SDL Episode108

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Recorded on April 30, 2019 at G-Unit Studios in Rhode Island!


  • Russell Beauchemin
    Cybersecurity & Network Security Program Advisor and Director of Instructional Support & Learning Innovation at Roger Williams University.
  • Doug White
    Cybersecurity professor, President of Secure Technology, and Security Weekly network host.
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    Topic: Spy Cameras (LIVE Nudes)

    Alright, so since the first minox cam was used back in the 50s to sneak a camera past the guards, Mr. Bond has made a lot of inroads on how to capture pics and footage all the while having a nice drink in the bar downstairs. In fact, with some of this modern gear, Mr. Bond can be seducing Ms. May at #10 Downing while capturing all the deets a world away. Today's mini cams can send live streams out over the interweb straight to the official IPhone issued by Q. So, let's take a look at some of the cams I bought just to give you an idea of the kinds of things that can be put together. You don't have to be a member of SMERSH to get your hands of these so here are just a few.

    1. Use your phone. You can use your phone to look for wifi. This is both simple and complex. If you see wifi open networks that have strong signals, that may mean absolutely nothing but it could also be a phone running in the local area. You can try and connect to it or you can google the name and see if the cam default is listed anywhere. Remember, just because you see wifi doesn't mean anyone is spying though.
    2. Use a sniffer. I have this sniffer here. It finds wifi signals and helps you see where it is coming from by increasing the little lights when you get close. This is really designed for "bugs" but it works great with wifi cams as well.
    3. Situational awareness. Think about it. If you are a perv and want to put up a cam, where are you going to put it? Well, you are going to put it where people change or are naked. So, obviously, the kitchen is pretty boring so focus your efforts on the wc and the bedrooms. One quick pass is to turn off the lights and see if you see anything (like an LED or a night vision led glowing). Try not to take an ax to that old VCR but it's a good start. A second pass using a flashlight is also a good idea as you may get a reflection. The problem is, you can hide these things almost anywhere. A third pass is to look for oddities. Is there a teddy bear sitting on the counter, a coke can beside the bedroom TV. Definitely all those are easy to set up and they sell them pre made. Check the environment carefully.
    4. You may seriously want to check all the normal items. They make cams that go in bedside clocks, cams that look like wall warts and chargers, cams that go in electrical outlets, even cams that go in wall hangers. But in ALL cases, even the tiniest ones still require a hole, granted a really tiny hole, but there has to be that dark spot. Use your bright flash light to look for those dark spots aimed at the bed and the bath and see if you can spot one. Don't forget to look UP, DOWN, and into bright lights. It's easy to put a pinhole near a light fixture so again, looking in the dark at obvious locations is a better choice.
    5. Just turn off the damned wifi. We all want that free wifi, but if you disable the local router (unplug it), well, most likely unless the perv is very close by [the call is coming from inside the house] [aside: Which movie was the first place that was used? Any guesses?] [Black XMAS back in 1974 is a John Carpenter classic that I think was the first time but write us in the answer.]
    6. Ok, there is still some bad news. Some of these don't use wifi. Those just save footage to a card and can take stills and live even without power or wifi so they may be in use. These are certainly not going to be very exciting for long but they do exist. Again, spotting them is the key. If you see them, you can get rid of them.
    7. Strategy: Look, if you are really worried about this, consider maybe doing something different like changing in the dark (but they have night vision), getting all Amish with it and changing in the closet or behind a blanket, or just change in the kitchen.
    8. Don't forget: That laptop, desktop, game console, or even a tv may have a cam in it and can be activated remotely. I stayed in one in NYC once (I knew the owner though) and he had left his laptop sitting on the desk turned on. I put a post it note over the camera. If it's a regular old web cam you may want to unplug it.

    Let's talk a little about the law. Now, most places have laws against this sort of thing. It's kind of complicated though since you are in private residence and they can just claim, "oh it was a nanny cam." If you find a cam in your rental or hotel:

    1. Document it with video on your phone.
    2. Contact the rental agency (NOT THE HOST who probably put it there) immediately
    3. Police? Well, I am not sure what they will be able to do but if you really feel strongly?
    4. Can I take the cam, give it to a hobo on the street, or just drop it off the balcony into the ocean? Well, that's tricky too. They can claim you destroyed some of their property and charge you for it potentially and then you would have to prove they were doing something wrong probably. I'm not an attorney and I don't know your local laws, so your best bet is 1 and 2 above.

    Your biggest strategy here is going to be situational awareness though. Unless you have some mad skills at finding bugs, it may be possible to hide something pretty well. So, narrow down the space you need to search. Look carefully. If you see something, well, carry some tape or something with you and you can just cover up anything suspicious.

    Also, check out spy cams for sale and keep up with the tech. Being aware of what these things look like and how small they are will really help you be more aware of where they might be or what they might look like. The dressing room coat hanger is definitely one to watch for. There is also one that looks like a door hinge for bathrooms and dressing rooms that can be put in place pretty easy.

    Scared yet, well, I have stayed in a LOT of rental units and never yet found one. But, remember, that renter knows a bit about you from your profile pic and your request. That means that if you are their type (I am most likely not) they may take extra action to try and put this in place. Use your bright light on mirrors and think about where you would put a cam to catch the action. If it's pointed at the bird feeder, it's probably harmless and they probably won't put one in the closet.