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What is Jamming in Cyber Security?

In this tutorial, you will learn what is Jamming in Cyber Security, how it works, and more.

Introduction

When you think of jamming, you probably think of the 1985 music video for ā€œStand and Deliverā€ by the band The Clash. However, in the field of cyber security, jamming is a completely different kind of strategy. Jamming is an intentional interference with communication signals to reduce signal strength or block them entirely. This article provides a brief but detailed explanation of what jamming is and its role in cyber security.

What is Jamming?

Jamming is an act of interference by which the communication signals are blocked or reduced. In jamming, an unwanted signal is transmitted at the same frequency as the intended signal. Both the intended and the unwanted signals are received at the receiving end, but the wanted signal is not received properly because of the unwanted signal.

In jamming, the unwanted signal is stronger than the wanted signal, so the wanted signal is not received properly. Jamming is also known as ā€œInterferenceā€, ā€œBlockingā€, ā€œInterference Blockingā€, ā€œBroadcasting Interferenceā€ and ā€œBroadcast Jammingā€.

How Does Jamming Work in Cyber Security?

Jamming in cyber security is the intentional interference with communication signals to reduce signal strength or block them entirely. Jamming is often employed during cyber attacks and cyber warfare. The signals that jamming interferes with are those that are transmitted in the air, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and radio frequencies.

A common example of jamming is when a radio station is broadcasted on the same frequency as that of a nearby radio station with weaker signal strength and thereby drowning the weaker signal out.

Why is Jamming Used in Cyber Security?

Jamming is used in cyber security to disrupt the communication signals of the cyber attackers. Jamming can be used to prevent cyber attackers from accessing the network or to prevent them from accessing critical information.

For example, while performing a penetration test, the penetration testers might use jamming to interrupt the communication signals and thereby discover the weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the network. Since jamming causes interference with the communication signals, it is not always desirable in cyber security.

Types of Jamming in Cyber Security

The following are the types of Jamming in cyber security:

  1. Broadcast Jamming: Broadcast jamming is the intentional broadcast of a radio frequency signal in the same frequency as the original signal.
  2. Directional Jamming: In directional jamming, the unwanted signal is directed towards the receiver of the signal.
  3. Spreading Jamming: In spreading jamming, the jamming signal is sent over a large area so that the jamming signal interferes with all the communication signals in the area.
  4. Feedback Jamming: Feedback jamming is the transmission of a signal from the receiver to the transmitter that interferes with the broadcasting signal.
  5. Selective Jamming: In selective jamming, the jamming signal is targeted toward certain receivers of the signal.

Limitations of Jamming in Cyberspace

Jamming is generally used to interrupt the communication signals of the cyber attackers to prevent them from accessing the network or to discover the weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the network.

Since jamming causes interference with the communication signals, it is not always desirable in cyber security. Some of the limitations of jamming in cyber security are listed below:

  • Jamming degrades the network performance.
  • Jamming may also disrupt the communication signals of the authorized users.
  • Some of the communication signals may be difficult to jam, such as the ones that are transmitted through cables.

Bottom line

Jamming in cyber security is an intentional interference with communication signals to reduce signal strength or block them entirely. Jamming is often employed during cyber attacks and cyber warfare. The signals that jamming interferes with are those that are transmitted in the air, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and radio frequencies. The signals that fall under cable communications, such as Internet service, telephone service, and satellite television, are less susceptible to jamming.