When it comes to Airbnb, people from all over the world trust it as their go-to means of accommodation. Travelers, especially find it easier to find accommodation when they are in a foreign country.
Airbnb has long been the safest bet in finding suitable accommodation online. The hosts are verified and thus, provides users with a sense of security.
But all this changed when a Chinese woman who happened to be a security expert herself, discovered a hidden camera inside her Wi-Fi router in the room she rented.
According to the local media, the homeowner presently is facing 20-day detention after police found evidence that the person has been filming his guests’ activities. Simply put, invading their privacy.
The incident surfaced in the Qingdao province of China. The homeowner was at it since March this year.
What went down
The woman, identified by her online alias ‘Yunfie’ came to stay with the homeowner – known as ‘superhost’, for three nights. Little did superhost knew, the woman is part of an internet and information security company.
She’s accustomed to checking into hotel rooms and renting accommodations online.
So how did she come to learn of it? She found a motion sensor monitor at the entrance of her Airbnb flat.
Oddly enough, there were two more in the two bedrooms when the flat didn’t seem like it had been adjusted to smart-home automation.
Clever on her part, the woman, covered the sensors with stickers and faced them towards the wall.
Alerted, she then checked the TV and smoke detectors in the flat before finally inspecting the Wi-Fi router. Her prowess in the security niche proved to resourceful and she was able to deduce that the line arrangement inside the router was unusual.
She compared it to a photo of a router she found online. Her doubts turned to reality and the line arrangement was indeed, out of place.
When she opened the router, she found a memory card there. That’s when she decided to call the cops. They reached the scene and took the equipment in custody.
The man responsible, as of now, stands removed from the Airbnb platform. The accommodation giant has gone on record and apologized to the woman. The flat also has since been taken down from the Airbnb listings.
She paid $357 for a three-night stay at the apartment which has now been refunded to the concerned.
How to safeguard yourself
The cybersecurity domain is dark and full of terrors. If you are not careful enough, you can become a victim of cyber crimes which is why nothing beats common sense + sheer vigilance.
In the case of the woman here, although, she had prior knowledge due to her job and she knew where to look but it was her ‘spidey-sense’ which made her smell something fishy.
This incident and others like these are reason enough that as netizens, equipping oneself with information necessary to combat such threats goes a long way.
Other means for protecting yourself whilst online may include an up-to-date antivirus program to keep malware and viruses at bay, 2FA (two-factor authentication) where applicable when accessing your accounts online.
Lastly, use Ivacy VPN for masking your real IP address on the internet – for masked IP renders your presence anonymous, which means you are free to sail online in complete security and privacy.