How to detect surveillance cameras with your mobile - The Happy Android

If you have ever used the Airbnb platform to rent an apartment for a few days, surely you have wondered if the owner does not have one installed hidden surveillance camera among the furniture. It's not a far-fetched idea: according to a 2019 survey of more than 2,000 Airbnb customers, 1 in 10 users have found hidden cameras in their accommodations.

The truth is that Airbnb does allow the installation of security cameras by the hosts, although they must communicate it to the guests in advance. Likewise, the placement of recording devices in private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms is completely prohibited. That said, it is clear that many homeowners are not compliant. So what can we do as users to check if our apartment has a camera?

How to scan a Wi-Fi network for connected hidden cameras

Many apartments and houses that are rented online through apps like Airbnb and the like usually include a free wifi connection (essential if you want to receive good reviews). This is something that we can take advantage of by making use of an app called Fing, available for Android and iOS.

Download QR-Code Fing - Network Scanner Developer: Fing Limited Price: Free

With this free application we can scan the Wi-Fi network of the flat and see all the devices that are connected, including surveillance cameras. To make the trick easier to carry out, it is recommended that we disconnect the rest of the mobiles, tablets, PCs and other devices that we may have connected at that moment.

To launch the scan, just click on the "refresh" button located in the upper right corner of the screen. Before starting the analysis, the app may ask us for permissions to establish our location. We give it to them and we move on.

The good thing about Fing is that it not only detects the IP and MAC address of all devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network: it is also capable of identify the manufacturer and even the type of device (smartphone, streaming dongle, router, game console, etc). Therefore, once we have the results, all we have to do is look for anything that bears the name of manufacturers such as Nest, Arlo, Wyze, Duratech, Victure, Sricam, Supereye or that is listed as "IP Camera", "Webcam" and the like.

Even if we do not find any identified cameras on the list, it is recommended that we count the number of devices that appear connected and see if it fits with reality or there are any “surprise guests”. If we find a suspicious element, we will write down the IP address and we will go to the next step.

Look for open ports

What we will do next is to click on the menu "Net”From Fing, and from there we will select the option“Find open ports”. This will take us to a new screen where we will enter the IP address of the "suspicious" device that we just noted in the previous step. We hit the blue search button and wait for the results.

Once the analysis is completed, Fing will show us a list of the ports that are open on that device, as well as the services they use. This time we will have to look for RTSP and RTMP, which are the usual protocols used for video transmission.

Likewise, any port that has HTTP or HTTPS services enabled will allow us directly access video streaming from a web browser. To do this we just have to write the IP address in the address bar of the browser followed by a colon and the port number, such as, "”.

How to detect hidden cameras with night vision

Unfortunately, the camera may not be connected to the same Wi-Fi network that we use. Or it may even be that the results obtained with Fing did not help us to get a strong answer. In that case, it is best look for infrared lights In the rooms.

Most IP cameras use infrared to record video with night vision. Something that we can detect using our smartphone. How? Although these types of lights are invisible to the human eye, mobile cameras can identify them without too much trouble.

The rear cameras usually have filters that block infrared signals, something that luckily does not normally happen with front cameras for selfies. We can check if any of our cameras is capable of identifying infrared lights by taking a TV remote control, pointing it at the mobile camera and pressing a control button. If the camera detects a purple light, great.

From here, we just have to turn off all the lights in the room, put the mobile camera to work and try to locate a reddish point on the screen. If there is a hidden webcam recording us, we will see it without major difficulties as long as we do a good sweep through all the rooms of the accommodation.

Night vision cameras do not have a standard configuration, so we can find 2,3, 4 or up to 6 points of light. Its color can also vary and appear in purple or even white tones.

The truth is, night vision webcams are pretty easy to spot.

There is no universal method to detect surveillance cameras in places such as rental apartments, vacation stays or hotels, but if the owners are not too smart or do not put the relevant measures we can easily identify them with any of these tips and at least sleep a little more calm.

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