YARD Stick One on the surface is a harmless device, but it could help thieves and burglars in their malicious activities. It is a hand-held USB stick easily available at Amazon and can substantially help in deactivating wireless burglar alarm systems.
Priced at just $142 (£109), this gadget is going to increase problems for users of wireless burglar alarm systems that do not have external sirens since criminals can switch them off conveniently with just a click.
The revelation was made by The Mail after a thorough investigation on YARD Stick One. It was identified that criminals could easily switch off an alarm within mere seconds through jamming the signals of battery-operated sensors installed across the premises of the alarm system.
The purpose of these sensors is to create a sound whenever someone tries to gain entry to a property discreetly. This USB stick has a small antenna that has to be connected to a laptop and then the signals can be jammed. It is quite surprising that YARD Stick One is so easily available on Amazon considering that selling and buying of jamming devices are banned across the UK.
To probe the issue, The Mail’s team bought this device from Amazon along with a wireless alarm system called ERA miGuard from Maplin, a famous electronics store. miGuard wi-fi alarm system can be installed manually or remotely using its smartphone app. Once activated it protects the household by producing siren-like sound and sending out a notification to the smartphone alerting homeowners regarding any attempt of an unauthorized entry.
To test the possibility of hacking of this system, The Mail’s investigation team installed the miGuard alarm system in a house and with the permission of the homeowner tried to deactivate the alarm using YARD Stick One. Surprisingly, it took them only a few seconds to jam the alarm from outside the home. The team downloaded a computer code script, also easily available, to instruct the device to not create any sound or send a notification when someone enters the house.
Hence, it was proved that deactivating wireless alarm of this particular brand was possible through YARD Stick One. Once done, the team notified the alarm manufacturer regarding the issue. It must be noted that the testing was conducted in public interest only.
However, renowned cyber-security testing firm Pen Test Partners’ founder Ken Munro stated that the issue is not restricted to this brand only and many of the wireless burglar alarms available in the market currently are vulnerable. The reason being that the majority of these alarm systems operate similarly. Munro further stated that there might be “tens of thousands” of burglar alarm systems installed at homes that are vulnerable to this sort of hacking.
He urged alarm system manufacturers to intensify their product’s security to avoid major mishaps in the future. Moreover, Munro requests consumers to be wise and watch-out for two-way systems having the capability of detecting jamming.