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National Alarm Monitoring Companies for DIYers

lanbrown

Active Member
Is smash and crash really feasible.  They would need to know where the panel is.  Most of the time they are in a closet and typically off of the master.  In my case, while it is there, there are two cabinets.  The ceiling height is 10 feet and they are both 1 foot from the ceiling.  So they would need a step stool to actually get them.  I could easily relocate them to the attic since all of the wiring goes down a wall.  The 30 to 60 seconds a panel gives you to deactivate the alarm would be more than enough time before they could even get into an attic.  I highly doubt they could even get to the panel within 30 seconds if it were in a closet.
 
Bypassing the smash and crash wouldn't be all that hard if the burglar was experienced as Alarm.com states.  What is on the outside of the house?  The service feed for a landline, VoIP or Internet connection.  So they could easily bypass that before they even enter the house.  Cellular backup you say.  How about jamming it?
https://www.thesignaljammer.com
 
If someone is determined enough, they will break in.
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
lanbrown said:
Is smash and crash really feasible.  They would need to know where the panel is.  Most of the time they are in a closet and typically off of the master.  In my case, while it is there, there are two cabinets.  The ceiling height is 10 feet and they are both 1 foot from the ceiling.  So they would need a step stool to actually get them.  I could easily relocate them to the attic since all of the wiring goes down a wall.  The 30 to 60 seconds a panel gives you to deactivate the alarm would be more than enough time before they could even get into an attic.  I highly doubt they could even get to the panel within 30 seconds if it were in a closet.
 
Bypassing the smash and crash wouldn't be all that hard if the burglar was experienced as Alarm.com states.  What is on the outside of the house?  The service feed for a landline, VoIP or Internet connection.  So they could easily bypass that before they even enter the house.  Cellular backup you say.  How about jamming it?
https://www.thesignaljammer.com
 
If someone is determined enough, they will break in.
 
Well, at least to me, a smash and crash seems like a likely attack vector.  Why?  If the burglar fails in his smash and crash attempt, then he has x amount of time.  If he succeeds, though, then he has almost unlimited time.  So, if a burglar has made the decision to break in, why wouldn't the burglar at least attempt it?  Like you say, most alarm boxes are in the closet off the master, so guessing where it is wouldn't be hard.  If the burglar looks at your alarm yardsign, and it's not one which feeds alarm.com, then he might reasonably (?) conclude that the house probably isn't defended against a smash and crash.  Alarm.com claims to have patented their protection against smash and crash.  AFAIK, alarm.com is the only one with that particular feature.  Does any other central station offer anything equivalent?  
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
I suppose an alternative to the smash and crash system would be to relocate the alarm panel to somewhere less obvious, but leave a decoy in the master closet so that a burglar using a smash and crash attack would waste time destroying a fake rather than a real panel.  That would probably buy enough time for the signal to go through.
 
As to the use of a broadband RF jammer, what are the countermeasures for that?  I know that a number of alarm panels have the capability of detecting jamming.  My guess is that with a multiple path alert scheme, whenever the panel detects that one path has been severed or jammed, it should immediately contact the central station, which could (in theory) monitor the remaining paths.  If those then get compromised as well, then it would be an attack signature.  Do any of the central stations offer that kind of service?  Or, is there some other way to handle the issue?
 

Linwood

Active Member
whenever the panel detects that one path has been severed or jammed, it should immediately contact the central station

 
Useful perhaps if you have two reliable paths, but many use internet as one, cellular as another.  You sure don't want the police summoned everytime the internet hiccups.   Probably not for cellular.  And if all you do is (say) send an email to the owner when a path goes down they will not react in time to be helpful if it's a real event.
 
 

If the burglar looks at your alarm yardsign

 
I wonder if anyone has any real data, but I've always thought yard signs were silly (except maybe those that are required to disclose CCTV audio recording for legal reasons).  Sure, maybe it scares away some, but if your worry is sophisticated criminals all it does is say "here's how my system is designed, google it first and see what the usual workarounds are". 
 
