While thermal cameras can be used for positive reasons, they can also be misused, which means surveillance of your surroundings is getting deeper and deeper.
If your hand is on a smartphone, and the smartphone is photographed by a thermal imaging device, it will display infrared dots on the smartphone indicating where you touched it.
The brighter the area that appears on the thermal image, the more recently the smartphone was touched.
Criminals and hackers can use this imaging to scan keypads, ATMs or smartphones, revealing the thermal signature left on those devices so they can calculate PINs and passwords for personal information.
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Can thermal equipment see my home?
Unfortunately, criminals may use these heat detection devices to see what’s going on in your home, as these devices could be used to see through walls and reveal what’s going on in your home without you even realizing it. However, the ability to see clearly inside the house depends on the specific equipment and its function, as well as the thickness and composition of the walls.
Can a thermal device see through my clothes?
Thermal imaging devices detect infrared radiation emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero. Instead of “seeing” like visible light cameras, they create images based on temperature differences between objects.
Clothes do not block infrared radiation, so thermal imaging devices can detect the heat emitted by the human body even with clothing on. However, the images created by the device do not show details of the human body. Instead, it displays the person’s heat signature as a whole.
Is the thermal detection device readily available?
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Criminals can purchase these imaging devices online and start violating your privacy at any time. Some are sold as smartphone accessories, such as the one from InfiRay. It can be connected to an iPhone or Android as a night vision device. To make matters worse, these thermal imaging devices sell for as low as $150, so now more affordable than ever.
It’s important to note, however, that these thermal imaging devices are used in various industries such as security, fire protection, and infrastructure inspections — not just invasions of privacy — and are designed for legitimate use, not criminal activity.
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InfiRay has also developed a handheld thermal imager designed for building scanning as well as automotive and other machine inspections.
I checked out these devices at CES 2023, and while they’re impressive, as I mentioned, they can also be used by criminals to steal your valuable information.
How can I protect myself and my home from thermal imaging equipment?
- Cover windows and walls with insulating material, such as aluminum foil or special insulating paint
- Install thermal curtains or blinds to prevent thermal imaging from entering your home
- Use thermal imaging cameras to detect the presence of thermal imaging cameras and locate their positions
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for anyone who may be using thermal imaging equipment
- Consult experts and countermeasures in the field of thermal imaging for further guidance and advice
- Although these are extreme solutions to a growing problem.
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