Privacy

Does your hotel room or Airbnb have a hidden spy camera?

Ever use an Airbnb?  According to the Airbnb website in some situations it may be OK if there is a camera inside your room monitoring you in real-time.  The owner of the Airbnb only has to acknowledge the camera exists.  Creepy isn’t it?

Unfortunately, many guests don’t know about this rule and don’t read their Airbnb listing carefully.  Imagine being in a rush and quickly having to find a hotel room for a vacation or event.  It’s easy to miss a small notice that says “camera in room” in a long Airbnb descriptive listing.

And what about hosts who have decided this disclosure rule doesn’t apply to them?  They may be thinking that if they just hide their camera they can have the best of both worlds.  Why not have full surveillance of their Airbnb and no disclosure on their listing?  They wouldn’t want to damage their income, would they? 

It wouldn’t be the first time a host broke the Airbnb rules.  And it wouldn’t be the first time a hotel illegally spied on their guests.

So how can you protect yourself from spying cameras in your hotel or Airbnb? 

First fire up GlassWire for Windows and join your Airbnb or Hotel WiFi network if you feel it’s safe to do so.  Now click the “Things” tab.  What all is listed there?  See anything from “Nest” or “Ring” or any unusual hardware types or names?  You may just have a camera pointed at you.

The GlassWire “Things” (Internet of Things) feature can usually detect hidden cameras on your WiFi network.

Take a walk around the inside of the room.  See any unusual items sitting out or strange things sticking out of vents?  One way to get an idea about how hidden cameras look is to do an Amazon.com search for “hidden camera”.  You’ll find clocks, pens, fake USB stands, power bricks, and all kinds of things with cameras in them. 

If you’re seeing a device on GlassWire’s “Things” but you can’t find a camera inside the room then maybe take a walk around outside.  Perhaps it’s an outdoor camera you don’t have to worry as much about.

Another way to find a camera is to detect it through your mobile phone camera lens.  Turn off the lights in your room.  Now use the front “selfie” camera on your phone and point it around the room looking for a purple or white glow. 

If you’re unsure if your front phone camera detects infrared light or not you can point a TV remote control at it while in the dark.  Please note that AppleTV remotes use Bluetooth to connect and are not infrared.  You’ll need to check with an old style TV remote.

There are also hardware devices for sale that will send out a flashing light which can help you catch difficult to see camera lenses.  I have tried some of those devices and they seem neat but if you’re staying in a small space you can almost always spot hidden cameras without having to purchase a dedicated hardware device.  Just take your time, then use your camera and GlassWire.  With a little time and effort you can usually be sure you aren’t being monitored by a hidden camera.

Tips

Have you received this new type of RDP (remote desktop) blackmail email?

Did you receive this threatening email?

Recently a member of our team found a threatening message in her personal email account spam folder.

The email said:

“I installed a software on the adult videos (pornographic material) web-site and do you know what, you visited this website to have fun (you know what I mean).  While you were viewing videos, your web browser began working as a Remote Desktop that has a keylogger which gave me accessibility to your display and also cam.”

The scammer then asks for payment via Bitcoin to avoid posting of an embarrassing video.

KrebsonSecurity reports that this type of sextortion email can seem realistic because the sender will sometimes use a real password that you may have used in the past on one of your email accounts.

But how did they get a legitimate email address and password if the threat isn’t real? 

It appears the scammer finds emails/passwords related to different recent data breaches, then sends the password associated with the email and the data breach.

For example, if your email address was part of the Yahoo!, Marriott, or Equifax data breaches then the password you used for those services is probably out there on the web.  To see if your email address has been part of any recent data breaches check out haveibeenpwned.com

If you received this type of email there are a few things you can do. 

  1.  Change any logon/passwords associated with the password that was shown in the email if you haven’t already.
  2. Report the message as spam.
  3. Don’t pay.  There is no video of you anywhere.

Are you still feeling paranoid that there could be a real RDP connection to your PC that is watching and recording everything you do in real-time?  It’s easy to check just to be safe.  Download and install GlassWire, then go to the top left GlassWire menu and choose “settings” then “security”. 

Detect Windows RDP connections in real-time with GlassWire.

Now switch on GlassWire’s RDP connection alert.  From here forward, when your PC has an RDP connection GlassWire will alert you.

You can also see if your PC received an RDP connection while you were away.  Just check GlassWire’s alerts screen or graph to see your PCs idle network activity.  Or, you can turn on GlassWire’s “Block all” firewall mode when you’re away from your PC to avoid any connections while you aren’t using your computer.

Laptop Magazine also has a great article on how to disable RDP on all different versions of Windows.

(Download GlassWire Now)

Security

How to detect RDP connections to your PC, with GlassWire!

RDP (remote desktop connection) is a way for people to fully control their PC or server remotely. Unfortunately this technology is now being used as an attack vector on Windows PCs and servers.

Bleeping Computer reports that right this minute a botnet is trying to hack millions of PCs with RDP enabled.

Fortunately GlassWire 2.1.158 now detects RDP connections in real-time. Just install GlassWire’s latest version, then GlassWire will alert you instantly if your PC is connected to remotely.

If you don’t plan to use RDP on your PC or server you can also disable it. Go to the search bar in Windows and look for “remote settings” then open the window.  Remote desktop should be switched to “off” if you aren’t using this feature. 

If you do have to use RDP and have no choice UC Berkley has a list of best practices on how to secure RDP.  Also, go to the top left GlassWire menu and choose settings/security to turn this RDP connection feature on, or off.

Get GlassWire 2.1.158Change list

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