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Russian Lock Company Provides Phone-based Home Access

Guardian's system employs NFC and BLE technologies to enable home owners to unlock their doors without the use of a physical key, simply by coming within range of a door or tapping a phone near a lock.
By Claire Swedberg

To enable the key fob's use, Kornienko says, an individual must program the lock to accept the unique ID encoded to that fob by pressing a button inside the device. When the button is pressed, the device uses the NFC transmission to identify the fob and program its unique ID into the system. Alternatively, a person can use the mobile app to set up the key fob for use with that cyber lock, utilizing AES encryption. The lock can accommodate a mechanical key as well.

To employ the system, an individual first taps his or her phone near the front door. The reader captures the unique ID number, with cryptographic protection for security, via either NFC or BLE, then confirms that the ID is authorized to open that lock. If so, it releases its locking mechanism and the individual may then enter. To lock the door again, users can utilize the app or a mechanical key.

The system gives residents the freedom to tap their phone near the lock, triggering its release.
The system is intended to make home access not only more convenient, but safer. "RFID locks increase the security of your home," Kornienko states. "Thieves already have well-studied all types of mechanical locks," but have little experience with RFID. The encryption in the ESMART system is intended to protect users from hackers who might try to access RFID transmissions or clone access codes. In addition to AES data encryption, he says, key diversification and the CMAC signature protect the unique ID—which serves as the user's key—from replay attacks.

Alexey Gvozdev
The device has been commercially available since late 2018. "Every day, the number of orders is growing," Gvozdev reports. "People like the convenience and safety of this model." While there are other cyber locks available in Europe that employ BLE and NFC technologies, he notes, the ESMART Cyber lock offers unique features. For instance, it has a heating function to keep the mechanism warm enough to operate during Russian winters. The battery-powered locking device automatically begins warming itself if the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). The device is also water-resistant and works when immersed in water or frozen in ice.

Guardian is among the three largest manufacturers of mechanical locks in Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Gvozdev says. Its products are sold through its dealer network in Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Russia, and the firm is currently in discussions with partners in Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia as well.

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