The innovation of smart and connected homes is making life a lot easier for homeowners across the country. We can set the thermostat to the perfect temperature before we get home. We can re-order groceries automatically with the click of a button. We can even increase our energy efficiency and maximize home security. However, with all of this technology comes more potential threats. Just like our computers and smartphones, our homes are now vulnerable to hacking. This includes your garage door opener. However, don’t worry, you can protect your garage opener from being hacked with these few tips.
How Hackers Gain Access to Openers
There are two techniques that hackers use to gain access to openers. The first is called the brute force technique. Older garage door openers use fixed codes, commonly referred to as dip switches. This means that every time you use your garage door opener, the device uses the same code to grant you entry. With fixed codes, hackers can overwhelm the system with as many combinations as possible. Eventually, they will find the correct one that opens the door. With short passwords, like fixed codes, the brute force technique can be used rather quickly to gain access.
The second technique that hackers use is called OpenSesame. A security expert named Samy Kamkar discovered that he could hack his garage door opener using a readily available child’s toy. Again, with older fixed code openers, he modified the IM-ME messaging device to identify the correct code in under 10 seconds. Luckily, most newer garage door openers no longer use fixed codes. However, if you still have an older model, your garage could still be at risk.
Rolling Code Technology
To reduce the risk of being hacked, most garage door openers now use rolling codes. Rolling code uses a proprietary coding system that selects a new code from billions of possible combinations each time the system is activated. Check the manufacturer and model of your garage door to assure it uses rolling codes. If you have an older garage door opener, consider updating to a modern system to ensure that your garage and home will be protected.