How to Detect a Covert Wireless IP Camera

When you step into a room, a covert wireless IP camera might be filming you. The camera could be in the bookshelf on the wall, in a smoke detector in the ceiling or even in a stuffed animal on the floor. There's no way to be certain that you're not being recorded unless you sweep the room for cameras. If you must be discreet, you can use your eyes or your phone to spot a camera. If you're alone in the room, a laser or wireless hidden camera finder usually does the trick.

Security camera on building wall, low angle view
A wireless IP camera might be hidden or out in the open.
credit: Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Look for Common Devices

The easiest way to deploy a covert wireless IP camera is to purchase one online or from a store. One way to detect a spy camera is to familiarize yourself with the cameras that you can buy and the items in which they are hidden. For example, you can purchase a covert wireless IP camera that's hidden inside a wall clock, a clock radio, a smoke detector, an air purifier and a variety of other devices. Print a picture of each device you find and look for something that matches the picture.

Scan the Devices on the Network

Use your cell phone to view a list of wireless access points in your range. Ask for the password to get on the wireless network that you suspect a camera might be part of. After you join the network, run a free app such as Fing or ezNetScan (links in Resources) that scans the network and displays every connected device with its IP address and manufacturer's name. Look for a device you think might be a camera, ping the device and detect the open ports. Then navigate to each open port on the device with a browser to determine if you get a camera sign-in screen.

Purchase a Laser Camera Detector

A laser camera detector, such as the LaserScan Professional Camera Locator from Elite Asset Protection, is a hidden camera finder that you can use to detect any kind of covert camera. Turn on the laser, look through the device as you would look through a pair of binoculars and scan the area you want to inspect. The laser frequencies are specifically designed to react to the reflections of camera lenses. If you see bright flashing lights, you've found a hidden camera.

Purchase a Radio-Frequency Camera Detector

You can also purchase an RF camera detector such as the Wireless Camera Detector Pro from Brickhouse Security. These devices scan every frequency from 900MHz to 6GHz to identify every object that's transmitting radio-frequency waves and the broadcast frequency. The camera detector also locks on to video broadcasts within 500 feet. If a book on the bookshelf or a teddy bear in the corner of the room is broadcasting RF signals at 2.4GHz, it's highly likely there's a camera hidden inside.