Who Gets Bugged?
know your confidential business or
professional trade secrets.
This is the most obvious indicator of covert
eavesdropping activities. Theft of
confidential information is a multi-billion
dollar underground industry in the United
States. Often the loss of your secrets will
show up in very subtle ways so you should
always trust your instincts in this matter.
When your competitors know things that are
obviously private, or the media finds out
about things they should not know, then it
is reasonable to suspect technical
eavesdropping or bugging.
meetings and bids seem to be less than
Confidential meetings and bids are very
popular targets for corporate spies. How
would you like the plans for the corporate
takeovers you're planning to become public
knowledge? Would copies of your product
designs be of any use to your competitors?
Would it be beneficial for your competitors
to know how much you're quoting for the same
People seem to know your activities when
noticed strange sounds or volume changes on
your phone lines.
This is commonly caused by an amateur
eavesdropper when they attach a wiretap, or
activate a similar listening device.
Surveillance devices often cause slight
anomalies on the telephone line such a
volume shift or drop-out. Professional
eavesdroppers and their equipment usually do
not make such noises; so if this is going on
it could indicate that an amateur
eavesdropper is listening in. On the other
hand you could simply be experiencing a flaw
in the line, but you should check it out.
noticed static, popping, or scratching on
your phone lines.
This is caused by the capacitive discharge
which occurs when two conductors are
connected together (such as a bug or wiretap
on a phone line). This is also a sign that
an amateur eavesdropper or poorly trained
spy is playing with your phone lines. It
could be nothing more then a problem with
your phone line or instrument, but a TSCM
person should evaluate the situation to make
coming from your phones handset when it's
This is often caused by a hook switch
bypass, which turns the telephone receiver
into a eavesdropping microphone (and also a
speaker). There is probably somebody
listening to everything you say or do within
twenty feet of the telephone (if this is
often rings and nobody is there, or a very
faint tone, or high pitched squeal or beep
is heard for a fraction of a second.
This is an indicator of a slave device, or
line extender being used on your phone line.
This is also a key indicator of a harmonica
bug, or infinity transmitter being used. Of
course it may also be nothing more then a
fax machine or modem calling the wrong
number (but a TSCM person should evaluate
the situation to make sure).
hear a tone on your line when your phone is
on the hook (by using an external
To check for something like this you would
have to obtain a "recorder starter"
interface (with a VOX option), or some kind
of a high gain audio amplifier such as a
uAmp or Kaiser 1059. Then with the phone
hung-up listen to your telephone wiring. If
you hear a faint solid dual tone it is a
dead giveaway of someone using a "slave"
eavesdropping device on your (or one of your
neighbors) telephone lines. Such devices
create a "command tone" when the subject
hangs up the phone (so you must ensure that
all of your phones are hung-up). On an added
note: the most common command tones for
illicit eavesdropping devices are 2100 Hz
and DTMF-C, but any tone combination may be
radio has suddenly developed strange
Many amateur and spy shop eavesdropping
devices use frequencies within or just
outside the FM radio band, these signals
tend to drift and will "quiet" an FM radio
in the vicinity of the bug. Look for the
transmissions at far ends of the FM radio
band, and at any quiet area within the FM
band. If the radio begins to squeal then
slowly move it around the room until the
sound become very high pitched. This is
referred to as feedback detection or loop
detection and will often locate the bug. The
"stereo" function should be turned off so
the radio is operating in "mono" as this
will provide a serious increase in
sensitivity. If you find a "squealer" in
this manner then immediately contact a TSCM
and get them to your location FAST.
radio suddenly starts "getting weird"
Keep in mind that the antenna your car radio
uses may be (and often is) exploited by an
eavesdropper, and that such usage may
interfere with radio reception (so be
concerned if you automobile radio suddenly
starts getting weird).
television has suddenly developed strange
Television broadcast frequencies are often
used to cloak a eavesdropping signal, but
such a devices also tends to interfere with
television reception (usually a UHF
channel). Televisions also "suck in" a lot
of RF energy and because of this are very
sensitive to any nearby transmitters (this
is technically called "Bandwidth, and TV
signals use a lot of it). A small handheld
television with a collapsible antenna may be
used to sweep a room. Carefully watch for
interference around channel numbers 2, 7,
13, 14, 50-60, and 66-68 as these
frequencies are very popular with
been the victim of a burglary, but nothing
Professional eavesdroppers often break into
a targets home or office, and very rarely
leave direct evidence of the break-in;
however, occupants of the premises will
often "pickup on something not being right"
such as the furniture being moved slightly.
wall plates appear to have been moved
slightly or "jarred".
