Blog Reader Asks about Alarm Sensor and Cellular Signal Jamming

Posted by , , at 5:29 pm

One of the joys of blogging is that I get great questions from readers on alarm technology, alarm system design, and other topics. I reply individually to each of them, but it recently occurred to me that these questions and answers would make good reading for those who are getting up to speed on home security. After all, Frontpoint is all about education and transparency – that’s part of the reason we have such great reviews. So here’s an excellent question from a reader, in two parts, along with my response. And yes, I have replied directly to the person who asked!

What is Frontpoint and Alarm.com doing to circumvent the use of jammers by burglars? While it is a bit more difficult and expensive to obtain a jammer (as opposed to a pair of wire cutters), one can be had with a little work and a couple hundred dollars. A burglar could enable a jammer prior to entering the premise and prevent: 1. Wireless transmissions between the sensors and the alarm panel, and 2. Cellular (GPRS) transmissions between the alarm panel and alarm.com. The Simon XT apparently has the ability to detect RF jamming from the sensors to the Panel (although I am not exactly sure what it does if it detects such jamming).

Part Two of the Question

The cellular connection from the panel to alarm.com seems especially vulnerable. I do not believe Frontpoint and Alarm.com require “heartbeat” messages of short enough time intervals to detect that a panel has been “jammed” or disabled until potentially hours after the event. Ideally the interval would need to be quite short, ex: less than 5 minutes. Please advise where we are with this technology today, where it is expected to be in the near future, and what we can do in the meantime to minimize exposure. Some suggest the best way to protect against this potential shortcoming is to bury phone lines and have phone interface devices moved inside the home. Thanks.

My Response

Let’s deal with the issues one by one. On the case of the Interlogix/GE Security sensor frequency, it uses 319.5 mhz. This is a former military frequency, used in all the sensors made by the company since the 80’s.  There are literally millions of these sensors in use, each with a unique transmitter ID. The fact is that in all those years, there has not been one instance of someone successfully jamming a sensor’s communication with the control panel. That does not make it impossible, just extremely unlikely. In addition, the panels are equipped with jam detection, so that any effort to jam the frequency would be interpreted as an alarm and sent as such to the central monitoring station. As you can imagine, with millions of sensors in use and no documented jammings having occurred, this has not been a significant concern to date. When you consider that most burglaries are random, opportunistic acts that are increasingly committed to feed a drug habit, you can see why most alarm companies are much more worried about a $3 pair of wire cutters than a jammer. Of course, FrontPoint is 100% cellular, so the wire cutters don’t worry us one bit.

Second Question Answered

That brings us to the second issue: cell jamming. You are right, these devices (though illegal) are not so hard to come by. However, the inexpensive ones have relatively short range, so customers following our instructions on panel placement should have little to worry about. I’m not sure how the average burglar would know that the home has a cellular system to begin with – it’s not as if the average meth user spends much time on our web site, or those of our competitors. Much more likely is that the burglar will have the wire cutters mentioned above, which will still take out most alarm systems in use today. The smart guy in the black outfit that we see in the movies or on TV is targeting specific items and much higher value properties that invariably have special security systems.

Let’s Work with the Facts

While it’s important to discuss what could happen, it’s equally important to discuss what has happen, and what is happening today. Jamming is not occurring. In fact, after more than 20 years in this industry, I have never heard of a cellular jamming resulting in a burglary that was not detected. But I have heard of many cut phone lines – and more all the time. And when it comes to phone lines, they are going away at a remarkable rate. The major carriers (including AT&T) have even petitioned the FCC for a “sunset” provision that will allow the carriers to stop supporting these “hard copper” lines. Internet alarm communication is not sufficiently reliable, as is generally agreed by the alarm industry: even ADT does not use it. And the companies who use Internet monitoring (such as Comcast) as the primary channel don’t report the loss of Internet connectivity outside the home, either through interactive monitoring or to the central station, since it happens all too frequently.

That leaves cellular monitoring as the safest and most reliable method. The exposure is minimal, as proven by actual experience, and is expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

We like questions. We want people to know more, because a more educated consumer makes better choices. That’s why we work so hard to be transparent in how we present the Frontpoint equipment and services, and why our Sales Consultants are famous in the industry for being just that: consultants; not pushy people at your door who just want you to sign that monitoring contract.

People are looking for the best way to protect their homes and families, and the best alarm systems use safer cellular monitoring, in addition to offering smarter interactive services. Frontpoint specializes in both. If you have a question, please feel free to use the comment section below.

Comments (56)

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  1. TK Judd

    Jamming on home alarms like ADT happened to us. As the economy tanks more targeting occurs. We were victims of a continuing B&E which started when we took an extended vacation allowing a local ring to break into the phone line box rewire some sensors, access home, add hidden cameras and gps to cars and jam out home system. For over 6 months they tracked our comings and goings and accessed the house undetected repeatedly. Only clue was missing art, jewelry and replacement of valuables with replicas from China.

  2. Mike

    Two questions:

    1) Would it be possible to provide a little more info on the susceptibility of the FrontPoint/alarm.com system to cellular jamming? The blog didn’t provide much detail other than that it’s possible. I’ve seen elsewhere that the system uses a “dedicated channel” which makes it immune to jamming, but that cannot be the case — a cellular jamming device is going to jam the entire cellular signal, not just one of the channels. Also I’ve seen it mentioned that the system will alarm if it detects a jamming attempt. But it can’t do that if it’s being jammed.

    2) It’s unclear to me why fewer and fewer companies aren’t offering redundant communications (internet plus cellular). Even cellular towers have occasional outages. A redundant communications method would theoretically provide a little more reliability.

