Thieves are using Wi-Fi jammers to break into people’s homes, Cops warn

Thieves are using Wi-Fi jammers to break into people’s homes, Cops warn

A group of thieves have been outsmarting smart devices across the Los Angeles area, authorities said.

In a March 4 statement by the Los Angeles Police Department, officers warn that a group in Wilshire is using Wi-Fi jamming technology to disarm surveillance cameras and alarm systems that rely on Wi-Fi.

This swarm of tech-savvy robberies in California is part of a larger “smart” crime wave happening nationwide. Last year, police in Minnesota and Connecticut issued similar warnings to residents when groups of Wi-Fi jamming thieves made their rounds. And those are just two examples of many.

 

While the Federal Communications Commission has banned Wi-Fi jamming devices, this doesn’t stop criminals from buying them cheaply, KARE11 reported. Wi-Fi jamming devices don’t necessarily deactivate devices, but work by overloading the network the devices are connected to.

“These (jamming) devices create traffic jams for the radio transmitter so that real traffic cannot get through,” cybersecurity expert Mark Lanterman told the outlet.

“If you are going to use a Wi-Fi camera for your front door, perhaps consider using a hardline camera inside your home,” he said. Wired cameras connected via Ethernet cables do not rely on Wi-Fi networks and would not be disrupted by a Wi-Fi jammer.

Los Angeles police also recommends hard wiring burglary alarm systems.

While “smart” technology may be part of the problem, it may also have a hand in the solution, according to Tom’s Hardware. Officials recommend using timers or smart home devices to make it look like someone is home while you are away. Some smart home technology also comes with the ability to alert users if the signal or connection has been interrupted.

Tom’s Hardware also recommends connecting surveillance devices that store camera footage directly on your device, and not just to a cloud storage system. By having a camera that records to itself, you’ll have footage saved during a Wi-Fi disruption.

The LAPD also encourages people to stay vigilant by locking their doors, relying on neighbors to check on things when away and reporting any strange activity, including suspicious vehicles with temporary or dealer plates.

Wilshire Park is located in Central Los Angeles.