Preventing Electronic Eavesdropping

Your ex-spouse brings up information you know you’d password-protected on your computer. A competing business introduces a product or service that’s suspiciously similar to the one you’ve had in development — in secret — for months. Your electronics, from your computers to the television in the employee lounge, all seem to be acting up lately. You suspect something’s up, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. It’s entirely possible that you’re a victim of electronic eavesdropping. What used to be restricted to governments, spy agencies, and others with deep pockets is now freely available on the open market, so how can you protect yourself?

Forms of Electronic Eavesdropping

Our many years of experience has shown Barefoot Professional Investigations that electronic eavesdropping takes many forms. While the specifics can vary widely, there are a few general types of which you should be aware.

Audio surveillance uses on-site microphones or more sophisticated technology utilizing the UV or IR spectrum to listen in on conversations.
Video surveillance places cameras in sensitive areas to view goings-on; some of these cameras are small enough to be hidden in innocuous objects like picture frames or sculptures.
Signals intercepts prey on wireless communication by intercepting calls on mobile phones or siphoning data from Wi-Fi networks.
Malware and ransomware can detect and log keystrokes, give intruders access to files and sensitive information, and even delete or lock down entire file systems.

Electronic Eavesdropping Prevention

Although electronic surveillance is often high-tech, the most effective preventive measures you can take are available to nearly anyone. A bit of common sense and caution go a long way. 

Be suspicious of those you don’t know, especially technicians or inspectors; train employees to verify service calls, and to check and log credentials.
Take care when accepting gifts or deliveries, since many forms of eavesdropping are easily hidden in everyday objects.
Restrict access to sensitive areas in your home or workplace.
Be aware when electronic devices begin to exhibit odd behavior, like odd noises, signal drops, echoes, interference, and garbled communication.
Conduct a TCSM sweep after any major renovation or installation of new equipment.
Protect data by encrypting whenever possible, using and frequently changing strong passwords, and taking steps to secure your wireless network.

What to Do If You Suspect Electronic Eavesdropping

If you suspect eavesdropping is taking place in your home or workplace, there are three things you should not do: discuss your suspicions, Google information on eavesdropping and countermeasures, or attempt to locate and disable the device on your own. Your activities and conversations should continue as before, so as not to alert someone who may be surveilling your home or office. Your suspicions, such as they are, should be raised off-site with your in-house security or a trusted individual so that further steps can be discussed.

Of course, not everyone will have access to a security team, especially if you’re a homeowner or a small business. That does not mean you simply have to grin and bear it; calling in a qualified professional investigator for a Technical Security Countermeasures, or TSCM, survey (colloquially known as a “sweep”) can either confirm or allay your suspicions. TCSM measures can be difficult even for qualified professionals. For a confidential debugging and electronic countermeasures consultation, contact Barefoot Professional Investigations today.