How to Blind a Surveillance Camera

Three Methods:Using LEDsUsing an Infrared LaserCovering the Camera Lens

Blinding a surveillance camera can obscure your identity, but not your presence. A person watching through the camera will be able to tell that you're there, but they won't be able to see what you're doing. You can blind a camera in the dark using an LED, an infrared laser day or night, or how to cover up the lens of the camera.

Method 1
Using LEDs

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    Shine a powerful LED (light-emitting diode) directly into the camera lens. The brighter the flashlight, the better. Use a small device that you can easily store. This method only works well in the dark, so save it for stealthy excursions at night or in enclosed spaces.[1]
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    Block your face with the light. Figure out exactly where the camera is, and shine the light directly into the lens. When properly executed, this technique should create a lens flare that makes it nearly impossible to tell what you look like.[2] Be warned that the flashlight method is not subtle. The sudden flash of will alert any vigilant guard to your presence. However, you should at least be able to use the bright light to obscure your face.
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    Hold steady. Be careful not to drop the light beam from the camera lens, lest you reveal your face. Make sure not to shine the light onto your face. Remember: this method only works if you are quick and precise.
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    Attach infrared LEDs to your clothing. For a quick fix, superglue a string of bright lights to a hat or headband.[3] If you wish to get more involved, you can craft an LED "mask" that even more heavily obscures your face. Make sure that the lights are bright enough to blot out your face from the camera's view, but not so bright that they blind you!

Method 2
Using an Infrared Laser

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    Point an infrared laser directly into the lens of the camera. This method is more subtle than shining a bright light around, but it also requires that you are much more precise. If the laser-point slips away from the lens for even an instant, the camera will catch your face. Act quickly and efficiently to avoid detection.[4]
    • This method should work day or night. It may be somewhat more effective in the dark.[5]
    • You can use any standard laser pointer here. In general, the stronger the laser, the more powerful the blinding effect.
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    Be aware of the shortcomings. The camera can see you until you get the laser aimed correctly. Anything that comes between the laser and the camera will instantly un-blind the camera. Also, the effectiveness of this method is a bit hard to gauge. From your end of the camera, you cannot tell if the laser is aimed correctly.
    • Do not point the laser into your eye. You might blind yourself![6] Consider wearing dark glasses to protect your vision, but do not expect them to keep you completely safe.
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    Look out for other cameras. The focus required of this method means that you can only blind one camera with one laser. The laser is more subtle than LEDs or a flashlight, but the effect is limited. If you need to blind multiple cameras at once, then you'll need as many lasers as there are cameras. Consider coordinating with friends.

Method 3
Covering the Camera Lens

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    Smear jelly onto the lens. Rub Vaseline, petroleum jelly, or another viscous substance onto the lens of the camera to make the picture come out blurry. In a pinch, try using sticky-but-spreadable foodstuffs like butter, jam, and peanut butter. Be careful to coat the entire surface of the lens. Make sure that you aren't caught on camera as you approach the recording device!
    • Be careful not to leave fingerprints on the camera! You may avoid visual detection, but people might still be able to identify you based on the other evidence that you leave behind.
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    Obscure the lens with tape. Use duct tape, masking tape, or anything opaque. Be sure to cover up the entire recording area! Hide your face to avoid identification as you approach the camera.
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    Cover up the entire camera. If you're able to manage it, you can simply block the view of the recording device with a larger object. Try taping or tying a bag or a piece of fabric over the lens. Obstruct the camera's line of sight by putting a screen, a board, or a piece of furniture in the way.
    • You can cover up the camera with a shirt or a scarf, in a pinch. If you leave your clothing on the device, make sure that it cannot be traced back to you.


  • Try simply disguising yourself. If it is more important to avoid being identified than it is to escape detection, then you might be able to get away with covering your face. Wear dark glasses, a kerchief, a ski mask, or other face-obscuring garb.


  • Enough high-brightness IR can cause eye damage!
  • These devices may trigger some IR based fire detectors.
  • There are filters that prevent this from working on some cameras. Indeed, not all cameras are sensitive to IR in the first place.
  • Flash cameras may not be fooled.
  • Remember: it is legal to hide yourself from surveillance cameras. Crime and illegal activity is another matter. Be careful, be vigilant, and be smart about what you're doing. You will only get one shot.[7]

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Categories: Hacks