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October 15, 2018

Yale Smart Alarm Borkage: The Smart Home has a Brain Freeze

Not what you need as you come home from work

By CBR Staff Writer

Home security company Yale has denied that a server outage caused anyone to be locked out of their house, after an app used to remotely set and turn off one its smart alarm product went down late last week.

The issue began when Yale announced that they were about to undertake a period of unplanned maintenance on their Smart Home application last Wednesday, and from there nothing went to plan.

Yale Security Smart Living is an ecosystem of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that allow you to set and control the alarm and surveillance cameras in your home from a remote device. Through an application on your phone you can lock the house and even use your smartphone as a replacement for your physical keys.

The issue began Wednesday when users experienced loading problems with the application that controls the Smart Alarm system.

Some found it slow to load, while others could not access it at all. Then came Thursday morning when alarm bells started to go off, literally. Yale Customers started taking to the customer service phone lines and Twitter to find out why they were, apparently, locked out of their smart home alarm systems.

Then the kids started to come home from school

Yale Smart Home

Yale told Computer Business Review by email: “At no point has there been a breach in our security, and all alarms have remained completely secure.”

A company spokesman added: “Customers can still enter and leave their home using their smart locks, as these are operated independently, either via the Conexis L1 app or via key tags, key cards and PIN codes. The Conexis L1 app has not been affected by this incident.”

The availability of the Conexis L1 application to use as an alternative key for your home lock is not something Yale’s Twitter customers appear to have been aware of, as they grappled with an inability to get it. Many had forgotten their pins or not brought the fob, trusting the app to work.

By Friday Yale were reporting that they had fixed the majority of the issues and that the system was restored to normal operation, something its customers continued to refute on Twitter.

Speaking to Computer Business Review, one of the customers affected by the outage, Paul Morgan, told us that due to the application not working on his phone he could not gain entry to his house via the application.

Four people live in his house, with two of them holding key fobs which were not affected by the outage, unfortunately both of them were out of town.

Mr Morgan commented that “Perhaps we assumed the alarm, which is a good product, will work with the smart app, rather than have to carry a cheap bulky plastic fob around all day. The outage seems to show it can’t be relied on to work 24/7 as I think it was down for over two days. I guess I will be buying two new key fobs for us, plus a third to leave with a neighbour who holds a spare set of keys”.

See Also: Manchester’s Smart City Future Shines Bright with Tesla System Addition

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