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The HORRIBLE Cause of a Toddler’s Injuries Revealed Via Secret Nanny Cam

13 Feb

When people think about hidden cameras, the image they usually call to mind is one of the traditional “nanny cam” – a secret recording device hidden inside your average teddy bear. It’s a picture that has been painted for years not only in the news, but in film and television shows. Sitcom characters use those spying bears to get into all sorts of fun and wacky situations all the time.

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Because of this, it’s easy to forget that even when hidden in something like a teddy bear, nanny cams DO still play a very important role in our society. The footage they capture is often anything but fun – oftentimes, it’s used to shed light on horrible situations going on right under our noses. Such was the case when one Connecticut teacher used a nanny cam to uncover the true, awful cause of injuries that her toddler had been developing.

The Connecticut Nanny: What Happened?

In 2015, a mother from Connecticut returned home from her job as a school teacher to see her biggest fear come to life. Though her toddler had been in the care of a nanny all day long, as she had so many days before, this time was different. The three-year-old was not only sporting a black eye, but she also had second degree burns on her hands and legs. The mother immediately turned to the nanny, a woman named Lidia Quilligana, to see what happened.

Lidia said that the three-year-old had fallen down accidentally, burning herself on the stop in the process. During her fall, she also hit her eye on a knob – thus explaining both the burns and the black eye. For the mother, however, this explanation didn’t make much sense. What was a three-year-old doing ABOVE the stove in the first place? What are the odds of getting both a black eye AND burns during the same incident? The nanny said that the toddler was helping her make pancakes, but again – something wasn’t right.

This also wasn’t the first time something strange had happened. Even before this incident, the child had begun to slowly developed bruising and other unexplained injuries all over her body. This activity is what led to the installation of the camera to begin with.

In a normal situation, these are the types of questions that would go unanswered. Unfortunately for Quilligana, she was already being watched without her knowledge. After Quilligana went home for the day, the mother downloaded the footage from the secret nanny camera in her home that she’d had installed. What she saw was every mother’s worst nightmare.

The tech-savvy mom had hours of footage of the nanny repeatedly taking the three-year-old by the wrist and forcing her hands onto hot stove burners. She had footage of the nanny jumping on the child while she laid on the ground. She had crystal clear images of the nanny pulling the little girl’s pants and underwear down and spanking her mercilessly, seemingly for no reason at all.

Further examination of the footage also revealed that the nanny was regularly force-feeding the three-year-old incredibly hot food, which led to blisters all over the inside of her mouth.

The mother was horrified, but she was also determined to make things right. She immediately called her child’s doctor, who told her to bring the three-year-old in for a medical examination right away. She also contacted the local authorities, who were quick to charge the nanny with first degree assault on the basis of cruel and unusual punishment.

Though this is undoubtedly a terrible situation, it is also one with a thankfully happy ending. The Connecticut mother was able to use modern technology to get to the bottom of something heinous and in the case of the nanny, justice was served. The three-year-old is also finally free from all harm, which is the most important benefit of all. None of it would have been possible without the mother’s secret nanny camera.

 

Protecting Businesses From Industrial Espionage: Why Counter Surveillance is Important

1 Feb

In terms of the many different types of surveillance techniques being employed around the world, industrial espionage is unique for a few different reasons. Also called economic espionage, industrial espionage is often employed for commercial purposes instead of those of national security. It often occurs between two or more different corporations and is often used to gain insights that can be used to build a competitive advantage in an admittedly crowded marketplace.

protecting-businesses-from-industrial-espionage
Thanks to the global economy that we’re now living in, industrial espionage cases are also on the rise. In 2015, CNN reported that the FBI had seen a sharp increase in these types of cases – particularly notable due to their Chinese involvement. When technology has advanced to the point where even the smallest businesses can now compete on a global scale, industrial espionage has very much become an international concern.

When people turn to the topic of counter surveillance and protecting themselves from these types of incidents, they most often assume that their primary concern should be malware. Rogue computer programs, when downloaded to a system, can potentially compromise every last kilobyte of data contained on it. While this will always be a danger, in terms of industrial espionage the tools are often much more severe. Many spies in these situations choose to bypass malware altogether, instead getting the information they need via a variety of terrifying “black bag” tricks.”

