Garage doors are convenient but there are different ways that hackers can compromise the security of the technology that seems to be safe and innocuous. Let’s figure out how they’re doing it to prevent it from happening to you!
How a Garage Door Opener Wireless Remote Worked with a Fixed Code
Until the post-WW2 era, garage door openers were relatively simple. They were invented in 1926 but only became popular after the war was won. The first garage door openers were designed with a closed wire system that linked the door to a button that would open the door from inside the car once pressed. The first set of wireless remotes were developed as radio technology progressed. The newer garage door openers adapted to the new technology by incorporating it into the system allowed the driver to have the remote with them wherever they went. The problem with this was that the first set of these remotes transmitted a simple code on a shared frequency which meant one opener could open many garage doors. This of course forced manufacturers to place a series of dipswitches in the remotes. These switches were set to “on” or “off” and acted like the code for the remote. There were a series of 12 dipswitches that provided 4,096 possible settings so this technology worked quite well. It would take someone trying to get into your garage a long time to figure out the settings that would open the door. Contemporary computers don’t have a lot of trouble going through 4,096 possible settings in about the time it takes you to blink once! This makes it extremely easy for hackers to bypass fixed code remotes quickly by flooding the receiver with all the possible combinations until the correct one opens the door.
Garage Door Rolling Code Technology
Can a child’s toy be used to hack a fixed code? A security expert by the name of Samy Kamkar was able to hack his own garage door by using a pink, plastic, discontinued text messaging toy made by Mattel. All he did was modify the toy by adding an inexpensive antenna add-on and an open source hardware interface to modify the software of the toy. He publicly released his findings to manufacturers to get them to alter their remote control devices for greater safety. This is one of the reasons rolling codes came to be. Rolling codes change the code every time the remote control is used so getting the correct code is highly unlikely but Samy Kamkar was able to get around these too! He would use a pair of radios to jam the signal while a third device stole the one used in an attempt to open the door. This prevents the system from rolling over to the next code because the receiver didn’t get the signal and makes it easy for the hacker to use the stolen code without rollover. Needless to say, after revealing his latest trick to manufacturers, they responded by making the codes expire faster.
Garage Door Services in Las Vegas, Summerlin, North LV & Henderson Nevada
Make sure the garage door opener you’re using works with rolling codes that make it harder for hackers to get in. If you open your remote to find dip switches, it’s a dead giveaway that your door isn’t as secure as it could be. If you have a vulnerable remote opener you can contact AAA Action Garage Doors to learn more about safety features built into new installations. For peace of mind contact us today!