Eavesdropping Devices and Their Hiding Places
The type of eavesdropping devices (bug), installed in homes and offices will often depend on the time available to the person installing it – i.e. before he/she is discovered and also their degree of expertise.
The installation of eavesdropping devices would normally comprise of the following:
Microphones, video cameras or similar devices which pick up audio or video images and converts them into electrical impulses for recording locally or transmitting to a listening/monitoring post.
Some eavesdropping devices are powered by their own batteries and others need to utilise local power already available in the installation area. The latter, where possible, overcomes the problem of periodically entering the target area and replacing discharged batteries.
Some devices work continuously, some are voice or motion activated and others can be remotely activated.
Eavesdropping devices range from the low price devices available from the growing number of ‘spy shops’ to the very sophisticated high priced devices used by the intelligence agencies. The lower priced devices are generally easier to detect than the high priced devices, using relatively low cost detection equipment.
Eavesdropping devices can be hidden in pens, clocks, radios, power outlets, telephones, walls, ceilings, books, PIR detectors, furniture, lamps, pictures etc., or may even be a simple bug stuck to the underside of your desk.
Telephones already have built in microphones, electrical power and speakers which can all be utilised, as well as plenty of room for concealing bugs. This makes them the most commonly exploited hiding place. Some of these telephone bugs can pick up any conversations in the room and transmit them down the telephone line while the receiver is still on the hook. The eavesdropper could in fact listen in to your conversations on a phone anywhere in the world.
It is even possible to electronically tap into some of today’s computerised phones without even having physical access to the telephone itself. Signals can be sent down the line to turn the handset into a microphone that picks up and transmits any conversations in the room even with the handset in its cradle.
Computers can also be used for eavesdropping: a bug in your keyboard could transmit every keystroke, enabling all your input to be reproduced; the faint electromagnetic radiation generated by your computer can be reconstructed by an eavesdropper up to several hundred feet from your computer.
This is the means of getting the electrical impulses generated at the target location to a secure listening site, either through wires or by radio frequency transmission.
In some cases the electrical impulses may have to be stored or recorded locally and then retrieved at a later time. However, unused or disconnected wires in the target area along with underground electrical conduits may offer a way of hiding any wiring connected to the bug/bugs. The active telephone lines offer other possibilities.
Audio/video devices may also be equipped with their own miniature radio transmitters, either self powered or connected into the existing wiring.Listening Site/Post.
This should be a secure area where the device signals can be monitored and or recorded. This could be a vehicle parked outside or some distance away, a nearby building or even one several blocks away, it could even be in the adjoining room.
Wireless (cellular) phones, cordless phones, pagers, baby monitors, children’s walkie talkies and some home intercom systems can all be picked up by radio scanners, as many of these items operate on common radio frequencies.
Protecting Sensitive Verbal Information
- Check and improve the physical security of your home and office to prevent others from gaining access to install bugging/eavesdropping devices.
- Check all utility and service repair personnel with their head office to make sure that they are genuine before allowing them access to your home or office.
- Be careful where you talk about sensitive personal or business matters. Remember conversations can be easily bugged. Choose areas with loud background noises if possible, at home turn on the shower or play loud music to hide your conversations
For additional information, including hundreds of tips on how to protect your family, see our NEW
security and safety book
'How to Protect your Family and Belongings Now'
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