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  #1  
Old November 1st, 2003, 03:49 PM
gbellucci
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Lately, I find myself concerned about the possibility that anyone with an X10 remote could walk up to my house and "hack" their way in, create havoc or simply be a pain in the @ss.

I have a fairly common inventory of X10 devices scattered thoughout my house. Most of the equipment is programmed through HomeSeer events and scripts to do the "nice" things -- turn on lights at dusk, announce people at the doors, turn off lights at night. During evening hours things like motion sensors are reprogrammed to turn on outside lights, inside lights, etc.

I have several virtual devices (driven by event programming and scripting) that can assume that people are asleep (lights are off/Televisions are off, etc). At this point, the system "Arms" itself by turning off all lights, reprogramming inside and outside motion detectors and arming the doors and windows. My system changes it's behavior depending on the time of day.

As a matter of convenience, I can press a button on my X10 remote and arm the system when I'm away (as opposed to when I'm in the house asleep). I didn't like the "one-button" arm/disarm strategy so I came up with a three button sequence to arm my system and a different three button sequence to disarm it.

I'm interested in hearing any other schemes people have employed for preventing the "would be x10 hacker".

Are there other people that have similar strategies in place. How do you tell your system that it is *you* that is pressing the buttons on the remote?

What have you done to "secure" your system given the high availability of X10 remotes, the possibility that you may have a device assigned to "A1" and the fact that you can't change the operating frequency of your X10 RF channel (like you can your garage door opener). X10 remotes and devices don't have things like "signatures" or encryption that make them unique.

What are your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old November 1st, 2003, 05:00 PM
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JustinGould JustinGould is offline
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While allowing the ARMING of your alarm via X10 is not a bad idea, allowing the DISarming of any security system through any method other than its system panels is a bad idea, IMO. A secure system is only as strong as its weakest link, and allowing yours to be disarmed via X10 opens up a gaping hole. I've been struggling with this very "balance" problem in developing HAI panel support for my HS addon, WAPSeer.

If you really need that sort of access to disarm your system, the soundest approach would be to have an additional panel installed in the room where you're doing all the arming/diarming from (for instance the master bedroom). You could have HS do any other work off the arm/disarm state of the system rather than having X10 do the arming/disarming. Just my opinion.

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  #3  
Old November 1st, 2003, 08:51 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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My simple rule of thumb is, don't allow X10 control of anything that you wouldn't want a kid in the street or on the Internet to be able to do.

Example, I can close my garage door by X10, but not open it. It is hardwired this way.

- Gordon

"Security is EVERYONE'S business!"
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  #4  
Old November 2nd, 2003, 06:35 PM
CraigShelley CraigShelley is offline
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Gordon,

I've just installed a Universal Module so I can send an X10 On to open/close the garage door. It isn't clear to me how you only close the garage door with X10. How did you do this? Thanks. Craig.
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  #5  
Old November 2nd, 2003, 07:38 PM
anogee
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I good way to secure a garage door is to use a normal magnet door switch, or even better, a garage door magnet switch and set it up so its only closed while the door is open. Then wire that in series with whatever you use to control your garage door. That way, you can only close the door, not open it via X-10.

My opinion is, and especially RF X-10 control, is not to use it for anything that involves security or safety. Period. If you want to use a key fob or wireless motion detectors that will trigger a security system, I use a Caddx loop receiver with key fobs that you can buy at Walmart for $35 under the GE brand name. Each is coded, so when you neigbor goes to turn on her light, it doesn't turn off your security system.
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  #6  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 10:56 AM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Almost what anogee described. I have a magnetic switch (the garage door switch) that is open when the door is fully closed, and that is wired in series with the universal module. That way, even if the door is only partially open, X10 can close it, but once fully closed, the X10 cannot open it.

I see lots of people leaving their garage door open a few inches for their pets, but I never do as 1> it allows critters into my trash in the garage, and 2> someone could reach in with a coat hangar or something to get to the manual release.

- Gordon

"Security is EVERYONE'S business!"
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  #7  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 11:09 AM
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Blade Blade is offline
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Do you have a link or do you know where I can get a relatively inexpensive magnetic switch that you used to accmplish this?

