An ordinary kid’s toy, Mattel’s “I M Me,” can be used to open garage doors in under ten seconds. Hackers aim the toy at your garage and presto, it opens.

Samy Kamkar, a security researcher and entrepreneur, did the hack to make it do that, and explained it all on YouTube. He said professional burglars already know how get these “open sesame” devices, so he has moved on by telling us how to check if our garage door openers are safe from this kind of attack. Ta-dah!

So here’s how to figure out if you could be holding an inadvertent open house. Look up the model of your garage remote control and find the product description. If you see “rolling code,” “hopping code,” “Security Plus,” or “Security Plus 2.0,” you’re safe.  If not, open your remote to see if it has dip switches. (Dip switches are very tiny white levers sitting in a small red or black box inside the remote control.)  If it does, it’s potentially exploitable. Consider upgrading to a door control that  has rolling codes in the product description. Examples are  Liftmaster or Chamberlain. Watch a video tutorial on this subject at Samy.pl. (The “dot pl” suffix is for Poland.)

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