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My house has a garage. The garage has a "garage opener" - so when I leave home, I press a button and the gate lowers. There's a door between the garage and house. What level of security do people usually give this door? What kind of lock do I need. Is the external garage door considered as secure as a dead bolted door? Is it unwise to simply leave the internal garage door unlocked just like any other internal door in my house?

I understand that I should err on the side of caution, but I just wanted to get an idea for what the "standards" are.

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    This question may be subjective, and localized. For example. Where I live, folks commonly leave doors unlocked, and even open (especially garage doors). In other areas, folks have steel bars on their doors and windows. It will also completely depend on what makes you, and your family feel safe. – Tester101 Apr 17 '15 at 12:21
  • From 1986: SIGNALS TO REAGAN'S PLANE MIGHT BE AFFECTING DOORS nytimes.com/1986/04/05/us/… Word at the time was that some garage doors would open of their own accord whenever air force one flew over. Presumably communication protocols between remotes and doors have gotten more secure since back then. However, it's still a signal and I'd be surprised if a clever crook couldn't hack his way in with a not terribly complex emulation device. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 17 '15 at 16:50
  • @WayfaringStranger Modern garage door openers use rolling code technology, which makes it difficult for crooks to hack their way in. – Tester101 Apr 17 '15 at 18:51
  • Apparently still a problem in 2015: Opening Fixed-Code Garage Doors With a Toy In 10 Seconds: it.slashdot.org/story/15/06/05/175253/… – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 5 '15 at 17:29
  • Samy Kamkar (same guy that did the fixed-code opener) also developed a device called the RollJam that can intercept rolling codes, which was presented at DefCon 2015. It's a bit more involved to actually exploit, but it's doable. – gregmac Aug 18 '15 at 21:18
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If your garage door opener is made in the last 10-15 years, it's almost certainly impossible to "hack" the code. Modern openers use unique codes for each remote with 64- or 128-bit keys (which allow for a ridiculously huge number of possibilities).

However, it can be really easy to break into a garage mechanically, using the quick release:

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As others have said, once inside, someone is free to work on the door.

Often the walls between the garage and house are nothing more than drywall with insulation in it, so it's also possible to simply cut/smash the drywall and go around the locked door.

A locked door may thwart a crime of opportunity (if the garage door is left open, for example) but if someone actually goes through the effort of opening the door it doesn't really seem like a really big obstacle.

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I think it all depends on yourself. Just remember that if someone is intruding in your garage already they can pretty much break that door without to much disturbance form outside. If your concern is slightly better security yes lock it. Only real regulatory concern that I know of is that inside garage doors (at least where I live in South Africa) need to be fire resistant. So in general they are much stronger (except for hinges and lock).

I generally lock the door from inside when sleeping as it provides another barrier to entry. Most garage door mechanisms can be forced open with very little noise, so locking the inside door does provide some additional safety.

If you are concerned about break-in safety rather have a sensor fitted to the garage door and a PIR inside the garage.

These are my views. Everyone will have slightly different views depending on what they see as priorities. Take the arguments and adjust to your own taste.

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It mostly depends on the type of garage door (composite slider, thin aluminium, or solid wood flip up etc... ) but generally the automated motors connected to your door are extremely tough at preventing a forced opening (i.e by hand)

The problem comes where most garage openers have a quick release coupler which is made from plastic (i.e it can get brittle). I have seen it that my door can release the coupler with enough force from the outside. So you would need to assess your garage door first.

The other issue is most garage doors can be set to back up in the event of a collision, so if there is something in the way, you may drive off and have it open up again without you noticing.

Another issue is signal mirroring on your remote, Depending on the remote, some older types can be copied fairly easily (this is extremely rare)

With that said.. (in the crime ridden area where I live) many hi-jackings occur when you are getting out of the car, If someone does attempt to follow you into your house, its always a good idea to have a slam-lock style gate from the garage to the house so that you can escape into the safety of the house.

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I recall several cases where a car was stolen from the airport long-term parking lot, the car's GPS system directed the thieves straight to the car owner's house ("Home" or "Location #1"), the garage door opener in the vehicle let them in and they used the tools in the garage to open the interior door. Load up the car with valuables then drive away.

The outer garage door is the weakest entry point in most houses - it's usually a single layer of thin lumber with locks that can best be described as a speedbump. The inner garage door is basically no different than your back door, except it has a shelter around it to hide anyone working on the door. If it's daytime, the sound of power tools from inside the garage would be normal.

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I've never had an attached garage but if I did, I'd have a gate latch deadbolt because I'd be too lazy to lock it every time and wouldn't want to forget.

I have one installed in a common area with a stay-unlocked-lever for convenience (for taking out the trash, ect.) I'd at least have a classic deadbolt to throw when I'm home.

I've driven down many an alley that had a open door, whether forgotten to be closed or opened by a stray RF signal, I'll never know... even when I've come home to find my own door open.

If you live in Chicago, the answer is yes. Canada probably not, eh?

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Add a second remote to turn off (deenergize the outlet) your opener, after you lower your door.

This will prevent an opening by a casual hacker.

There are a number of remotes available for home automation, some are plug in and would not require any wiring. The Z-wave solutions come to mind(which would require a hub.

I did this back in the day with an X-10 remote keyfob and a plug in switch module for a customer whose neighbor was activating her garage remote accidentally.

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Would locking it make it more secure? Sure.

Does it matter? Only if you aren't home.

Anyone who breaks into your garage when you aren't home will certainly use the garage cover to break through the door if you aren't home. Unless you have a steel door on a steel frame this is probably short work.

If you are home, I have never heard of someone opening up the garage door to get into the house. Thieves/Bad guys aren't this dumb. Garage doors are loud and this certainly would alert you more than them going through a window or picking another door.

So general advice, if you are gone for more than the day, lock it. Other than that it probably doesn't matter since there are far easier ways in your house.

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