WiFi Jammers

A recent TV news report on criminals in Morris County using Wi-Fi jammers to disable security cameras and communications grabbed our attention. It should grab yours, too.

The news report focused on a crime ring that’s using Wi-Fi jammers to break into homes. In some cases, they’ll install their own surveillance cameras in a property’s landscaping to know when residents leave their homes. In this case, the homeowner was in his basement when he heard a loud noise coming from the ground floor of his residence. He used his home surveillance cameras to see someone attempting to enter his home. He soon lost his camera and phone service, indicating to police that a Wi-Fi jamming device was in use. The resident was still unable to utilize his cellular phone to call for assistance due to the jamming device.

Let’s look at that last sentence first. The reason the resident couldn’t use his cellphone is because it was likely set to make calls on the Wi-Fi network if the network is available. Our guess is that he could have made the call if he had turned off Wi-Fi on his phone. Heed that point when you face an emergency.

That can be especially true when it comes to security devices. Hard-wired devices perform better and more reliably. Yes, it sounds old-fashioned, but it works. If you have a security system installed by an alarm company, it’s likely hard-wired and connected to a monitoring station via a cellular network – and it has a battery backup in case the power goes out.

Wi-Fi networks are low-hanging fruit for criminals, and we make that fruit more accessible through our own ignorance or laziness. You can’t make your Wi-Fi totally jam-proof, but you can make your network more secure.

The following steps are nothing new to long-time clients and readers of this newsletter, but let’s run through them anyway:

  • Whenever you install a new device – especially a security device – that’s tied to your Wi-Fi network, IMMEDIATELY change the default username (it’s usually “admin”) and the password (it’s usually 1234).
  • Make sure your firewall software is up to date and running to keep out unwanted intruders. It’s one thing to be jammed. It’s another thing to be invaded.
  • Make sure you keep all software for operating systems, hardware and apps up to date and running. Updates contain security patches and bug fixes as well as performance enhancements. A single weak link anywhere in your technology chain can expose your entire system.

In our opinion, a security camera system that’s hardwired to a central location in your home but is accessible through the internet – independently of Wi-Fi – is best. We can help you with the internet connection and show you how to access your security system from anywhere in the world.

We can also help you prevent intrusions by outsiders by providing a thorough security audit of your technology system and making recommendations to improve security. That can include the installation of new systems and user training.

We all have a lot at stake in our homes and businesses. With the rise in hacking and the use of technology to break down our defenses, it makes sense to take every step you can to harden those defenses. Call us – 973433-6676 – or email us to talk about your needs. And make sure you turn off Wi-Fi on your cell phone in an emergency.