Viewing CCTV on every street corner

2.4 GHz video transmitters are everywhere these days, in many, many products ranging from baby monitors to CCTV setups. Surprisingly, most owners of these video devices don’t realize they’re transmitting an unencrypted video signal, a belief [Benjamin] hopes to rectify.

[Ben]’s project started with him driving around cities recording unencrypted 2.4GHz video feeds. His idea has since expanded to include building metal boxes with an LCD display and attaching them to light poles. Think of it as an education via technology; most people don’t know these devices are receivable by everybody, and showing them it is possible is the first step in learning.

If you’re looking for something a little more creepy than a metal box attached to a lamp-post, [Ben] is also the brainchild behind the Surveillance Video Entertainment Network, an installation (also in van form) that exposes unencrypted 2.4 GHz video transmissions in cities around the world.

You can check out a few intercepted surveillance videos after the break.

26 thoughts on “Viewing CCTV on every street corner

  1. Didn’t thebroken do this way back in the day? Might not have been that show but it was definitely Kevin Rose + crew

    1. It was the first episode of Systm (Kevin Rose’s show after thebroken).

      I wish this website had more information about the hardware he is using to pickup the video signals. On Systm they just used an X10 receiver, but I’m guessing this project is more complex.

  2. Is a receiver monitor the only thing needed to access those signals or is there a need for hacking them first? didn’t find the information on his site.

    1. The signals are analog, unencrypted, on 2.4GHz. So you just need a tuner which can output a signal to drive the LCD from and you’re done.

    2. They are either sending it as a video over radio protocol, in which case you just need to receive, or as data in IP over radio (eg wifi) in which case you’d need to receive and decode.

  3. Bad idea!
    Richard Feynman alerted the administrators in Los Alamos that the staff safes can be picked easily. The staff were notified to change their lock combination, otherwise Feynman would be able to open them! Whistleblowers are generally not treated well, and in most cases with legal action.

    1. Not entirely correct. They did not change the combination. There was an order brought down from high places that stated he was no longer allowed to be near the safes unsupervised.

      It is a popular story relating of the travesties and hardships of people that actually care about real security versus people that merely want to feel secure.

  4. any idea if one can use a SDR dongle to recive these?…just got mine working last week…amazing hacktoy

      1. One word: mixer.

        Basically put a superheterodyne in front of the thing and you can receive anything you want, you just need to shift it up/down into the usable range of the device.

      2. @draeath — what you say is true, but getting a dongle, computer, mixer, and software to play nicely together has got to be a world-more-difficult that getting an off-the-shelf monitor and receiver. At least, that what I think [Benjamin] is doing here.

      3. I have a “hamma nano” e4k chipset. I can see my baby monitor transmitter right where they say it is(2.4 Ghz), but dont know what to do with the signal after reception. also im using SDR# for win 7. I know its the right signal because i can turn the baby monitor on and off and watch the signal appear and disappear…

  5. I’m looking for someone with decent knowledge in that field to mount a little project for scanning and receiving those signals easily,kindof the sdr dongle. Any one up for the task? contact me by leaving a comment on


  6. I bought a 2.4 GHz backup camera for my car. It’s built into the rear view mirror. I randomly tune into security cameras ALL. THE. TIME.

  7. hmm. Time to pull out my 2.4Ghz reciever and drive around. wonder how many people actually use them for normal video setups?

    Yah and its not CCTV if its being broadcasted.

    CCTV is dying anyways, to many idiots pushing IP video like its the wave of the future. Only problem with IP video is the intruder is in your house and stabbing you by the time you see it come through on the network. At least your death with be in 1080P h.264 for everyone to enjoy.

  8. Pretty neat way to get a nice metal LCD and receiver, and all you need is some pliers or screwdriver or even just a knife right? Better carry it in a metalized bag though in case it’s equipped with a tracker.

    OK so I would not do that, too damn down with OPP, but I’m in an area where others would though and there’s the point.

  9. All is good til some knacker rips down the boxes! Keep up the good work dude,

    Celbridge, Co. Kildare

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