One of the most popular locations to hide
eavesdropping devices is inside, or behind
electrical outlets, switches, smoke alarms,
and lighting fixtures. This requires that
the wall plates be removed. Look for small
amounts of debris located on the floor
directly below the electrical outlet. Also,
watch for slight variations in the color or
appearance of the power outlets or light
switches as these are often swapped out by
an eavesdropper. Also note if any of the
screws which hold the wall plate against the
wall have been moved from their previous
dime-sized discoloration has suddenly
appeared on the wall or ceiling.
This is a tell tale sign that a pinhole
microphone or small covert video camera has
been recently installed.
your vendors just gave you any type of
electronic device such as a desk radio,
alarm clock, lamp, small TV, boom box, CD
Many of these "gifts" are actually Trojan
horses which contain eavesdropping devices.
Be very suspicious of any kind of pen,
marker, briefcase, calculator, "post-it"
dispenser, power adapter, pager, cell phone,
cordless phone, clock, radio, lamp, and so
on that is given as a gift. That little gift
the salesman left for you may be a serious
bump or deformation has appeared on the
vinyl baseboard near the floor.
Strong indicator that someone may have
concealed covert wiring or a microphone
imbedded into the adhesive which holds the
molding to the wall. Such deformation will
often appear as a color shift, or lightening
of the color.
The smoke detector, clock, lamp, or exit
sign in your office or home looks slightly
crooked, has a small hole in the surface, or
has a quasi reflective surface.
These items are very popular concealment for
covert eavesdropping devices. Often when
these devices are installed at a target
location they are rarely installed straight.
Also watch out for things like this that
"just appear", or when there is a slight
change in their appearance.
types of items have "just appeared" in your
office of home, but nobody seems to know how
they got there.
Typical items to watch for and beware of
are: clocks, exit signs, sprinkler heads,
radios, picture frames, and lamps.
dry-wall dust or debris is noticed on the
floor next to the wall.
A sign that a pinhole microphone or video
camera may have been installed nearby. It
will appear as if someone has dropped a
small amount of powdered sugar either on the
floor, or on the wall.
small pieces of ceiling tiles, or "grit" on
the floor, or on the surface area of your
desk. Also, you may observe a cracked,
chipped, or gouged ceiling tiles, or ones
that are sagging, or not properly set into
Prime indicator that a ceiling tile has been
moved around, and that someone may have
installed a hidden video camera or other
eavesdropping device in your office or near
your desk. Also watch for cracks or chips in
the ceiling tiles. Amateur and poorly
trained spies tend to crack or damage
acoustical tiles. The ceiling tiles in any
executive areas should never contain any
cracks, nicks, gouges, or stains. Any
ceiling tile that becomes damaged (for what
ever reason) should immediately replaced and
the cause of the damage documented. In such
cases it is also wise to have a TSCM
specialist inspect the area around the
chipped, broken, or damaged tile to
determine if a hostile eavesdropping device
may have been introduced.
that "Phone Company" trucks and utilities
workers are spending a lot of time near your
home or office doing repair work.
If you see the same or similar vehicles more
then three times then you may have a serious
problem (at least according to the U.S.
State Department training course on counter
cable, plumbing, or air conditioning repair
people show up to do work when no one called
A very common ruse which eavesdroppers use
to get into a facility is to fake a utility
outage, and then show up to fix the problem.
While they are fixing "the problem" they are
also installing eavesdropping devices. Some
of the more popular outage involve power,
air conditioning, telephone, and even the
occasional false fire alarm.
delivery trucks are often parked nearby with
nobody (you can see) in them.
