How to Prevent GPS Tampering | Tamper-Proof GPS Tracker


May 3, 2023

With the most recent update of our applications, we launched a feature specifically for our GL520 and GL521 trackers, the tamper alert. The tamper alert will immediately notify you if someone removes your tracker from your asset.

Essentially, the tamper alert is simply a triggered light sensor. The sensor's placement means that it is usually only activated when someone has moved or tampered with the tracker. This alert, when coupled with a few other features in the Hapn apps, gives users a better sense of what is happening to the trackers themselves, not just the things they are tracking.

What kinds of Tampering happens to GPS trackers?

There are a few ways in which someone can tamper with the trackers themselves. A thief can grab a tracker and toss it to the side of the road in a matter of seconds. Removing a GPS tracker is the easiest way to stop tracking. There are a variety of reasons why this might happen, stealing the asset, using it after hours, etc.

There are also devices that will broadcast signals to interfere with GPS devices, leading to distorted or bad data. Encountering these methods is unlikely as they are typically very cumbersome to use, and theft is more often than not a quick event.

GPS spoofing is another tampering method that is becoming more common. Spoofing is when you use a radio transmitter to send a signal that mimics a GPS satellite. This allows them to get a GPS tracker or other device to report a false location. Super sneaky stuff.

There are a few ways to fight this kind of tampering, though.

Tips to combat GPS tampering

Placement is a way to combat tampering with a GPS tracker. Simply put, they cannot remove what they cannot find. If you have the ability to place the trackers in a hidden location on your equipment, do. A hidden tracker can go unnoticed.

Now, that is not always going to be possible, you may have limited space on the asset or need to install it near the power source.

Although unlikely, it is still possible to find a hidden tracker. One way to do this is by using an RF detector to sweep the asset for radio signals emanating from the tracker's antenna. This is very unlikely, as the tracker would need to be actively transmitting at the time of the sweep, but is still a possibility.

The next layer of protection against tampering is actual hardware protections. That can be a secure mounting system, say bolted to the asset, making removing the tracker a difficult endeavor. This is another possible fix that just will not be an option in many deployments.

The third option is to use hardware features and software features to help mitigate the issue. This is where an alert, like our tamper alert, comes in. The sensor is a physical component of the software, and when combined with software features, it enables you to receive notifications if the tracker is tampered with.

We also provide a motion alert that can notify you if a tracker is taken from an asset and moved off schedule. This can also provide an early warning against instances of tampering.

Neither of these measures will fully prevent tampering with GPS trackers, but can certainly put you in a much stronger position to react to an incident.

Let's dive into how the tamper sensor works on the GL500 series trackers.

Enabling the alert in the apps

The first step is to head to the “tracker settings” page in the application for a GL500 series tracker. Once there, you will see an option to enable or disable the tamper sensor. We will want to set that to “enabled”, follow the application prompts, and note that the tamper sensor will consume some battery.

Once enabled, head to the preferences section of the web application and navigate to Alerts and Notifications. The names of the two alerts available are : Tamper Sensor Exposure to Light and Tamper Sensor Exposure to Light Ended. There are two different alerts because each applies to the “light status”. For example, if you are only concerned about whether a tracker is tampered with and exposed to light, you can enable the “Tamper Sensor Exposure to Light” alert and disable the “Tamper Sensor Exposure to Light Ended” alert. This way, you will only receive a notification when the tracker detects light.

Once you configure these few things, the sensor and corresponding alerts will start running, helping you keep the trackers secure.

How does it work?

To get the tamper alert working on the tracker, all you have to do is install it face up as you normally would. The included mount or the option magnetic mount will cover the sensor and cause it to activate if removed from the mount.

Any use with the tracker face down, in fact, will set it up for triggering the alert when moved. It is super simple and is a reaction to the change in light. That simplicity means it will be a very reliable alert trigger for you.

What is the benefit?

This means that the system will immediately notify you if someone removes the tracker from its mount. This can mean the difference in starting the theft recovery process now, or missing out on crucial time. Without this feature, you may not notice that the tracker has been removed from the asset for hours. Any lost time when dealing with theft makes the situation exponentially worse, so we are doing everything we can to shorten the timeframe between something happening to a device and you finding out about it.  You can get a head start, nullifying the theft, if you know immediately what happened.

The light sensor also works in the opposite way, notifying you if it goes from light to dark. This means you can also use the tamper alert to know when your staff has installed a batch of GL500 devices on your new pieces of equipment. Having more ways to stay informed is always beneficial, and it can be used for optimization tasks, not just for theft protection.

This alert is designed to inform you when something happens to your tracker, whether it is removed from the object you are monitoring or being tampered with. More data means more options, more chances to react to changing situations.


Our new tamper alert allows customers to be instantly notified if anyone tampers with one of their GL500 trackers.

Completely stopping anyone from tampering with GPS trackers is a very tough thing to do. You can help mitigate that problem by taking a few key actions. Number one is to place your trackers in a way that makes them tougher to remove or access. A hidden tracker is tough to tamper with, it is a great first line of defense. Secondly, leverage Hapn’s features, such as the motion alert and our new tamper alert. They will notify you when something happens to the trackers, giving you a chance to react to a theft or unauthorized tracker activity earlier.

That is a key, the early warning and fast reaction. It can minimize downtime from lost equipment and quickly show you if someone is making changes to your devices.

For more theft prevention tools from Hapn, head to this blog about Boundaries and Geofencing.

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