Garage Door Security Is a Serious Matter
When you’re making repairs and replacing fixtures for your home, you can’t always afford to pay top dollar, so sometimes it makes sense to cut a few corners to cut costs. If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t put your garage at the top of your list of expensive renovations and upgrades, so you might be thinking about going with a lower quality garage door to save some money. However, your garage door is actually your first line of defense against home invasions. That’s why it’s important to go with a quality door that’s at least as secure as the front door of your home. Installing a cheaper garage door and garage door opener is a good way to become a prime target for thieves and home invaders.
Trends and Statistics in Home Burglary
Home burglaries tend to follow trends and patterns, and looking at statistical evidence can tell you a lot about your risk level and how to protect your home. The “Scholar of Thievery”, Detective Kevin Coffey, has said, “Most criminals who burglarize homes are looking for an easy hit; a house that they can break into quickly, take something of value, and leave without being detected.” In other words, if you give them a challenge, thieves are a lot less likely to even try to break into your home.
Thieves almost always look for ways to get into a home through the ground floor or the first floor, and they’re actually much more likely to make an attempt when people are away at work or school during the day. Two-occupant households are the biggest targets, and most criminals won’t spend a lot of time trying to get in. If it takes more than a minute, they leave instead of risking getting caught. Once they do get inside, most thieves spend no more than about five minutes looking for valuable property to steal.
While the back door of the house is the most popular place for burglars to attempt to break in, the garage door comes in a close second. This is an interesting fact, as we know that criminals always target the easiest entry point. It says a lot about how easy it is to break into a cheap garage door.
Open the door with a coat hanger!
Homeowners who opt for cheaper garage doors leave themselves wide open to burglars who have spent a lot of time looking for easy targets. One of the most popular methods that these criminals use is to slip a coat hanger through the top panel of the garage door and hook it through the garage door opener’s red emergency release cord. Then, with the garage door opener disconnected from the door, they can just open it with no trouble at all. You might think that this is an uncommon phenomenon, but quite a few YouTube videos show exactly how to do it.
Those videos are free to anyone, and you can bet that plenty of thieves have watched them and practiced this trick. Fortunately, with a higher quality garage door, you’ll get higher quality seals and panels that won’t yield to someone pushing a coat hanger through them.
Thieves Can Hack Cheap Remote Openers
Your garage door’s seals aren’t the only security risk you should look out for, either. Buying a cheap remote opener makes you an easy target for criminals who want to get into your home. Security researcher Samy Kamkar has shown that he’s found an easy way to hack into cheap garage remote openers using nothing more than a cheap, old texting toy called IM-ME.
Basically, any hacker can program the toy to cycle through all of the opening codes used for home garage door openers. Then by attaching an antenna to the toy, they can transmit those signals and just wait for the right code to trip the garage door on your house. Opening your garage door this way – if you have a cheap remote opener – takes less than a minute.
Samy’s hack exploits cheap remote openers that have fixed codes, but it doesn’t work on rolling code systems. With a rolling code system, the correct two-digit opening code changes frequently, making it much harder to hack and much harder to gain access to your garage and your home.
Unfortunately, cheap, fixed code garage door openers are really common. In fact, they’re so common that Samy found that his hack actually worked on his own condo garage in LA, even though the building wasn’t very old at all. Trying to save a little money by going with a fixed code remote opener could cost you a very expensive break-in.
Keep Your Home Safe With a High-Quality Garage Door System
Saving a little bit of cash on your garage door and garage door opener now is really not worth risking a home invasion later. If you’re thinking about a new garage door and opener, pay attention to how well the system seals your door and whether or not it offers a rolling code opener.