    • Katie Rynex

      Mike, this is a great question and we would like to have one of our Support Supervisor reach out to you to address these concerns in detail. At this time we are having trouble locating your account based off of the information provided here. At your earliest convenience please email us at WeCare@frontpointsecurity.com with the name on the account. Thank you for reaching out and we hope to hear from you soon.

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  4. Wernich

    Hi Peter, thanks for the write up.

    I live in South Africa, a lovely country with the unfortunate byproduct of a very high rate of farm attacks, violent home invasions, armed robberies and burglaries. Lately many criminals have been found with RF or frequency jamming devices. People who live in rural areas do not have telephone lines as these cables ar constantly stolen for their copper content. The telephone companies only use GSM and some (very limited) satillite connectivity in these areas. Almost all if not all alarm systems make use of GSM or RF to the control rooms of companies like ADT. further more the fast majority of people in these areas are in constant link via two way radios and community policing. What exactly can one do in these cases to prevent the jamming of RF anf GSM?

  5. kbellco

    I’ve got to tell you, I was skeptical when I first bought and installed FrontPoint on the advice of our neighbor. We were to move out of our house in a short timeframe, for an extended period of time and leave it with most of our worldly possessions. The installation required some forethought, but was very simple. The monitoring was on the high-end of the scale, but proved to be worth it.

    The problems we have had with the system have all been detected by the system itself. We changed out the base unit, which required unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one, and the battery had to be replaced once. This was done while we were away by a neighbor. We have freeze detection, water entry detection, motion sensors upstairs, downstairs, and garage, and for sensors for all the doors. The sensors are going on 5 years old and are still working. I’ve only had to replace the double-sticky tape on one of the motion sensors that was exposed to the sun. I have no idea how the batteries in these things last so long, but I know they are working by going to the website.

    The software is where the system shines. You have many passwords you can attach to your system, so when a realtor or neighbor visits the house they can have their own password and you know them by name. You can set the times for the sensors to report intrusion, if you wish. No one should ever go in/out my garage man-door, unless they are a burglar. I get a text anytime it is opened. If I haven’t armed the system by 8PM, I get a text. Not armed at 7:30 after I leave for work? another text.

  6. Springer

    What all brands transmit on 319.5?
    What other brands of sensor can go with this?
    What is the range of these and is the 319.5 better then some of the others?

  7. Steve G.

    1) Quoted:
    “I’m not sure how the average burglar would know that the home has a cellular system to begin with”
    – By simply reading the yard sign that says “Frontpoint Security”

    2) I was told by one of your sales rep “We use military Grade Encryption”
    Please tell me what “Encryption” you use on a 319.5 MhZ band. Top of my head, 319.5 uses a 58 bit transmission, including the 20 bit transmitter ID code. “Encryption” would require extra costly chips, in order to encrypt what? the transmitter ID code? Hello, I am the window detector?
    Furthermore, the term “Military Grade” is a broad marketing gimmick.
    Your Sales Rep was either grossly misinformed, or simply attempted to mislead me. (AKA Lie to my face)
    Which in both case, is not really good. Especially for a security company.
    Knowing that, I am now wondering on which other subjects your sales rep lied to me…

    4) Quoted
    “so that any effort to jam the frequency would be interpreted as an alarm and sent as such to the central monitoring station. As you can imagine, with millions of sensors in use and no documented jammings having occurred, this has not been a significant concern to date.”

    – it’s a bit like claiming that nobody has ever seen the invisible man. It’s a perfect circular argument.
    – If you consider the average burglar as a Meth Head, well then, all you need is a mean dog.
    Secondly, if someone was to repeatedly jam your system, chances are that the homeowner would simply turn off the alarm out of despair. Your system (I hope) should already log an attempt as “Jamming Attempt” and alert the homeowner.

    I’ll be really curious to hear about the “military grade encryption” story, if you could answer back, It would be appreciated.
    Best regards

    • Valerie Saponara

      Steve, thank you for your comments. We understand your concern about that “military grade encryption” and the most information we are able to give out publicly is that the frequency our sensors communicate on (319.5) is a former military frequency. Please rest assured there are security measures baked into our alarming event protocol that no other competitors use currently, that makes our system much harder to hack than hardware solutions form other manufacturers.

      At the end of the day, there is no perfect alarm system or alarm technology, at least that we are aware of. It is commonly accepted that anything can be hacked by a person with the time, talent, and resources who wants to do so. Therefore we specifically sought out what we felt offered the best level of protection at a reasonable and competitive price for the consumer. I hope this helps answer your questions!

    • White Hat

      If someone really tried to assuage your concerns about wireless jamming by using the word “encryption”, then that someone is a total mouth-breather. Encryption is fundamentally NOT a deterrent for any type of Denial-of-Service attack (which is exactly what wireless jamming is).

      Encryption deters breaches of Confidentiality, not Availability.
      In the context of wireless signaling, frequency-hopping would be a potential means of deterring Denial-of-Service—not encryption.

  8. Robert P.

    Thnak you Valerie. Do you offer expert installation? I spoke with one of your representatives on the phone but I was not convinced of her suggestions in terms of where to install the sensors, the motion detectors, etc. etc. Plus he could show us how the system works more directly. And what would be the cost in L.A.?

    • Valerie Saponara

      Robert, at this time we do not offer installation services. We have designed our DIY system in a way that should make setting up your system easy and enjoyable. Our Support Team here is trained extensively and are experts in walking you through your entire setup. It doesn’t matter how long you need us to stay on the phone- we will make sure you feel great about everything! I encourage you to give our representative’s suggestions a try and test out all your sensors with us to ensure everything is working the way you want it to. If this doesn’t work please let me know!

