Enginursday: Secure DIY Garage Door Opener

Using cryptographic authentication, we created a super-secure remote control to open a garage!

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Are you concerned with the security weaknesses found in most garage door openers? Join us as we highlight a DIY solution using the SparkFun Cryptographic Co-processor. Using all Qwiic boards, we created a super-secure garage door opener!

We've also written a complete tutorial on how to create your own. Check that out here:

Secure DIY Garage Door Opener

January 16, 2020

Did you know that most garage doors are at risk of a roll jam attack? Here we make a DIY garage door remote-control system that is much more secure than most commercial-ready products using the latest in ECC cryptography.

At its core, this project is a wireless button controller, so it could be used for many other applications. The next step is upping the security of the car key FOB to avoid roll-jam attacks. What might you use this security for?


Comments 4 comments

  • One more thought on security: On TV I keep seeing the police saying to NOT leave your garage door open -- that there are criminal types that cruise around looking for open garage doors, and even if someone is in the house, they can still snatch valuables such as golf clubs, tools, etc. I have a friend who keeps forgetting to close her garage door -- I've thought of building a small transmitter of some sort and mounting it on her car, then having a "wall box" of some sort that would detect if the door is open (e.g., a magnetic switch to detect when it's closed) and a receiver to see if the car is in the driveway (it could "hear" the aforementioned transmitter). After sounding some sort of an alarm, after a few minutes, if the car isn't within range and the door is open, it would close the door. (It would also have an "override" for situations where, say, the car was parked out in the street while yard work was being performed.) The cryptography stuff would certainly enhance the "spoofing resistance" of this...

    On a related tangent, I've been thinking about setting up a system with an ESP-8266 and one of the magnetic sensors, using MQTT, to let me know when I forgot to close the garage door at night. I'm also toying with the idea of putting a light sensor of some sort to detect when I left the garage light on.

    Oh, yes: On the suggestion that it's surprising that a "DIY" solution "is much more secure than most commercial-ready products", the "off beat" solution can be more of a deterrant than the "off the shelf" solution to most crackers -- it's much more effective use of their time & resources to crack something that lots of people have than to try to crack something that's "one off". (I've heard generals say that the scariest enemy is the amateur, because they can't predict what the amateur is going to do, whereas with the professional enemy they've got a good idea what his [or her] course of action is likely to be.)

  • Great demo of cryptography, Pete, but IMHO, for most folks it's vast overkill. The typical home robery is going to be done by someone, probably a drug addict, who has neither the financial nor mental resources to "spoof" your garage door opener, but will do a "forced entry". Also, note that this provides no protection from someone breaking into (even a locked) car parked outside and using the remote to open the door.

    On a somewhat related topic, I recall hearing an "urban legend" back in the 1980s that the Secret Service happened to use a frequency that corresponded to the then-current garage door openers, and discovered this when they were preparing for a POTUS visit and using their radios were "saluted" by all the garage doors on the block opening in unison when they keyed up their radios.

    I've put some other comments on the tutorial, but there's one other minor nit: Under "Power Considerations", it says "we'd me more likely" -- methinks it should be "be" rather than "me"...

  • Sweet. =)

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