Burglars using jammers to disable wireless smart home security


Wireless smart sensors and cameras may be “screaming” about broken glass, open doors, and burglars moving inside the house, but those radio signals may never reach the homeowner’s phone.

After a series of robberies in Edina, Minneapolis, police suspect that burglars are using WiFi jammers to block off security system signals such as wireless security cameras, KARE 11, the local television station, has reported. The jammers can also disable door, window, and motion sensors.

Edina police believe that the suspects aren’t choosing houses at random –they’re researching carefully prior to burglarizing them. The suspects are stealing jewelry, safes, and high-end merchandise.

“It’s believed the burglars are not violent and tend to choose unoccupied houses,” the police’s report reads.

At the city safety meeting on January 31st, residents warned about the burglars using WiFi jammers to impact security systems, especially surveillance cameras.

Many home security devices connect directly to the WiFi network or a smart home hub using radio frequencies such as 2.4 GHz. Their signal strength is limited and is susceptible to interference.

Jammers can overpower signals from security devices by sending a “loud” noise in the same range of frequencies. For receivers, it’s then impossible to distinguish between the genuine signals and the disruptive noise generated by the jammers.

The use of jammers in the United States is banned by the Federal Communications Commission, as they can prevent people from making 911 and other emergency calls, pose serious risks to public safety communications, and interfere with other forms of day-to-day communications.

“The use of a phone jammer, GPS blocker, or other signal jamming device designed to intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications is a violation of federal law,” the FCC said in an alert. The use or marketing of a jammer in the US may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of the unlawful equipment, and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.”

Yet, the jammers can be bought online, usually from suppliers outside the US, and their price ranges depending on their power, usually between $40 to $1,000, KARE 11 reported.

Liting of a Jammer on Ebay
A listing on eBay.

Wired security devices, relying on physical connections, are generally less sensitive to outside interference. However, cables may also be sabotaged. Users may also check if their smart home solution allows alerts when signals or connections are interrupted.


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Comments

Kluge
prefix 1 month ago
The screenshot of the eBay item isn't a jammer. It just a signal detector. Wouldn't be useful to a burglar, it would only tell them there's Wi-Fi in use.
None
prefix 1 month ago
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat. You mean to tell me using common frequencies such as 900mhz, 2.4ghz, and 5.0ghz for 'security' was a bad idea? Then you tell me per the FCC the device MUST accept interference.

LPL did a great video on these wireless security systems years back and showed without a question how insecure they are
Facepalm
prefix 1 month ago
How to pull it off, how to research my mark, how to get the device, and how much it costs. Awesome, thanks bro! All you forgot to teach us is your address.
Echo_Hotel
prefix 1 month ago
As if the police were going to respond quickly enough to the alarm that they would catch the burglars anyway... Good cameras have on board recording, good systems show when sensors lost connection to the base, none of the info you were going to gain is missed or destroyed by a jammer.
Toja
prefix 1 month ago
I’d like to thank you for helping educate the NOT criminals on how easy is to break into houses and not get caught.
Don't use wireless cameras!
Ehkz
prefix 1 month ago
I've been using a jammer since 2013 to combat obnoxious callers in public. Mine has a 5 meter radius and I do try to ascertain whether it has any importance such as emergency calls before flipping it on in my pocket. After a few "Hello? Hello?" the caller usually puts the phone away and focuses back on the cashier, the movie, or just the general crowd around them. Burglars using them has been around as long as there have been mobile phones, nothing new. These things, like any tool, can be used for good AND bad. In my opinion they should be legal for responsible usage in schools, cinemas, people whose yard is rundown by Pokémon hunters and other places where mobiles should be switched off.
DeeCee
prefix 1 month ago
Ehkz, you have to be aware that most jammers affect the uplink band of cellular (and police) frequencies also. If you happen to be near a radio site (hint - they are everywhere) you are actually jamming the ability for others to be able to communicate that are outside your radius.
John
prefix 1 month ago
Wow, you should be in jail right along with the burglars, what a douche. Control issues much?
Bawb
prefix 1 month ago
I’d like to thank you for helping educate the criminals on how to break into houses and not get caught.
Dee
prefix 1 month ago
I hear you. It's very dumb and frankly just irresponsible to highlight a major vulnerability to any type of security. These other buttheads in the comments go "oh signal jammers old tech" or "real security is not affected." They failed to forget millions of home owners with any type of wireless or wifi cameras to deter potential nonsense. This is the same issue with Glock switch or whatever that turns a semi auto into a wild full auto. If some asses use it, sucks, but don't go announcing it to everyone how easy and cheap it is to have an fully automatic pistol.
Not So Bawb
prefix 1 month ago
This is well-known common sense technology for any criminal to use in such an operation. If anything, homeowners need to be educated about why using Wi-Fi on every device in their house is a bad idea. Hardwired connections are far superior and less susceptible to these types of attacks.
Fred
prefix 1 month ago
I hope you don't think criminals just learned about signal jammers. Cell phone jammers have been out for decades. Real security systems are usually not incapacitated by jammers, cutting power, or smashing the panel. This is why you don't rely on these DIY WiFi (subscription-free) systems for home security.. they are home warning systems. Most of them only recently started offering call center monitoring.
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