  9. Robert P.

    Does a dedicated cellular line (such as the one offered by Front Point) prevent jamming or not? I am getting different responses. Thank you!

    • Valerie Saponara

      Robert, at the end of the day any cellular signals can be jammed. However the cell jammers that are would be able to disrupt our cellular signals would cost a burglar a pretty penny and we know that most home invasions are crimes of opportunity that are done in the heat of the moment. We use military-grade encryption and several back up systems to ensure that our customers are the most safe and secure as possible. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Chris

    Why don’t you all stop messing around with this , and get a real local security company who know what they are doing?

  11. Rick W

    Good read. I have a similar question I have wondered about:

    What does the Simon XT do if a sensor starts a low battery condition or fails to communicate entirely while the system is armed? Like what if I went to Europe for a month, and one of my sensors checked out while away?

    • Valerie Saponara

      Rick, great question. If one of your sensors starts to not communicate or the battery goes low, your control panel will tell you out loud every time you arm it. Also if you’re on our Interactive or Ultimate Monitoring plans you will get notifications about this. The good news about our batteries and our system detecting a low battery is that you will get that “low battery” notification about 4-6 months before that battery dies. This gives you ample time to change that battery without having to worry about your system randomly not working! Hope this helps.

      • Rick W

        Thanks for the reply. So what happens if a sensor goes defective during an armed period, and does not check in for a long time? I am hoping no alarm?

        Also, can not seem to find out if I can see what the signal strength of my sensors are after enrollment and install. Any way to do this on an XT?

        • Valerie Saponara

          Rick, to make sure we are able to answer all your questions and help you test the signal strength of your Simon XT, we’d like to have our Support Team give you a call and walk you through everything. At this time we’re having a bit of trouble finding you in our system based on the comments you’ve provided. Can you please email WeCare@frontpointsecurity.com with the name on your account? Then we can get you all taken care of quickly!

  12. brigid

    Glad and sad to read these posts. For several years I have had a wireless alarm system with motions sensors, the full nine yards. I have had various things stolen, while other large ticket items are in their place. The alarm has NEVER been tripped. My family thought I was crazy until recently my husbands high priced cameras and lens were stolen, as was my $700 camera. NOW he believes me and I started to research how in the heck someone can get in without setting off the alarm. I am 100% on setting the alarm. From what I read there is no way to prevent this even if all of the tricks and tips listed here are given. I may have to sell our house and move because we are on their return list and it keeps happening.

  13. Lissa

    There aren’t any “documented” cases of jamming for ease of burglary because there is no way to prove that jamming was the cause. Like Sherwood’s perfect locked door crime.
    You will be lucky to even get the police to take a statement. And the jammers are easier to get than the author suggests. The solution in my case anyway will be to move.

  14. Kim

    I keep losing my internet connection. I have replaced my router and tried everything with my wireless connection.could my frontpoint security system be interfering somehow? How can I fix this if it is? My internet signal is lost probably 6+ times a day.
    Thanks

    • Gilbert Cho

      Hi Kim, the Frontpoint system uses a cellular connection and not Wi-Fi or broadband, so it shouldn’t be interfering with your Internet. I would try contacting your Internet provider.

      If the problem persists, please let me know!

  15. Kathleen Connolly

    My Honeywell security was jammed using a software based ham radio…I lost my life savings….please address these radio signals as they can be hacked. After reading Logan Lamb’s excellent article at DEFCON Hackers Conference…..I realize this is a serious widespread problem with major name security companies. Kathleen Connolly

  16. Anonymous

    I posted this and it disappeared Hello Peter,
    Regarding “Peter M. Rogers – Apr. 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM REPLY
    Thanks, Anonymous, for your comments and suggestions. It’s never our intention – or our practice – to be casual about home intrusion. This is precisely why our very first suggestion was to retain the services of a local expert that is a specialist in high security issues, and not, as you state, “Try to find something else that works.” I’m not sure what led you you to that interpretation of my reply, but please rest assured that we take this and all home intrusion situations very seriously. Thanks again.”
    I have had an ongoing battle with your company since the day I received the equipment to yesterday, when the supervisor of customer relations agreed to be recorded. He claimed that I had signed a 3 year contact (was supposed to be a 1 year contract that I canceled in the 30 day evaluation period). Claimed he had my “electronic signature” on a contract that I’ve not seen that he could prove it was mine (!) He claimed that I had phoned extensively and each and every contact documented that I was happy with the excellent service. Frankly, it looks like Frontpoint reps disguise angry customers with a smiley face. I also learned that any communication with the sales representative is not documented, so all of that history of what was ordered, what was promised and not delivered, and what was cancelled is untrackable. He said that under no circumstances does the Frontpoint System fail, that it was the best in the industry, and that never ever would a Frontpoint tell anyone in this situation to seek the services of a high security company. I asked if he was calling me a liar and yes, he was and meant it. andI’m not mincing words here— that he DID NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING I SAID.
    Furthermore, Frontpoint called the police AFTER speaking to me, even thought they could have verified my identity. And I found out that my district requires a permit which was not advised to me by the sales rep And that I could potentially be fined $350 for the false alarm (caused by a failed sensor).
    Note: email is old email connected to my account

    • Gilbert Cho

      I’m really sorry and quite shocked to hear about the problems you’ve been experiencing, especially because we try to give our customers the best service possible.

      I’ve escalated your comments to one of our Customer Support Managers who recently tried to contact you, but was unable to reach you. Please contact us at your earliest convenience so we can get things sorted out.