I think there's also a point of diminishing returns.  Someone clever enough to disconnect wired and jam wireless and come that prepared...did they find a way to get your disarm code (social engineering, triggering a false alarm while bugging you), did they find a way to defeat the sensors and still get in?   Maybe they know the response time and have a plan to get the important stuff and be gone already. 
 
To me the alarm is statistical.  You'll deter a certain percentage by having it, scare away a percentage, maybe even catch a percentage. But you never get 100%.  There's a point where you ask if worrying about a few more percent in one bucket is worth the effort.
 

lanbrown

Active Member
@NeverDie,
 
Why would you need a decoy panel?  They have 30 seconds to find it, you don't need a decoy.  If you put it in the attic (previously mentioned), could you get through your front door, into where you get access to the attic, get in the attic and actually get to the panel in 30 seconds?  Keep in mind that you know where everything is and if you can't do it, then a burglar definitely isn't.
 
I still think you're putting too much faith in the smash and crash feature.
 
Who cares if the panel can detect jamming.  If they are that prepared, you have two or more guys.  On the the count of three, 1....2...3 (one cuts the service feed while the other pushes the power on the jammer.  So what is a panel going to do when it detects jamming when path 1 is down and the secondary path is also down?  Sure the siren could go off but hey, they're going to do the smash and crash.  So on three the third guy is coming through the door to smash the siren.  Now it doesn't matter what the panel may try to do, it isn't going to matter.
 
It seems like you're sold on smash and crash and are trying to justify it.  I see ways around it and definitely wouldn't pay for it or have that determine what service to go with.  It is a value add and that is about it.
 
Yard signs always seemed like a bad idea.  If you go on vacation, do you put a sign up to let people know?  Security through obscurity is not a great idea, but advertising your system isn't a great idea either.  If you want to use the fact that you have a monitored alarm system, why not get a sign from a different company.  It still shows you have a security system, so the smash and crash is still feasible.  No sign, if they break in, they now need to quickly perform a smash and crash.
 
If you're really concerned about burglary, why not a video doorbell and other outdoor cameras?  If they sense motion, they can alert you.  They would sense motion long before they could smash the camera(s).
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
lanbrown said:
Who cares if the panel can detect jamming.  If they are that prepared, you have two or more guys.  On the the count of three, 1....2...3 (one cuts the service feed while the other pushes the power on the jammer.  
 
 
If it were properly designed, the odds of that kind of attack working are close to nil.  It only takes milliseconds to send a packet.  Besides, you seem to assume that a burglar would have perfect knowledge of your system, when such a system is probably a rarity.  The kind of system a burglar would expect you to have is probably a minimalist one, which I'm guessing is the type that you favor.
  
Anyhow, regardless of diminishing returns, I'm just not content with security that's full of gaping holes.  I'd like to plug at least the most obvious ones.  Rather than debate the need (or not) for better monitoring, I was hoping to gain insights as to which central monitoring companies are more rigorous.  So far, alarm.com is the only one I notice that has anything to differentiate it.  Any others?  I did find this one:
http://www.advancedalarmsystems.com/customer-care/already-have-an-alarm-system.html
which at least attempts to be more rigorous.  They seem to rely on a rather unusual mesh networking scheme using long range radios to get messages back to the central station.  Not sure how well that works, but it's different.  They seem to allege that they can offer better supervision at a lower price, because the communication is "free".  Ideally, supervision would be continuous, or nearly so.
 
