Your Home Alarm May Be Hackable

Rob Douglas here.

When I learned what I’m about to tell you, I wanted to get this information to you right away.

Kim Zetter, one of the top cybercrime, privacy, and security reporters in the world, just broke a story indicating that many top-selling home alarm systems are insecure and unreliable.

In my opinion, they may be useless.

In “How Thieves Can Hack and Disable Your Home Alarm System,” published by Wired, Zetter reports:

Two researchers say that top-selling home alarm setups can be easily subverted to either suppress the alarms or create multiple false alarms that would render them unreliable. False alarms could be set off using a simple tool from up to 250 yards away, though disabling the alarm would require closer proximity of about 10 feet from the home.

“’An attacker can walk up to a front door and suppress the alarm as they open the door, do whatever they want within the home and then exfiltrate, and it’s like they were never there,’ says Logan Lamb, a security researcher at the Oak Ridge National Lab, who conducted his work independent of the government.”

After a bit more background on the types of systems they tested, the report states:

No matter what the brand or where they’re sold, the two researchers found identical problems: All the wireless alarm systems they examined rely on radio frequency signals sent between door and window sensors to a control system that triggers an alarm when any of these entryways are breached. The signals deploy any time a tagged window or door is opened, whether or not the alarm is enabled. But when enabled, the system will trip the alarm and also send a silent alert to the monitoring company, which contacts the occupants and/or the police. But the researchers found that the systems fail to encrypt or authenticate the signals being sent from sensors to control panels, making it easy for someone to intercept the data, decipher the commands, and play them back to control panels at will.”

Bottom line: Most home alarm systems are fairly easy to compromise and defeat.

What can you do? One of the researchers “points out that commercial-grade systems are likely more secure than the home systems they examined.”

I encourage you to read the entire article, “How Thieves Can Hack and Disable Your Home Alarm System,” and determine if your system may be at risk and whether it might be worth upgrading to a commercial system.

As always, you can email me at [email protected] 

Be safe and secure,

Rob Douglas – former Washington, DC Private Detective; Information Security Consultant; and Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist

Freedom Writers Publishing
1815 Central Park Dr. #358
Steamboat Springs, CO  80487

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