      Thanks for letting us know about your issues and don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions.

    • jo smith th

      Thank you. sounds about right

  17. Anonymous

    I posted this and it disappeared Hello Peter,
    Regarding “Peter M. Rogers – Apr. 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM REPLY
    Thanks, Anonymous, for your comments and suggestions. It’s never our intention – or our practice – to be casual about home intrusion. This is precisely why our very first suggestion was to retain the services of a local expert that is a specialist in high security issues, and not, as you state, “Try to find something else that works.” I’m not sure what led you you to that interpretation of my reply, but please rest assured that we take this and all home intrusion situations very seriously. Thanks again.”
    I have had an ongoing battle with your company since the day I received the equipment to yesterday, when the supervisor of customer relations agreed to be recorded. He claimed that I had signed a 3 year contact (was supposed to be a 1 year contract that I canceled in the 30 day evaluation period). Claimed he had my “electronic signature” on a contract that I’ve not seen that he could prove it was mine (!) He claimed that I had phoned extensively and each and every contact documented that I was happy with the excellent service. Frankly, it looks like Frontpoint reps disguise angry customers with a smiley face. I also learned that any communication with the sales representative is not documented, so all of that history of what was ordered, what was promised and not delivered, and what was cancelled is untrackable. He said that under no circumstances does the Frontpoint System fail, that it was the best in the industry, and that never ever would a Frontpoint tell anyone in this situation to seek the services of a high security company. I asked if he was calling me a liar and yes, he was and meant it. andI’m not mincing words here— that he DID NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING I SAID.
    Furthermore, Frontpoint called the police AFTER speaking to me, even thought they could have verified my identity. And I found out that my district requires a permit which was not advised to me by the sales rep And that I could potentially be fined $350 for the false alarm (caused by a failed sensor).
    Note: email is old email connected to my account

  18. Lorraine Miller

    I have Vivint and a third party has been able to jam our alarm entry without detection and freeze cameras. Solomon’s shield was worse as they manyalky shut off alarm as tr as t calls up to 1/2 hr. Their logs qere manylaay sent with gaps in monitoring.

  19. Lorraine Miller

    I have Vivint and a third party has been able to jam our alarm entry without detection and freeze cameras. Solomon’s shield was worse as they manyalky shut off alarm as tr as t calls up to 1/2 hr. Their logs qere manylaay sent with gaps in monitoring.

  20. Kelly

    I don’t know if this topic is still active and I am not in the habit of posting anything online, but I was both comforted and alarmed to find that others have experienced the same situation as mine where an intruder continually breaks into my home despite multiple security measures. Has anyone found a successful way to stop this? The local police finally took my case seriously, much more so than I expected, but they haven’t caught this guy after three months.

  21. Anonymous

    Hello,
    Not to be rude, however it would seem obvious if the person is coming back time and time again that you may be in real danger if the person wanted to hurt you physically and this would seem to definitely warrant a police report. Also why not try a battery powered hidden camera such as the ones that look like a clock or fire alarm and are not wireless but just save the video on a SD style card? It would have to be well hidden and look natural + I wouldn’t order online from your regular computer (maybe go to the library?). You could also maybe install a camera in a tree (think bird feeder with a catch) or while pretending to tend your bushes put a small camera there in a decoration that way you could get a video of your doors/ windows.

    I am a little dismayed at the casual customer service response received on this site: A STRANGER IS IN THIS CUSTOMERS HOUSE, VANDALIZING. This would be scary for any normal person I would think and a casual “Well, just try to find something else that works …” answer seems quaint. One would think that for under 100$ you can get a battery powered non-wireless camera that would be a good back-up. Also a cheapo dollar store alarm could freak the person out when they open doors/ windows as it would trigger regardless (it would stop right after but still).
    Not sure what the laws are on “trapping” your home nor if you want to set up a “war” or confrontation with this individual (s) but you may want to look online for more physical protections (bleach water bucket that falls on their head when they enter and dyes their clothes or skunk smell or even commercial dyes!).

    Wish you the best and lots of creativity!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Anonymous, for your comments and suggestions. It’s never our intention – or our practice – to be casual about home intrusion. This is precisely why our very first suggestion was to retain the services of a local expert that is a specialist in high security issues, and not, as you state, “Try to find something else that works.” I’m not sure what led you you to that interpretation of my reply, but please rest assured that we take this and all home intrusion situations very seriously. Thanks again.

  22. Anonymous

    Hello,
    Not to be rude, however it would seem obvious if the person is coming back time and time again that you may be in real danger if the person wanted to hurt you physically and this would seem to definitely warrant a police report. Also why not try a battery powered hidden camera such as the ones that look like a clock or fire alarm and are not wireless but just save the video on a SD style card? It would have to be well hidden and look natural + I wouldn’t order online from your regular computer (maybe go to the library?). You could also maybe install a camera in a tree (think bird feeder with a catch) or while pretending to tend your bushes put a small camera there in a decoration that way you could get a video of your doors/ windows.

    I am a little dismayed at the casual customer service response received on this site: A STRANGER IS IN THIS CUSTOMERS HOUSE, VANDALIZING. This would be scary for any normal person I would think and a casual “Well, just try to find something else that works …” answer seems quaint. One would think that for under 100$ you can get a battery powered non-wireless camera that would be a good back-up. Also a cheapo dollar store alarm could freak the person out when they open doors/ windows as it would trigger regardless (it would stop right after but still).
    Not sure what the laws are on “trapping” your home nor if you want to set up a “war” or confrontation with this individual (s) but you may want to look online for more physical protections (bleach water bucket that falls on their head when they enter and dyes their clothes or skunk smell or even commercial dyes!).

