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Magic C.
Magic C., Network Engineer
Category: Networking
Satisfied Customers: 518
Experience:  over 3 years networking experience, IT/Networking degree
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how can a wireless alarm system be hacked to look like

Customer Question

how can a wireless alarm system be hacked to look like no one was ever in your house, but they were?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Networking
Expert:  derrickonline replied 2 years ago.

I'd be more than happy to assist you. Anything wireless devices are more prone to hacking simply because of their very wireless nature. For example, a physical alarm would require tapping directly into the panel, a wireless unit means the hacker/burglar needn't gain physical access to the hardware, they could remotely hack it, then enter without you knowing.

Obviously security systems vary greatly, and various encryption and security measures are most likely in place to prevent such. However what you have to remember is if man can build it, man can reverse engineer it. All computers/electronics are able to be hacked. Why? Because a human built it, which means a human can take it apart. It's not a matter of whether something CAN be hacked but how easy it is to hack, the benefits of hacking it, and how easy it might be to cover tracks.

This is why every day in the news you hear of another credit card company, bank, corporation, government agency etc hacked. The idea is to be less of target, and put as many layers of security in place as possible in order to prevent an attack, for example enable any and all security options, and keep your system updated (usually online with the latest software) to prevent a security hole from being exploited.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I need to know how it was done to prevent it from happening again.
Expert:  derrickonline replied 2 years ago.

What's the model of the wireless security system.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alexor DSC wireles panel & WT5500 Keypad
Expert:  derrickonline replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately we don't have specific information on hacking or how that unit has been hacked. I can open your question to other experts to see if anyone else has an idea.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The signal goes to a wireless phone tower. The only evidence left was a


patch of dead grass in a 9in by 9inch square on my lawn. Is there some kind of device that could transfer the signal to the box and leave the house unprotected?

Expert:  Rachel-Mod replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic. Your Professional has opted out and I wonder whether you’re still waiting for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will do my best to find another Professional to assist you right away. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I am still waiting for an answer. Please help.
Expert:  Rachel-Mod replied 2 years ago.

Sometimes, finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected and we thank you greatly for your understanding. We’ll be in touch again shortly

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Lindie-mod replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your patience, your business is very important to us, we are waiting on the Professional with the right expertise to come online. Feel free to let us know if you would like us to continue searching for a Professional or if you would like us to close your question. Thank you for your understanding!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I would still like to know how people got in my house without showing any signs of break in. It must have been pretty high tech to not even show up on the event buffer. If I am not here reply to my email, please. I realize this might take some time. However, if you cant help,


please refund my $48.

Expert:  Lindie-mod replied 2 years ago.
I'll leave it open a little longer.

Thank you :)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What do you need?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please reply to my email and let me know what info you need.


I have to sign off now.

Expert:  Magic C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I'm Magic, and thanks for asking your question on JustAnswer. I will be glad to help you.

There are a few of ways a wireless system was possibly hacked. I will give a few:

1) someone you may know (or may not know) has learned/stolen your wireless keypad login.
2) default username/password XXXXX used on either the login to the router and/or to the wireless network
3) router feature not enabled to block the ability to the router using a wireless connection (wired-only access)
4) low password XXXXX of either the router login and/or the wireless passkey

#2-4 all reference wireless communication between a WiFi device and an "Access Point" of some sort, whether it's a smartphone, laptop, or wireless music device.

As for communication between your wireless keypad and the station, the specifications mention that the data between them is encrypted and secure, but it doesn't specify how strong that encryption is.

My recommendation: Add a security camera inside to the most likely traveled area of your home and 1 outside the front and/or back doors.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Magic,


 


Thank you for your response. However, no one had our password, it was only in memory and not written down. We don't have a wired system either. Also, there is no history of anyone coming in or out on the event buffer. The alarm never went off, but yet someone robbed our home while we were gone. There is a 9 x 9 inch patch of dead grass outside on my lawn in front of the house which would be in line with where the wireless gps box is. Is there a device that can divert a signal from the tower to the box to make it look as if it is activated and then give access to an unprotected house? Is it possible if my phone was bugged by the wireless phone company and knew when we were not going to be here, someone from the tower that gives me phone service and monitors my alarm would be able to shut my signal off to give access and then put it back on when the criminals left? I have called the alarm monitoring company--our system tests a.o.k. Nothing shows on the event buffer except us leaving and coming home and an automatic communication test from our wireless receiver to the alarm company through the phone tower. I hope you can help, because as of now I can't leave my home and fear we are in danger.


 


Thank you

Expert:  Magic C. replied 2 years ago.
There is not a specific device that I know of that can deflect signal in the way you describe. However, since GPS uses radio signals to communicate, metal is a common object that can be used to block/redirect signals because metal reflects RF signals.

For instance, I have a wireless router with antennas on it. The antennas were broadcasting signal over too much area around my home. I was able to reach it > 50 ft away. I ended up making a half convex-shaped makeshift deflector to deflect one antenna back away from that direction where it was broadcasting. That instantly fixed the problem by giving me more signal to the other end of my home and deflected signal from "spilling" outside the wanted area.

As for your cellular signal from your Alarm system being bugged, that's a possibility. I'm not sure of the hardware required for it to be done, but there is definitely the possibility of it being done. The only way I could see something being wrong is if the wireless signal isn't encrypted and sending out the signals and communication in plain-text. However, the hardware you have described shows that the communication is encrypted.

I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. I would ask your Alarm monitoring company to investigate the equipment.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Your answer still does not answer HOW someone got into my house. It seems this is more high tech than you realize. Since my whole house is covered with aluminum siding the metal theory doesn't work either.


 


Please refund my money to my credit card account. We are done.


 


Thank you for trying.

Expert:  Magic C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that we couldn't provide a more definitive/exact answer for you as to HOW your wireless alarm system was hacked.

What I am giving you answers from is from my experience with WiFi that is used for wireless connectivity for wireless NICs. WiFi has many different forms of encryption, but only the latest WPA2 standard provides the best "anti-hack" encryption since it uses AES-256 encryption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard).

The specifications for your alarm does not mention exactly what standard it uses to communicate between devices. Some forms of encryption can be hacked within minutes by using "freeware" readily available on the Internet (WireShark is a popular one) to capture wireless transmissions and track when/if data streams change so that they can attempt to figure out the encryption key interval, thereby being able to "mask" that their own device is sending the signal and not the "real" device. I would assume the same may apply to your situation.

What (or who rather) I would ask is:
1) why/how the alarm system manufacturer system was hacked
2) why their system is insecure
3) why the alarm system monitoring system didn't detect any changes
4) what kind of guarantee they give on their product that it protects home from burglary

Just about any wireless communication can be intercepted. If that communication is not encrypted or "masked" in some way or uses low-grade encryption, it can easily be hacked.

Some burglars already know the weakness of many security alarm systems. It's like a computer user: the savvy ones know enough of their way around, but them leaving a 9x9 patch of dead grass is a giveaway. The authorities (police) should be involved for investigation as well. That seems like very interesting evidence you have gathered on your own. Knowing what has changed makes a BIG difference, just like in the computer and networking world.

If this does not help explain anything for you or to your satisfaction, I can open this up for other experts to explain, or submit for you to be refunded.

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