Can Burglars Disable Wireless Alarms?

by Tim Chesonis | Last Updated:  April 24, 2019

With home security systems on the rise, there is a lot of excitement about the prospect of using a wireless alarm system to protect one’s home. But can burglars disable wireless alarm systems?

It is possible for a burglar to disarm a wireless alarm system, but not all wireless systems are the same. Some are much easier to disarm than others. I will show you what preventive measures you can take right now to make it next to impossible for a burglar to bypass your wireless alarm system.

To thoroughly address the question, “Can burglars disable wireless alarms?”, we first need to understand how a wireless security alarm system works so that we can expose any security flaws they may have, and then provide solutions to these potential security flaws so that you can keep your home and family safe.

How Do Wireless Alarms Work?

To begin, you first need to understand that there are three major components to a wireless alarm system. They are as follows:

Sensors

The “sensor” is the component that you place on doorways or windows. So, for example, if you were to open a door or window, or even break a window, the sensor would be triggered and report to the Control Panel.

The Control Panel

The control panel is the “brain” of the wireless alarm system within your home. It’s primary function is to report any sensor that has been triggered to the Monitoring Station.

The Monitoring Station

The monitoring station is the company behind the wireless alarm system. Once a Control Panel from any of its subscribers is reported, the Monitoring Station will notify either you, the Police, or Fire Department depending on what the Control Panel has reported.

Technically speaking, wireless security alarm systems use a proprietary frequency to communicate between the wireless sensors throughout the house and the the main control panel. The control panel itself uses a built in cellular device to send alarm signals to the monitoring station.

In other words, if a sensor is triggered, the wireless sensor will use a proprietary frequency to tell the control panel (the brain of the wireless alarm system in your home), which then immediately calls the monitoring station using the same technology you use when placing a phone call with your cell phone.

How Could A Burglar Disable My Wireless Alarm?

Thieves will go to great lengths to break in and steal what does not belong to them. In a little bit, we will show you what you can do to make it even more difficult for them bypass your wireless security alarm system.

Burglars may try to bypass your wireless security system using a wireless jammer.

One of the most common (and inexpensive), ways for a burglar to bypass your wireless security system is to us a wireless jammer. When employed, it will jam the signal from the sensors to the Control Panel. This device sends a constant signal which, in effect, disables the sensors, preventing them from sending a signal to the Control Panel. The solution to this is for the wireless security company to encrypt or authenticate the signal between the sensor and the control panel.

Unfortunately, there are wireless alarm systems that fail to encrypt or authenticate signals that are being sent from sensor to control panel. Because of this, it is possible for someone to intercept the data coming from the sensor, only to decipher the commands, and then send the deciphered commands to control panel.

Today, there are several reputable companies employ built-in anti-jamming techniques

Hope is not lost, however. There are wireless alarm systems that employ anti-jamming techniques that prevent someone from blocking the radio signal from the sensor to the control panel. When detected, the control panel alerts the home-owner with a blaring audible alarm, (which may also scare off any intruder). At the same time, the control panel automatically transmits this breach of security to the monitoring station, which of course, will then notify the Police.

What Preventive Measures Can I Take Right Now?

There are several things that you can do to prevent a burglar from breaking into your home. If you implement the following, it will be next to impossible for a burglar to bypass your wireless home security system. That’s a bold statement, but the following advice is rock solid.

Buy a Wireless Alarm System that Supports Encryption

If you are looking to purchase a new wireless alarm system, be certain that the system supports encryption between the sensors and the control panel. This is huge. In fact, if the wireless alarm system you are looking to purchase does not employ this technology, find one that does. If it doesn’t, it’s a “show-stopper”. Find a company that does encrypt the radio signal between the sensor and the control panel.

Enable Encryption on your Wireless Router

This will not only prevent others from sucking the life out of your bandwidth, but it will also make it exceptionally difficult for hackers to hack into any of your computers, cell phones, and of course, your wireless alarm system.