    Wish you the best and lots of creativity!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Anonymous, for your comments and suggestions. It’s never our intention – or our practice – to be casual about home intrusion. This is precisely why our very first suggestion was to retain the services of a local expert that is a specialist in high security issues, and not, as you state, “Try to find something else that works.” I’m not sure what led you you to that interpretation of my reply, but please rest assured that we take this and all home intrusion situations very seriously. Thanks again.

  23. Frontpoint Security Customer

    For a couple of years now, I have been trying to prevent unkown person(s) from chronic mischief-making and stealing on my property, in my garage, in my car, and in my home. I do not have high risk contents. Just items that are personally valuable, and sentimentally irreplaceable. I have had the locks changed nearly a half dozen times withthe last set being commercial locks. I installed a security system on my car. As none of these measures were successful, and trusting in Frontpoint’s high regard of themselves and by reviewers, I invested in my peace of mind by installing a Frontpoint Simon XT system. House stain, paint, new clothes, new sneakers, bedding, jewelry, tools, gem and mineral specimens, food items, decorative items, Christmas decorations, SD cards, CDs, jewelry making supplies, 2 large planters, one large hanging planter, chocolate, household goods and fine tea are among the items taken. Alcohol, medicines, and nothing with a serial number such as portable electronics have not been taken (some of the latter have been tampered with/damaged.

    I am frustrated to report that this person or persons continue to avail themselves of my house and garage at will, moving items, removing items, deleting items from my computers, damaging items, disconnecting items, changing the settings of items, etc. All the while this is occurring, my wifi camera system does not record sound or motion detection AND my Frontpoint Security System continues to be ARMED and I have received no calls advising me that the cellular is being jammed. Nor can my cable company detect whether the wifi has been jammed.
    As for the police? No break-in/no crime. Open/shut…”Lady, it just didn’t happen. Your electronics are still here. ANY THIEF would have taken them.” After I offer to take a lie-detector test: “I am not suggesting that you’re lying to try to get insurance money. Of course you realize that 1) there is only your word, 2) there is no appearance of break-in, 3) you live on a major street, 4) your driveway is visible from the road, 5) These items would be worthless to a thief. I am certain that you are experiencing problems recalling where you put things or how you broke things. Lady, I have 35 years of experience. It just didn ‘t happen.”

    Sorry, Frontpoint Security…you may stop the random thief but not the willful, practiced person with knowledge, bump keys, You Tube, lock picks, and $169 for a good portable jammer of wifi, bluetooth and cellular signals.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Hello, FrontPoint Security Customer, and thanks for your post. I wish I could reply with the answer you want to your current dilemma, but I cannot. While it’s true that the FrontPoint system is virtually impossible to defeat, we have acknowledged that a sufficiently dedicated and talented individual (apparently in this case with too much time on their hands) can overcome almost any alarm system. Happily, these people are quite rare. I do take exception to the notion that only a “random thief” will be caught by a FrontPoint system: it’s highly unusual that even a full-time burglar is going to have a cell jammer, plus the other items you mention, and the skill and knowledge to use them. And for what it’s worth, in over twenty years in this industry, I have never heard of someone successfully jamming a cellular alarm system. It’s much more likely that they will have a $3 pair of wire cutters, and that they will cut any phone lines and Internet connections as a matter of course, since that is how most alarm systems communicate. The person you describe is far more than just a willful, practiced person. When these situations arise, and this is not the first time we have heard of something like this, we recommend that the victim obtain the services of a specialty company that works in high security applications for companies and homeowners with extremely valuable assets (art, jewelry, etc.). Your insurance company may have some ideas, or you be able to locate such a company online. As with other types of technology, there are varying levels of sophistication, and it sounds as if you need the highest level you can get to catch this person in the act. Good luck to you.

      • Frontpoint Security Customer

        Hi Peter,
        Thank you for your courteous response!
        I think I referred to “random thief” whereas you referred to “average burglar”. I meant the same.

        I think the vandalism/theft/mischief/harassment does go far beyond the average burglar’s intent. For instance, this cat burglar person damaged valuable electronic equipment whereas the average burglar with “dollar signs in his eyes” would have pawned or sold it. S/he can not only get past wifi cameras and cellular security systems without detections, but can also unlock my car and car trunk without access to my auto remote entry key!

        Just recently, a chance encounter with a local theft victim gave me an insight. She told me about Manson’s “Creepy Crawler” proteges who would sneak into people’s homes, disrupt contents, move items, etc., to “freak people out”. Hmmm. It does resonate with the experience of Antonieta Carey and myself. I hope it is a rare occurrence as it is very unnerving and stressful, especially due to it’s relentlessness.

        I also had a chance encounter with 2 retired husband and wife police detectives. They told me that even if I do not know the person doing this activity, clearly this is a “personal attack”. The person may have targeted me or my property for reasons unknown and is able to discern which items are personally and sentimentally valuable, thereby having the most impact when the items (family heirlooms, etc.) are destroyed or mysteriously disappear.