Piggybacking

One common black bag trick often employed in these cases is called smartphone piggybacking, using a feature built into a smartphone from the time of purchase against its users. Most modern day smartphones have the ability to set themselves up as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing the owner to use the phone’s Internet connection on a nearby device like a laptop or tablet. Many hackers often use these Wi-Fi hotspots in public locations as a way to trick people into connecting to them. You think you’re connecting to the Wi-Fi hotspot in your favorite coffee shop, but in reality you’re connected directly to someone’s phone.

Once that connection has been established, all it takes is the right piece of software to “snoop” on every piece of data you’re sending or receiving – no malware required.

Fake Cell Phone Towers

Another common technique employed in the case of industrial espionage is the fake cell phone tower. All smartphones need to use a nearby tower to send and receive not only calls, but information from the Internet via the cellular network. Every single piece of data you access on your phone at some point will make its way across one of these towers. If someone sets up a fake tower near your location and your phone connects to it, suddenly they have something more powerful than any strain of malware could deliver: they have all of your data and they can do anything they want with it.

Vulnerabilities = No Malware Required

Another unfortunately common tactic employed by hackers involves the use of a smartphone or other device’s own security vulnerabilities against it. There have been many reported cases of people gaining access to a smartphone via a network connection and using security holes to either gain undetected access to the device’s microphone, its camera or both at the same time. At that point, the user will likely never realize that they’re carrying a portable surveillance device around with them in their pocket all day long. By that point, the damage has already been done.

All of this goes to underline the importance of counter surveillance. In an age where more and more of our personal (and professional) information is being stored digitally, taking steps to protect yourself from prying eyes is more essential than ever. Understanding what you’re up against – and acknowledging the fact that it isn’t just malware that you have to worry about – is one of the keys to making sure that your confidential business information stays that way.

 

Best Practices for Hiding Your Nanny Camera to Avoid Detection

30 Jan

Technology has advanced to the point where the type of nanny camera that you can walk into a store and buy today would have been practically unthinkable even ten years ago. For just a few hundred dollars, you can buy something that is compact and wireless, easy to place and virtually undetectable to the naked eye. You can find models with motion detection, night vision, the capability to stream footage over the Internet, and more – all for less than the amount of money you paid for the smartphone you carry around with you all day long.
Yet, all of the technology in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t place your nanny camera in the right way.

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The Problems with Placement

The most obvious issue with placing your nanny camera in the wrong location is that the person you’re trying to covertly watch is going to find it. A lot of this comes down to the type of camera you buy and the environment that it was designed for. If your nanny camera is hidden in a stuffed animal like a teddy bear, for example, it would probably go entirely unnoticed if you placed it in your child’s bedroom. The person you’re trying to watch would undoubtedly see it, but they probably wouldn’t think twice.
If you put that same teddy bear nanny camera in your kitchen, however, it’s probably going to warrant a closer look. A nanny camera built into a USB charger that plugs into the wall, on the other hand, would make perfect sense in a kitchen – someone would probably just think, “Oh, someone must charge a smartphone in the kitchen,” and would likely go about their business.
Equally important is the idea that you’ll harm the quality of the footage you’re able to get. If you aren’t acutely aware of things like camera lens angles, recommended distances and more, you could wind up with crystal clear footage of an empty corner of a room with your subject frustratingly out of frame the entire time.

Best Practices for Nanny Cam Positioning

For the best results, always run a test with your nanny camera to help you determine ideal placement BEFORE you start using it in important situations. Remember that what you see with your eye might not be exactly what the lens is capturing, so run a test to check for obstructions and other issues that may harm recorded footage quality.
During your test run, you’ll also want to pay close attention to the viewing angle of the camera’s lens – both what space is in the frame from left to right AND from top to bottom. This is another reason why running an initial test is so important – if the environment you’re covering is a large one, you may have to place the camera much farther back in the room than you initially think to capture it all.
Regarding lighting, always make sure that you do not point the nanny camera’s lens directly at a light source like a desk lamp or overhead light. Even if you don’t think the light is too bright, it may significantly degrade the quality of the footage the camera can record from that angle. For the best results, either don’t aim the camera at the light source or move the light source before filming starts.