These vehicles are commonly used as
listening posts, be very cautious of any
vehicle which has a ladder or pipe rack on
the roof. Also, be wary of any vehicle which
has tinted windows, or an area which you
cannot see though (like a service van). The
listening post vehicle could be any vehicle
from a small Geo Tracker, Suburban, Blazer,
Trooper, or Cargo Van. Look for any vehicle
which could conceal a person in the back or
has tinted windows. Also, keep in mind that
the eavesdropper may relocate the vehicle
several times, so look around. Typically,
eavesdroppers like to get within 500-750
feet from the place or person they are
locks suddenly don't "feel right", they
suddenly start to get "sticky", or they
Prime evidence that the lock has been
picked, manipulated, or bypassed. Try to
always use biaxial locks with sidebars (such
as ASSA or Medeco). Also, only use double
sided deadbolts in all doors, and good
quality window bars on all windows, and a
good quality door bar on all doors not used
as a primary entry doors.
has been moved slightly, and no one knows
A very popular location for the installation
of eavesdropping device is either behind, or
inside furniture (couch, chair, lamp, etc.)
People who live or work in a targeted area
tend to notice when furnishings have been
moved even a fraction of an inch. Pay close
attention to the imprint which furniture
makes on rugs, and the position of lamps
shades. Also watch the distance between
furniture and the wall as eavesdroppers are
usually in a hurry and rarely put the
furniture back in the right place.
Things "seem" to have been rummaged
through, but nothing is missing (at least
that you noticed).
A "less than professional spy" will often
rummage through a targets home for hours,
but very rarely will they do it in a neat
and orderly fashion. The most common
"rummaging" targets are the backs of desk
drawers, the bottom of file cabinets,
closets, and dresser drawers.
An eavesdropper sends you a copy of your
As simple as it seems this is the strongest
indicator, and solid proof of eavesdropping.
An eavesdropper will sometimes send a victim
a copy of a private conversation they
intercepted in an attempt at blackmail, or
in an attempt to terrorize, or to just stalk
the victim. This is commonly seen in civil
lawsuits, criminal court cases, marital
problems, shareholder disputes, custody
battles, and other situations were one side
has a position of weakness and is trying to
physiologically undermine their opponent.
High Threat Business Situations
Your company has stock which is publicly
traded (or will be soon)
Your company is having labor problems, union
activities, or negotiations
Your company is involved in any type of
litigation or lawsuit
Your company has layoffs pending (or they
have just happened)
Your company is involved in the fashion,
automotive, advertising, or marketing
Anyone can be the target of covert
eavesdropping, however; some people are under
greater risk than others because of financial
position, occupation, legal, or domestic
Spouses bug each other on a regular basis
Parents bug children
Businessmen bug other businessmen
Scientists bug other scientists
Students bug professors
Attorneys bug other attorneys (and their
Insurance companies bug accident victims,
and other claimants
Construction companies bug other
Salesmen bug clients
Collection agencies bug debtors
Police officers bug suspects
Executive recruiters bug personnel directors
Rock fans bug rock musicians
Department stores bug
High Threat Personal Situations (when to be
You (or someone close to you) have been:
Keep in mind that anybody with Money, Power,
Influence, or access to sensitive,
classified, or personal information is at
serious personal risk.
Involved in any type of litigation or
Been questioned, arrested or arraigned
by the police
In the process of getting married,
divorced, or separated
A minister or religious leader (i.e.:
priest, rabbi, deacon, bishop, elder...)
Running for any type of elected public
Elected to any public office (i.e.:
mayor, selectman, school principal)
Executive or scientist at any large
Recently filed a insurance claim
Engaging in political demonstrations or
Employed by a defense contractor,
Department of Energy, etc...
Private Investigators have been "poking"
You are in the upper income bracket
On a related note: If you work (or have
worked) for any kind of military,
governmental, law enforcement or judicial
agency the possibility of you being targeted
for eavesdropping is very high. Such
eavesdropping can come from either side of
the law, and is rarely legal or court
Additionally, people married to, associated
with, divorced from, getting divorced from,
dating, or getting intimate with a member of
law enforcement, private security, PI, or
any level of the judicial system should be
concerned about illegal eavesdropping (yes,
cops love to bug their wives and
CALL US NOW IF YOU
NEED OUR SERVICES! 1 - (847) 803-6922 (From
a different phone of course) other than
John C. Frycek
John C. Frycek, LPD, PPS, CIS
Director of Operations
There are fine Cigars and cheap
Cigars, but there are
no fine cheap Cigars....Winston