        While it is somewhat comforting that Frontpoint Security GE Simon XT equipment utilizes a former military bandwidth, it is less so knowing the military used this way back in the 80’s. Technology of today is so vastly different. Last year, even a $30.00 childs’s toy reportedly was modified to successfully hack into highly secure and sophisticated FBI and other government communications: child’s toy article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20090434-281/security-flaw-found-in-feds-digital-radios/.
        My point is that 80’s technology may seem like “child’s play” to tech savvy criminals. Two locksmiths told me clubs and conventions exist for locksmith enthusiasts to compete in high security lock picking challenges. Some even film the picking/bumping techniques information to alert the lock maker of the potential vulnerabilities or to post to You Tube and blogs. Who knows if there’s something similar for security systems? The FCC says that jamming devices are a significant threat on many levels and they are attempting to curtail internet sales of jamming devices. For example:
        FCC: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/fcc-targets-craigslist-cellphone-jammer-vendors-issues-six-citations/

        I appreciate your advice to contact a vendor familiar with high value/high security concerns. Even though my stuff is decidedly low-value, the persistence and dedication of this situation and the challenge to my piece of mind and personal possessions justifies the extra measure of security.

        Despite disappointment that your system did not curtail the insidious criminal activity on my property, I appreciate Frontpoint Security for their stellar customer service and technical support. There is a genuine willingness to problem solve which I rarely experience with vendors.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Hello again – and thanks for very thoughtful reply. Again, it sounds as if you are being forced to deal with a very clever, resourceful, and determined person – not at all the average intruder – which is why I recommended that you seek the advice and services of a security company specializing in extra-high security precautions. It’s not a question of the value of the items that determines your response, but the highly unusual means being used to access your property and belongings.

          As for the longevity of the technology, the only thing about the technology that is the same is the frequency – the other aspects of the platform continue to be enhanced and improved over time. Alarm companies generally do not stand still – and in teaming up with Alarm.com, GE Security actually leap-frogged the rest of the industry, and the combination of the two is still the most advanced solution for most homeowners. Our technology today is vastly different. Unfortunately you are, as I believe you know, a very rare exception in terms of needs…

          We are very happy to hear that our service and technical support were more than satisfactory, even if the end result was not what you needed. And we send yo our best wishes for a positive outcome to your situation. We do want to help, and we wish that we could have done so in this circumstance.

  24. Frontpoint Security Customer

    For a couple of years now, I have been trying to prevent unkown person(s) from chronic mischief-making and stealing on my property, in my garage, in my car, and in my home. I do not have high risk contents. Just items that are personally valuable, and sentimentally irreplaceable. I have had the locks changed nearly a half dozen times withthe last set being commercial locks. I installed a security system on my car. As none of these measures were successful, and trusting in Frontpoint’s high regard of themselves and by reviewers, I invested in my peace of mind by installing a Frontpoint Simon XT system. House stain, paint, new clothes, new sneakers, bedding, jewelry, tools, gem and mineral specimens, food items, decorative items, Christmas decorations, SD cards, CDs, jewelry making supplies, 2 large planters, one large hanging planter, chocolate, household goods and fine tea are among the items taken. Alcohol, medicines, and nothing with a serial number such as portable electronics have not been taken (some of the latter have been tampered with/damaged.

    I am frustrated to report that this person or persons continue to avail themselves of my house and garage at will, moving items, removing items, deleting items from my computers, damaging items, disconnecting items, changing the settings of items, etc. All the while this is occurring, my wifi camera system does not record sound or motion detection AND my Frontpoint Security System continues to be ARMED and I have received no calls advising me that the cellular is being jammed. Nor can my cable company detect whether the wifi has been jammed.
    As for the police? No break-in/no crime. Open/shut…”Lady, it just didn’t happen. Your electronics are still here. ANY THIEF would have taken them.” After I offer to take a lie-detector test: “I am not suggesting that you’re lying to try to get insurance money. Of course you realize that 1) there is only your word, 2) there is no appearance of break-in, 3) you live on a major street, 4) your driveway is visible from the road, 5) These items would be worthless to a thief. I am certain that you are experiencing problems recalling where you put things or how you broke things. Lady, I have 35 years of experience. It just didn ‘t happen.”

    Sorry, Frontpoint Security…you may stop the random thief but not the willful, practiced person with knowledge, bump keys, You Tube, lock picks, and $169 for a good portable jammer of wifi, bluetooth and cellular signals.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Hello, FrontPoint Security Customer, and thanks for your post. I wish I could reply with the answer you want to your current dilemma, but I cannot. While it’s true that the FrontPoint system is virtually impossible to defeat, we have acknowledged that a sufficiently dedicated and talented individual (apparently in this case with too much time on their hands) can overcome almost any alarm system. Happily, these people are quite rare. I do take exception to the notion that only a “random thief” will be caught by a FrontPoint system: it’s highly unusual that even a full-time burglar is going to have a cell jammer, plus the other items you mention, and the skill and knowledge to use them. And for what it’s worth, in over twenty years in this industry, I have never heard of someone successfully jamming a cellular alarm system. It’s much more likely that they will have a $3 pair of wire cutters, and that they will cut any phone lines and Internet connections as a matter of course, since that is how most alarm systems communicate. The person you describe is far more than just a willful, practiced person. When these situations arise, and this is not the first time we have heard of something like this, we recommend that the victim obtain the services of a specialty company that works in high security applications for companies and homeowners with extremely valuable assets (art, jewelry, etc.). Your insurance company may have some ideas, or you be able to locate such a company online. As with other types of technology, there are varying levels of sophistication, and it sounds as if you need the highest level you can get to catch this person in the act. Good luck to you.

      • Frontpoint Security Customer

        Hi Peter,
        Thank you for your courteous response!
        I think I referred to “random thief” whereas you referred to “average burglar”. I meant the same.

        I think the vandalism/theft/mischief/harassment does go far beyond the average burglar’s intent. For instance, this cat burglar person damaged valuable electronic equipment whereas the average burglar with “dollar signs in his eyes” would have pawned or sold it. S/he can not only get past wifi cameras and cellular security systems without detections, but can also unlock my car and car trunk without access to my auto remote entry key!

