Your smartphone ToF can detect spy cams

James Bond alert! Earlier this week at the 19th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems academic cybersecurity researchers from South Korea and Singapore presented their work with a title Laser-Assisted Photography Detection (LAPD). Bangjie Sun, Sriram Sami, Sean Rui Xiang Tan, from National University of Singapore and Jun Han from Yonsei University described in the paper a technique to detect hidden cameras with the help of ToF.

ToF can help you detect hidden cameras

ToF sensors or time-of-flight camera is a range imaging camera system implementing time-of-flight techniques to sort out distance between the camera and the subject for each point of the image, by calculating the round trip time of an artificial light signal produced by a laser or an LED. For example, Samsung’s Galaxy S20+ and Apple’s iPhone 12, iPhone 13 have this one.

“We implement LAPD as a smartphone app that emits laser signals from the ToF sensor, and use computer vision and machine learning techniques to locate the unique reflections from hidden cameras,” the researchers gave an explanation in their paper.

379 participants took part in testing LAPD. The result brought 88.9% hidden camera detection rate. Although researchers note that the current generation of devices have rather low detection rate. Also ToF sensors can detect hidden cameras but cannot locate them.

What is spyware?

In our turbulent 21st century privacy turns out to be one of the most valuable things among people. Nevertheless other people try to spy on others for different reasons and they use not only the hidden cameras. We are talking here about spyware. Be informed on it so you can prevent the privacy breach on your part.

Spyware usually attaches itself to your operating system and runs in the background as a memory-resident program. Sometimes it can pretend to be some useful or innocent part of your OS. In some cases spyware hides in quite legitimate programs. Just being mentioned in that small print. But more often it will get to you via phishing emails or dubious downloads.

Bad actors can install spyware on any device whether a PC or laptop, iPhone, Android smartphone or a tablet. We will list the different types of spyware just so you can know them and prevent their malicious activity if you notice something you read here.

Cookie trackers. They report your search data, for example to advertisers. Sounds innocent at general but you can noy always know for sure what kind of data cookie trackers report.

Keyloggers. This spyware records your keyboard inputs. The stolen information can include your passwords, system credentials, internet search history and passwords.

Banking trojans. Such kind of spyware mainly meses up with your financial activity. It changes web pages to trick users to conduct transactions on a fake site, including stealing credentials or logging keystrokes. Bad actors can even use this spyware in such a way that the victim will send money to the cybercriminal’s account instead of the intended account.

There is a wide range of the spyware but we provided you with the most common ones. So take care of your own privacy with knowledge.

About Andy

Cybersecurity journalist from Montreal, Canada. Studied communication sciences at Universite de Montreal. I was not sure if a journalist job is what I want to do in my life, but in conjunction with technical sciences, it is exactly what I like to do. My job is to catch the most current trends in the cybersecurity world and help people to deal with malware they have on their PCs.

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