Travel Technology - How to detect bugging devices?
Jul 5, 07, 10:19 pm
I maybe a bit paranoid but I want to check whether there are bugging devices when we hold board meetings at various hotels around. Any suggestions on what device I can buy to check? I don't know anything about bugging devices so not sure what to buy.
Jul 5, 07, 10:26 pm
Without a substantial electronics background and some experience, you're unlikely, even with good gear to detect some of the variety of "devices" available. On the other hand, over the years, I've worked out a pretty good system for one of my clients. He arranges for a room, announces it to attendees, and then the morning of the meeting, changes rooms. Of course, I told him long ago that he had more to fear from folks on his own "team" than from an outside bugging job. Stay away from rooms with large outside windows, unless they are much higher than any nearby buildings.
....But then, it's usually cheaper and far less risky to "buy" info than to try to get it with a bug.
Your local spy shop will have a variety of bug sweepers, but to be honest given the current state of technology they are fairly useless, but that won't stop them from selling you $1000's in equipment.
If someone wanted to record the meeting chances are they wouldn't be using a regular cheap transmitter. Like the previous poster said, it could just as well be an inside job. They could use their laptop, phone or PDA and you'd never pick that up.
The bug sweeper will pick up your everyday frequencies so you may also get a load of false negatives (if you scan the cordless phone in the room and it goes off, is it a bug?).
It could even be on the frequency of WiFi, so it'll be impossible to pick up a signal.
Once again, the previous poster was spot on: go low-tech. If possible, keep notebooks and phones out of the room.
I usually just wait for the indictments to know if I have been bugged. :D
Jul 7, 07, 12:03 am
You might be better off paying a professional to perform a sweep of the room. You could pay close attention to what is done and what devices are used in case you decide it's something you want to be able to do yourself in the future. Google will provide you with plenty of Counter Surveillance companies.
Jul 7, 07, 9:51 am
As has been said, the people who attend the meeting are possible buggers, digital dicatphones in their pockets probably won't get picked up by a bug sweeper, especially if they arrive after the sweeping is done ;) . Be aware that some MP3 players (let alone PDAs) offer the ability to record messages/conversations and one of my coleagues 'accidentally' tested hers out and could hear loads of office conversations whilst she was away from her desk.
I guess it comes down to the question how important is the business you are trying to protect, and how certain are you it is likely to be bugged? Are you worried that someone is likely to use a laser microphone to get info, or is it more likely they will just get an attendee drunk, and then pump them for info?
Changing rooms at the last minute, and then sweeping everyone (with a good handheld metal detector) who comes in and removing any electronic devices/pens you find to outside the room, and everyone writes with your supplied pencils is probably your best bet.
It used to be possible (and may still be) with an analogue phone to apply enough electricity to the line, to get the phone to pick up without actually needing to lift the handset. Then by turning up the gain you could hear what was being said in the room. So you might want to unplug the handset as well, or is that just taking things a bit too far :D ?
Jul 7, 07, 10:08 am
Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean that they are not out to get you
Jul 7, 07, 10:25 am
Of course, you should bear in mind that many modern hotel meeting rooms are routinely "wired" for sound, requiring only a plug in mic to override the "elevator music" feed. Even the best of "sweepers" may not operate well in thet sort of environment, and presumably "a la Vegas", I could monitor/record room audio from a central security station with a single additional wire (or fibre optic path) built-in during construction/renovation. Of course, think about security of your powerpoint in a laptop hooked up to a cable provided by the hotel....
I think it possible if anyone cares to go to the trouble ,
I know of execs that change cell phone numbers every couple of days, its easy to tap into them and turn them on....
I would like to hear what major companies use now,
I know there are many ex-KGB type people in Europe that can get into anything electronic and tap anything ,
If its important then spend the money for a pro to sweep the room and maybe play "white noise" to screw with the recording devises.
I have even heard of people putting up ez-up canopies in their rooms to stop spy cameras embedded in the ceiling etc.