Cheers,
Bob

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  #8  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 12:33 PM
electron electron is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gordon Cunningham:
Almost what anogee described. I have a magnetic switch (the garage door switch) that is open when the door is fully closed, and that is wired in series with the universal module. That way, even if the door is only partially open, X10 can close it, but once fully closed, the X10 cannot open it.

I see lots of people leaving their garage door open a few inches for their pets, but I never do as 1&gt; it allows critters into my trash in the garage, and 2&gt; someone could reach in with a coat hangar or something to get to the manual release.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If I am not mistaken, doesn't the garage door go back up when you hit the button, and the last action was the door closing? I only have 1 button to control my door, and depending on the previous motion, it does different things when the door was stopped while opening/closing.

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  #9  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 01:37 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Blade, Radio Shack sells the door/window-style magnetic reed switches for alarm systems - those owudl work. Any home store or possily hardware store that carries garage door equipment should have the garage door switches.

Dan, yes, if the door is already open and someone toggles the universal module, the door will begin moving in the direction opposite the last motion. My view is that if the door is open, it's open - doesn't matter if it's 1 inch or 7 feet. Closed means the bottom is seated on the threshold.

However, you can handle this in the script: if my door is open for more than 30 minutes, HS will close it by sending a universal module toggle via X10. It will do this every minute for 10 minutes until the door is sensed as closed (using my secure home alarm sensor interface), announcing via TTS each time it tries to close the door, and finally after 10 minutes if it cannot sense the door is closed, it sends me a message via cell phone and email and stops trying to close it assuming something is wrong (which can happen if something is in the way, of course). You could easily add this to an "away" script - if the garage door is opening and we're away, HS better call me!

Once it is closed, it cannot be opened via the universal module - we use key fobs or keypads with the normal garage door opener RF capabilities.

HS also announces that the door is open every minute as long as the door is sensed as open, as a reminder. I also have some announcement and sensor override events to allow me to work out there with the door open for an hour or so without the nagging, at which time it re-enables itself (in case I forget) and starts announcements and timing again.

Since implementing this, the garage door has never been left open overnight. The universal module includes a beeper, so it beeps just before closing the door - a nice, if short, warning signal.

I also cooked up a script to monitor the patio doors and windows when my grandaughter comes over, just in case someone leaves them unlocked and she attempts to go out by the pool. Even though my alarm beeps each time a door/windows is opened, I wanted something a little more noticeable, and HS TTS does a good job. I call it my Sneaky Rosalyn Warning System.

- Gordon

"Security is EVERYONE'S business!"
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  #10  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 02:01 PM
electron electron is offline
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my system is pretty similar. if the garage door is open, and the car has left the garage, and no motion has been detected in the house for a few minutes (so it knows everyone was in the car), then it calls me on my cell phone to notify me that the door has been left open.

At any time the door is open, it also announces every 10 minutes that the garage door is open, and while the door is open, the Audrey Stylus LED continiously blinks on and off. So I pretty much got it all covered (there are a few other details), but would be nice if the house could close the garage door remotely. Your method of just trying to engage the garage door would indeed eventually close the garagedoor (should after 1-2 tries max) if the door was partially open already. I will be implementing this now, but I have to remove my Powerflash unit first, and switch to the gameport solution, the pf unit is just to unreliable for this job.

But the WAF is huge!!

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  #11  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 02:17 PM
anogee
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Even with the magnet switch, I would never myself use X-10 to control a garage door. X-10 is not reliable enough, in my book. In a former home I had an X-10 controlled closer like described here. While I was unloading groceries, it closed the garage on my tailgate. Not sure what triggered it, but it doesn't really matter. Cost $500 in bodywork to fix that one, if I remember correctly. My current garage door is now hardwired and controlled by my Omni panel.
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  #12  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 06:03 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Ouch! That was an expensive way to find out about side effects, anogee. I guess I've been lucky, but then again, we have about 3 feet of overhanging roof under the eaves, plus the garage is so full I couldn't get back into it if I wanted.

- Gordon

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  #13  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 07:00 PM
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jrfuda jrfuda is offline
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Don't most garage doors come with some sort of sensor to detect if someone or thing is in the way of the door and prevent it from closing? Couldn't this be used as a safety device to ensure that your car, sleepy dog or drunk friend doesn't get crushed by the garage door? Some how added as a condition to if the door could close or not and override (or reverse) the door close command as soon as something trips the sensor, like regular old garage door openers do?

