This article is more than 1 year old
Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist
Tapplock: Once, twice, three times a screwup
And now... opening the back
YouTuber JerryRigEverything was one of the first to review the lock, and approached it in a purely physical way – scratching it, trying to snap the back off, etc etc.
He was fairly happy with it until he took a serious cutter to the lock to see what was inside and discovered… that the back is literally screwed into the body. He went out and bought a second lock and then stuck a GoPro mount to the back of it, discovering, to his amazement that it simply unscrewed "like an expensive cookie jar."
That gave access to the back of the lock and to what were bog-standard Phillips head screws that could remove using, you know, a screwdriver. Once inside, it was trivial to pop the lock.
JerryRigEverything concluded that it would be possible to crack any Tapplock within physical reach in under 30 seconds using nothing more than a mount and a screwdriver.
Followed an amazed response – and over a million views – Tapplock responded that the lock has a metal pin inside that is supposed to prevent the back panel from rotating.
"Tapplock has said my particular unit is defective, and should not have come apart that easily," he noted before generously adding: "It seems to be more of a defective unit situation, instead of a poor design situation. Tapplock said they have reviewed the quality control and found no other defective units."
Even if that is true, and JerryRigEverything had somehow stumbled on the only Tapplock in the world where this pin didn't actually work, it still leaves the issue of the screws that can be opened with a normal screwdriver. We're told the gadget maker will in future use proprietary screws, and will check to make sure the pin is in place.
Actions:— Tapplock (@Tapplock) June 4, 2018
1. Our QA now includes an inspection to make sure the pin mechanism is effective.
2. All future batches will use proprietary screws as a 2nd protective mechanism.
3. We are giving replacements to anyone who is able to open the back-cover without damaging the locks.
Also, if anyone can rotate the back off their lock, they should contact Tapplock for a new one.
Companies serious about security – which tends to include lock manufacturers – will usually use custom screws requiring custom screwdrivers. It costs a little more but it results in a higher quality product, for obvious reasons.
In short, there is significant evidence that Tapplock has struggled from day one to provide what it promised. Not exactly the first time that an Indiegogo-funded idea has fallen short when the people behind the idea don't have the experience or expertise to actually deliver.
But even in the long and inglorious history of user-funded hardware (wonder how that Ataribox is going?) the Tapplock stands out as having failed miserably to fulfill its core goals – in this case, security.
But that's not all. With Tapplock having seemingly done such a good job marketing its useless lock, there is actually already a Tapplock knock-off that is even less secure that its inspiration. How is that even possible?
The manufacturers of this gem of a lock have actually put a screw on the outside of the lock that allows you to access its guts.
When another lock-testing netizen made the manufacturer aware of this, it provided a response so amazing that it's almost impressive.
"We designed this fingerprint lock of againsting [sic] theft," it begins. "However the lock is invincible to the people who do not have a screwdriver."
If it was easy, folks, other companies would already have done it. We'll wait until someone who knows what they are doing comes out with a fingerprint lock. ®