Three easy ways to find hidden cameras in hotels and rental homes - CNBC
Nearly 60% of Americans said they were worried about hidden cameras in Airbnb homes in 2019.
And 11% of vacation home renters said they had discovered a hidden camera during a stay, according to a survey by the real estate investment company IPX1031.
Spy cameras are not a new problem. In South Korea, more than 30,000 cases of filming with hidden cameras were reported to the police between 2013 and 2018, according to the New York-based non-profit organization Human Rights Watch.
The number of hidden spy camera reports has proliferated because of the increasing accessibility and inexpensiveness of such cameras, combined with the public’s growing ability to detect them, said Kenneth Bombace, CEO of intelligence firm Global Threat Solutions.
Experts share simple methods to locate hidden spy cameras in hotel rooms and rental properties.
1. Conduct a physical search
When looking for hidden cameras, start with areas like bathrooms and bedrooms, Bombace said.
Airbnb hosts are allowed to have cameras in their houses, but they must inform guests and the cameras must not be placed in private spaces, he said.
A light switch with a hidden camera (middle) on display at a spy camera shop in South Korea on March 22, 2019. Jung Yeon-je | Afp | Getty Images
Almost all covert cameras are concealed in household devices, such as lights, thermostats, and plugged clock radios, Bombace said.
“Look and see if anything looks like it’s out of the ordinary, and then inspect it closer,” he said.
Most spy cameras are connected to an electrical source or an electronic device, Bombace added.
He said the first thing he does in a bedroom is unplug the clock radios and put them in a drawer.
Michael O’Rourke, CEO of security consulting firm Advanced Operational Concepts, also said he does exactly that.
Even well-hidden cameras will have a small amount of reflective glass from the lens, Bombace said.
“If you use flashlights and shine them on something you think could possibly hide the camera, you will see a reflection in there, which is a pretty good way of detecting if there’s a camera,” he said.
A painting installed with a hidden camera on display at a spy camera shop on March 22, 2019. Even when a camera is hidden in another device like a thermostat or an outlet, there will be some glass in there that is reflective because there will be a lens, Bombace said. Jung Yeon-je | Afp | Getty Images
But O’Rourke said care is needed to accurately locate hidden lenses.
“A lot of people will try to do amateur lens detection, which can work,” O’Rourke said. “However, if you don’t have a good search methodology — if you go too fast, if you’re impatient — you can miss quite a bit.”
2. Look at the Wi-Fi network
A hidden camera must be connected to a local Wi-Fi network in order to be viewed remotely, Bombace said.
Hidden cameras must be connected to a local Wi-Fi network to be viewed remotely, said Global Threat Solutions CEO Kenneth Bombace. Hispanolistic | E+ | Getty Images
Wi-Fi scanning apps like Fing can identify devices on the network that are cameras, he said.
Those who hide cameras might use a separate Wi-Fi network to stream live video footage, but Wi-Fi scanning apps can also detect how many networks are in a residence, Bombace said.
But Kody Kinzie, a security researcher at data security and analytics firm Varonis, warned that a network scanner may not catch everything.
“The next thing you can do is look for devices that are broadcasting their own network name,” he said.
He recommended using apps like WiGLE to find devices that are “broadcasting some sort of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network name,” Kinzie added.
3. Buy a spy camera detector
If all else fails, spy camera detectors can scan for radio frequencies connected to hidden cameras. These can be easily bought online from websites like Amazon or AliExpress.
But O’Rourke noted this method works only if the hidden camera is transmitting data.
“So many of them now have SD cards that just store data to be retrieved after someone leaves,” O’Rourke said. “And so these are much more difficult to detect.”
Bombace added that while it is possible to buy a radio frequency scanner, the cheaper ones are probably not that good.
“Like anything else, you get what you pay for — if it’s $30, it’s probably not that good,” Bombace said. “Better ones are going to cost hundreds or even over $1,000.”
What to do if you find a camera
After locating a camera, immediately disconnect it without damaging it because the camera’s firmware may contain identifying information, such as login credentials and the Wi-Fi network it was connected to, Kinzie said.
Disconnect hidden cameras but don’t damage them, said Varonis security researcher Kody Kinzie. Krisanapong Detraphiphat | Moment | Getty Images
O’Rourke said hidden cameras found in hotel rooms should be reported to the front desk. He advised then moving to another hotel instead of requesting another room.
“Once you find a camera in a room, I wouldn’t trust any other room in that entire hotel,” he said.
Bombace also recommended reporting hidden cameras to the police, even if it is just for documentation purposes, in case litigation or criminal charges should follow.
“You could also provide [the report] to Airbnb so they can prevent this person from ever doing this again,” he said.
