davey_d's profile
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3.1K Messages

Thu, Aug 8, 2019 8:47 PM

Jam Detection Update

RF Jamming is a technical reality.  All devices that use wireless communications protocols can be jammed. The good news is, a) this is *not* a known attack vector for home security, because it's not a reliable way to enter and move about a home undetected, and b) we have a jam detection algorithm that is being constantly tuned and updated behind the scenes, which notices if someone is trying to jam your system and alerts you. More on that below:



A little tech talk:




First we'd like to highlight one of the most annoying issues in detecting jam attacks: False positives are a huge problem. Radio signal "noise' is everywhere and intermittent. So for some customers these alerts could become annoying -- and potentially harmful if they created the incorrect feeling that their system isn't working.  We are constantly tuning our detection algorithm to get better and better at differentiating between normal, ubiquitous RF interference and actual, concerning jamming activity without frustrating you with a barrage of nuisance alerts.



Second, jamming without being detected would be extremely difficult, as is clear in the Youtube video.  The jam detection was triggered several times by the tester. Our system's array of multiple sensors and cameras (layers of protection), wireless communications protocols and jam detection algorithm work together to make it very hard for anyone to interfere with your system undetected.



Here's why:

The jamming demonstrated is under controlled conditions, with the "jammer" in close proximity to the base station and the sensor which is transmitting. Our testing shows that moving the jammer to another area away from the base station and having the sensor closer to the base station, the sensor could still communicate with the base station. Also, if the jammer is tuned too close to our transmission frequency, as it moves closer to the base station, it will trigger the RF jamming warning. In other words, prior knowledge of the layout of our motion sensors, door sensors and base station in the customers home and a rehearsal of how to move about the home would be necessary to confidently select a frequency that will both jam and not be detected -- let alone on the first try. Plus they would have to keep the jamming interference in that range for the entire time needed to pull off a burglary, while continuing to avoid detection. It's not impossible...but we're continuously improving our system to make it increasingly impossible.



We frequently tune our detection parameters and release security and usability updates. We are in the process of another round of detection algorithm tuning which will continue to refine our ability to differentiate between the brief interference noise that typically occurs in many homes, and actual bad actors. This update has been in the works for a while -- it's currently in beta and will be released remotely in a month or so.



Also, SimpliSafe already offers video verification -- an opt-in service where, in the event of an alarm, our professional monitoring center views video from your home, prioritizing it for the police. This enhances police response times when real alarm events are in progress, and cuts down on false alarms and unnecessary police dispatches. In the near future, we will offer video verification for potential interference events, where experts at our monitoring center can review footage and determine if police dispatch is warranted.



Finally, a reminder (found in this CNET article):


"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.'


We are a company that focused on protecting you, which means we work on protecting you against even unlikely scenarios like this.

15 Messages

Il y a 3 y

I forgot to mention regarding the latest jamming video above. Although he is showing how to jam the base unit, he also mentions it's in his living room. I'm sure his entry doors are on a delay so a burglar could easily just break in through the door and quickly smash the base unit before the alarm is triggered. He wouldn't need the cheap transmitter to defeat the system which is why you really need to put the base unit away and hide it if possible to mitigate many of these threats.

Advocate

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638 Messages

Il y a 3 y

On August 29th, 2019 public_74 says:

Using a cheap and weak remote, I'm able to jam my system from outside my house.


Now my question is, how far away can the system's sensors be defeated.

@coltmaster

I have unable to review the footage but hope to get through it today.

I live in a gated community and mainly know who belongs and who does not. So the individual stuck out. I noticed him on camera both times. He parked directly in front of my residence the second instance. I was watching him in real-time, just sitting in his car. He got out, went to his trunk, etc. Just as I was about to phone the police, he saw a neighbor arrive home, and immediately left. That let me know a bit. My guess is he did not believe anyone was present, inside. There is absolutely no reason for a stranger to come park (or even linger on foot) in front of my home - primarily due to its location.

I did make a call yesterday, and the police did a sweep last night/early morning (I saw them on camera).

I could be wrong in my theory, but the loss of Internet both times he was present when it never goes out, along with the mysterious disarming of the alarm (that has never happened before), and the lack of license plates all seems strange. Nothing like it has occurred prior.

Or it could all be nothing.

One issue that I had no control over was I had to have numerous work done in my home lately. My place is only years old, but I have had quite the issues. For a while, I had different workers in and out weekly, 3-4 (in a group) at a time. I was always present, never gave anyone a PIN, and never left them alone in any area to do work - unless they split up and were doing so on different floors and I could not avoid it. My only concern was them seeing the Keypad - even with the logo covered. SimpliSafe's Keypads are unique looking, and I recall thinking at the time that I should have perhaps removed it from the wall before they entered my home due to that. If you have ever seen a SimpliSafe advertisement, unfortunately (or fortunately - depends on how you look at it) you know the brand. I was always smart enough to disarm the system before their arrival and never arm it immediately after they departed (for precautionary reasons - them hearing it).

