As we trade staying in hotels for staying in a rental Airbnb, the threat for invasions of privacy can increase. In April, a family discovered a hidden camera in their Airbnb disguised as a smoke detector. As these cameras have become more compact and less expensive, they are more available than ever. Manufacturers are designing them to look like everyday objects such as smoke detectors, wireless chargers, clocks, and more. Today, we want to give you some tips on how to spot a hidden camera, only using your cellphone.

Scan For Cameras On A Network

If you have access to the WiFi network of the place you’re staying, you can have an advantage in detecting hidden cameras. You will need to have an app called Fing installed on your device. This app is free for both Android and iOS devices.

When you use Fing, you will want to look at all of the devices that are on the network. The iPhone app will start scanning immediately, on Android-based devices you will need to hit the refresh icon to begin the scan. Once the scan is complete, you will want to look for any camera manufacturer name or ‘IP Camera.’ If you don’t notice any cameras look at the devices that are on the network. If you think a particular device is suspicious, take down the IP address.

Select the ‘Network’ tab in the app. Select the option to ‘Find Open Ports’ and enter the IP address that you wrote down from the previous step. This will show you the list of open ports and the services they use. If you see RTSP or RTMP, these are used for streaming video. Anything listed as HTTP or HTTPS is a service you can connect to with a browser. Type the IP address into a browser to see if it takes you to a video stream.

Night Vision Cameras

If you don’t have access to the local network, or there are too many things connected to go through there is another option for spotting hidden cameras. Most cameras will have infrared for night vision. While you might not be able to see them with your eye, your smartphone camera can help.

Some rear-facing cameras will have filters that block the infrared light, but most front-facing cameras do not. To test this, hold a remote up to your camera and press a button if you can see the light blink then your set, if not try the other camera. Once you determine which camera is best to use, turn off the lights and walk around the area to see if you see any lights. Some cameras only have one infrared, where others might have four or six. If you spot any infrared on your camera, you have a place to look more closely.

Other Considerations

Look for things that are out of place to potentially find hidden cameras. Are there extra smoke detectors in a room, or one too many outlets? Do you see a USB hub somewhere there is no other electronics? Look at a mirror in the house. If you touch it and look at it from an angle, your finger and its reflection do not touch if it’s a normal mirror. If it is a one-way mirror, your finger and its reflection will touch. A one-way mirror may have a camera behind it. Paying attention to out of place things can help you find hidden cameras.

While there is no guarantee to find a hidden camera, if you are concerned about them, these steps may help you identify them. If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!