your Keys
If you leave your keys unattended, or hand them to an unscrupulous co-worker, valet, or other person, that person can use a virtual key app to take a picture of your keys. They can later get copies made of those keys and use them to break into your home or other secure area, all without you ever knowing they did it until you get robbed.
There are already tens of thousands of keys being copied through virtual key apps every day. People obviously like the convenience they offer. However, is the convenience worth the security risks? Only you can decide that for yourself.
However, before you download and use that key app, be sure you can keep it and your key information secure. You may just decide that when it comes to keys, you really can't get any more secure than using the real thing.