Wed. Mar 4th, 2020


Shenango Valley Makers

A SimpliSafe Security System Can Be Bypassed with a $2 Device

Security systems like SimpliSafe promise to make it simple, easy, and inexpensive to keep your home safe. These, along with many similar systems, utilize a number of wireless sensors that can be positioned at entry points in your home. Those simple magnetic sensors can be placed on doors or windows, and send a signal to the base station when the entry point is breached. The base station, in turn, can sound an alarm, call the police, or send a notification to your phone. But as YouTuber LockPickingLawyer demonstrates, burglars can bypass the alarm using a readily-available $2 device.

This vulnerability relies on the fact that the SimpliSafe security system, along with other budget systems, has wireless sensors that transmit at 433.92 MHz. That frequency band is used by a huge variety of wireless home products, and is also part of the amateur radio range. It’s inexpensive for SimpliSafe to manufacture and sell sensors that utilize that frequency, but it isn’t ideal from a security perspective. That’s because it can be easily overcome by interference, preventing the system from registering that a door or window has been opened.

As LockPickingLawyer explains, that can be done using just about any transmitter that works in the same frequency. A simple $25 handheld ham radio works well and has a lot of power, but even a $2 wireless remote can cause enough interference to stop the system from registering a sensor signal. The SimpliSafe system does have the ability to detect high levels of interference, but won’t call the police when it does — there would just be too many false alarms triggered by nearby devices. But you can set it to send you a notification when interference is detected, which is probably prudent if you own one of these systems.

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Author: Cameron Coward