But ultimately, Bombace said, he would not avoid renting a home over fears of spy cameras.
“I would just take common sense steps to protect yourself. And realize you’re not in your own home,” he said.
Fresh fare hike looms over stranded $600 million airlines’ fund - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
Travel agencies seek CBN’s intervention
Air travellers on the international route may face fresh fare hikes as part of the ripple effects of foreign airlines’ unrepatriated $600 million in Nigeria.
Travel agencies, yesterday, said the upward adjustment would be inevitable should airlines withdraw promotional and least fares, coupled with the preference to sell Nigerian air tickets overseas (in foreign currencies) rather than in Nigeria (in naira).
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently raised the alarm over the steady rise in the number of unrepatriated funds in Nigeria and other countries. The funds, which stood at $283 million as of March, increased to $450 million in May and are estimated to reach $600 this month.
IATA noted that the funds in Nigeria were about 25 per cent of similar funds stuck in other countries as of April. Nigeria was in a similar condition in 2016, when stranded foreign airlines’ funds from ticket sales rose to $600 million.
Nigerian air travellers are already paying more than their counterparts overseas due to naira devaluation and risk another upswing in airfares on account of unrepatriated funds.
President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, expressed concern over the development, describing it as a bad omen for the industry and its operators.
Though the problem is not new, Akporiaye noted that NANTA had consistently appealed to the government to prioritise the repatriation of airlines’ funds. She said the current situation presents a real threat to the industry and the continuity of their businesses as travel professionals.
“The foreign airlines may resort to taking out lower inventory in the system, resulting in high cost of tickets from the Nigerian market. For instance, a six-hour trip to London may attract a fare rate of about $2,000 or more and also encourage tickets sold outside the country to flood Nigeria, thus affecting the survival of Nigerian travel agents and consequent loss of taxes and levies from such transactions,” Akporiaye said.
The NANTA president noted that thousands of the association’s members remain patriotic and have represented the country well in the global travel industry and rightly feel disturbed that Nigeria is on the brink of a wrong narrative, following the just concluded IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar.
She said: “We, once again, appeal to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the ministry of aviation and the office of the Vice President to speedily intervene to bring down the number of trapped funds, to help resolve the operations of these airlines.
“Indeed, a bleak future that is worse than the effects of the pandemic awaits Nigerian travel trade operators, if nothing concrete and effective is done urgently to address this disturbing situation.”
IATA’s Regional Vice President (Africa and Middle East), Kamil Al-Awadhi, said airfares charged by international carriers are three times higher than what is obtained in other countries that do not retain airlines’ revenues.
He expressed fear that the fares might continue to rise until Nigerians would not be able to afford international travel, consequently weakening the nation’s economy.
Other countries in Africa that hold on to huge amounts of airlines’ revenues include Zimbabwe ($100 million); Algeria ($96 million); Eritrea ($79 million) and Ethiopia ($75 million).
Al-Awadhi explained that airlines are charging higher fares to Nigeria so that they could make a profit from one leg of the trip, as most trips are charged on return tickets.
Shanghai Disneyland to Reopen June 30 as China Eases Covid-19 Curbs - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Shanghai Disneyland is set to reopen this week with limited capacity and enhanced health and safety protocols, after a months-long shutdown because of the coronavirus.
The majority of attractions, rides, shows, shopping and dining will resume operations on June 30, according to a statement on the park’s website. Some experiences including Explorer Canoes, Selfie Spot with Mickey at the Gardens of Imagination and Marvel Universe will remain closed.
Walt Disney Co.’s Shanghai resort and parks were temporarily closed in March after a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections reported in the city. Some operations were reopened earlier this month.
Disney shares gained 2.1% in premarket trading in New York.
Auto Sales Expected to Fall 17% This Year Amid Supply-Chain Woes - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Vehicle sales in the US are expected to fall 17.3% this year to the lowest level in a decade as semiconductor shortages and other supply-chain problems continue to hamper production.
Researcher Cox Automotive lowered its forecast to 14.4 million vehicles, citing production constraints. Despite the lower forecast, Cox believes lower auto sales belie the state of the economy because the job market and consumer demand remain strong.
“We don’t think a recession is inevitable,” said Cox Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “We still have pent-up demand in retail. There are people who can’t get what they want.”
New-vehicle inventory has risen so far this year but remains at about 25 days worth of stock. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, dealers were carrying on average close to 70 days of supply.
The only caveat, Smoke said, is that inflation fears and falling consumer confidence could slow the economy.
“The consumer is close to thinking we’re in a recession and behaving like that,” he said. “We’re on that thin line.”
