How to Blind a CCTV Camera

Digital cameras are everywhere, and their ever-decreasing prices mean that even low-quality devices now cost less than a couple hundred pounds.

However, the manufacturers often neglect to mention one important thing; it’s effortless to blind them. How to blind a CCTV Camera?

Well, firstly, port forwarding IP camera and you shine an incredibly bright light directly into the camera’s lens. Even if it is behind tinted glass, you’ll still see the image appear very briefly before it flares out altogether, like this:

It happens because digital cameras can record images in practically any lighting condition thanks to automatic exposure modes.

They effectively ‘lock’ the exposure for a fixed period until they have completed processing all available information.

How to blind a CCTV camera

1) Flashlight or bright LED light:

It can damage the camera and stop it from working.

The amount of damage depends on the voltage supplied by your battery (the higher, the more damaging).

2) Laser pointer/pointer laser:

Again this will damage the camera and stop it from working.

They also cause a lot of disturbance to any subjects being watched if pointed at them as they will become temporarily blinded and disoriented.

However, some cameras have an anti-laser filter which prevents this and makes using a laser completely useless.

How to blind a CCTV camera
Flashlight and Laser pointer (Image Credit: Pinterest)

Avoid being caught on CCTV

There are different ways to avoid being caught on CCTV; these only work when you know there is a camera present – find nearby CCTV IP address -for example, in most public buildings where you know there is a camera present.

  • Look for the flashing red light:

Most CCTV camera types and specifications have a bright flashing red light visible from some distance (greater than one meter) and can be easily seen at night.

It tells you where the camera lens is, and more importantly, which direction it is facing. By simply moving out of this angle, you can avoid being filmed!

Bear in mind that if there are multiple cameras, they may not all have a flashing red LED to indicate their position, so learning to recognize different types of cameras is also very helpful.

  • Learn to recognize different types of cameras:

Different surveillance cameras are the best outdoor security camera system that emits infrared or visible light differently.

So by learning what kinds of cameras are in a given location, you can avoid being filmed when there is no red light visible.

The kinds of cameras described here don’t seem to be in wide use anymore, but they will still be around for a while, so learning to identify them will remain helpful.

Seeing one of these kinds of cameras may prompt you to check using other methods whether or not there are any more modern types hidden nearby!

Modern types are hidden nearby

Infrared LEDs:

Older style CCTV cameras are covered by a red filter material, which prevents blindingly bright IR from distracting the camera operator and making it difficult to see what they’re doing without interfering too much with image capture.

These filtered lights look a lot like red light-emitting diodes (LEDs). When lit, it will appear as a single bright red dot the size of a needle prick. These lights will illuminate objects in their field of view with IR.

Visible LEDs:

More modern CCTV cameras often use visible LEDs instead. They may be white or blue, but those colors are prevalent for visible LEDs and aren’t much help unless you already know what sort of camera is ahead of you.

In general, though, these should never be too bright, as that reduces contrast and interferes with image capture.

Avoiding detection is not always possible if they’re relatively high intensity or face your direction.

Still, you can reduce the probability of detection by staying out of the field of view and hiding from them as much as possible.

Night vision:

Often a red or orange light will indicate infrared illumination is available. If so, the visible LEDs may be dimmed or off entirely to save power – they will still illuminate fairly brightly through night-vision equipment such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).

These lights may be brighter than usual to provide IR illumination without interfering too much with image capture.

Try turning on your infrared source if you have one, using NVGs/starlight scope/etc. To see what sort of cameras are present in an area before trying to avoid being filmed yourself!

Avoid being directly illuminated:

Infrared and visible LED arrays can also indicate whether infrared or visible illumination is available by simply looking for bright lights coming from the general direction of the camera.

If there is no red light (see above), make sure these lights do not illuminate you if they are on, as that will give away your position!

Turn off ALL electronics:

Power supplies such as batteries and chargers emit a small amount of light which can be seen at night.

It varies according to type but generally isn’t very bright unless you’re using equipment specifically designed to run off batteries for an extended period.

It will take them off to your presence if you can’t avoid it.

Secondly, electronics make noise which you don’t want to be heard by cameras – even if the cameras are off! Ever taken a picture of what you think was an empty room?

Chances are, the flash made enough noise (especially with cheap digital cameras) for anyone within earshot to notice it.

Turn them off or unplug them before trying to avoid being filmed.

Find the most significant obstacle in their field of view:

If there is one thing that can block light and hide your presence from security cameras, it’s concrete walls (and any other solid objects).

Security camera signals fall off extremely sharply when passing through large amounts of matter in a way that they aren’t designed to handle.

Concrete, in particular, is opaque to visible light, which makes it extremely good at blocking light.

If possible, you should try to stay behind walls if there are no other objects/shadows available to hide behind or get in the way of the cameras’ field of view.

It will either block their IR illumination entirely or cause them to have a reduced effect on your night-vision equipment.

Find the source of illumination:

The security camera may be using infrared LEDs (visible under NVGs), LED arrays, or even conventional white LEDs.

Flashbangs and stun grenades that produce a large amount of heat may overload these sources temporarily.

Still, otherwise, they’re relatively short-lived (the LEDs will usually cool down fairly quickly if you make them shut off rather than overload, though the latter is both more effective and can cause permanent damage in some cases).

When avoiding being seen by cameras, keep this in mind – blend in with any heat sources available.

Block their field of view:

If there are several security cameras, it may be hard to avoid them all. Cameras with broad fields of view are easy enough to see under NVGs but harder to block without shadows.

If no one is watching the camera’s feed, use your imagination – move around so that objects in frame partially obscure their view of you, or place surfaces at specific angles relative to the camera that cover them.

Covering the camera’s lenses with something reflective is also an excellent way to reduce their effect on your night-vision equipment but will make it obvious someone has been in the area.

Get rid of them:

If you have no choice, there are several ways to get rid of or disable security cameras – some more legal than others!

Tricks to blind a CCTV Camera

The most effective and efficient way to blind a CCTV camera is to use a black or white hood.

But for those who don’t feel like sewing, here is an alternative method.

  • Take a plastic bottle (the bigger, the better) and fill it with water, as shown in these pictures.
  • Next, wrap aluminum foil around the mouth of the bottle.
  • Finally, put two 3mm holes on opposite sides of your now-plastic-bottle turret. Insert them into the camera’s lens and twirl until it goes off.

Josephine is a technology enthusiast and loves to explore new technologies. She has been programming since she was 12 years old and enjoys learning about the newest trends in tech. Josephine is currently studying Computer Science at Stanford University, where she has become involved with organizations such as Women in Computer Science (WCS) and Code X: The Stanford Center for Professional Development.

Leave a Comment