We are all here because of the same driving force: curiosity. Especially when you have access to a covert camera made in China that’s running a Wifi hotspot.
What we are looking at is: 10:A4:BE:4A:69:E0 (Shenzhen Bilian Electronicltd). We could not crack the device open but are willing to bet its running this chip here.
The clock ran channel 11 which we think is a little bit less suspicious than channel 1. Think about how many half assed devices run on channel 1 out of the box. Running HTTP on port 80 the black ops clock from China offers both browser and smartphone accessibility. Something odd is that its SSID is CH101xx-644212DAxxxx-OEECxx (obfuscated) yet after one reset it changed itself to RT2860AP and then back to the CH101 SSID. Its now running a Realtek chipset!? There is a few of these SSID’s running around the Bay Area with a lookup on Wigle. Post setup you can turn the wireless off which is handy or simply rename it: “Williams iPhone” or “Android-AP” might not gather too much attention except if you had a closer look at the MAC address.
A clock with the wrong time would hardly be covert and this one relies on NTP. Annoyingly it wont retain the correct time after a restart even though the device remembers it was set to your default time zone. In the Time menu you have to manually click a button for it to sync. There are no external buttons to adjust the time so if it goes off someone will inspect it and arouse suspicion since they cannot physically adjust it. When the battery power is depleted it displays an 8 instead of powering off. Another giveaway that its not an actual clock.
In the guts of the covert cam you can see 2 LED’s one red to indicate power to the board and one blue LED meaning the device is powered up. In the menu you can set these to either flash or turn off which is good because what normal clock has a different colored light emanating from the back of it (the front clock display is in blue).
Is the clock on my desk a covert cam? Turn your cell phone LED torch on and shine it at the panel. There is a lens and a row of what looks like UV LED’s. The camera obviously has these UV LED’s much like a CCTV unit that will fire them up in low light conditions. However in low light conditions the UV’s do not kick in. Its not clear how the camera even knows there is a low light condition because no sensor is evident. The menu also suggests it has motion activation yet that never worked. The Li-ion battery was no good and only held a charge for around 2 hours even though its physically far larger than a small or medium sized smartphone battery.
The built in mic has such poor recording quality you may as well turn it off because when using one you always need a clean source. Audio is only ever as good as its source. All video files are given a timestamp overlay which is useful, saved as .avi and also writes the timestamp into the filename. When we return the clock our review will be: “The only thing you are catching with this device is a headache”.