I was using a central station that recently got aquired by alarm360.  Now prices have inflated beyond all reason, so I plan to switch.  In a previous house I used nextalarm, which was cheap and good enough for the time but I'd prefer something with tighter supervision now, which should still be possible for not much money, but not sure where to find it.
 

lanbrown

Active Member
But you're talking about a residential panel.  Most alarm panels don't even have onboard cellular connectivity; it is an add-on.  It doesn't report what it sees interference, signal strength, etc.  The attack vector I mentioned has a very high probability of working.  Please provide evidence to the contrary since you stated it basically has no chance of working.  How would it be properly designed to mitigate such an attack?  I'm not the one bringing sophisticated burglars into the mix.  If they were sophisticated then they would have things like this.  The primary connection is either going to be one of the following:
POTS
VoIP
IP (Internet)
 
POTS is easy to overcome; apply 48VDC to the line and cut the line from the CO.  Now you have the panel not being able to tell it has no phone line.  So if you did jam the cellular connection and it noticed, what is it going to do?
 
VoIP - this is even easier, it needs to make an outbound connection, but it also doesn't know if you cut the Internet connection either.  That is unless heartbeats are used, but you're talking a minute between them if not more.
 
IP (Internet) - Much like VoIP, heartbeats can be deployed but you're not going to be sending them every second; 10 seconds would be about the minimum but most likely it would be a minute or more.
 
Better options.
1) Use motion detectors that when they sense motion, it is an instant trigger.  So the 30 seconds to run to the panel to smash it no longer applies.  They need to cross the motion detection zones and that would be an instant trigger, so the alarm is going to go off.
 
2) On the closet door, put a sensor and if the alarm is armed and the door is opened, instant trigger.  So unless someone is going to use an axe and say here's Johnny, the alarm is going to go off.
 
This is jamming at the sensor level:
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/can-burglars-jam-your-wireless-security-system/
 
Yes, the system knows when it is jammed.  But the cellular side of things, it would not.  It would know it wasn't getting a response, but it also tried the hard connection first and it would fail as well.  So in the case with simplisafe, it would be easy to break in and no alarm would ever sound.  The owner would never be notified either as most likely to prevent a large cellular outage, they will find the panel and removed all power to it and then turn the jammer off.  So putting a sign out front that says what system you have, tells the burglars all they need to know.
 
The bottom line
The most likely burglary scenario by far is the unsophisticated crime of opportunity, usually involving a broken window or some other kind of brute-force entry. According to the FBI, crimes like these accounted for more than half of all residential burglaries in the US in 2017. The wide majority of the rest were unlawful, unforced entries that resulted from something like a window or a garage door being left open. The odds of a criminal using technical means to bypass a security system are so small that the FBI doesn't even track those statistics.  
 
So smash and crash itself would have a low probability of being used.
 
https://www.alarmnewengland.com/blog/does-your-honeywell-alarm-panel-prevent-rf-jamming
 
The Honeywell Lyric alarm panel responds to RF jamming by alerting you with a warning and/or contacting the central monitoring station if it detects a signal jam for longer than 20 seconds.
 
 
If the jam is on the cellular side, it won't be alerting anyone.
 
How does the Honeywell Lyric system stop jammers?
When a device frequency range (345MHz or 2.4ghz) has been transmitting for over 20 seconds, your Honeywell alarm panel displays an alert in the form of an exclamation point followed by number code that corresponds with the affected radio frequency.
There will also be some beeping noises that you can silence by pressing any button.
If you've enabled trouble reporting, your device will contact your Central Monitoring Station. Once the RF Jam condition is gone, you can clear the Trouble alert with a Disarm + Code entry.
 
So jamming would work and they could also disable the panel.
 
The fact is, no matter what you do, if someone really wants to break in, they will.
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
lanbrown said:
The fact is, no matter what you do, if someone really wants to break in, they will.
 
Yes, that's a given:  an alarm system can't prevent a break in.  Aside from deterrence, the best it can do is limit the length of time the bad guys are there by (hopefully) calling in the cavalry.
 
I think you've established that a more or less continuous stream of heartbeats may be the best that one can do.  The question, relating to the original topic, then is: are there any central alarm monitoring companies that are equipped to handle that?
 

lanbrown

Active Member
The answer is generally no, as heartbeats are data.  The receiving station would also need to keep track of and handle them.
 
