How to Locate Hidden Optic Spy Devices

Updated July 20, 2017

The widespread availability of eavesdropping devices is making unethical surveillance easier than ever. From sophisticated mini-cameras to infrared spy devices, surveillance has become an effective do-it-yourself activity. Just as technology is assisting those conducting the surveillance, it is also benefiting those responsible for detecting it. Many hidden spy cameras and optical devices emit radio frequencies, just as most electronic items do. Other cameras are manufactured to prevent these radio frequencies from leaking out and can only be detected by using a tool to reflect light on their lenses. Some basic surveillance detection gear is needed to sweep a room adequately for optic spy devices.

Conduct a sweep of the target room using a hidden camera detector. These detectors are designed to emit bright LED light circled around a viewfinder. While a person looks through the viewfinder, light reflects off the lens of a hidden camera, revealing its location. Sweeps can be done by griding a room into sections or by simply starting at one corner and moving inward in concentric circles until the area has been covered.

Conduct a sweep of the target room using a general bug detector. Many hidden optic devices emit electrical frequencies that can be detected by counter-surveillance devices. Even when some cameras are shut off, the power they continuously receive still emits the frequencies. Sweeps can be done with a general bug detector in the same fashion.

Hire a professional technical surveillance countermeasure (TSCM) firm to conduct a full sweep of the area in question. If you need to sweep a large area for spy devices or a particularly sensitive one such as a laboratory or board room, hiring a professional service may be in order. This measure gives you access to professional-grade equipment and experienced technicians to certify the area is clear of optical and audio spy devices.

Things You'll Need

  • Hidden camera detector
  • General bug detector/frequency finder bug detector
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About the Author

Brian Cleary has been writing on technical topics since 2005. He is an experienced CompTIA A+ computer technician and expert in digital forensics. Cleary holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida and is a certified forensic computer examiner (CFCE).