Former hacker’s viral video shares how to check secret cameras in Airbnbs

Airbnbs and similar home-sharing and short-term vacation rental platforms like Vrbo offer guests amenities that traditional hotels often don’t, including living areas, full kitchens, patios landscaped outdoor areas and even private hot tubs. Unique stay options like tree houses, yurts, tiny houses and more, plus the wide availability of rentals (Airbnb operates in more than 100,000 cities in 220 countries around the world) make these alternatives an attractive choice, especially for families, groups of friends and people traveling with pets. But while Airbnb and Vrbo stays offer plenty of perks, could guests be sacrifice privacy?

Marcus Hutchins, who posts on TikTok under the handle @malwaretech, is a self-identified ex-hacker who now educates others about cybersecurity. He posts videos on issues ranging from what to know when using public Wi-Fi (pictured below) to investigate common phishing scamsbut his video about secret cameras in hotels and Airbnbs tapped into an anxiety that already existed for many travelers: the paranoia of being watched.

@malwaretech Reply to @oliviaaa_gh ♬ original sound – Marcus Hutchins

According to a survey conducted by a financial services company IPX103158% of Airbnb users say they are concerned that landlords may have hidden cameras in their Airbnb.

Through Airbnb’s own privacy policies, security measures such as cameras and noise monitoring devices are permitted at Airbnb rental properties as long as they are clearly stated in the listing description and do not infringe on the privacy of the guest. others. For example, a security camera that hosts have explicitly told guests about can be used in a common area like a living room or kitchen.

They cannot be used in places where there should be a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. While you can rest easy knowing that secret check-in devices are banned by Airbnb — and could result in hosts being banned from the platform — it’s worth having extra peace of mind to pay a visit. fast from any rental or hotel you are staying in using Hutchins’ tips:


Reply to @safarijackza How to find hidden cameras in AirBnBs #security #journey

♬ original sound – Marcus Hutchins

“Take this fire alarm, for example, it’s placed right above the bed,” Hutchins said in the video. “Now one way to tell if a device is a camera is to shine a bright light on it. If you hit a camera lens, you’ll get a bluish glow.”

Other common hidden camera culprits featured in the video include alarm clocks and USB charging bricks.

For those looking for added security, Hutchins has posted a video on portable door locks and motion detectors that you can pack and take on your travels:

@malwaretech Reply to @malwaretech Part 2: Hotel and AirBnB security (portable door locks and camera) #Security #security #Technology #journey ♬ original sound – Marcus Hutchins

The Washington Post compiled an article aimed at travelers to help them stay safe away from home. In it, they recommend scanning the Wi-Fi network for suspicious devices (or even disabling Wi-Fi altogether, if possible) and practicing situational awareness: pay attention to anything that seems “off” (like two smoke detectors or an alarm, but no alarm keypad) and stay at an Airbnb with many reviews. Also, do a “common sense” walkthrough when you arrive at your accommodation.

Traveling with these tips in mind will take the anxiety away so you can focus on the whole point of renting an Airbnb or Vrbo: taking a well-deserved vacation.

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