Cameras can be a useful tool for social engineers when it is necessary to capture information quickly. Often it is faster to take a simple picture of information then it would be to write it down. The ability of most cameras to record video is also useful for this purpose. Items to look for in a social engineering camera are the ability to take photographs in a non-obvious manner. This requires them to typically be smaller and not make an obvious “click” noise when the picture is taken.
A few good samples of this can be a “button-cam” which is small, compact and looks like a button. It will take video in black and white and record it to a small device that can fit into a back pocket or jacket. Along the same lines is this type of camera that looks like the head of a screw and can be placed in a targets business to record any activity.
Cell phones work well for this situation, due to the ability to appear as if the phone is being used to to send text messages or some other innocuous activity. Default settings such as no flash are normally useful. One item for a social engineer to beware of a “record in progress” light which normally appears as a red light while recording is in progress. Phones such as the iPhone that do not have a light, or ones with a hacked firmware where the light can be disabled are often useful for this purpose.
If you need a more covert, but hands-on solution you can use a device like this full color pen cam or a camera that looks like a cell phone but can wirelessly transmit full color images over 150 feet. Whatever device you choose to use you can find a nice recording unit to use, such as this light weight portable device.
There are many other covert and not so covert choices for gathering photo and/or video data. Useful tools to use along with this is services such as Qik that allow the social engineer to stream directly from the phone to the web. This allows others to see what the social engineer is doing and record information for later study.