These are just a few of the key tips that you can use to help properly place your nanny camera to avoid detection. Remember that this is the key to successful surveillance – you’re trying to get a record of the way someone acts when they think that nobody is watching, which means that they think there are no consequences. By keeping these best practices in mind, you’ll be well on your way to getting all of the footage you need.

AT&T and Phone Spying: What You Need to Know

25 Jan

Phone spying has always been a very legitimate concern, but in the last few years that has grown tenfold – especially when you consider just how powerful modern day smartphones are. Decades ago, a phone was exactly that – a way to send and receive calls. If you didn’t say anything incriminating on a phone, phone spying wasn’t necessarily something that you were worried about – even IF you were up to no good.

spying

Flash forward to today, and our entire lives are contained on a smartphone’s hard drive. People’s calls, text and other instances of their personal lives are present. Many people store credit card information, bank account data and other important financial items on them. Business professionals use them to access, edit and send mission-critical documents that would bring even the strongest company to its knees if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

So when a report surfaces that a major phone provider like AT&T may be spying on the American public for profit, it’s enough to get just about everyone to sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what seems to have happened according to an incident that has been going on since 2013.

AT&T and Hemisphere

Project Hemisphere is the name of a secret program run by AT&T that was designed, in part, to search through trillions of calls and take a closer look at cellular data that was previously assumed to be private. Using this data, AT&T (or the authorities) could not only determine exactly where someone is located just based on their phone records, but they could gain insight into who they’re talking to. They could extrapolate WHY they’re talking to that person and what they may do in the future.

When Project Hemisphere was first uncovered by The New York Times in 2013, it was described as a “collaborative partnership” between AT&T and the United States government. Representatives from the Justice Department indicated that it was critical in terms of bringing criminals to justice. They also said that it was very selectively (and rarely deployed), and it was almost always used to fight drug-related issues in our communities.

As it turns out, that may not be exactly true.

Internal documents from AT&T obtained by The Daily Beast indicate that Project Hemisphere is used in a huge number of situation BEYOND combating drug crimes. Not only that, but it’s less a partnership and more a product. It’s a tool that AT&T designed, developed and marketed to the government – which the government then paid for using taxpayer money.

The factor that really had people worried is that according to AT&T’s own documents, NO warrant is required for law enforcement or government officials to make use of Project Hemisphere. Instead, they must agree to a simple rule: they will not disclose that Project Hemisphere insights are being used in an investigation, should that investigation go on to become public knowledge.

Almost instantly, this became the subject of great controversy. It was particularly troublesome to a proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. It was specifically cited by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign as reasons why the merger should either be heavily scrutinized or stopped at all costs.

At its core, Project Hemisphere is just yet another example of the huge volume of information that companies like AT&T are collecting from smartphone users. Though Project Hemisphere is just the latest and the most widely known example of this, it is undoubtedly not the first – or the last. It all goes to underline the importance of taking steps to project yourself in the digital age, particularly as smartphones become a much more ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Certain devices do exist that can limit a person’s ability to spy on your smartphone, but people have to both know these devices exist AND understand the issues they’re facing before they can really do any good.

 

Counter Surveillance: Making Hidden Cameras Not-So-Hidden Anymore

9 Jan

Technology has advanced to the point where cameras are getting smaller, more powerful and less expensive all the time. Gone are the days where you needed to carry a camera the size of a cinder block around on your shoulder if you wanted to record someone. Armed with the right equipment on your side, cameras can be almost shockingly small – which is perfect for the world of surveillance. If you want to keep an eye on someone without them knowing it, you can buy a camera that fits inside a standard desk clock or that is hidden inside the button on a tie.

