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Should You Be Worried About Bugged Hotel Rooms?

luxury hotel bedroom with nice decoration

It’s no secret that espionage occurs every day in every country in the world – but if you’re traveling to a few specific places, you’re much more likely to be spied on. Here’s how to tell if that hotel room you’re in has been bugged.

Depending on where you’re at in the world – namely China, Russia, Israel, or the UK – you may be at a higher risk for being spied in by people looking to nab international espionage suspects. You may not be the target, but your hotel room may be bugged all the same.

“Security and safety are easily at risk anytime you enter a space where somebody else has had access prior to your arrival,” Jeffrey Jurist, President of SpyAssociates.comtold Oyster. “A hotel would not be the ones to bug a room, but a nefarious employee, hotel worker, investigator, or government agency would have their reasons – divorce, legal, military, insurance, espionage, business, financial.”

The bugs are nearly undetectable for an untrained to see, but if you think you may be the victim of foul play, there are a few tell-tale signs to look for. Anywhere there’s drywall powder on the floor may mean that someone has drilled a pinhole in from a neighboring room or a ceiling vent. Stripped screws, odd device placement like alarm clocks, new paint on a portion of a wall, and weird static on a phone line could also be signs that someone has tampered with your room.

“A bugging device in a hotel is not easy to spot as they are often concealed inside everyday items (smoke detectors, fire alarms, clock radios, landline phones, docking stations, speakers, and even behind power outlets, air-conditioning vents, or ceiling lights),” Jurist told Oyster. “It’s typically a tiny little computer board and may have little wires. I’ve seen some the size of a quarter.”

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6 Comments
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jsintexas May 2, 2018

Whenever I am in China on business I have my office limit the emails that they send to me when I am traveling and I refrain from sending confidential information in the emails that I send. China tends to intercept data over WiFi in Hotels Also when traveling and using hotel WiFi I never transact any financial business on my PC or Tablet.

G
Grog May 1, 2018

c1ue gets it.

C
c1ue May 1, 2018

Really old school, especially considering the greatest eavesdropping devices ever invented: the cell phones everyone carries around.

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drphun May 1, 2018

That is the big flaw in movies where everything is bugged. Where does the labor come from to review all that content? Someone would have to go through all the footage or recordings for hours and hours, for each of hundreds of people to get just one person they care about. Even then that person probably won't provide information of interest. Are they just going to blurt it out to the TV? For example, someone might like my password to my bank account, I don't say that out loud and, supposing I do go in, the chance that they had video pointed in the right direction to pick that up is pretty slim, and that isn't the only piece of information they would need. This is just the stuff of movies, unless you are a special person who would know they are a target.

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txirish May 1, 2018

Drywall dust would only show recent bugging. I'd worry more about permanent installations in some locations. When I stayed at a well-known five star hotel in Moscow, I assumed the room was at least wired for sound from KGB days. But, as a traveler with no important government or business secrets, I wasn't too worried about constant monitoring.