Technology: Friend or Foe for Home Security?

Home owners and developers are bombarded with the benefits of technology for home security but at the same time criminals are using the next generation of similar technology to incapacitate these systems. Here the experts from uWatch look at some of the weaknesses of current technology including the emphasis on pictures and the solutions available.


The smartphone is central to most people’s interaction with technology, and including your Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi-based CCTV video doorbell and the tracker in your car, they all rely on radio waves to communicate, and therein lies the issue. These radio waves can be copied and masked to disable them, with powerful hand-held devices called jammers.

A recent BBC investigation showed a victim’s own CCTV footage of their £95,000 Range Rover being stolen in 65 seconds using a radio-wave jammer, while the owner was fast asleep. A search on YouTube will uncover numerous examples of similar footage of the theft of high value vehicles and gaps in Ring doorbell footage.  This raises the question as to the value of video, as capturing images of thieves as they go about their business does little to prevent theft unless you want to sit up all night watching your new toy, they are professionals and any pictures are likely to be unrecognisable.

Diagram showing a real-time alerting system


Reporting a crime  

Then, when we discover we have become a victim, we spend 20 minutes calling 101 to report the theft to the police (who have no facility to receive our video), and we receive a crime number to give to our insurance company. The CCTV clearly did not prevent the crime as to be successful it has to be monitored all the time. However, it could have if the crime prevention strategy included a real time alerting system.

Alerting systems

The best systems are designed not to be jammed, with a sensor in the garage, on the back door, under the front door mat or in a pile of building materials that could have awoken us and then we could have looked at the CCTV and called the police on 999, to report a crime in progress to catch the criminals in the act.

For these latest systems Bluetooth has been replaced with high powered LoRa (Long Range) technology that can penetrate buildings and shipping containers, so the central hub, that means the alarm can be located anywhere within the home and moved whenever required to where it is more convenient.

However, LoRa is a technology not a product, and when applied to create a wide area network (WAN) it is more susceptible to jamming.

As well as crime prevention, alerting systems have a huge range of other uses about the house. Keeping an eye on elderly relatives using a panic alarm, for peace of mind; instant alerts from rat traps or animal intruders in your vegetable patch (thieves) ; a float sensor in your boat or basement can send a flood alert when water levels rise, or fall.

Some alerting devices work on batteries so can be taken with you to alert you even when you are working at the end of the garden.

These are cost-effective and flexible solutions where remote sensors for a whole range of different tasks can be 300m away through buildings or up to 7km clear line of sight or even hanging round granny’s neck as a panic alarm.

Expandable security system

How to respond to a crime in progress

When your alerting system wakes you through unexpected activity around your home, you can react by opening windows, making a noise and shining a high-powered torch at night. This may scare off potential criminals without a loud siren waking the neighbours with false alarms, especially when it’s actually the cat locked in the shed that set it off.

If the crime is serious then dial 999 and report a ‘crime in progress’. Never, under any circumstances try and confront a criminal, always leave that to the police.

Security lights are always a good option to discourage thieves if they are positioned correctly to be a deterrent rather than a way to light the path when you come home late at night.

Movement-activated flood lights mounted on the house and shining down the garden or across the front of the house will blind thieves to someone watching them from within the house so combined with an alerting system puts the thief at a distinct disadvantage.

Wi-Fi enabled home devices and Air Tags

Most houses now have Wi-Fi, and while it is very convenient it makes homes more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than any other technology. Password access through computers and phones is fine, but other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as kettles, lights and heating systems use default passwords such as 00000, and we rarely bother changing them.  Once someone outside with a powerful WiFi receiver has found this way in, by guessing your default password, they can see everything that is happening on your home network.  Again, check out “how to hack a Wi-Fi kettle” on the internet.

So far as Apple Air Tags are concerned, they are great for finding your lost keys around the home, but only work on later i-Phones (1 in 5 phones worldwide) and with other Apple users nearby, but tracking vehicles after they have been stolen smacks of barn doors rather than prevention.

Technology has a major part to play in home security, but unless you want to sit and watch cameras 24/7 for it to be effective, then its not going to prevent theft. The best systems tell you when there is a problem, instantly, when it is happening, wherever you are.


uWatch provides an extensive range of home and community alerting and crime prevention systems.  

The uWatch Cube and its range of remote sensor tags delivers flexible security systems, using generic LoRa technology that can’t be jammed to send real-time alerts to the Cube and then to your smart phone..

The WeWatch community information system bypasses social media and hence the criminals for watch groups.

The free to use uWatch-It app records and documents your possessions for police and insurance companies in the event they are lost or stolen. Our apps can also record vehicles parked in odd places, and check for unlicensed vehicles which are often driven by criminals.

uWatch has been at the forefront of developing alerting systems in the UK for 10 years and is Cyber-Certified and police approved under the Secured by Design initiative.





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