Unfortunately, this also means that it’s incredibly easy for someone to keep an eye on YOU if they really want to.

If you’re concerned that there may be hidden cameras in your life, the good news is that they’re easy to spot – provided that you know what you’re looking for.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Perhaps the best way to find hidden cameras is to think like someone who may want to watch you when you least suspect it. If you feel like you’re being watched while in your office at work, for example, put yourself in the shoes of your observer. Where would you have to install a camera in the room to get the best possible angle? How far away could that camera be and still give you the quality video you need? How far down on a wall (or high toward the ceiling) could it be installed and still give you the footage you’re after?

Have any seemingly-random items appeared in your office recently, like a pen or a new wall clock? Examine these items carefully – there just might be a camera hidden inside. Remember that every environment naturally includes certain limitations when it comes to surveillance, which means that by understanding what these limitations are, you have a better chance of catching someone in the act.

The Magic of Counter Surveillance

If you give an area a thorough examination and are still concerned that there may be hidden cameras you’re just not seeing, you can use the same type of technology that someone is using against you against THEM. Counter surveillance measures are just as effective as spy cameras and come with a number of unique features that will be very helpful in this situation.

Many hidden cameras use wireless transmissions like RF signals to broadcast audio and video to their intended source. You can buy counter surveillance devices designed specifically to hone in on these types of signals, letting you know if there is a camera in the area – even if it has been hidden exceedingly well. While it’s important to note that not all cameras use these type of signals, this can still be a great way to uncover a situation that you may have been unable to with the human eye alone.

Going a bit deeper, you can also buy a lens finder that will allow you to hone in on areas of the room where a hidden camera may be present. These devices do exactly what their name suggests – they allow you to go over an environment with a proverbial fine-toothed comb, locating tiny camera lenses that may indicate you’re being watched when you least expected. Many counter surveillance devices even come with an RF detector and a lens finder in the same unit, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone.

Remember that we’ve reached a point where if you feel like you’re being watched, you’re not necessarily being paranoid. Hidden cameras are becoming more powerful and more easily concealed all the time, allowing surveillance to go completely undetected in even the harshest environments. If you really feel like you’re being watched, you just might be – which means that you need to know exactly how to find those cameras to give yourself the peace of mind that only comes with knowing your private life is truly private once again.

Countering Surveillance How Gadgets Can Help Spy-Proof Your Life

7 Dec

Thanks to the rate at which technology continues to advance, we’ve reached a point where spying on someone is easier than ever. Cameras these days come in all shapes and sizes and can easily be concealed inside normal, everyday objects or installed in a place where you would least suspect it. If you want to use counter-surveillance gadgets to spy-proof your life, you’re not being paranoid – you’re being safe in the admittedly dangerous digital world that we now live in.

Depending on exactly what you’re trying to protect against, there are a wide range of different devices that you can use to help do precisely that.

 

RF and Camera Detection

One of the most important things to remember when considering a gadget to help spy-proof your life comes down to how these types of devices work in the first place. Many spy and hidden cameras use RF signals to broadcast audio and video information at specific frequencies to receivers that can be hidden elsewhere. As a result, items like the Lawmate RD-10 RF and Camera Detector or the XB-68 RF  Detector and Camera Finder will become your best friends in your quest to protect yourself.

These are law enforcement-grade RF detectors that are perfect for finding audio bugs, hidden cameras and everything in between. They’re inherently portable, meaning that you can use them over and over again to help identify surveillance all throughout your life. If there is a hidden electronic device broadcasting an RF signal somewhere in a room, these little gadgets will tell you about it. Likewise, the “camera detector” functionality can help you locate even the most cleverly concealed hidden cameras, stopping would-be snoopers in their tracks.

 

Taking Things Up a Notch

Hidden cameras aren’t the only real-life spy gadgets you have to worry about, however. Think for a moment about the types of personal activities you engage in with your smartphone. Think about the potentially compromising text messages, photos and videos that you send and receive, and the phone calls that you make to friends and loved ones on a daily basis. Now think about how scary it would be if someone were watching ALL of this activity without your knowledge.

