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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

So Much for Peace of Mind, ADT Class Says

CHICAGO (CN) - A $10 radio allows hackers to infiltrate ADT security systems, compromising the so-called "peace of mind" the service offers, a federal class action alleges.

The complaint filed Sunday by Illinois resident Dale Baker says that the home and small-business customers of ADT Security Services "are far less safe than ADT leads them to believe."

Customers sign a three-year agreement when they purchase equipment that relies on "unencrypted and unauthenticated" wireless signals, according to the complaint.

Baker says hackers can exploit these flaws to disable the system, cause false alarms to go off and even use the system's own cameras to spy on people.

The lawsuit points to an article in Forbes magazine that a simple software-defined radio (SDR) allows hackers to detect when doors are opened and closed. With a more complicated SDR they can manipulate the system, according to the complaint.

This leaves consumers "insufficiently protected from intrusion and interference by unauthorized third parties," Baker says.

Indeed Baker's home security system was allegedly hacked twice, both times triggering an alarm that led to the police being called.

ADT says that it holds 25 percent of the residential and 13 percent of the small-business security industries, with its systems used in about 6.5 million homes and businesses in the United States and Canada.

The company advertises "peace of mind" for its customers, offering systems that use advanced technology and are "safe and reliable," according to the complaint.

But Baker says ADT "knows that its systems are vulnerable to intrusion." Despite admitting that it uses professional hackers to test ADT systems, the Delaware company with principal offices in Boca Raton, Fla., does not alert customers to any issues, according to the complaint.

The class seeks an injunction requiring ADT to change its marketing materials and use encrypted signals in its security systems. It is represented by attorney Thomas Zimmerman.

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