Mobile apps come in all shapes and forms. From the multi-billion downloaded Candy Crush to numerous Chinese apps that have been banned from whole countries.
In the past, many apps were almost entirely useless and were simply experiments in art. Nevertheless, lightsaber apps, and writing your name in fake condensation on your screen have led to some complex software today.
There are memory-intensive first-person shooters for Android and iOS. There are useful apps for learning languages. And some apps are there for security and protection, on and off-line.
Some spy apps can help parents to protect their children, but what about apps that help to discover if you are being spied upon yourself?
Lately, the media has been full of the Pegasus spyware scandal. And of course, there are always reports of data breaches, hacks, new viruses, and ransomware.
But what about old-school spying? If someone hid a bug or camera in your home, could a mobile app really help in that situation?
Why would you feel the need to search for bugs?
It is fair to say that for most people, this seems more like a scenario for an international spy. Many children have dreamed about being a spy and have bought gimmick spy cameras and invisible ink pens. However, in the adult world these things don’t exist, do they?
Due to the low cost of recording devices, both audio and visual, hidden devices may be becoming more prevalent. This includes both the workplace and at home.
It is not unusual for businesses to spy on their workforce. Emails and phone calls can be monitored completely legally. Video surveillance is also allowed as long as the employees know they are being filmed, according to GovDocs.
This doesn’t mean that some unscrupulous employers don’t hide cameras though.
Why would people use hidden cameras and bugs?
Bugs can be hidden to record private dialogues. Partners have been known to do this, spy on suspected infidelity, or for other reasons.
Or you may simply work with sensitive data that is invaluable. Perhaps you are involved in a merger or acquisition and stolen data could lead to the loss of millions of dollars.
There have been cases where AirBnB owners have placed hidden cameras in their homes too. While the majority of these have been positioned simply to protect their homes, some have been put in bathrooms and bedrooms.
How can you discover if you have been bugged?
It may seem surprising, although perhaps not today, that there are mobile apps for detecting hidden cameras and bugs.
To begin with, you could simply use your eyes and ears to search a room. The usual places to hide bugs are in lamps, telephones, smoke detectors, and wall sockets. If you have seen any spy movies you will likely have a fair idea where to start.
Or you can download an app instead. These promise to track cameras hidden in a home or other location.
If you need help in finding listening devices though, there are also stand-alone detectors that pick up RF signals and infrared rays.
Do phone apps work for detecting bugs and cameras?
Herein lies the problem. Where back in the day many apps had little purpose but were viewed as novelties, today that trend has worsened.
While there are millions of truly useful mobile apps, bug detecting software hasn’t quite matched them.
This is because they are restricted in how they can search for bugs. It could be said that many bug detecting apps are about fifty percent effective, but even the best are not foolproof.
This is due to how they detect hidden cameras and bugs. Camera lenses, for instance, can detect infrared rays from another lens. Not all hidden cameras emit infrared rays though.
Can you use bugs yourself legally?
Of course, you may not be interested in finding surveillance equipment so much as hiding it yourself.
There are a variety of laws in place to protect the privacy of individuals, and these differ from state to state. Some remain the same though.
You cannot record a private conversation between anyone unless all parties have given consent. Nor can you record phone conversations or other dialogue transmitted electronically. These areas are covered in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, often known as the Wiretap law.
You can, however, video anyone in your private property without audio, without their knowledge. As long as it is reasonable. This means no invasion of privacy, so no cameras in bathrooms or bedrooms.
As an avid mobile device fan, you will no doubt be aware of security online. You probably understand whether you should use a VPN on your phone.
However, now mobiles are being used to provide protection offline. It is an interesting development that there are apps to discover physical spyware in the real world as well as spyware on devices.
Yet, it seems that good old-fashioned bug detectors are more reliable at the moment than mobile apps. Hopefully, you will never need to worry about someone spying on you, but if you do, perhaps there is an app that will help.