It’s been over two years now since Tuesday, August 8th 2017 when an auto-update turned thousands of AirBnB smart locks to actual bricks. I’m still giggling.
According to reports (from BleepingComputer and Gizmodo), a popular digital door lock promoted by AirBnB and manufactured by Lockstate became brain-dead after an automatic update was downloaded to it. The Lockstate firmware update contained a serious flaw that not only rendered the locks unusable, but also turned off the ability to do further updates. This turned the large and expensive locks into, effectively, bricks.
There were immediate reports of AirBnB customers being locked out of their lodgings, some with serious consequences. Unit managers who can live hours away from the actual locations, were forced to run with physical keys to unlock the doors, sometimes taking up to a day to arrive.
Lockstate did offer to send new locks, but could only offer a 14-20 day processing time. While Twitter blew up over the inconvenience, AirBnb officially reported only about 200 hosts used the lock and that the issue was immediately resolved. Threatpost reported over 500 customers were effected.
My imagination immediately kicked in: what if the update had left the doors unlocked? What if a main character had to get into that unit? What if something became locked inside that they couldn’t get? Technology is often a plot twist we need.