So all the smash and crash does, when the door is opened, a signal is sent and they start a timer on their side.  There is no supervision outside of that; all of it is reactive based not proactive.  Cellular is usually backup and most of the time the alerts are sent via phone line (either analog or VoIP) so there is no heartbeats there.  It is not like every 30 seconds it will phone them and say all is good.
 
Now if they could use an IP/Ethernet module, then there can be heartbeats.  All you need to know is what communication methods a provider can use and that will tell you.  If a phone line is required, then they aren't using IP/Ethernet modules.  If they do support IP/Ethernet modules, if they actually use heartbeats as a detection method is a different matter.  As someone else stated, ISP outages would cause an alarm.  Now you have reps at the alarm company trying to verify, contact homeowners or call the police.  A few false alarms where the cops or fire department shows up, they will then start sending you a bill for the false alarm.
 
Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, a loud siren (maybe even one outside) and strobes would be what you're looking for.  That draws attention to your house.  You could possibly wire it in a way that the panel keeps power on a relay and if the smash and crash is performed, power is removed from the relay which would then cause the siren and strobes to go off.  The strobes and siren would be powered from outside of the panel.  In the event of a power failure, the battery backup would keep power to the alarm panel and if the battery power went out, the strobes and siren wouldn't go off since they don't have power.  When power is restored, they could go off though as the board probably wouldn't be fully booted up.  Also, if you're getting home late and set the alarm off, I'm pretty sure the neighbors won't be happy when the outside siren(s) go off.
 
While what you're looking for sounds easy and doable, most of the alarm companies are kinda stuck in the past.  Some still require POTS lines and in many new development areas, copper to the house isn't there.  It is essentially VoIP even though you still have copper inside the house and you plug the analog phone into the wall.
 
Cloud providers cannot guarantee 100% uptime and outages do occur on the Internet.
https://www.wired.com/story/bgp-route-leak-internet-outage/
 
Your ISP does work at night and most of the time, you will never know.  There is also many single points of failure in your Internet connection.  Even for large business, having redundancy can be a tough task.  You just cannot go and get two Internet circuits from two different providers and call it a day.  Backhoe Joe is known to tear up fiber and copper.  So now you need diverse paths and pay the carriers to make sure circuit A and circuit B share nothing; one comes in one way into the building and the other comes in a different way; maybe one comes in on the south side and the other a north side.  But you also need to make sure that they both don't use the local phone company and ultimately share a path along the way.  It happens quite often.  Where am I going with this.  Amazon is a powerhouse in cloud computing and they have outages.  How is a company like Alarm.com capable of what Amazon isn't?  All it takes is routing issue to occur and it impacts say a certain ISP in a geographic area and they start seeing alarms.  They probably won't be able to correlate the issue and if they did, they could overlook an alarm that is legitimate.
 
So alarm companies if they do support IP/Ethernet communication options, it is highly likely that the panel only calls them when the alarm is triggered.  The smash and crash is just sending a message that says the system was armed and has been triggered but not yet in the alarm state.  The lack of a followup message they just assume the panel is in an alarmed state.  They will probably call you before they call the police.  If you had cameras and they notified you on motion outside your house, then you would know long before the alarm company called you.
 
I can get alerts for motion on cameras outside my house as well as when any door or window is opened...with or without the panel being in an armed state.
 
The dog wanted to go out:
Sep 29, 2019 at 10:15:07 PM
   Caddx Security System           zone 005:          'triggered!' {Backdoor }
   Caddx Security System           partition 1:       'Not Ready!' 
   Caddx Security System           keypad 1:           LCD message line 1: "System Not Ready",  LCD message line 2: "For help, press ->"
   Caddx Security System           partition 1:       'Not Ready!' 
   Caddx Security System           keypad 1:           LCD message line 1: "System Not Ready",  LCD message line 2: "For help, press ->"
   Caddx Security System           partition 1:       'Disarmed!' 
   Caddx Security System           keypad 1:           LCD message line 1: "System Ready",  LCD message line 2: "Type code to arm"
   Caddx Security System           zone 005:          'normal!' {Backdoor }
 
