Reading 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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