Use Airbnb spies

Airbnb and other accommodations: Find hidden security cameras

Thomas Joos

For example, you've booked an Airbnb property and want to be sure that the landlord isn't using a hidden camera to monitor your stay. So first go to the camera search. We explain here how you should proceed.

EnlargeWith the Android app "Hidden Camera Detector" you can find hidden surveillance cameras

It's easy to find yourself being monitored with a hidden camera. This does not only apply to politicians, see the Ibiza affair of Austrian FPÖ politician Heinz-Christian Strache, but can also affect anyone else - for example in holiday apartments or accommodations at Airbnb and other landlords.

Even if it is forbidden in Germany to covertly monitor people, especially in the private sector, some Airbnb landlords do not adhere to it. The same applies to hotel rooms and other accommodations. So caution is absolutely necessary. We give tips on how to find hidden cameras.

1 How to Find a Hidden Camera Detective Style

In many cases, hidden cameras are not expensive special hardware. Due to ever smaller designs, these cameras can be hidden in clocks, smoke alarms and other objects. Cameras can also be placed unnoticed in cuddly toys, pens and other devices. Other common hiding spots include lamps, ceiling fans, computers, and televisions.

But webcams or cameras in monitors can also be used externally and used for monitoring. Here it can help to cover the lens with an adhesive strip. Even Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg protects his own notebook in this way.

So if you suspect that a room may be under surveillance, look at these common suspects first. Think about where a camera can best see the room. Cameras need a clear field of vision. So it is worthwhile to first examine these areas carefully, which offer a clear view of the room and a good opportunity to inconspicuously attach a camera.

Hidden cameras are often also housed in devices that are part of the standard equipment of a room. Or the cameras are in ventilation openings and motion detectors, behind curtains or in electrical devices. Even small holes in devices that might seem like a microphone or simply a design can hide camera lenses. The lenses of these cameras are usually very small. Take a look at all electrical devices, including those that are permanently installed, such as wall keyboards for alarm systems. Cameras can also be hidden in telephones and behind mirrors.

2 Find hidden cameras with WiFi search and special apps

If you have a smartphone available, use it to search for Bluetooth or WiFi devices nearby. Hidden cameras often send images over the Internet and of course need a connection to do so. This is often set up via WLAN. There are numerous tools in the various app stores that can search for IP addresses in networks or display WLANs. A recommended tool is Fing. For Android there is, for example, the Network IP Scanner app and the IP Network Scanner Lite app for iPhones.

EnlargeNetwork devices in the WLAN can be displayed with Fing

WLANs or devices that send out a strong signal are particularly suspicious. Sometimes it can help if you enter the IP address of devices that you cannot assign into the browser. If you are "lucky", the web interface of a camera will open. However, many manufacturers do not use the standard ports 80 and 443. The search is definitely worthwhile.

Find 3 cameras with special scanners

In addition to the possibility of finding hidden cameras via their transmission path, i.e. WLAN or Bluetooth, you can also go straight to the search for camera lenses. There are special apps for this, for example the free Glint Finder for Android. This app uses electromagnetic waves to search. A sensor in the smartphone, which is normally responsible for the compass function, is used for this. Other app examples are Hidden Camera Detector for Android and Spy hidden camera Detector for iPhones. It's worth browsing the app store. However, these apps are neither reliable nor professional.

4 Find hidden cameras with technical aids

You can track down cameras even without apps: Use a flashlight, for example with the flashlight of your smartphone, to illuminate the room in the dark. Lenses on cameras are so often noticeable when they reflect the light.

Experts also recommend turning on the front camera with a smartphone or tablet and turning around in the dark. If a small light appears on the screen, you should take a closer look. In this way, infrared signals can be recognized and you can see them on the screen straight away. You can also test the remote control of devices, for example, as these also work with infrared. Infrared cannot be seen with the eye, but cameras recognize the emitted light in the dark. It appears like a small source of light that is immediately noticeable because the rest of the room remains dark.

5 Use special hardware

On the Internet you can find special devices that can also discover hidden cameras. The devices are available from 50 euros:

Super detector (G318)

Victop camera finder

Use detectors for hidden cameras, but you should make sure that they meet the latest standards. The detectors look for frequencies for cameras and should therefore also cover all frequencies. In most cases the frequency range is between 2 and 3 gigahertz.

New cameras use different frequencies than the search frequencies of old detectors. Frequencies in the range of 5 to 6 gigahertz are often used here.

In addition to conventional detectors, there are of course also detectors for professionals. Professional devices offer finer settings, have more display options, a longer operating time and cover all frequency ranges. Examples are:

Hidden camera detector

Signal detector anti spy

EnlargeIP scanners show ports and recognize whether a network device in the network is listening to a certain port

In summary

There are three approaches that build on each other to help find hidden cameras.

1. First of all, you should search the premises and take a closer look at all suspicious objects.

2. Then use your smartphone or tablet with IP scanners, WLAN search and special apps as well as the flash and the front and rear cameras to search for hidden cameras.

3. If that is not enough for you, buy a camera detector and use it to also check the surroundings.