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Signal Jamming

We look at Signal Jamming.  A method used by criminals to avoid detection following a vehicle theft.

GPS and GSM signal jamming is the relatively simple method of preventing wireless communication between devices. These work by producing a radio signal strong enough to cause enough interference and drown out competing signals in the area.

The use of such devices is illegal under section 68 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (apart from in prisons) but ownership of one is not and with a quick google search we were able to locate at least 6 different types, ranging from £30 all the way up to £180 for 8 band jammers that can block not only GPS but most radio frequencies.

How does this affect car crime? Many new vehicles are fitted with stolen vehicle tracking as standard and a great number of people install aftermarket stolen vehicle tracking systems to their vehicles. 

signal jammer
Signal Jammer - @essex_SVIU

Criminals will use signal jamming devices like the one shown here (found in a stolen Lexus by Essex police on February 8th 2022) to disrupt the signals coming from the stolen vehicle tracking systems.  This can then enable an easy, undetected getaway until the criminal or criminals are able to locate the tracking device and disable it.

You can help to prevent this type of theft with a few, security system updates and best practices for your vehicle.

1. The first one and perhaps the most obvious, but often overlooked is locking your car! Even if you have a keyless entry system that locks your car for you as you step away, it is always worth double checking with a press of the fob that your vehicle is actually locked. Leaving your vehicle unlocked is an invitation to opportunistic car thieves who can start and drive away a car in a matter of seconds.

2. Faraday pouches protect your keys from unauthorised signal cloning. Coupling this with keeping your keys in the middle of your property, away from doors and windows will give you the best chance of avoiding relay attacks, which were the cause of 99.2% of all thefts reported to Trackstar in 2021.

3. Car Alarm. Don’t assume just because your car is new it has a car alarm. Many do but check your manual to see if yours comes with one as standard. If not, you can purchase aftermarket alarm systems. Some stolen vehicle tracking devices can also integrate with the alarm, giving you a notification and alerting the secure operating centres that your car alarm has been activated, such as with the InControl Secure system fitted to Land Rovers and monitored by Teletrac Navman (Trackstar).

4.  Steering locks. Simple and effective. Okay, we know they’re ugly and If you’ve just forked out tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of pounds on a new vehicle you don’t want to ruin the look with a huge yellow steering lock; but that was the 90s. many steering locks available nowadays are almost unnoticeable but are still just as effective as the steering locks of old.

5. Stolen vehicle trackers. Okay, so we’ve just told you that signal jammers can prevent trackers from working, but all Stolen Vehicle Tracking companies, like Trackstar are always working to counteract these methods of countersecurity, implementing signal jamming alerts and multi-band tracking systems that will search for an unimpeded frequency to emit its distress signal. What puts Stolen Vehicle Tracking companies in a different league to self-install tracking systems is the secure operating centres staffed 24/7/365 by experts in Tracking, with direct feeds to local police forces. Top of the range stolen vehicle tracking systems know when their signals are being jammed and, in most instances, can get out one last distress signal before the location is lost.  In the case of Trackstar, we can alert a customer to a signal jamming alert immediately and our secure operating centres in the UK and around Europe can liaise with local police forces enabling quick interception of the vehicle, before it is lost for good.

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