That was the door being opened (triggered) and then closed (normal).  I could get those alerts on my phone if I wanted; currently they just go to a log.  So my HA system knows full well what the status is of all 24 zones; almost every window is on its own zone and every door is on its own zone.  The garage doors are also each on their own zone.  MyQ is also used and I get an alert when the either garage door is opened or closed directly to my phone.  Motion sensed outside, that is an alert as well.  So a smash and crash wouldn't do anything for me since I can be notified before a door or window is even opened.  I can even go as far as I need to be out of my home for the alerts to occur; my HA system does know when I'm home and when I leave.  The thieves could cut the cut the Internet connection and thus no alerts though.
 
I could run a web server and have it monitored and get alerts if the site isn't reachable.  A quick search provided this service:
https://uptimerobot.com/pricing
 
$4.50 a month for 1 minute health checks; the free version is every 5 minutes.
 
At the end of the day, I could call the cops as fast or faster than an alarm company could.  I know when someone is at my front door before even get to it.  I can be alerted if any window or door is opened; system armed or not.
 

RAL

Senior Member
lanbrown said:
Your ISP does work at night and most of the time, you will never know.  There is also many single points of failure in your Internet connection.  Even for large business, having redundancy can be a tough task.  You just cannot go and get two Internet circuits from two different providers and call it a day.  Backhoe Joe is known to tear up fiber and copper.  So now you need diverse paths and pay the carriers to make sure circuit A and circuit B share nothing; one comes in one way into the building and the other comes in a different way; maybe one comes in on the south side and the other a north side.  But you also need to make sure that they both don't use the local phone company and ultimately share a path along the way.  It happens quite often.  Where am I going with this.  Amazon is a powerhouse in cloud computing and they have outages.  How is a company like Alarm.com capable of what Amazon isn't?  All it takes is routing issue to occur and it impacts say a certain ISP in a geographic area and they start seeing alarms.  They probably won't be able to correlate the issue and if they did, they could overlook an alarm that is legitimate.
 
One of my previous employers required redundancy in their corporate network.  So they had connections to 2 different ISPs.  The primary connection was with Verizon.  The other connection was with one of the large cable companies.  You would think everything would be great, right?  Well, it turned out that at some point in their network, the cable company leased some fiber from Verizon.  And the fiber they leased happened to run in the exact same cable that Verizon used for the primary connection.  Sure enough, one day Backhoe Joe took out both of them.
 
The break was hundreds of miles away from the employer's building.  You can do all the planning you want, but it will be almost impossible to figure out ahead of time common points of failure like this.
 

NeverDie

Senior Member
As a "for-instance", I just now noticed you can send 5 megabytes of data per month over GSM to the Arduino IoT cloud for $1.50 per month using an Arduino SIM and $71 worth of one-time hardware: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/sim-bundle  
 
That would average out to just under 2 bytes per second of data over a typical month.  Not sure if they count routing and header info when they're counting bytes, but if not, then that's a pretty frequent heartbeat for cheap.  At that price, you could probably afford two or three carriers if you wanted to, plus whatever wired internet access you have for free, though it's no guarantee against common point of failures like RAL's story alludes or an unlikely nation state caliber of attack of the kind envisioned by lanbrown.  Still, what are the odds of a break-in happening during such a common point of failure?  Vanishingly small I would think.  
 
Or, if I'm not mistaken, Verizon will charge $10/month for a single wireless device (such as an alarm panel?) to send maybe a gigabyte or more of data per month.  I'd have to look into it, but I think it's something like that.  Combine that with your wired internet, and you're covered for near continuous heartbeats through two different paths. 
 
