As security technology continues to become more advanced, it is no longer considered usual to believe that the oddly shaped or placed objects around an Airbnb could be cover for hidden cameras.
Although it’s rare that a hidden camera is discovered in an Airbnb by a guest, it’s not entirely impossible, according to the widely-used accommodations rental company.
“Our policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras and we take forceful action in the exceptionally rare circumstances where this has been reported, including assisting law enforcement to help them hold criminals accountable,” an Airbnb spokesperson told The Philadelphia Inquirer after a Twitter user accused an Airbnb of spying on guests went viral earlier this week.
Here’s what to do if you suspect your Airbnb could be housing a hidden camera:
Shine a flashlight at oddly placed objects
In a TikTok video that’s been viewed more than 33.6 million times, Marcus Hutchins, an ex-hacker and cybersecurity expert, showed his followers how to discover hidden cameras.
“One way to see if a device is a camera is to shine a bright light at it. If you hit a camera lens, it’s going to give a bluish reflection,” Hutchins explains.
Some objects you may want to check include smoke detectors, outlets, and clocks.
Cover up items that seem out of place
If you feel as though an item is not where it’s supposed to be, you can ease your worries by covering the item up with a towel or temporarily placing it in a drawer or closet, a security expert Jack Plaxe told HuffPost.
“If you have suspicions about something in the room, like, for example, an alarm clock, it’s very simple to take a piece of clothing out of your suitcase and drape it over the alarm clock,” Plaxe said. “If there’s a lens there, it’s not going to capture any images of you with your T-shirt sitting over it.”
Unplug devices that don’t need to be plugged in
Another way to ensure someone is not spying on you through a device you suspect of being a hidden camera is to unplug objects that do not need to be plugged in.
For instance, Michael O’Rourke, chief executive of Advanced Operational Concepts, explained to The Washington Post that unplugging the alarm clock in any hotel room he enters causes the device, if it is a camera, to go offline.
Turn off the Airbnb’s WiFi
Most cameras that have a streaming capability require WiFi to function. Sometimes, you can even see the hidden device listed as a WiFi source when searching for available networks on a mobile device.
You can disrupt a potential spy by unplugging the home’s router. If you get a message from your host asking why the WiFi signal has been disrupted, there’s a possibility that the host has been monitoring a device within the home that is connected to the Internet, Business Insider reports. – The Charlotte Observer /Tribune News Service