How to detect wireless camera?
[ Step by Step guide ]
Let’s talk on how to detect wireless camera using your android or iPhone.
Its really simple and very basic but most of us do not follow these simple tricks. Let’s get started.
What is wireless camera ?
Wireless camera use Wi-Fi , Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE (BLE) of the premises or create its own hotspot to send video/image data or live recordings to the premises owner.
They are easy to install and becoming very popular way to spy on.
Before we start, please do watch this 60 second video.
How to detect wireless camera?
Step 1: Open hidden camera detector app.
For Android, click on “Detect Wireless Camera” option. Turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS from the quick panel. You will see list of all nearby Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth and BLE devices. App analyze these devices and if any of these devices is found suspicious, app will show warning message on the screen.
(Android needs GPS to be ON to scan for Wi-Fi devices. It seems this permission is irrelevant but it is the fact! You can read this to know more )
For iOS, this option is split into 2, “Detect BLE camera” & “Detect Wi-Fi camera”. First, turn on Bluetooth from control center and open this option. App will scan and show you nearby BLE devices, if any of the device found to be suspicious, app will show a warning message. Unfortunately Apple do not use conventional Wi-Fi Direct technology and do not allow app developers to scan Wi-Fi by their own. But still it is possible to manually scan for Wi-Fi cameras. To detect Wi-Fi camera, just select option “Detect Wi-Fi Camera” and follow the steps provided in the guide.
Step 3: In case you do not want to use the app which is convenient, you can also follow manual process.
- Go to Settings
- Turn on Wi-Fi – Wait till it searches nearby Wi-Fi devices.
- Inspect name of the devices, if you see any name having words like “1080”, “720”, “HD”, “IP Cam”, it could be wireless camera. (Note: App detects more devices than manual scanning as app uses large set of commercially available wireless camera hotspot names to compare)
- Follow the same process to detect Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct devices.
- If you see any suspicious device, ask more information to the premises owner.
Note: Initiate respectful and kind conversation with premises owner if you find any suspicious device. If you do not receive any helpful response then you can call authority.
Why do we need an app to detect wireless camera?
- For Android devices, app scans Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth and BLE devices at the same time which avoids manual efforts.
- App has comprehensive list of commercially available wireless devices and their connectivity names. Hence app hold potential to detect more devices than manual scanning.
- For Android, detecting Wi-Fi direct is pain as many devices have this option hidden or needs Miracast app (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct both are different). hence it is easy to detect such devices using the app. Now a days almost all intelligent devices use Wi-Fi Direct. The threat is not only Wi-Fi Direct camera but also televisions that has camera and microphone.
- For iOS users, app offer same functionality to detect BLE camera however they have to follow guide to detect Wi-Fi camera.
I see some hypens (“-“) in the name of one device, is it camera?
Yes, name of the camera device can be a model number having multiple hyphens (“-“) in it. But it can also be other device. If you find such device, it is better to ask more information to the premises owner. If he is unable to provide justification then you may call authorities. But we recommend you to have polite and respectful conversation with the premises owner first. Also note that its about your security and you have all rights for the information.
I do not see any suspicious device, is it safe to say there is no wireless camera?
Even if you do not find anything suspicious, it is not safe to say there is no wireless camera. By scanning with this option, you have completed precautionary step which you have to do from your side. Sure to say chances of wireless camera will reduce if you do not find anything suspicious. But some wireless cameras can connect to already configured Wi-Fi or use some different technique (For example: Turning off broadcasting device etc.) which makes it more difficult to detect without authoritative help.
What are the permissions that hidden camera detector app need access to?
For Android, Hidden camera detector app need access to WiFi, Bluetooth and Location.
For iOS, app need access to Bluetooth.
App do not connect to any device but only need to scan nearby available devices.
Why Android app needs Location Permission?
For Android 9+ Devices, it is mandatory, not only to have location permission but also Location (GPS) must be ON to scan nearby W-Fi devices.
For more information, kindly read restrictions section from https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/wifi-scan#wifi-scan-restrictions
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