Double-bladed Hanlon Razor

Still life with 2mm LEDHa! This guy uses readily-available technology to intercept the feed from wireless cameras. Sometimes he makes displays that show the camera feed and mounts them on the camera pole, so that people can see what the camera sees.

The “trick”–or lack thereof, really–is that most of these cameras send their wireless signal unencrypted. That means anyone in range with the right gear can just pick up the signal and see what the camera sees.

So that’s pretty fun.

Of course, lots of folks have wireless cameras in their homes and businesses now. They use them for “security”–basically, to see who robbed their place, though I suppose that, if you were watching the camera all the time, you could also watch the robbery take place.  Which I guess could be pretty fun.

But it can be fun for EVERYONE!  Because if that wireless camera is not sending a well-encrypted signal, anyone within range could just watch the camera as well.  So while the owner of the camera might be using it to see when someone who shouldn’t be in the house is in the house, everyone else can use it to see when the folks who should be in the house AREN’T in the house.

They could also see a lot about the house, like where the cameras are located.  A lot of people aim those cameras so that they can see the things in the house that they consider particularly valuable.  Speaking of which, wireless video baby monitors are also getting more and more popular.

A lot of home automation stuff –light switches and thermostats and whatnot–are wireless as well. I wonder if those are encrypted, and what their range is.

Most cameras take a few seconds to adjust from bright light to darkness and vice versa, so if you flip the lights on and off fairly quickly, those cameras aren’t able to get much in terms of usable images.

Oh–for no apparent reason, I feel like I should link to some stuff on software-defined radio.  But I digress…

It’s almost like this stuff is designed to work really well when you don’t want it to, and work really badly when you need it to.  But that’s conspiracy theory stuff, and flies in the face of the obvious.



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