Electronic Warfare comes to home security systems.

Jeff White

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It was inevitable that this would happen. Police in Edina, MN are suspecting that a burglary gang has been jamming wifi enabled security systems in a string of 9 home burglaries:


A serial burglar in Edina, Minnesota is suspected of using a Wi-Fi jammer to knock out connected security cameras before stealing and making off with the victim's prized possessions. Minnesota doesn’t generally have a reputation as a hotbed for technology, so readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear that reports of Wi-Fi jammers used to assist burglaries in the U.S. go back several years. PSA: even criminals use technology, and more are now catching on -- so homeowners should think about mitigations.

Edina police suspect that nine burglaries in the last six months have been undertaken with Wi-Fi jammer(s) deployed to ensure incriminating video evidence wasn’t available to investigators. The modus operandi of the thief or thieves is thought to be something like this:

Homes in affluent areas are found
Burglars carefully watch the homes
The burglars avoid confrontation, so appear to wait until homes are empty
Seizing the opportunity of an empty home, the burglars will deploy Wi-Fi jammer(s)
“Safes, jewelry, and other high-end designer items,” are usually taken


The article goes on to explain how this is done. It's something to consider when designing your home security system. The devices capable of doing this are getting cheaper and they are readily available. This is no longer just found in heist movies................
 
It was inevitable that this would happen. Police in Edina, MN are suspecting that a burglary gang has been jamming wifi enabled security systems in a string of 9 home burglaries:


A serial burglar in Edina, Minnesota is suspected of using a Wi-Fi jammer to knock out connected security cameras before stealing and making off with the victim's prized possessions. Minnesota doesn’t generally have a reputation as a hotbed for technology, so readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear that reports of Wi-Fi jammers used to assist burglaries in the U.S. go back several years. PSA: even criminals use technology, and more are now catching on -- so homeowners should think about mitigations.

Edina police suspect that nine burglaries in the last six months have been undertaken with Wi-Fi jammer(s) deployed to ensure incriminating video evidence wasn’t available to investigators. The modus operandi of the thief or thieves is thought to be something like this:

Homes in affluent areas are found
Burglars carefully watch the homes
The burglars avoid confrontation, so appear to wait until homes are empty
Seizing the opportunity of an empty home, the burglars will deploy Wi-Fi jammer(s)
“Safes, jewelry, and other high-end designer items,” are usually taken


The article goes on to explain how this is done. It's something to consider when designing your home security system. The devices capable of doing this are getting cheaper and they are readily available. This is no longer just found in heist movies................
 
They can also monitor your entire home through the television if you have not blocked it most new sets have a built in camera that works whether the set is on or not. thieves will also employ hand held lasers to temporarily flash blind cameras and ring doorbell systems.
 
The fact that so many criminals are mindlessly stupid often distracts us from the fact that many criminals are extremely sophisticated.

I worry far more about my personal and data security than I do my physical safety these days. One day someone may try to attack me but it's a pretty low chance and it will probably never happen. On the other hand criminals are relentlessly attacking my data security 24/7/365. If they are successful it's a mess.
 
Why I have two systems -- one with hard-wired cameras, monitor and alarm. Also redundant hidden cameras.
Cellular backups were introduced because burglars had already figured out how to defeat the technology with wire cutters. If the burglar is prepared enough to show up with some kind of noise generator, he probably thought of wire cutters.


The fact that so many criminals are mindlessly stupid often distracts us from the fact that many criminals are extremely sophisticated.

This isn't even sophisticated. It would amaze me if this was something new. There was a guy caught jamming signals in his car on I-4 because he didn't like people using their phones while driving, probaby with a signal jammer he bought off Amazon. This was 8 years ago. The guy was fined $50K.

 
Cellular backups were introduced because burglars had already figured out how to defeat the technology with wire cutters. If the burglar is prepared enough to show up with some kind of noise generator, he probably thought of wire cutters.

