Friday, March 11, 2005

(Dr. Seuss') The Hacker in the Diaper

When we moved into our first house last year, it had a security alarm system from the previous owner. We never bothered to hook it up with a monitoring service, so the whole system was sitting there unused.

Until last night, our two-and-half-year-old son somehow discovered he could reach the keypad near the front door (he is tall for his age), and started punching the keys like crazy. It was making all kinds of beeping sound, and my wife went and stopped him. So that was that.

Later that night I was going to Lowe's to pick up some gardening supplies. As soon as I opened the door into the garage, this ear-piercing alarm came on all through the house, something in the garage started blinking, our little hacker in the diaper started crying, while it was my turn to punch the keypad like crazy trying to stop the alarm. It was complete chaos, and for the life of me I couldn't stop the alarm, this ear-piercing, headache-inducing, baby-terrifying damn alarm. After trying different key combinations for a while, I finally gave up and went into the garage, flipped the main circuit breaker. The whole house went dark, and the alarm stopped! I counted to 10, and flipped it back on. I was fully expecting the alarm to come back on, as it was still ringing in my ears, but luckily it didn't. Feeling so proud of myself, I went back to get my car keys. The little hacker had calmed down and ready to go to bed, everything was back to normal. In his limited vocabulary, he was trying to point out the key fact that he only messed with the keypad next to the front door, while the alarm came on when I opened the door to the garage, so somehow it was my fault, not his. I didn't argue with him as I was trying to beat Lowe's closing time.

But you probably guessed it, as soon as I opened that door, the alarm came on again, fiercer than ever. That time I didn't hesitate and recycled the main power. Once again the alarm stopped, but I dared not to go out again. For the next 45 minutes, I was desperately googling for "resetting security alarm", running up and down the attic, inspecting the electrical enclosures in the master bedroom closet, and finally figured out how to cut the main power to the whole security system.

By that time our little hacker had fallen asleep, probably dreaming up his next big hack. And I had missed Lowe's closing time.

And I still haven't figured out how he alarmed the system in the first place. It's time to call up an alarm company.


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