Some home security systems vulnerable to hacking, Consumer Reports says

Consumer Reports’ tests find five out of 10 susceptible to jamming

SAN ANTONIO – Millions of us rely on home security systems for protection. But what if those security systems themselves are not so secure when it comes to attacks from hackers? Consumer Reports found that some of them can be disabled in a matter of seconds with a process called “jamming.”

“Jamming is when a burglar or hacker blocks the wireless signal of a door sensor, window sensor, or motion sensor in a security system,” said Consumer Reports’ Dan Wroclawski. “That allows them to access your home without actually triggering the alarm.”

In its latest tests of 10 home security systems, Consumer Reports found five susceptible to these types of attacks: Abode Iota, Cove Home Security, Eufy 5-Piece Home Alarm Kit, Ring Alarm, and SimpliSafe the Essentials. Abode and SimpliSafe can detect jamming and alert the homeowner that it happens, but the alarms won’t trigger. The other systems offer no user alerts.

Consumer Reports shared its findings with all of the security companies. Eufy was the only manufacturer that explicitly said it would fix the jamming risk in a future update. Cove said it “plans to add jam detection to its system next year, but likely as an optional feature.”

“The good news is that jamming attacks are very rare, and security systems and other low-tech security solutions will often deter burglars,” Wroclawski said.

If you own one of these systems, he said there isn’t a need to rush to replace it. The Ring and SimpliSafe systems performed well in other tests, including motion detection and ease of use and setup.

The Kangaroo Front Door Security Kit was not susceptible to CR’s jamming attacks.

If you want to beef up your home security system, adding some security cameras to the mix can add an extra set of eyes. They can record what’s happening and are not easily jammed.

No matter which alarm system you have, safety experts suggest not using the branded yard signs or decals that came with it because that could alert a hacker to your specific type of system. Instead, use generic signs and decals.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.