Can burglars disable wireless alarms?


There are important things you should know about your wireless alarm system. Understand that because your alarm system is wireless power outages may disable your alarm system, because you can remotely arm and disarm your alarm system there may also be savvy tech smart burglars that that may be able to do the very same thing, and there is the ability to ‘jam’ your alarm system as well. 

So, can burglars disable your wireless alarm system? Yes, burglars can jam or disable your wireless alarm system. The two methods that burglars use most often to disable wireless alarm systems are jamming (radio frequency interference) or utilizing magnets to override magnetic door trips.

In this article, we will discuss the two methods with which burglars disable wireless alarms and what you can do to protect yourself. Wireless alarm systems are used quite often today with smart home technology and generally speaking, they are safe. The most widely used technology to defeat a wireless security alarm system is called jamming; however, there are other methods that burglars use.

Any wireless product has vulnerabilities unless you protect it according to cybersecurity standards. Of course, your chances are low according to FBI statistics, but it can happen.

How to Disable Wireless Alarm Systems

In this section, we will talk about how burglars disable your wireless alarm system. There are two common practices for disabling wireless alarm systems that burglars use to get into your home or office.  

Jamming

The most common method that burglars use is called jamming. Remember that a wireless home security system consists of wireless cameras and motion detectors that are placed around your home or office that provide notification if a window or door is open or motion is seen in an area that you have notifications turned on for.

The alarm system is utilizing wireless alerting and must have internet service with a router that uses wireless signals. Signals are sent using radio frequency across the internet to the main control unit with codes identifying what alarm to emit.

The jammer causes noise confusing the control panel or main system. This makes it unable to identify what alarms are being sent from the devices.

Obviously, a wireless system helps eliminate the concern of a burglar cutting cords to your cameras and motion detectors; however, wireless alarm systems do heavily rely on internet service routers cause frequency concerns. This means that a burglar can jam the frequency. Obviously, the burglar has to have knowledge of how to do so and what equipment is needed.

There are devices out there that help jam the frequency, but this type of criminal has to be sophisticated and smart. It is highly illegal to do this. You have to register this type of equipment when you purchase it, which means it is incredibly rare.

Magnets

Nowadays many home security systems have a magnetic door trip that will sound and send signals wirelessly to your alarm system (even remotely for smart home systems) when a door is opened. These can easily be overridden with a second small magnet that will override the frequency and basically create a jam just like in the prior section but for a smaller piece of equipment.

This is a simple solution to this type of security system that many burglars can and have used in the past. You should definitely think twice if this is the only solution you have in your house.

How Common is it For a Burglar to Jam Your Wireless Signal?

We talked a little bit about what jamming is and how sophisticated a burglar would need to be to pull off a crime like that. I am not sure that your average criminal would use jamming as their typical everyday tool, nor would they target an average house. Remember this type of burglar would be:

  • Knowledgeable in frequency
  • Need a strong signal strength
  • Be close to the target (house or office)

With that said, most likely this person would be after a large home or office with high-value items. Not too mention the cost of the equipment to cause the jam is highly expensive. This is not your everyday break-in. Unfortunately, when searching for statistics on how common this type of method is used not much comes up. This means that is highly uncommon for now.

The FBI does not list jamming as a statistic in their classification of burglaries.

How to Defeat the Burglar

Now that you know how a burglar may disable your wireless alarm system, let’s give you some tips on how to protect yourself or improve your wireless security system.

Alternative Power Supply

Ultimately, having an alternative power supply will ensure that you are protected. If for some reason a burglar does try to jam your wireless signal, you will have an alternative power supply ready as a failsafe. Most security systems with cameras and motion detectors have the ability to run on batteries, so as a backup battery is a perfect solution.

Benefits of installing an alternative power supply are:

  • If a storm comes through you still have a fully functioning alarm system
  • Equipment works 24/7 
  • Burglar proof
  • Video surveillance of burglars if they try anything

Alternative power sources are worth the investment for long term security reasons.

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance is important for protecting your home. Most video surveillance systems are instantly capturing video feed and that feed is kept for at least five to ten days and sometimes longer depending on your plan.

Burglars always look to see if cameras are mounted to your home. The chances of being broken into are slim if you have a camera, but if you are at least you have video evidence to help catch the burglars attacking your privacy and valuables.

Again, with redundant power supplies, you can ensure your video is always on recording 24/7.

Wired vs Wireless Alarm Systems

There are a wide variety of security systems for both wired and wireless options. Ultimately it depends on the type of system you want. Wireless systems tend to offer you more options of placement and ease of installation, whereas wired systems are connected via control panel with a connection of wires.

Wired

Wired security alarms are all hardwired and connected to one master control panel via a telephone line with backup communication via cellphone. Typically, a professional will need to help install all cameras, sensors, and motion detectors. Some of the best benefits of a hardwired security system are:

  • Less cost
  • More reliable
  • Compatible with wireless devices
  • No batteries needed

However, there are some negatives to a hardwired system as well:

  • Permanent fixture to the home or office
  • No failsafe if the power goes out
  • Not as many smart home capabilities
  • Wires can be cut

Although there are plenty of positives, some people are leaning more towards wireless given smart home technology advancements.

Wireless

Wireless security alarms can be installed by yourself in most cases, which means they can be taken from home to home or office to office. You have more options for the placement of cameras and motion detectors as well due to the lack of wires. The only thing you need is an internet connection with a router. 

Some of the best benefits of a wireless security system are:

  • Mobility of installation
  • Ease of installation
  • Compatible with smart home devices (Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hub)
  • Redundancy with power supply – batteries
  • Two-way communication

However, there are some negatives to a wireless system as well:

  • Disruption in service due to internet outages if no redundancy
  • False notifications
  • More expensive
  • Less secure

Wireless systems can be less secure, but using two-factor authentication helps and being security conscious will keep you safe. Smart home technology makes utilizing a wireless alarm system that much more inviting.

How to Prevent Burglars from Choosing Your Home

Let’s talk about some ways you can prevent your home from being the next target. I suggest ensuring your home is more lit up, you have a secure deadbolt or secure lock such as a smart lock, make sure you keep your yard maintained without lots of toys and debris, put signs up that say your home is being monitored, and make it known you have a dog by putting a sign in your yard that says ‘beware of dog’.

Some other good ideas to ensure your home is protected are:

  • Patio lighting
  • Motion lighting on the driveway
  • Backyard lights with motion enhanced alerts
  • Smart locks on your doors
  • Signage
  • Two-way communication on doorbell videos

All of these are excellent ideas and ways of protecting your home from being the next target of attack. Take time to assess your home or office and see what you can do to add some simple protection.

How Should You Increase Your Wireless Security (Internet Router, Encryption, Password, etc.)

What can you do to ensure your wireless security is more secure? One of the very first things you should do is change the name of your router and then change the admin username and password. Password complexity is the most important. I would highly suggest you use a 128-bit encrypted password to make it that much more difficult for a criminal to hack.

Some other guidelines for wireless security include:

  • Use capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords
  • Put your devices on different networks
  • Use a firewall
  • Use a Virtual Private Network
  • Always update your firmware and security
  • Disable unnecessary services

By utilizing some or all of these practices will ensure you are safe and secure online.

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