Now granted, the Arduino IoT cloud isn't a UL rated alarm infrastructure (whatever that is), but this mental exercise perhaps does give some ballpark idea as to how low costs might be possible.   So, if central stations can't/won't supervise a constant stream of hearbeats, maybe you need your own VMware virtual machine (or multiple ones for redundancy) in the cloud to monitor heartbeats and send an alarm to a willing central station as a kind of IFTTT trigger based on a loss of all heartbeats, especially if preceded by a signature of suspicious outdoor motion detections of the kind that lanbrown suggests.  I have no idea what the going rate for virtual vmware cloud machines is, but possibly pretty cheap for a case like this?  After all, the server load would be minuscule.  Actually, some of those IFTTT services are free, so maybe it wouldn't cost anything.
 

lanbrown

Active Member
RAL said:
One of my previous employers required redundancy in their corporate network.  So they had connections to 2 different ISPs.  The primary connection was with Verizon.  The other connection was with one of the large cable companies.  You would think everything would be great, right?  Well, it turned out that at some point in their network, the cable company leased some fiber from Verizon.  And the fiber they leased happened to run in the exact same cable that Verizon used for the primary connection.  Sure enough, one day Backhoe Joe took out both of them.
 
The break was hundreds of miles away from the employer's building.  You can do all the planning you want, but it will be almost impossible to figure out ahead of time common points of failure like this.
 
When it comes to path diversification, it is possible.  Carriers will be more than happy to do that for you, they just charge you a lot of money  Paying $10k to $50k is not uncommon to get path diversification.
 

Linwood

Active Member
lanbrown said:
When it comes to path diversification, it is possible.  Carriers will be more than happy to do that for you, they just charge you a lot of money  Paying $10k to $50k is not uncommon to get path diversification.
 
Yeah, but we are way, way away from what home-owners can generally do.  One of the best we can manage is probably cellular plus internet or cellular plus landline.  Absolutely not completely independent (or more precisely you stand almost zero chance of determining if it is), but not bad.
 
At the end of the day, I could call the cops as fast or faster than an alarm company could.
 
I think I said this somewhere else but will again -- I think the whole idea of depending on an automated notification to a cell phone, if you really want to respond, is just misplaced.  To be reliable it means you never are in the shower, having a swim, never out of cell range, never have your phone just miss a call.  
 
Now to be fair, I do not suggest it is a bad idea -- it's questionable whether even calling the cops makes a difference (though I would argue for fire vs burglary it can make a BIG difference). If your alarm goes off audibly, they are likely long gone anyway.  Maybe having it CO monitored is not really worth it.  Those arguments I can see.  But... are you really that much of a machine, always on, always with a phone (that always works)?
 
All I have to do is look at my missed call count, or think how often I replied to text WAY later than intended....
 

lanbrown

Active Member
NeverDie said:
As a "for-instance", I just now noticed you can send 5 megabytes of data per month over GSM to the Arduino IoT cloud for $1.50 per month using an Arduino SIM and $71 worth of one-time hardware: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/sim-bundle
 
That would average out to just under 2 bytes per second of data over a typical month.  Not sure if they count routing and header info when they're counting bytes, but if not, then that's a pretty frequent heartbeat for cheap.  At that price, you could probably afford two or three carriers if you wanted to, plus whatever wired internet access you have for free, though it's no guarantee against common point of failures like RAL's story alludes or an unlikely nation state caliber of attack of the kind envisioned by lanbrown.  Still, what are the odds of a break-in happening during such a common point of failure?  Vanishingly small I would think.  
 
Or, if I'm not mistaken, Verizon will charge $10/month for a single wireless device (such as an alarm panel?) to send maybe a gigabyte or more of data per month.  I'd have to look into it, but I think it's something like that.  Combine that with your wired internet, and you're covered for near continuous heartbeats through two different paths. 
 