That can be jammed too but a decent system will tell you when either goes off line too.
 
That can be jammed too but a decent system will tell you when either goes off line too.
I've done cutovers and knocked down neighborhoods in the 90s when everything was on wire line. Sometimes police were dispatched for these. We had ADT at our shop in 2022, and I think I got a call or text notification when the box lost communication.

If police dispatch for lost communication with the alarm monitoring company's equipment, let's hope the line is reliable. Some cities charge for false alarms.

The more I think about this, the more dangerous signal jammers could be. If someone uses one in a burglary and you're hurt, you might not be able to call for help. A wide band jammer is going to jam police radios in that area as well. It's going to jam GPS along with whatever device is transmitting that data for tracking.
 
When they get caught, the FCC will want a piece of them in addition to whatever local LE does.
I doubt the FCC would be interested. We had a CB radio enthusiast in town who was running well over the 5 watts permitted by law for that band. Everytime he keyed his mic he interfered with the cable TV for several blocks around his house. When the chief of police contacted the FCC they said to pass a city ordinance against it. They weren’t interested in the case.
 
There's a reason I left Minnesota and this just cements the reasoning I'm not going back anytime soon to permanently live there. Unfortunately most wifi devices have Gameboy level of security on them, so even without a jamming device, it wouldn't take much to get in.

This is kind of why I've been slowly making it harder to get into my own house. Deadbolt striker plate as well as the normal doorknob plate are anchored deeper into the studs. Instead of using the short screws provided, using longer to get into both studs helps from knocking through the door. I'm not a huge fan of electronics, mechanical can fail, but make them work to get in. Force their hand into making a racket so the potential its loud enough for others to hear and hopefully call 9-1-1.
 
Here's another string of burglaries:


They had a list of precautions to take- mostly the same stuff as usual. This one stood out.

  • Place tracking devices, such as Apple AirTags, on valuable items like jewelry boxes, purses or vehicles.
 
When they get caught, the FCC will want a piece of them in addition to whatever local LE does.

Anything and everything can be thwarted by those willing to figure it out. Why knock out the wifi when you can just knock out the internet. Or the power, or become one of the paranoid that wears a COVID mask and a hoodie.

Any fool with a wireless laptop can block wifi. You just flood the network with disassociate signals mimicking the access points. I can do that with my home or work wireless to block rogues. My system will report such an attack. Little can be done to block it.

Someone at work was giving a class. They called me complaining the wireless was down. Looked at the monitoring system and then headed to the class room. Told the class someone was sending disassociate signals from within the room. Mentioned I can easily figure out which device is causing the problem. Asked whoever was causing the problem to just stop. It stopped. Wireless was restored.

Example of security issues I see from my home wireless right now:

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I hate to break it to you but wi-fi is just as easy to jam in the other 49 states as well.:rofl:
That is true, but where I'm at, there's fewer people to worry about trying to break in. My dad and I have lost over $5K worth of stuff stolen from a LOCKED storage locker in Minnesota. Out here, not nearly as many break-ins and most of them are ones that go for the ones that leave doors unlocked or keys in their vehicle. Omaha might be a different story, but I don't live out there.
 
The burglars avoid confrontation, so appear to wait until homes are empty”
As long as they get this one right, stuff gone, but the family is safe.
 
My wife had a friend who moved out of state, but when he was living in a fancy part of Atlanta his house was burglarized. A crew came up by using a ladder and winches to cut through the 2nd story wall, then go in there to avoid the alarmed windows and doors. They stole everything, including a heavy safe (doing $10,000 of damage to the floor while dragging it).

Now we're getting reports of Venezuelan crews hitting high income neighborhoods in US cities and going back to Venezuela to fence the goods too.

The world is just getting more complex.
 
The alarm sticker on my window, is 10 times more effective than my alarm system.

A picture video of a guy masked up is pretty worthless anyways.

These criminals are interested in getting a few extra minutes before the alarm goes off. Not hiding their identity.
 
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