Or, to the above preventive measure, it could have been someone who happened to hear the Base Station's announcement. Far-fetched I know, but if anyone has ever been inside of my home, they know there is a lot to be had. And since I work from home, most people (even my neighbors) have no idea I am here.

There were honestly so many people coming and going; it could certainly be a worker. Or, it could be nothing at all. I would have to go through months of footage to confirm.

1.3K Messages

Il y a 3 y

If it's a gated community don't they have a log or something of visitors/workers? Cameras on the entry/exit?

Advocate

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638 Messages

Yes, cameras everywhere. I brought it to the attention of security, and their response was the same as mine; the individual did not belong and was definitely up to something. I requested they look at the footage from the 4 hours I was not home, but they have not "had the chance to review it." Understandable. Regarding their video of the car, they would not comply with calling the police. Saying the officers would have no plates to run and therefore, the make and the model of the vehicle was a mystery. I replied by giving them the make and model. I may be a woman, but I know my cars. However, they have a point.

Regarding workers, long story short(ened) the residents vote only to allow a list of specific companies to minimize risk. I am unable to hire anyone who is not on that list. I dislike it. Sounds beneficial in instances such as these, but workers come and go (i.e., leave or are terminated from their employment), and it is up to security to do the investigating. Association rules do not allow me that personal right. Any workers/companies on that list are allowed in.

As to how such an individual can get in - lackadaisical security measures are the answer. While usually a resident must be called and verified before anyone, not on your list is allowed to enter, there is a waiver which allows for anyone who gives your name and address (and I believe phone number), clearance. I never signed it but they, at times, slip through. This rule is in place so that when workers, or even friends or relatives, do legitimately have to enter, and the resident is not home, they can.

Unless the unknown man is either bold or an idiot, he will not be returning. I still do wonder the range of this hack. If they can disarm sensors from a reasonable distance away, that becomes an issue.

It may be time for Deep Sentinel.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 3 y

Shiherlis, if you think all of that may have been nothing, don't think that way.  You trusted your instincts and you have to depend on them. (and you're aware of what should and shouldn't be going on in the gated community).

I hope both you and security can find the necessary time (asap) to view the videos, these need to be handed to the police.  Who knows how many people/homes/etc this stranger could be targeting, you could even be preventing him from harming someone.

As far as I know, the base, the base's wall adapter, keypads and video doorbell have the SS logo, not sure about the cams, smoke detectors or CO detectors, as I don't have them. But, even if you had a keypad's logo covered, everyone and their dog knows what SS system and components look like (thanks tv advertising and youtube).

I would call SS, as they claim they know if a system has been jammed (and supposedly the user would be alerted, but some testers did not find this to be true).  Ask for a senior supervisor to see if they can determine any jamming signal during the times your wifi cut out, and particularly the disarming event (take note of the actual times to compare with SS's findings).

Does your association have meetings you could attend to voice your concerns about not having input on worker's entering the community?

In any case, you have every reason to be concerned - please do everything you can to check your videos and if the security people are lax, get the police to get it from them.  Having all of this on record with a PD detective could prove useful if needed in the future.  (and Deep Sentinel, not a bad idea except for the cost!)

Advocate

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2.2K Messages

Il y a 3 y

When they were installing my new thermostat, we noted that the temperature sensor had the SS logo.  The installer was thinking of getting a system.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 3 y

Thanks for that, Seven, so at least 5 components with the SS logo.

6 Messages

Il y a 3 y

I did find some links buried in this thread, thanks.

Watched the videos, interesting.  I am a ham radio operator so...yep, gotta test it.  First off, the channel spacing in the ham radio bands is at 25KHz, that would be transmitting at 433.900, 433.925, 433.950, etc.   At 1W transmitted power my SS3 base station gave the wireless interference detected from 433.800-434.000Mhz...this was from a fully legal ham radio transmitter being operated within the legal frequency range and by a fully licensed Extra (highest) class operator.  I also tested at the low power level of 500mW with the same results.  One other thing I noticed while monitoring on the 433.925MHz frequency was that there was occasional squelch and interference noise on my handheld ham radio.  

Basically the FCC rules are that secondary users (SimpliSafe, in this case) are not allowed to cause interference to the primary users (ham radio, in this case).  Additionally, secondary users must accept interference from primary users.  The short version is that any interference from legal ham radio transmissions is the responsibility of SS to fix.  SS need to design their systems to be robust enough so that legal RF in the band does not cause problems to their devices.  In the US the maximum power level for ham radio transmissions is 1,500W PEP.  

