Signal jammers are getting smarter
With a wireless setup, you'll stick battery-powered sensors up around your home that keep an eye on windows, doors, motion, and more. If they detect something amiss while the system is armed, they'll transmit a wireless alert signal to a base station that will then raise the alarm. That approach eliminates most of the cord-cutting concerns -- but what about their wireless analog, jamming? With the right device tuned to the right frequency, what's to stop a thief from jamming your setup and blocking that alert signal from ever reaching the base station?
Jamming a wireless radio requires knowledge of its broadcast frequency as well as the right equipment to jam that frequency. It also requires criminal intent, because jamming is highly illegal. Buying or selling these devices without the right certifications is often illegal, too.
The big advantage of sending out a hunter drone with countermeasures rather than trying to do it on the ground is that, being closer to the drone, the power of the signal jammer can be reduced, thus creating less disturbance to other RF devices in the area – the rogue drone is specifically targeted.
Wireless security providers will often take steps to help combat the threat of jamming attacks. For instance, SimpliSafe, a two-time winner of our Editors' Choice distinction, utilizes a proprietary algorithm that's capable of separating incidental RF interference from targeted jamming attacks. When the system thinks it's being jammed, it'll notify you via push alert on your phone. From there, it's up to you to sound the alarm manually.
So now it’s the fun part, what does the second LimeSDR do? Some of the more obvious problems with the overall concept is that the drone will jam itself and the rogue drone might already have anti-jamming capabilities installed, in which case it will just return to home. Maybe the second SDR is there to track the drone as it returns home and thereby catch the human operator? Answers/suggestions in the comments below! Video after the break.
After taking appropriate measures to contain the RF interference to our test lab, we tested the attack out for ourselves, and were able to verify that it's possible with the right equipment. However, we also verified that SimpliSafe's anti-jamming algorithm works. It caught us in the act, sent an alert to my smartphone, and also listed our RF interference on the system's event log.
There is also no way the jamming device would be allowed to jam essential safety frequencies so there are some frequencies you could fly your drone with criminal intent and be fairly sure they would not get cell phone jammer. Then you have the self flying – no reason a drone can’t fly a programed course and that would be pretty much impossible to affect with jamming – shut down the navigation satilite bands and maybe eventually its dead reckoning would become imprecise enough to have issues, but if you are really in the mood to do something so stupid its not hard to use direction finding based on the local FM radio station towers, map markers, sun position etc and keep accuracy in the dead reckoning.