        Just recently, a chance encounter with a local theft victim gave me an insight. She told me about Manson’s “Creepy Crawler” proteges who would sneak into people’s homes, disrupt contents, move items, etc., to “freak people out”. Hmmm. It does resonate with the experience of Antonieta Carey and myself. I hope it is a rare occurrence as it is very unnerving and stressful, especially due to it’s relentlessness.

        I also had a chance encounter with 2 retired husband and wife police detectives. They told me that even if I do not know the person doing this activity, clearly this is a “personal attack”. The person may have targeted me or my property for reasons unknown and is able to discern which items are personally and sentimentally valuable, thereby having the most impact when the items (family heirlooms, etc.) are destroyed or mysteriously disappear.

        While it is somewhat comforting that Frontpoint Security GE Simon XT equipment utilizes a former military bandwidth, it is less so knowing the military used this way back in the 80’s. Technology of today is so vastly different. Last year, even a $30.00 childs’s toy reportedly was modified to successfully hack into highly secure and sophisticated FBI and other government communications: child’s toy article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20090434-281/security-flaw-found-in-feds-digital-radios/.
        My point is that 80’s technology may seem like “child’s play” to tech savvy criminals. Two locksmiths told me clubs and conventions exist for locksmith enthusiasts to compete in high security lock picking challenges. Some even film the picking/bumping techniques information to alert the lock maker of the potential vulnerabilities or to post to You Tube and blogs. Who knows if there’s something similar for security systems? The FCC says that jamming devices are a significant threat on many levels and they are attempting to curtail internet sales of jamming devices. For example:
        FCC: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/fcc-targets-craigslist-cellphone-jammer-vendors-issues-six-citations/

        I appreciate your advice to contact a vendor familiar with high value/high security concerns. Even though my stuff is decidedly low-value, the persistence and dedication of this situation and the challenge to my piece of mind and personal possessions justifies the extra measure of security.

        Despite disappointment that your system did not curtail the insidious criminal activity on my property, I appreciate Frontpoint Security for their stellar customer service and technical support. There is a genuine willingness to problem solve which I rarely experience with vendors.

        • Peter M. Rogers

          Hello again – and thanks for very thoughtful reply. Again, it sounds as if you are being forced to deal with a very clever, resourceful, and determined person – not at all the average intruder – which is why I recommended that you seek the advice and services of a security company specializing in extra-high security precautions. It’s not a question of the value of the items that determines your response, but the highly unusual means being used to access your property and belongings.

          As for the longevity of the technology, the only thing about the technology that is the same is the frequency – the other aspects of the platform continue to be enhanced and improved over time. Alarm companies generally do not stand still – and in teaming up with Alarm.com, GE Security actually leap-frogged the rest of the industry, and the combination of the two is still the most advanced solution for most homeowners. Our technology today is vastly different. Unfortunately you are, as I believe you know, a very rare exception in terms of needs…

          We are very happy to hear that our service and technical support were more than satisfactory, even if the end result was not what you needed. And we send yo our best wishes for a positive outcome to your situation. We do want to help, and we wish that we could have done so in this circumstance.

  25. Antonieta Carey

    Back in 2008 I had several home breaks-ins while my hardwired GE system had been armed. I would normally arm when leaving the house and disarm when returning only to find that someone had been in the house. He did not steal, a toilet valve would had been shut off, a TV would be on, etc. There was no code or entry on the keypad log of activities. Tired of futile discussions with Vector Security I decided to remove that system and buy another one, the system had been in the house when I bought it in 2002 and perhaps was disfunctional at that point. In November of 2010 I had American Alarm install a DMP panel and keypad, 3 Speco surveillance cameras and a DVR, all harwired products, at a cost of $6,200. I thought my troubles would be over, until May 17, 2012. I armed that day at 1:05 pm and disarmed at 6:45 pm. When I entered the kitchen I found one of my cabinet drawers badly damaged, the front panel had been smashed to pieces. No disturbances were reported to the monitoring center, no additional codes or bypasses readings on the keypad log of events, no additional motions on the DVR other than my leaving and returning, I had not been texted on my cell other than my arming and disarming. The Upton police came to the house and filed a report. The following day I contacted AA general manager who told me that a “sophisticated person” had done the intrusion, I had the best hardwired products they could offer me, they had no counter measures to catch this intruder and it would be unethical for them to sell me any additional products which would most likely be disabled in a similar manner, I just had to consider a permanent presence in my house. Shocked in disbelief I have spent a lot of time for the past three months trying to understand how that massive disabling of all systems could have occurred. I am an Architect and I have contacted a few electronics and communications engineers. I have been told that home alarm systems are generally speaking very vulnerable to hacking because any system in the home that communicates data over a networ or to an outside source can be intercepted, the system I have has no protection or firewalls. Also, if an intruder with a two-way radio that is set to my alarm system and cameras frequencies walks in, his device could create a failure of communications between the panel and the motion sensors, so no alarm condition will ensue. For the cameras, no filming will take place. I have contacted several home alarm systems providers who have essentially corroborated the above, it is up to me if I want to install another system, it will be very similar to what I have now. How can this intruder’s disabling device be blocked or jammed? Is there a jamming or blocking device that could be attached to my keypad, panel, cameras or DVR? I there a better, safer, more advanced system in the market? I have not received responses from Honeywell and Napco. I am willing to pay for a more advanced system, whom should I contact? Thank you for your time.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Antonieta – thanks very much for your comment. It sounds as if you have a remarkably clever (and well-equipped) intruder who is making your situation uncomfortable. I have little to add to the content of my original post: the systems that FrontPoint (and other alarm providers) sell are actually a lot more robust (and less vulnerable to hacking) than people give them credit for, and the number of times that they are compromised in the manner you describe is extremely small. In fact, in over twenty years in the industry, I have never seen what you describe replicated. Most alarm systems (including ours) are designed to thwart the average and even the experienced intruder.The same holds true for the other equipment on the market: Honeywell, Napco (the two you mentioned), Bosch, DMP, 2GIG, and DSC. It did occur to me that the intruder had possibly found a way into your home that was not covered by a sensor, but that does not explain the camera issues. I believe your best course of action is to contact a home security specialist that works with high risk homes (very valuable contents) – and it may take a bit of work to find such a resource. Tell them exactly what happened, and then go from there. While pretty much any system (no matter how sophisticated) can be fooled by the right person with the right technology, there are certainly higher and much more expensive levels of security you can find. Fortunately, the average homeowner will never require these measures. I wish you the best of luck in your search – peace of mind is priceless, and we all deserve it.

