Eavesdropping technology can be so cheap that most anyone with nefarious intent can plant a bug. At the most rudimentary level, all it takes is a device costing as little as £15 from eBay hidden in an out-of-the way nook .Once upon a time a device was large battery hungry and could be picked up on a standard radio set then came crystal devices that could run in the UHF bands but again could be picked up with a decent radio scanner these device were easy enough for the TSCM engineer to find with a standard broadband detector and spectrum analyser.
The latest technologies are making it easier than ever to listen in on private conversations. In the corporate boardrooms and company vehicles But because of the new modern electronics the printed circuit board and ultra small components make the foot print much smaller allowing These new type bugs to be even easier to plant and even harder to detect.
And take a GSM device these devices are sophisticated encrypted fast frequency hopping devices running alongside legitimate signals . Our first GSM device we found was actually a modified Nokia phone if you look at the image you will see it was an old Nokia 32 series phone yes it’s a bit large but this device once planted could be called from anywhere in the world and listened into so it was still a dangerous piece of kit. Some of these devices can become part of the noise, eluding detection by standard spectrum analyzers. Or weak signals from a GSM-based listening device can get overshadowed by stronger signals and not be detected by traditional spectrum analyzers.
Another challenge is that some of the more sophisticated eavesdropping devices may employ “store-and-forward” digital technology. This mode of operation digitizes the sound and compresses the digital record. Then either at a pre-determined time, or on command, the device transmits the digital record as a short burst of modulated RF. These bursts may occur at random times, so finding them with traditional sweep equipment can be almost impossible.
Also there are device`s that use UHF radio frequencies that are frequency hopping spread spectrum and burst transmitting making it very hard for an operative to lock on to the signal all this and still only the length of a small finger.
So what’s a worried executive or security professional to do?
Well things were at a point looking one sided on the buggists favour but recently with the release of the Oscor green and the raptor(device image), things have changed these pieces of equipment enable the TSCM operatives to scan up to 24ghz in seconds rather than minutes making it easier to catch the millisecond burst emitting from a hidden digital device there is also the new 2.4ghz non-linear junction detectors these device find even the smallest sim card planted if you are contacting a decent TSCM company they should have these devices in the arsenal.