D+AS MAGAZINE

CLIPPINGS — How to Hack Any Garage Door?

© 2008 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2008
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 66-67


CLIPPINGS
Garage Doors and Openers in the Media

Clippings are brief summaries of recent news articles in the consumer media. These stories offer insightful clues to the latest trends for the door business.


How to Hack Any Garage Door?

Source: “How to Hack Any Garage Door” video, YouTube.com and HouseholdHacker.com, posted Dec. 20, 2007.

A new video has been posted on the Internet, purporting to give instructions on “How to Hack Any Garage Door.” Produced by the “Household Hacker,” this 5-minute video has been viewed more than 400,000 times on YouTube and has attracted more than 1,000 comments. If you search for “garage door” on YouTube, this video is ranked #1.

The video tells viewers to strip one end of a USB cable and then attach its four wires to the inside of a garage door transmitter. After plugging the cable’s other end into the USB port of a computer and running “cracking software,” you will supposedly be able to open “any garage door” with the transmitter.

The video’s disclaimer (if you can find it) says, “Our demonstration is a proof of concept of what could be done if not properly protected by a rolling encryption coded garage door opener. This is the most secure form of garage door opening technology.”

Editor’s Note: Reviewing the video with several electrical engineers convinced us that the video is an outright hoax. Its hacking procedures (1) are demonstrably false, (2) can damage computers, and (3) needlessly scare consumers into thinking that their garage doors can be easily opened.

The video originated from www.householdhacker.com, which appears to make money by hosting Google ads. Since the site promotes “hacking” and “illegal activity” (breaking into garages), the site violates Google’s AdSense policies. In August, we notified Google of the site’s violations.

On the Household Hacker site, the garage door video is the fifth most popular posting. The fourth most popular video is “How to Turn Your iPod Into a Taser.”


Hurricane Poll: Widespread Ignorance of a Garage Door’s Importance

Source: “Special Report: Ho-Hum… Poll Finds Residents of Coastal States Dangerously Complacent,” Hurricane Protection magazine, Summer 2008.

This story contains the results of a new Mason-Dixon poll released at the National Hurricane Center on May 29, 2008. The poll reveals that residents in hurricane-prone areas are complacent and ill-prepared for damaging storms.

As quoted in the story, “95 percent (of poll respondents) didn’t know garage doors are the part of a home most likely to fail during a hurricane, yet garage doors can be easily strengthened at a modest cost with a reinforcement kit.”

The poll also revealed that 85 percent have taken no steps to make their homes stronger since the last hurricane season. The 2008 National Hurricane Survival Initiative (www.HurricaneSafety.org) educates residents in hurricane-vulnerable states about risks and steps to minimize damage.

Editor’s Note: The words “most likely to fail” and the promotion of easy reinforcement kits may be unfortunate, but the story helps stress the critically important role of garage doors.

Good News: DASMA Technical Director Joe Hetzel has contacted the editor of Hurricane Protection magazine. The editor wants to work with DASMA on a future article that stresses the importance of code-compliant garage doors and proper installation. The article is planned for the winter 2009 issue.


Garage Door: “The First Thing to Go”

Source: Mike Kaszuba, “Do Garage Doors Open the Door to Tornado Damage?” Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.), July 6, 2008.

“The garage door is often the first thing to go.” That’s how this Minnesota newspaper story about tornado damage begins. When high winds hit a home, “the failure of many garage doors to withstand the force can become the first link in a disastrous chain reaction.”

After a damaging tornado in September 2006, the city building inspector of Rogers, Minn., told state officials that “you guys got to do something” about requiring stronger garage doors.

So, in 2007, Minnesota adopted language from the International Residential Code and required that new residential garage doors must be able to withstand a 90-mph gust for three seconds. The old standard was 80 mph.

This lengthy story quotes several sources. Some say the new requirement is senseless, others say it’s not enough.

Editor’s Note: This story incited 59 comments to the newspaper’s Web site. Many readers scoffed at government meddling that needlessly increases costs, while others lauded the state’s efforts to improve safety and minimize damage.

This story demonstrates how the wind-load issue is spreading far inland. Door dealers everywhere would be wise to get acquainted with the importance of garage doors and code compliance. If you don’t know the wind load of the doors you install, ask your manufacturer.


Garage Doors: Where Danger Comes Home

Source: Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub, “Doorway to Disaster: Garage Door Is Where a Storm's Danger Comes Home,” Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), June 3, 2008.

“If you don't secure your garage door properly, you may be placing your home and family in grave jeopardy,” warns this story. “The garage door, the largest and weakest opening in your house, is the area of your home most likely to fail first.”

This article, from hurricane central in South Florida, cites several expert engineers and notes that Florida homeowners are still often ignorant of the importance of code-compliant garage doors. The story outlines various ways and costs of bringing a door up to code.

Readers who are unsure if their garage doors meet the new codes are encouraged to look for a sticker on the door that gives the pressure rating, wind-speed rating, or Miami-Dade County approval.

Editor’s Note: In Minnesota (see story above), they’re complaining about the 90-mph code. In Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties, garage doors must meet a wind load of 150 mph, and garage door windows are prohibited.

After all the hurricanes that have devastated Florida, you’d think homeowners would know about code-compliant garage doors. This story tells me that our industry, both dealers and manufacturers, must continually inform homeowners, year in and year out.


To comment on any of these clippings, send an e-mail to the editor at trw@tomwadsworth.com.