Cheap Gasoline Fails To Curb Rising Transport Fares in Nigeria - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Transportation fares in Africa’s largest economy are surging even as the country spends billions of dollars subsidizing gasoline to curb prices and temper public discontent over the high cost of living.
The average cost of an intra-city bus journey increased 46% to 582 naira ($1.39) a trip in May compared with a year earlier and flight tickets soared 53% over the same period to 55,907 naira, according to data released on the National Bureau of Statistics’s website.
Prices have jumped despite Africa’s biggest crude producer spending 1.49 trillion naira subsidizing gasoline in the first four months of this year to keep pump prices at 162 to 165 naira a liter, which is among the lowest in the world. It has allocated 4 trillion naira for the intervention in 2022.
Oil prices have climbed by a fifth since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Nigeria has been unable to benefit due to its own sluggish output, which has declined in every month of this year, according to government data.
The surge in transportation prices that are fanning inflation -- already at almost 18% -- is likely to be a campaign issue ahead of presidential elections in February. Both major party candidates have promised to fix the economic situation of rampant unemployment, sluggish growth and high poverty rates.
Read: Fried Bean Breakfast Snack Hit by Soaring Prices in Nigeria
Nigerians spend about 57% of their income buying food and almost a 10th on transport, according to the statistics agency.
China cuts quarantine time for international travelers in big step toward easing Covid controls - CNBC
- Overseas travelers will only need to quarantine at a centralized facility, such as a hotel, for seven days upon arrival in mainland China, the National Health Commission announced Tuesday.
- Previously, overseas arrivals in China typically had to spend 14 to 21 days in centralized quarantine, depending on the city of entry and destination within the country.
- Tuesday’s announcement also said that within China, close contacts of confirmed Covid cases would likewise only need to spend seven days in centralized quarantine, followed by three days of health monitoring at home.
For more than two years, overseas travelers have had to quarantine upon arrival in China because of Covid restrictions. Pictured here at Beijing International Airport on June 18, 2022, are passengers waiting to be taken to quarantine-designated destinations. Leo Ramirez | Afp | Getty Images
BEIJING — China cut the quarantine period for international travelers on Tuesday, a big step toward loosening Covid controls that have persisted for more than two years.
Overseas travelers will only need to quarantine at a centralized facility, such as a hotel, for seven days upon arrival in mainland China, the National Health Commission announced Tuesday. Travelers will need to spend three additional days at home before they can venture out, the commission said.
Previously, overseas arrivals in China typically had to spend 14 to 21 days in centralized quarantine, depending on the city of entry and destination within the country.
Tuesday’s announcement also said that within China, close contacts of confirmed Covid cases would likewise only need to spend seven days in centralized quarantine, followed by three days of health monitoring at home.
Previously, Covid-related isolation requirements tended to last for at least 14 days.
Mainland China reported for Monday one confirmed Covid case with symptoms — in the southern province of Guangdong — and 21 cases with no symptoms. The cities of Beijing and Shanghai reported none in either category.
In the last few months, some cities began to reduce the length of mandatory isolation.
The capital city of Beijing in early May had required 10 days in centralized quarantine and seven days at home, down from 14 days of centralized quarantine.
China began to tighten its borders in late March 2020 as Covid-19 started to come under control domestically while spreading rapidly overseas. Covid-19 first emerged in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Nigerian students — which countries will give you the best shot for visa approvals? - STUDY INTERNATIONAL
Nigeria is fast emerging as one of the world’s top source countries for international students, and the numbers are predicted to expand rapidly in the coming years. Even as thousands of students have found success abroad each year, getting a visa for Nigerians comes with many barriers that go beyond financial hurdles.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and is projected to become the world’s third-most populous country by 2050. The sheer number of college-age students in the country makes it a robust market for foreign universities. Push factors from within, such as soaring inflation amid a flagging economy and rising insecurity throughout the country, have propelled many to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
In fact, most Nigerian youths prefer to study abroad: a recent study titled “The Nigeria Market Sentiment & Study Motivations Report” published earlier this year revealed that as many as nine out of 10 Nigerians are interested in pursuing a degree overseas. According to the report, the number one concern for Nigerian students is affordability, hence why institutions that can offer financial aid have an edge over others in winning them over.
The top four countries of preference from the students surveyed are the UK (32.71%), Canada (16.67%), the US (16.54%), Germany (10.60%), and Australia (7.96%). The difficulty in securing a student visa for Nigerians would probably account for why 46.61% of them favour distance learning, while 40.57% prefer studying in person overseas with the remaining 12.82% opting for hybrid learning if given the chance.
