Could Your Garage Door Be Hacked?
Is it possible that someone – a burglar, a thief, or worse – could gain entry to your home by hacking your garage door opener? The short answer is yes, it’s very possible.
Not the answer you wanted, is it?
But it’s the truth. Many garage door openers can be hacked. And as one man has recently proven, doing so is not much more than child’s play.
Toy or Ploy?
A man by the name of Samy Kamkar made some alterations to a Mattel texting toy called an IM-ME. With just a few simple changes to the toy, Kamkar turned it into a code-breaking tool. He can walk right up to a garage door, pull the toy out of his pocket, and have the door opened in just seconds.
The altered toy works by testing every possible code combo for a door – perhaps a less impressive feat than it seems, since garage door codes are not particularly complex. Kamkar demonstrated that any technically savvy burglar can come up with a device that will open hundreds of thousands of garage doors across the country.
Garage Door Hacking Isn’t New
Burglars have had the ability to hack garage doors for some time. But in the past, hacking a garage door involved stealing codes, not deducing them. Until recently, the bad guys could only get your garage door code by hiding and waiting for you to get home. Then when you activated your door, their equipment could grab the code.
But the new technology has made life much easier for the bad guys. Now they can just drive around a neighborhood, trying their device on any garage door, any time.
A Bit of Good News…
The news isn’t all bad. Not all garage doors can be hacked – at least not so easily.
Some garage door openers – particularly older ones – utilize “fixed-code” technology. That means that whatever code is programmed to trigger the opener remains fixed and unchanged. It’s like the combination to a combination lock; once you have that combination you can open that lock any time you please.
But other openers use “rolling-codes.” That technology generates a new code every time you hit the ‘open’ button on your garage door remote. The new code-breaker technology doesn’t work on rolling-code openers, only on fixed-code openers.
So it might be wise to determine what type of opener you have. A call to the manufacturer of the unit might be necessary to find out for sure. And if you learn that your opener uses fixed code technology – well, it might be time to go shopping for a new garage door opener.