How cheap burglar alarms can be defeated

Most intruder alarms can be defeated by a well-prepared burglar. It’s important to know the techniques used  to disable an alarm so you can choose one that’s tamper-proof.

Here are the most common ways an intruder can defeat an alarm system:

  1. Internet & electricity interruption
  2. Crash and smash
  3. Electromagnetic waves

1. How does an internet & electricity interruption work?

Before we get into details, it’s important to know that any modern burglar alarm should come with a phone app. With this app, you should get notified when your sensors detect anything suspicious, so you can react even when you’re not at home.

Now, the internet and electricity interruption attack… This is when an intruder disconnects your home’s internet, meaning you can’t monitor your alarm with the phone app. The alarm still works, and will sound the outdoor alarm siren if it detects an intruder, but it won’t send you a push notification. If you have any smart cameras then they’ll be disabled too, as the live feed needs WiFi and video tends to be stored in the cloud.

If electricity is interrupted, and your alarm is mains powered, then nothing will work. The alarm and siren will turn off and WiFi will stop.

In practice, burglars have been known to cut the phoneline from the outside or inside the home, but stopping the electricity is rare. This is because cutting electricity wires is risky, and your fusebox is hard to find.

How does Boundary prevent this kind of attack?

The Boundary Central Alarm Hub is mains powered but can run off of the backup battery for up to 12 hours. This means an intruder can’t defeat the alarm system by unplugging it or turning off electricity in the home. The alarm will continue to work and you’ll be notified that the mains power supply is down.

If the WiFi stops then a Boundary alarm would continue to monitor your home, and the siren will sound if an intruder is detected, but it can’t send you live notifications to confirm there’s an intruder. You’ll only get an initial notification to tell you the Wi-Fi has been disabled.

To address this, the Boundary system has the option of a cellular backup. The Hub will use 4G to send signals instead of the regular phone line, so you have constant protection.

2. How does a Crash and Smash attack work?

Most burglar alarms have a 30-60 second grace period when you first enter the front door. With a Crash and Smash attack the burglar finds the alarm hub within this grace period and destroys it before it can sound the alarm. The burglar renders your home security system useless and can spend as much time they want inside your house.

How does Boundary prevent this type of attack?

The Boundary system, from the Hub to the outdoor siren, has complete anti-tamper protection. If a burglar attempts to destroy or open hardware casing, this will be detected, the alarm will sound and then you or (if you have monitoring) the 24/7 monitoring centre will be alerted.

3. How do burglars attack by using electromagnetic waves?

Wireless PIR motion sensors use electromagnetic waves to communicate with the Hub. Because of this, burglars can use radio jamming technology to disable all the motion sensors in a home. There’s currently a video on YouTube demonstrating radio jamming with another intruder alarm brand.

How does Boundary prevent this type of attack?

Our sensors are able to detect a radio jamming attack, so if a burglar attempts to use jamming technology, the alarm will sound and you’ll be notified.

The measures we’re taking to make the Boundary alarm robust against attacks means it will be one of the most reliable burglar alarms on the market, whatever the size of your home.

Note: to receive push notifications you need at least the Starter monthly plan, which costs £4 per month. Cellular backup costs an additional £5 a month and requires and cellular enabled-hub.

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