Is your doorbell camera vulnerable to jamming or interference?


Do you have a doorbell camera at your front door? Chances are, the answer is yes. In a world increasingly embracing smart technology, security devices such as doorbell cameras have become household must-haves. However, in the shared driveways of Palmdale, California, and beyond, these nifty little gadgets are curiously amiss in action.

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Take the case of Maureen, for instance, who wrote to us saying her Ring doorbell camera on her gated driveway consistently fails to record her neighbors or their guests. Despite being perfectly positioned and powered, the camera doesn’t seem to capture the cause behind repeated collisions with their wall. A question then looms: Could the Ring camera be falling victim to a jamming device?

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Ring cameras are used by most people to capture footage around their homes. (Credit: Ring)

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Decoding the unseen

Jamming devices, as it turns out, could indeed interfere with the functionality of your Ring doorbell camera. These tools work by emitting radio frequency signals that block or disrupt the communication between your camera and its receiver, rendering it temporarily nonfunctional. But how can you detect whether such a device is being used?

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Ring camera photo of an Amazon delivery driver.

Some people use jamming devices to interfere with your Ring camera. (Credit: Ring)

How to detect jamming attacks on security cameras using noise levels 

The noise level in the immediate vicinity where the security cameras are installed can hint at possible interference. It’s measured in dBm (decibel-milliwatts), where a lower number suggests less noise interference, while a higher dBm value means more noise interference. 

Using a decibel meter like this one could help homeowners like Maureen determine whether there is any unusual activity or fluctuation in the noise level around her camera that could indicate jamming.  

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How to use a hidden device detector to find jammers 

You can also use a hidden device detector like this one to scan for any radio frequency signals around your camera. The hidden device detector is a device that can detect Wi-Fi jammers. It has an LED display that shows the signal strength and a sound alarm that beeps more rapidly when the signal is stronger.

Remember, Wi-Fi jamming is illegal and regularly scrutinized by the FCC. Anyone who suspects that their doorbell camera is being jammed should contact the FCC Enforcement Bureau immediately, providing any information and evidence they can gather.

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Elusive interference

Turning our focus now eastward to Greensboro, North Carolina, another intriguing case came to our attention that mirrors Maureen’s dilemma but with a slightly different twist. Here, Carol reached out to us about her Ring cameras, which she installed on two doors of her residence, to keep watch and capture all the happenings around her home. The hiccup? Well, it appears that someone has figured out how to pull the plug on her internet, successfully evading the watchful eyes of her Ring cameras.

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Photo of a woman pressing a button on a doorbell camera.

Having a strong internet connection can help the function of your doorbell camera. (CyberGuy.com)

You may wonder how this could happen. Could an invisible, digital hand be switching off Carol’s internet just at the right moment to prevent her cameras from capturing unwelcome intrusions? This isn’t just about potential jamming but also about the overall resilience of her home’s internet connectivity.

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Safeguarding your virtual gateway

A sturdy and secure internet connection is the backbone of any IoT device, which is a thing that can connect to the internet and communicate with other things, including Ring cameras. Think of it like the supply line in a battle. Without it, even the best weapons are of no use. Carol’s predicament underscores the importance of ensuring a strong and fortified internet network. There are a few steps homeowners can take to do this.

Hard-to-crack password 

First, having a robust, hard-to-crack password is like having a sturdy lock on your door. It’s the first line of defense against unwanted intrusions. Keeping it complex and changing it periodically are good practices to maintain security. 

Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords. It will help you to create unique and difficult-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess. Second, it also keeps track of all your passwords in one place and fills passwords in for you when you’re logging into an account so that you never have to remember them yourself.  The fewer passwords you remember, the less likely you will be to reuse them for your accounts. 

Check out my best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023 by heading to Cyberguy.com/Passwords.

Regular software updates

Next, regular software updates are the unsung heroes of digital security. Often overlooked, these updates come packed with security enhancements and patches for any vulnerabilities that may have been discovered. Keeping your router software up to date is akin to fortifying the walls of your digital fortress.

Use a separate network for your devices

Third, using a separate network for your devices, like Ring cameras, can provide an added layer of security.  These devices can communicate with other devices on the same network, such as your laptop, smartphone or tablet. However, some of these devices may have weak security features or vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to access or control them remotely. This could compromise your privacy and data.

One way to protect these devices is by isolating them from other networks. This means setting up a separate Wi-Fi network specifically for your internet-connected devices like your Ring doorbell camera and not allowing any other traffic on this network. This ensures that malicious actors cannot access or control any of the data being transmitted over the connection. It also prevents them from using your IoT devices as a gateway to attack your other devices on your main network. 

For example, let’s say you have a Ring camera that monitors your front door. If you connect it to your main network, where you also have your laptop and smartphone, a hacker could exploit a flaw in the camera’s software and gain access to it. Then they could shut it down, spy on you, record your activities or even talk to you through the camera’s speaker. They could also try to hack into your laptop or smartphone and steal your personal information or install malware. However, if you connect your Ring camera to a separate network that only allows IoT devices, you can reduce the risk of such attacks. 

Invest in a UPS

Lastly, an investment in a UPS for networking equipment may be a bit much for some, but it’s worth considering. UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. It is a device that can keep your network equipment, such as your router or modem, working when the power goes out. It can also protect your equipment from damage caused by power surges or spikes. A UPS has a battery inside that can provide power for a short time until the power comes back on, or you can safely shut down your equipment. Click here to see a list of the “Best backup power supply devices.” 

While we’re on the topic of security cameras, be sure to check out my 5 Best outdoor security camera recommendations.

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Kurt’s key takeaways

In this ever-evolving digital landscape, being vigilant and proactive about home security is more crucial than ever.  Follow my tips to give yourself some peace of mind when it comes to your home tech. If you think someone is messing with your security camera in any way, be sure to take the necessary steps I mentioned above right away, to stop it from happening.

How are you bolstering your home’s digital security? What steps are you taking to keep those prying digital eyes at bay? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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