Surveillance and Recon - Beginners guide to hacking and penetration testing (2017)

Beginners guide to hacking and penetration testing (2017)

Surveillance and Recon:

Things like Google Maps and Streetview are wonderful tools, but sometimes you just need images that can't be found there or on social media. Sometimes we just need to take the images ourselves. This small section will go over a few methods.

Expensive professional grade equipment:

If you have the money and are a skilled photographer having a professional grade camera (digital or film) will allow you to take some long range, clear photographs under a variety of situations. Obviously the obstacles here are cost, bulky equipment, and the need to have a very good understanding of photography. Carrying around a $1200 Nikon DSLR camera will have very different results in the hands of a amateur compared to a professional so choose your equipment for your skillset and need. Likewise carrying a large camera is not exactly a stealthy thing to snap pictures in a secure area.

Button cameras:

The above image is an example of a button camera. The particular one shown is a Mengshen Super Mini 1080p version found on Amazon ( &keywords=button+camera). This is an excellent example of a small concealable camera that can be used for covert reconnaissance. In this particular case it holds a 32GB memory card with a loop back recording. This particular camera is about $40 so it won't break the bank.

Pen cameras:

A pen camera is what it sounds like, a camera concealed in a pen. Often times these types of camera will have ink in them to sell the illusion that they are just an ordinary pen. The image shown where is the Night Owl camera. It has a 4GB internal storage and sells for around $30 ( d27136e95/n/o/nopen-4gb_4.jpg). This is a great tool to carry around if you need to covertly record video and/or images in close range. The record time is around 2 hours with a audio range of 20 feet.

This, however will not have a high resolution image as it records at 640 x 480, however that should be clear enough for general reconnaissance.

Hidden camera apps:

Both iPhone and Android have a number of applications that allow a user to take covert pictures, often times these will disguise the screen with things like a webpage or news feed on your screen to hide the camera screen. As with any application verify that it's safe before using.

Snap Pets toys:

So, I found this toy at a discount store for $3 and decided to test it out (retail is $17-$30). What this product is billed as a keychain selfie Bluetooth toy. The great thing about this is, it's small, inconspicuous, has an internal chargeable battery, you can snap images by Bluetooth, set a timer for a single image, or set up the device to snap pictures at a set interval timer. This makes a great drop cam!

Camera in pocket trick:

Another easy trick is to place a smartphone into your pocket and set it to record video. Your video quality will be dependent on your phone, however most current phones are able to record in HD. The disadvantage of this would be if you are asked to take your phone out or if It fell out of your pocket other people may notice the recording.


Drones are another great way to get reconnaissance images. Depending on the drone you can gather high resolution images and video. Some drones have additional features such as video stabilization and a return to home feature. Drones vary widely in cost, functionality, durability, ease of use etc. Also depending on the weight you may need to register it with the FCC. The one pictured here is a DJI Phantom 2 Standard Quadcopter which runs for about $500.