Devices like the VoiceKeeper FSM-U1 Cellphone Scrambler are designed to help with these issues and more. The FSM-U1, in particular, is a professional-grade cell phone scrambler that offers the highest-grade cell phone encryption available on the market today. Compatible with literally any cell phone, it is perfect for private, corporate and even government use. When a scrambler is installed on two phones, any call made between those two points is completely encrypted. While this won’t help you with 100% of your calls, if there is one person you’re particularly concerned about, this device can help protect anything you talk about for all time.

Along the same lines, the GSM Safe 3 Cellphone Protection System is another great way to stop phone spying or tampering in its proverbial tracks. It’s a small “safe” that you place your phone inside. It can instantly detect GSM, CDMA, WCDMA and even Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals, letting you know if something is going on that you were previously unaware of. It also generates white noise when RF frequencies are detected, making sure that anyone who may be monitoring what you’re up to won’t get even a second of useful information. Many other devices like this are available for you to purchase right now.

 

These are just a few of the great counter-surveillance gadgets that can help you spy-proof your life in the most effective way possible. Remember that as it gets easier to spy on someone as time goes on, it becomes more likely that you could become the victim of surveillance yourself. As a result, a proactive approach is always needed to help keep your personal information safe and away from prying eyes.

 

How to Prevent Retail Theft – Shrinkage

21 Nov

Regardless of the type of business you run or even the industry you’re operating in, all retail establishments have at least one thing in common: theft is one of the biggest concerns they face on a daily basis. Also commonly called shrinkage, theft is perhaps THE largest single cost that stores share. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, roughly 1 out of ever 11 people in the United States is a shoplifter – which works out to be about 27 million people. Retail theft, be it internal or external, overburdens both the police and the court system, increases costs of doing business AND keeps important items out of the hands of paying customers where they belong.

Luckily, modern technology can be used to mitigate these risks as much as possible. If you’re a retail store owner or employee and you’re looking for new and inventive ways to prevent shrinkage, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Know What You’re Up Against

The most important thing to understand when it comes to preventing retail theft is that you’re not just looking for external threats – internal shrink is a very real concern, too. According to LPM Insider, employee and internal theft amounted to an incredible 34.5% of all shrinkage in 2014. This means that if you’re only trying to stop outsiders from coming in and stealing items when they’re already on the floor, you’re still leaving yourself incredibly vulnerable by ignoring such an important problem.

In terms of external theft, you can employ a number of techniques to help cut down on the issue as much as possible. In addition to security cameras, remember that your employees themselves are and will always be your first line of defense. They need to be properly educated and continually trained against what to look for in terms of shoplifters. Someone who tries to avoid the attention of employees, someone wearing a large coat on a 90 degree day in the summer and others are all telltale signs.

Remember: be proactive, not reactive. Your job isn’t to catch shoplifters – your job is to prevent shoplifters from trying to steal in the first place. If you suspect that you may have a shoplifter on your hands, many times tasking an employee to follow that person around and talk to them under the guise of being helpful (“Can I help you find something today? Can I make a personalized product recommendation? How are you doing?”) will yield better results than a fleet of security cameras.

The Devices You Should Use

If your employees themselves are where the majority of your shrink is coming from, on the other hand, technology can be your guide. Hidden cameras placed in an environment like a warehouse can be a great way to supplement any visible security cameras you DO have.

Let’s say that there are three overhead security cameras in a warehouse that are visible to all employees. After a few weeks, most employees will know what those cameras can see and what they can’t – creating certain blind spots in coverage just waiting to be taken advantage of. A 720p HD Wi-Fi IP Light Bulb Camera focused on one of those blind spots, however, is a great way to give an internal thief a false sense of security.

Likewise, nobody would bat an eye about the inclusion of a clock radio in a warehouse environment – but if that radio is the Aetos 200 Mini Clock Radio with Night Vision, suddenly your merchandise isn’t nearly as vulnerable as a would-be thief might think it is. Not only can you keep items from leaving your business, but you can identify the culprits and fire them immediately.