I tested the SimpliCam wifi.  The video signal for the wifi is not effected, but that is operating in the 2.4GHz band (I don't know the exact frequency).  So the advice about having the interference sent as a secret alert and then checking your cameras is valid.  

It looks like SS has some engineering work to do.  I don't know that type of emission they are using or how it is encoded.  Based on their advertising (of which I consider to be somewhat gray) they are using a "deep" encryption (the SimpliCam claims 256bit).  I suspect that the encryption level is good enough but they need a product that can withstand more robust RF fields.  IMO, the best option would be wide band spread spectrum, this type of transmission/reception is generally the most resistant to RF interference.

As a brand new SS user, I do have concerns about the system, both this interference issue and several others...but in the end, I think SS is a decent system.  Any system can be defeated, it all depends on the effort that someone want to put into it.  Most common crooks are not likely to roaming around with a trunk full of high tech jamming, interference and encryption cracking equipment.  I'm sure that SS will continue to improve their products.  My wife feels safer already.

15 Messages

Il y a 3 y

Is there a way to configure SimpliSafe to send you a secret alert when it detects interference?

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Il y a 3 y

@jrref , actually, no need as the system will do it for you automatically, even better on SS3.  I did testing on the garage door fob story and the system did send me an alert that it "knew" something was blocking signals while I did it. :-)

If you have the 24.99 interactive plan (which I do and highly recommend) push notices on your app is the quickest and surest way to be notified.

BTW, sleep well as you have to know exactly where the sensor is and place the fob directly between the sensor and the location of the base. If the intruder doesn't have that information, the alarm will trip.

257 Messages

OMG tonight I have been getting "Wireless Interference" message every 2 minutes since about 6:30 pm and have been on hold for ever with Simplisafe. Hoping it is problem on their end as I have NEVER had this problem/message before. And no new devices have been added to the home.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 3 y

sh2402,

SS has claimed in the past this message is a result of "local" interference, i.e. garage door openers, and other low-frequency things, possibly even being too close to your router...

https://simplisafe.com/forum/customer-support-forum/installing-and-using-simplisafe/wireless-interference-detec-0

That said, do ask a supervisor if they can provide additional info/troubleshooting.

257 Messages

Il y a 3 y

Hey there coltmaster1. It was really weird. Occurred from about 6:30 pm till 9:00 pm every two minutes. I would receive "Wireless Interference Detected" message followed immediately by "Wireless Interference Resolved" message. It was so precise every two minutes. Did talk with SS and they said same about local interference I.e. garage door opener and such. Nothing new added here at home. It was the two minute timing that was really strange.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 3 y

That is strange (and so are a ton of other things SS, as we know).  One poster not long ago posted that his neighbor's garage door (I think) opener set off a warning message.  Maybe compare when your neighbor is getting home?

I honestly don't know what to make of it, as we never do ever get a straight answer from SS.  But, did you ask if they can detect interference (and have a log of such), that isn't related to a user's system?  Apparently, they have hinted at that (jamming), but they have yet to tell the rest of us how they would handle it or if the user would be notified.  That, I think, is a problem!

257 Messages

Il y a 3 y

coltmaster1 on that day in my timeline from 6:37 pm till 9:13 pm I had approximately 49 messages that read ....  " Wireless Interference. Your Base Station may have trouble communicating with your devices." and then immediately followed by  " Wireless Interference Resolved. Your Base Station is communicating normally with your devices." And many of them were exactly  2 minutes apart. That's an awful lot of garage door opening and closing by a neighbor. LOL

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 3 y

Sigh, no rhyme or reason there! (you've ruled out the router, other gadgets around the house, other radio signals etc?)

I guess I would call and get a supervisor to answer the questions.  I.e., what is SS' protocol for a potential jamming event, how does the customer detect it, and what is SS' protocol for alerting the customer of such an event?

257 Messages

Il y a 3 y

coltmaster1 I did have a new internet/router service (Spectrum) installed the day before. The new system worked the day of install, overnight and all day the next day until 6:37 pm when the interference started to be detected. I was informed of the event in push notifications on cell phone and email for each event. Cell phone was lighting up like a Christmas tree LOL. The SS customer service person said that they could remove the push notifications which I did not want to do. Even if I agreed to that it would not stop my camera from being activated with every incident. The camera would open the security shutter and record just like it does when ever you turn system to arm Home/Away or turn off from an armed status. I did email a supervisor that I had recently dealt with but have not received a response. I have the $24.99 monitoring and the push notifications are part of that monitoring system. Not sure if you have monitoring or not I'm not sure what services are included with the $15 monitoring and if no monitoring I believe the wireless interference would be displayed on the keypad. I have SS3 originally had SS2 upgraded to SS3 in January 2018.