You don’t expect to visit a hotel or Airbnb on your vacation and have your every move watched. But that is precisely what happened to a family from New Zealand. The family rented a property in Ireland and after sweeping the property’s wifi network, discovered that there was a hidden camera watching their every move.
Andrew Barker, who discovered the camera in the rental property, works in IT security and knew how to detect a live feed on the local wifi network. However, many families or holidaymakers would not have had the technical know-how to detect a hidden camera in their home or holiday rental.
Here we offer a number of ways to detect spycams in your home, along with information on what to do if you find one, equipping you with the tools to protect you and your family from prying eyes.
Use an RF Detector
The easiest way to detect hidden cameras is through an RF detector. These devices pick up on radio signals and can alert you whenever a device in your proximity is transmitting signals to another source. This makes them ideal for sniffing out audio and video bugs that may be lurking in your vicinity.
The stronger the radio signal, the closer the bug is to you. You can use an RF detector to find out the exact location of a hidden bug by homing in on where the signals are at their strongest.
For more information, check out this handy rf detectors guide.
Scan the Wifi Network
If someone is using a wifi connection to send information from a hidden camera, it will be detectable to other devices on that network. Simply download an app from the Apple of android app stores named Fing and connect to the wireless network you want to scan.
After you have connected, you can use the app to scan the network for other devices using that network. If there are any that are clearly marked as cameras (Nest, Arlo and Wyze are all prominent surveillance camera makers), or any devices you don’t recognize, it could be indicative that someone is using the network to send a live video or audio feed to an outside source.
To find out if an unrecognized device is a camera, take note of the device’s IP address, then scan for open ports and type in the IP address. This will show you what they are doing on the network. If they are using an RTSP or RTMP service, it could mean that they are live streaming. If they are using an HTTP or HTTPS service, connect to it in your browser to make sure it is not a streaming service.
I Found a Camera! Now What?
Firstly, don’t touch it. If the camera has been placed there unlawfully, the police might want to run fingerprint or forensic analysis. Simply remove all your possessions from its field of view, take photos to document the position and location of the camera, and phone the police.
It is illegal for a culprit to place a camera in your home. In the case of Andrew’s Airbnb, if the host wanted to monitor the property, he was required by law to make it known that there was a camera in the room. The host may not place cameras in sleeping areas of bathrooms.
Next time you get the feeling you are being watched, you can find out if you are with these methods of finding spycams.