Criminals Break into Smart Homes by Jamming Wireless Security

Criminals Break into Smart Homes by Jamming Wireless Security

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A series of robberies in Minneapolis led police to believe that burglars are using WiFi jammers to block off security system signals from reaching the home’s residents, as well as disable door, window, and motion sensors.

Police stated that the suspects are not randomly choosing houses but rather are researching carefully in advance, adding that “the burglars are not violent and tend to choose unoccupied houses.”

According to Cybernews, residents raised warnings and complaints about burglars using WiFi jammers to impact security systems (especially surveillance cameras) at the city safety meeting on January 31st.

Many home security devices nowadays are connected directly to the WiFi network or a smart home hub using radio frequencies like 2.4 GHz, and their signal strength is limited and susceptible to interference. Jammers overpower signals from security devices by sending a “loud” noise in the same range of frequencies, making receivers unable to distinguish between the genuine signals and the disruptive noise generated by the jammers.

The Federal Communications Commission has banned the use of jammers in the US because they can prevent people from calling 911 or other emergency services, as well as pose serious risks to public safety communications and interfere with other forms of communications. According to an alert by FCC: “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.” Nevertheless, malicious actors can still purchase jammers online from suppliers outside the US.

When it comes to defense against such an attack, wired security devices that rely on physical connections are generally less sensitive to outside interference. In addition, users can also check if their smart home solution allows alerts when signals or connections are interrupted.