Now granted, the Arduino IoT cloud isn't a UL rated alarm infrastructure (whatever that is), but this mental exercise perhaps does give some ballpark idea as to how low costs might be possible.   So, if central stations can't/won't supervise a constant stream of hearbeats, maybe you need your own VMware virtual machine (or multiple ones for redundancy) in the cloud to monitor heartbeats and send an alarm to a willing central station as a kind of IFTTT trigger based on a loss of all heartbeats, especially if preceded by a signature of suspicious outdoor motion detections of the kind that lanbrown suggests.  I have no idea what the going rate for virtual vmware cloud machines is, but possibly pretty cheap for a case like this?  After all, the server load would be minuscule.  Actually, some of those IFTTT services are free, so maybe it wouldn't cost anything.
 
They count header information; the entire packet is counted.
 
I think you need to look at what you're trying to protect.  All I see is you're going to make it so complicated and failure prone.  You'll get a lot of false alerts and you'll end up ignoring the constant notifications.  So at the end of the day, you have an alarm system you don't trust.  This is why alarm companies aren't going to do heartbeats.  If they have to call the customer; this takes time and money (resources) and then they just put fear into their customer that something is wrong when all it is, their Internet is down or some other issue.  Eventually people get sick of being contacted for nothing and when something does happen, it is not treated like it should.
 
You're also naive thinking that cutting a line and using a jammer is a state caliber attack.  Jammers are cheap.  Don't think they haven't been used?
https://www.orolia.com/resources/blog/jeremy-onyan/2018/how-common-gps-jamming-and-how-protect-yourself
 
In 2013, the Federal Communications Commission fined a person almost $32k for using a device intended to evade the fleet management tracking system on his company vehicle. The device in question: a GPS jammer.
The incident occurred at the Newark Airport after FAA and NJ Port Authority officials struggled for over two years to determine why the new ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) – a system used primarily for augmenting aircraft take-off and landing systems – was experiencing intermittent failures. The cause of these failures seemed impossible to identify.
Eventually, with help from the FCC and with specialized equipment, they were finally able to identify the cause of these inexplicable problems: A contractor on site was using a GPS jammer that not only blocked his company vehicle’s fleet tracking system, it also took down the GBAS in the process.
GPS jammers are usually small devices that plug into a vehicle’s lighter port and emit radio signals that overpower or drown out much weaker signals such as GPS or others. Although GPS jammers are illegal in the US, they are easily available online and are becoming more and more common as the use of fleet management tracking systems increases. These devices may seem relatively harmless at first glance, but their potential to cause harm is significant.
The case of the jammer at the Newark Airport is a perfect example. A simple $30 device was able to take down a state-of-the-art, highly sophisticated landing system at one of the busiest airports in the world. Worse, the device user wasn’t even trying to do so. Imagine what a person who DID intend to do harm could do?
 
It doesn't take a genius to use a pair of wire cutters or flip the switch on a jammer.
 
Linwood said:
Yeah, but we are way, way away from what home-owners can generally do.  One of the best we can manage is probably cellular plus internet or cellular plus landline.  Absolutely not completely independent (or more precisely you stand almost zero chance of determining if it is), but not bad.
 
 
I think I said this somewhere else but will again -- I think the whole idea of depending on an automated notification to a cell phone, if you really want to respond, is just misplaced.  To be reliable it means you never are in the shower, having a swim, never out of cell range, never have your phone just miss a call.  
 
Now to be fair, I do not suggest it is a bad idea -- it's questionable whether even calling the cops makes a difference (though I would argue for fire vs burglary it can make a BIG difference). If your alarm goes off audibly, they are likely long gone anyway.  Maybe having it CO monitored is not really worth it.  Those arguments I can see.  But... are you really that much of a machine, always on, always with a phone (that always works)?
 
All I have to do is look at my missed call count, or think how often I replied to text WAY later than intended....
 
If you're in the shower and they are breaking, a smash and crash is the least of your troubles at that point.  I think the bigger point is that an alarm company reaches out first and then calls the cops.  How long the cops take to show up....that is a different matter.  Some stats shows it is usually 15 minutes or more.  Here are the top though:
https://www.asecurelife.com/average-police-response-time/
 
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