Protect your privacy while travelling
When you’re travelling, the last thing you want to think about is someone spying on you. But in a 2019 survey by real estate company IPX1031, 11 percent of respondents reported finding a hidden camera in their Airbnb.
“One of the reasons this is happening is because of the ready availability of low-cost camera technology,” says Jack Plaxe, a security consultant. Cameras with pinhole lenses that can be easily concealed are available through Amazon and other shopping sites for less than $100.
And today’s spy cameras are so small that if they’re properly concealed, there is no tell-tale sign, says Mike O’Rourke, CEO of Advanced Operational Concepts. Many come already installed in clock radios, smoke detectors, lamps and other portable devices.
While the untrained eye might not be familiar with how to find hidden cameras, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
You should also be aware of these 22 red flags someone is spying on your phone.
How can you detect hidden cameras?
First, try to spot hidden cameras by scanning the room. Look for pieces of furniture or appliances that are in unusual places, like a lamp that appears to be specifically angled toward the bed. Keep an eye out for small holes where a hidden camera could be placed, too. To make hidden cameras easier to spot, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight around the room, looking for the glint of a camera lens.
You can also locate hidden cameras using tools like phones or scanning devices, says Paul Koblitz, managing director of technical services at TrustedSec. He recommends packing an anti-spy bug detector – which alerts you if it detects signals from hidden cameras, body wires, and even GPS – with your other travel essentials on your next holiday.
Where to look for hidden cameras
When searching for hidden cameras, some everyday objects are more likely to be culprits than others. “Cameras need three things to be effective: line of sight, reliable power and either a network connection or internal device storage,” Koblitz says. “Because of that, cameras are usually hidden in places that can conceal the device as well as any necessary wiring.”
Typical spots to hide cameras include lamps, power adapters, outlet or light switch covers, smoke detectors, thermostats, vents, telephones, alarm clocks, TVs, TV-related items like DVD or video game consoles, and other stationary furniture like desks, mirrors and picture frames, according to Koblitz.
If there is a bedside clock, O’Rourke unplugs it and places it in a drawer. When it’s anchored in place, he covers it with a towel. You can also sweep suspicious objects with an infrared light detector to find cameras that use night vision.