Since 1926, most American homes have relied on garage door openers to secure their properties. However, in the last few years, hackers say it’s possible to get in. Today Sy King, Orlando locksmith will take the time to investigate if garage doors openers are hack proof.

Before we go into details about garage door vulnerabilities, our locksmith in Orlando team will go back to basics and explain how garage door openers work. Garage door openers became popular after World War II. These openers involved a wired switch that was run from the door motor to a button that was pressed from the inside of the vehicle.

As technology improved, the wireless remote began using radio signals to transmit a code from the remote to the opener device. When the code was received and accepted, the opener would run the motor to open or close the door.

Dip switches

dip switches

Later in the 1960’s automatic doors were highly popular. But manufacturers realized that all doors used the same code and any remote opener could open them. This mechanism led thieves to buy few control remotes from different manufacturers to access people’s homes.  This became a security concern for the garage industry. Due to this, the industry developed it new changeable codes.

Manufacturers designed new door openers with a code that was able to be re-written into a personalized code by the owner. The new programmable devices had a series of up to 12 switches that could be set to create a unique code, meaning that there were up to 4,096 possible codes that would reduce the possibility of thieves matching a garage code with a standard remote.

Although this might sound like a large number of possible codes, it’s not much in binary terms. In fact, using a two character alphanumeric password would be more secure than this and would provide more combinations.

From a kid toy to a garage door hacking device

kids toys

Sam Kamkar realized that he was able to crack the code very fast using a children’s code called IM-ME.  The way he did was by sending every possible code to unlock the door. He transmitted each code five times with a waiting period. He figure-out he could send them all to the door in 29 minutes.

A  burglar could seat outside, for 29 minutes and open a house gate. But things get much worse, as Kamkar shortened the length of time it took to open the door using math. Kamkar even transmitted each code once instead of 5 times, he reduces the time to 6 minutes.

But don’t panic! Rolling code remotes reduce this risk!

Most door opener manufactures have combated brute force attacks through rolling codes, this means that the code remotes use, changes every single time a door is opened.