As university application reaches its peak this summer, a sharp surge in visa submissions is surely to follow, especially since most international borders have reopened. If you’re a Nigerian student aiming to go abroad in the near future, it’s worth factoring visa processing times and approval rates into your chosen study destination.
Here’s a quick breakdown of your chances to be greenlighted for entry by the top three countries preferred by Nigerian students, based on current data:
Student visa for Nigerians: Which countries are more likely to approve them?
It’s unsurprising that British universities rank high among Nigerian students. Given the country’s long-standing educational exchange with the UK as a member of the Commonwealth, and the presence of a sizable diasporic community in Britain, Nigeria continues to be a top source country for UK’s international recruitment.
There’s been an upward trend of Nigerians applying to UK universities since 2018. The number has risen by 47% between 2021 and 2022. Last week, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing announced on Twitter that UK student visas would now take an average of five weeks to be processed, after many students bemoaned the delays in getting a decision.
Despite the wait, the prospects of UK-bound Nigerian students are promising: visa approvals as of 2022 recorded a meteoric leap of 415.3% compared to two years ago.
The UK continues to draw a large number of Nigerian students, especially in the post-Brexit climate, which opens up more post-study opportunities due to reduced competition. Source: Daniel Leal/AFP
There are a myriad of reasons why the US is popular among Nigerian students. It has introduced several measures to incentivise Nigerian students to come to its shores, such as offering attractive scholarships and waiving interviews for some visa renewals. However, getting the F-1 visa comes with a hefty price, as Nigerians have to pay a reciprocity fee on top of the application costs.
Presently, getting a visa appointment in Nigeria might be the biggest challenge that could push back study plans. Sun News Online reports that the earliest available date on the application portal is in January 2024.
Even so, the growth rate of Nigerian students has overtaken the average for all other countries for nearly a decade now. Between 2014 to 2018, the Nigerian student population in the US grew by 19%, excluding those under the Optional Practical Training (OPT). The growth has been steady over the years, which indicates positive outcomes in visa approvals.
The US has been experiencing consistent growth in Nigerian student populations for nearly a decade despite challenges in securing visa appointments in Nigeria. Source: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP
Canada is another country that has benefited from an influx of Nigerian students — they are among the top earners in median salary among post-graduation work permit holders between the years 2008 to 2018, thus contributing significantly to the local labour market.
In 2021 alone, more than 21,000 Nigerian students submitted their applications for a Canadian study permit. The numbers reflect an 80% leap compared to 2020, yet the outcomes are disproportionate to their study interest. African nationals are presently experiencing unusually high rejection rates, hurting Nigerian students’ chances of getting their Canadian degrees.
An extensive study by education and immigration stakeholders in Canada found that the trend has persisted since 2019. A total of 75% of African students who applied for their study permits that year within a five-month period were met with rejection, and Nigerians were among those who suffered gravely.
The issue is currently under the attention of the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration, who are investigating the differential treatments faced by African students in their quest to get a student visa.
London and Paris Cut More Flights as Travel Turmoil Persists - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- London Heathrow and Paris- Charles de Gaulle airports are cutting more flights as Europe’s travel chaos continues into the summer.
Heathrow asked airlines to cut 30 flights from their schedules Thursday morning amid concern that peak passenger numbers will exceed the level it can safely handle.
France’s civil aviation authority has ordered a 17% reduction in flights out of Paris-Charles de Gaulle on Thursday due to a strike by firefighters. The walkout will lead to a shutdown of two out of the the hub’s four runways between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time. The labor strife could continue into the weekend and spill over to Paris’s other hub at Orly, as more categories of workers plan walkouts.
As a result of the disruptions Thursday, Air France-KLM’s French arm canceled 62 flights, while maintaining all of its long-haul and 90% of short and medium-haul connections, according to a spokesman.
While the flights affected represent only a small portion of the total from the two airports, the last-minute cancellations add to the chaos surrounding travel in Europe as staffing shortages upend timetables and labor unrest gathers steam.
Heathrow, Europe’s busiest prior to the coronavirus pandemic, will work with carriers to rebook passengers onto services outside peak hours so that as many as possible can still fly, it said in a statement Wednesday.
The scrapping of flights at Heathrow comes even after British Airways, the airport’s biggest carrier, slashed summer capacity 10% to reduce pressure on operations.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer,” the hub said. “The most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”
At Paris-CDG, the country’s biggest international airport, the upheaval could get worse on Friday when a strike is planned by unions representing a broader swath of workers.
Talks between operator Aeroports de Paris and labor representatives failed to reach a wage deal earlier this week, with staff demanding better compensation to reflect inflation and improved working conditions.
(Adds details from Air France from fourth paragraph.)