  26. Antonieta Carey

    Back in 2008 I had several home breaks-ins while my hardwired GE system had been armed. I would normally arm when leaving the house and disarm when returning only to find that someone had been in the house. He did not steal, a toilet valve would had been shut off, a TV would be on, etc. There was no code or entry on the keypad log of activities. Tired of futile discussions with Vector Security I decided to remove that system and buy another one, the system had been in the house when I bought it in 2002 and perhaps was disfunctional at that point. In November of 2010 I had American Alarm install a DMP panel and keypad, 3 Speco surveillance cameras and a DVR, all harwired products, at a cost of $6,200. I thought my troubles would be over, until May 17, 2012. I armed that day at 1:05 pm and disarmed at 6:45 pm. When I entered the kitchen I found one of my cabinet drawers badly damaged, the front panel had been smashed to pieces. No disturbances were reported to the monitoring center, no additional codes or bypasses readings on the keypad log of events, no additional motions on the DVR other than my leaving and returning, I had not been texted on my cell other than my arming and disarming. The Upton police came to the house and filed a report. The following day I contacted AA general manager who told me that a “sophisticated person” had done the intrusion, I had the best hardwired products they could offer me, they had no counter measures to catch this intruder and it would be unethical for them to sell me any additional products which would most likely be disabled in a similar manner, I just had to consider a permanent presence in my house. Shocked in disbelief I have spent a lot of time for the past three months trying to understand how that massive disabling of all systems could have occurred. I am an Architect and I have contacted a few electronics and communications engineers. I have been told that home alarm systems are generally speaking very vulnerable to hacking because any system in the home that communicates data over a networ or to an outside source can be intercepted, the system I have has no protection or firewalls. Also, if an intruder with a two-way radio that is set to my alarm system and cameras frequencies walks in, his device could create a failure of communications between the panel and the motion sensors, so no alarm condition will ensue. For the cameras, no filming will take place. I have contacted several home alarm systems providers who have essentially corroborated the above, it is up to me if I want to install another system, it will be very similar to what I have now. How can this intruder’s disabling device be blocked or jammed? Is there a jamming or blocking device that could be attached to my keypad, panel, cameras or DVR? I there a better, safer, more advanced system in the market? I have not received responses from Honeywell and Napco. I am willing to pay for a more advanced system, whom should I contact? Thank you for your time.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Antonieta – thanks very much for your comment. It sounds as if you have a remarkably clever (and well-equipped) intruder who is making your situation uncomfortable. I have little to add to the content of my original post: the systems that FrontPoint (and other alarm providers) sell are actually a lot more robust (and less vulnerable to hacking) than people give them credit for, and the number of times that they are compromised in the manner you describe is extremely small. In fact, in over twenty years in the industry, I have never seen what you describe replicated. Most alarm systems (including ours) are designed to thwart the average and even the experienced intruder.The same holds true for the other equipment on the market: Honeywell, Napco (the two you mentioned), Bosch, DMP, 2GIG, and DSC. It did occur to me that the intruder had possibly found a way into your home that was not covered by a sensor, but that does not explain the camera issues. I believe your best course of action is to contact a home security specialist that works with high risk homes (very valuable contents) – and it may take a bit of work to find such a resource. Tell them exactly what happened, and then go from there. While pretty much any system (no matter how sophisticated) can be fooled by the right person with the right technology, there are certainly higher and much more expensive levels of security you can find. Fortunately, the average homeowner will never require these measures. I wish you the best of luck in your search – peace of mind is priceless, and we all deserve it.

  27. Jack Reynolds

    Thank you for sharing this subject. These questions have crossed my mind several times and your answers have given me MORE piece of mind.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jack – my pleasure. If you have any questions of your own, this is a great place to voice them – we’ll do our best to answer quickly and comprehensively.

  28. Jack Reynolds

    Thank you for sharing this subject. These questions have crossed my mind several times and your answers have given me MORE piece of mind.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jack – my pleasure. If you have any questions of your own, this is a great place to voice them – we’ll do our best to answer quickly and comprehensively.

  29. Alan

    Very interesting post.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – these questions do come up. While no system is 100% foolproof (or burglar-proof), we do know that our technology provides peace of mind for the vast majority of situation that homeowners will encounter.

  30. Alan

    Very interesting post.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Alan – these questions do come up. While no system is 100% foolproof (or burglar-proof), we do know that our technology provides peace of mind for the vast majority of situation that homeowners will encounter.

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