Be Careful When Considering a “Cool Hack” for Opening Your Garage Door

Colorado Springs Garage Door - Phone HackReading about some of the latest hacks using the Siri voice assistant that allows you to run all kinds of your favorite gadgets via your smart phone is like something out of a Hollywood script. The ability to change television channels, get your bank balance, even open your garage door with a simple spoken command is a technology blend of MacGyver, Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against technology – or change, for that matter. The question in my mind is simple: is this change something that will make my life easier and more hassle-free? Or is it something that looks cool just because it’s the latest thing, and will be forgotten about tomorrow when the next latest new thing comes along?

Even worse, will these hacks allowing me to open my garage door whenever I say “open sesame” leave my home vulnerable to other hackers with a black-hat agenda of their own? Having a techie prankster “hijack” your television channels is one thing. Providing an open invitation to accessing your garage and home is a whole different ballgame.

What’s the Danger?

First of all, there is a big problem if your mobile device is lost or stolen. Like most people, you probably carry your iPhone with you everywhere. The scary fact of the matter is that just by opening your application, anybody who finds your smart phone can get access to a wealth of your personal information and passwords that, in the wrong hands, can cost you a bundle of money and a ton of headaches to fix.

How Can I Protect Myself?

One thing you can do is to download a smart phone-seeking application. A great app to check out is Find My iPhone. This not only helps you track down the location of your phone, but allows you to remotely lock it down. Another good idea is to password protect all of your mobile devices. While this won’t stop a determined hacker, it can buy you some time to contact your service provider and report your loss.

The real problem with using an iPhone app to access your garage door is how easy it makes breaking in to your garage for anybody with a little technical knowledge. All a smart crook needs is the ability to configure a USB drive into your system, and a quick software download to his or her phone.

While I would not recommend that anyone hack their garage door opener with an iPhone app, if you’re bound and determined to jump onto the latest techie craze, there are a few more steps to take to help protect yourself and your property.

Keep the door leading from your garage to your home securely locked, and consider replacing the standard flimsy door with a solid core door and dead bolt locks. You should also lock your garage door at night. Be sure to regularly check your garage door keypad for any USB devices that you didn’t install. If you find one, contact your garage door manufacturer for instructions on detecting and uninstalling any unwanted software. These extra steps may be a little bit of a hassle, but aren’t you and your family worth it?

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Great Garage Door Designs to Match Your Garage Makeover

Colorado Springs Garage Door - Cool Garage

While the residential garage is unlikely to fade away from memory anytime soon, it’s a fact that only 15 percent of American families are using their garage to park their cars in. Popular alternative uses include extra storage space – even if it’s nothing more than a disorganized mountain of cardboard boxes falling over one another! – a home theater, hobby or craft room, home office, greenhouse, rental studio apartment, recreation or game room, home gym; in short,  just about anything that the imagination can come up with.

If you’re planning a remodel to make better use of your garage space, you should also give some thought as to how well your existing garage door will – or will not – fit in with your new room.

Security, for example, could be a very important issue if you’re planning to transform your former garage into a home theater complete with expensive video and audio components. As any burglar worth his or her pry bar could tell you, if you could get them to talk!, entry through the garage door is one of the easiest and quickest access points to your home.

On the other hand, ease of access for your invited guests may be a key issue if your garage makeover plans call for a small rental apartment. Prospective tenants could hardly be expected to warm to the idea of using a traditional roll-up garage door to enter and exit their new home. At the very least, installation of a walk-through pedestrian door would be required.

Abundant sunlight could be an important factor for your home greenhouse plans. Healthy plants need sunlight, and plenty of it, and the majority of traditional garage door designs are a little weak when it comes to providing illumination.

The good news is garage doors today can be found in an almost endless variety of style and design options. Budget permitting, a custom garage door is another possibility, and it can be designed to meet your most demanding design requirements for whatever end use you have in mind for your new room.

Some basic design choices include the traditional overhead sectional roll-up door found on many homes throughout the country, the older one-piece tilt-up door, the barn style roll aside door, the popular carriage style door, the horizontal opening bi-fold door (this resembles the closet doors found in many homes), and the vertical opening bi-fold door, which is similar to the basic airplane hangar door.

Two great resources to help get your creative juices flowing to help you find just the right door for your particular needs are the Internet and your local garage door repair contractor.

Try a Google search for “alternative garage doors.” You’ll be directed to an impressive selection of garage door design ideas and sources. Houzz.com, for example, has 73,674 modern garage door design ideas!

Your local garage door repair professional can save you lots of time in your search for finding the right door by matching your requirements to the style and manufacturer that would be the best match for your new room. Are you ready to turn your dream ideas into reality?