Are you being watched? I know that sounds creepy but in this day of Ring Doorbell Systems silently watching our neighborhoods we are in fact being watched all the time. According to some analysts, the The United States has more cameras per person than China. With about 50 million surveillance cameras in the U.S., that's about 15 cameras per 100 people. Of course, those are the cameras we know of. What about the cameras we don't?
Hidden camera are prolific and can be readily purchased on the internet. Cameras in everyday items such as smoke detectors, clocks, wall outlets and our trusted friend the phone charging block. Not only are they hidden in these items but these appliances still work as designed. You can still charge your phone when you plug in the phone charger and Bonus, you're also powering the camera inside!
What makes this even more fun is wireless technology. A camera can be surreptitiously recording you while transmitting your activity over your wifi network. Another good reason not to give your wifi password to your friends! So you say you don't share your wifi password and never let anyone in the house? Great, you might be secure at home but what about that Airbnb you stayed at last fall?
What can you do then to protect yourself from these types of hidden intrusions? Here are a few tips to help.
1. Know who is in your home, especially contractors if they ask for the wifi password I would be suspicious. Make sure you use a reputable firm that does background checks on its contractors.
2. Protect and change your wifi password on a regular basis. Don't write it on a post then paste on the fridge. Many people never change the password on the router provided by the cable guy, it's written right on the back. Make sure you do not use the default password and change your password on a regular basis.
3. Be wary of gifts you receive in the mail, that free clock radio might be transmitting as well as receiving. Earlier in my career, it was a standard P.I. the trick to send someone a "free" cordless phone. Of course the P.I. already new the frequency which made it easy to listen to with a handheld scanner.
4. Use an app to detect devices connected to your wifi networks such as hidden cameras or listening devices.
5. Cameras can be found using a handheld camera detector which can detect both wired and wireless cameras as well as GPS trackers and bugs.
6. Hire a qualified Private Investigator to conduct an ECMSS (Electronic Counter Surveillance Measure Sweep). Private Investigators often will have more sophisticated instruments to detect cameras and trackers.
In conclusion, being aware of the potential exposure, one might have in their own home is half the battle. We all have that friend who puts tape over the camera on their laptop and we call them crazy. There are steps however you should take to protect your home from intrusion and unwanted surveillance, just ask Siri.