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  #14  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 07:11 PM
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huggy591 huggy591 is offline
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Yes, they do have that feature these days, as well as a beam across the bottom of the door opening like elevators do to determine if someone walks through it. But there is a certain amount of resistance when the door comes down that has to be overcome (usually adjustable) in order to kick it into reverse, and it might easily dent a sheet metal door, such as the liftgate of a van or SUV when it was up, plus possibly push it with enough force to close it, scraping all the way... mine probably wouldn't do much more than scratch my pickup tailgate, but...

That mechanism is internal to the garage door opener, probably physical in nature (flips a switch), and is not exposed to control via HS unless it was hacked into.

Of course, you could also alter the path of the beam and perhaps make it zig-zag across the opening of the door to better catch a liftgate or tailgate sticking through.


- Gordon

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  #15  
Old November 3rd, 2003, 10:13 PM
SPYguy
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Justin Gould:
DISarming of any security system through any method other than its system panels is a bad idea, IMO. A secure system is only as strong as its weakest link, and allowing yours to be disarmed via X10 opens up a gaping hole.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm in agreement with Justin, however, if this is something that you want to use, you could set up an error checking routine so it disables the remote disarm function if more than three attempts are made.

You could also set up a script that randomizes the disarm code and programs it to a new sequence (alerting you to the change before it takes effect, of course).

- SPYguy
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  #16  
Old November 4th, 2003, 09:49 AM
shersh shersh is offline
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I have plugged my garage door into appliance modules. In vacation mode I turn the modules off so the garage door has no power. If my family were more predictable I could probably work this into a daily routine.

I am reluctant to use powerflash modules to close the Garage door and have drilled into my families head that you do not close the garage door unless you are watching it. I like to know it is open however and will use HS to alert me to the condition.
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  #17  
Old November 4th, 2003, 09:52 AM
anogee
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Yes, they do have that feature these days, as well as a beam across the bottom of the door opening like elevators do to determine if someone walks through it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The beams required on garage doors are 6" off the ground and designed to keep kids from getting smushed, and not much more.

A correctly adjust garage door opener will reverse when it hits a moderate amount of resistance, and that could help as well, depending upon exactly what angle the door hits on object. If the door hits directly on it, you should be O.K., but if the door slides along it, your out of luck.

If you insist on using X-10 to open or close your door, you can get some security by using two codes on different housecodes to trigger it. Set both of the universal modules for a short timed trigger, and wire them in series. That way, you will need to send both codes within a few seconds of each other, which should be fairly immune to noise.
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  #18  
Old November 4th, 2003, 03:03 PM
napoleon3rd
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Never considered this "trick", and may adopt such sequence method.

Having said that I am more concerned about failing x10 than its openness...
I would be surprised if burglars walk around with an x10 Palmpad and try for 10 minutes to get to the right frequency not even knowing if the house is "simple-x10" protected...

There is a bigger risk with the web HS monitoring of through guest-mode: cameras and seeing if the people are in, the system armed, learning habit-patterns of a HS-house, etc.

Gordon, a question: how do you get the SMS sent to your cellphone?

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  #19  
Old November 5th, 2003, 08:09 AM
larrymull
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It's a nice feature for those who like to share and those who like to see other's setups, but it's a security hole. Given that someone was able to obtain your physical address, they can monitor your house for a pattern of occupancy.

It's likely that you guys will have an alarm as well, but do you really want to expose your daily routine?
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  #20  
Old November 6th, 2003, 02:44 PM
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Blade Blade is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
Blade, Radio Shack sells the door/window-style magnetic reed switches for alarm systems - those owudl work. Any home store or possily hardware store that carries garage door equipment should have the garage door switches.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Can anyone tell me exactly which magnetic reed switch at Rat Shack I need to get in order to use a Universal Module to tell if my garage door is open or closed. I also only want to be able to close the garage door. I do not want to be able to open it (for security reasons).

I line in Canada so if you could point me to a radio shack part in Canada I would appreciate it.

Cheers,
Bob

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