If you need help on knowing how to encrypt your wireless router, Andy O’Donnell, of LifeWire.com wrote an excellent article entitled, “How To Encrypt Your Wireless Network”, and it’s well worth reading.

Change the Default Password to Your Wireless Alarm System.

This almost sounds too obvious, but after installing your new wireless security alarm system, the very first thing that you should do is to change the default password. Choose a password that is difficult to guess, and make sure that it is not currently one of your existing passwords, or variation of an existing password. Make sure your password is a combination of symbols, letters and numbers.

While on the subject, as inconvenient as this may sound, change the password to your wireless home security system regularly, perhaps once a month.

Change the Password to WiFi Network Right Now

I know that you may have already changed it once, but now that you have installed a wireless home security system, change it again. Don’t use a “cutesy” password by using your pet’s name as the password, and certainly don’t use the password, password. Use something like, %t&L$q!X?m^{‘F:+i-R\# (but don’t really use what I just wrote because this is now out on the internet).

Don’t worry about making it memorable, You will likely only use this once when enabling WiFi on your cell phone, laptop, tablet and Smart TV. Will it take you an extra minute to enter it correctly, yes, but it is well worth the investment in time.

If you want some help, simply visit https://passwordsgenerator.net/ and choose a password length of 16 characters and then click the GENERATE PASSWORD button and it will provide you with a strong random password.

Install Antivirus Software

You should install antivirus software on any device you use to remote into your wireless security system because it can help detect any threat of viruses or malware. The last thing you want to do is to unknowingly introduce a virus into your wireless home security system by simply using your cell phone to arm or disarm the system.

Install an Anti-Jammer App on Your Cell Phone

The purpose of an Anti-jammer app is to detect the risk of signal-jamming.This way, the anti-jammer app will alert you should there be a signal failure that may be caused by a jamming device. There are plenty of free ones to choose from in the App Store (for iPhones), and the Play Store, (for Android phones).

Limit the Devices that can Access Your Wireless Security System

When setting up the wireless security system, you can tell the control panel which devices (or computers), can manage the system. These should be limited to your cell phone, your tablet, or your laptop. Make it impossible to manage your wireless security system from any other device.

Never Use Public WiFi to Manage Your Wireless Home Security System

Any time you want to manage your wireless home security system, disconnect from any WiFi and simply use your cellular signal to connect to the internet. Hackers look for ways to hack into your cell phone, tablet or laptop, in order to obtain names, ID’s and passwords.

If you simply ensure that you are not connected to WiFi when accessing your home security system, you remove the possibility of hackers accessing your security system.

Keep Your Wireless Home Security System Software Updated Regularly

The company behind your wireless home security system will periodically update their monitoring software. These software updates may enhance performance or even add new features.  This is not something that you can afford to ignore.  You definitely want to make sure that you have the latest version of their software running on your system for maximum protection.

Final Thoughts

Wireless home security alarm systems have come a long way in just the last few years.  As technology has increased, wireless security systems have only gotten better. Today, we can have confidence with the wireless home security systems available on the market today, provided that the afore-mentioned measures in this article are implemented.


Related Questions

What Wireless Home Security Systems Encrypt Radio Signals?
There very well may be more, but the following are the companies that I personally called and asked, “Do you offer encryption between the sensor and the control panel?” They are not listed in any particular order.

Do I Need To Install Antivirus Software On My IOS Device?

Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad do not require virus protection software, as it is a closed operating system. Though the likelihood of a virus infecting your iPhone is extremely low, you would be wise to install it anyway. Android devices absolutely should install antivirus software.

Does It Matter Which Wireless Router I Use?

Reliability is the number one concern. If you have a router that goes down frequently, (or at all), check to see if there is a firmware update to the router. If that does not resolve the issue replace the router with one that has a reputation for reliability.

Tim loves writing and helping people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective, enjoys tinkering with computers, and is a die-hard gadget guy, especially when it comes to cell phones :-) When he's not writing another article, he's probably binge-watching Suites or Breaking Bad, (again). To learn more about Tim, click here.