Most people don’t realize that bugs, ranging from video cameras, wiretapping devices and tapped phones, are found in an estimated 16 percent of U.S. businesses and homes that are swept for monitoring devices. This is more troubling given the find rate that was only 4 percent in the 1970s.
The dramatic growth of surveillance technology has only barely kept pace with the techniques to identify and prevent such invasions of privacy. The U.S. State Department estimates that at least $800 million of illegal bugging and eavesdropping equipment is imported and installed into corporations in the United States each year.
With the theft of trade secrets estimated to be around $100 billion annually, corporations and citizens with confidential information are at great security risk if they don’t take the necessary precautions.
There are five signs you or your business may be bugged without your knowledge:
- Loss of Intellectual Property – If someone has gotten their hands on the company’s intellectual property, then it is reasonable to suspect technical eavesdropping from within the organization.
- Compromised Business Secrets and Confidential Discussions – 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. When competitors, associates or co-workers know things that are obviously private, or the media finds out things they should not know, then it is reasonable to suspect technical eavesdropping video cameras or bugging.
- Unfamiliar New Items Showing Up at the Office – Many of these “gifts” could actually be Trojan horses which contain eavesdropping or video camera devices. Be very suspicious of any kind of pen, calculator, “post-it” dispenser, clock, lamp, and so on that is given as a gift. That little gift the “salesman” left for you may be a serious hazard.
- Unusual Phone or TV Static – This is commonly caused by amateur eavesdropper when they attach a wiretap or activate a similar listening device. Surveillance devices often cause slight anomalies on the telephone line such as volume shift or drop out.
- Repair Men or Delivery Trucks Appear for No Reason – A very common ruse which eavesdroppers use to get into a business facility is to fake a utility outage, then show up to fix the problem. While they are fixing “the problem” they are also installing eavesdropping devices. Some of the more popular outages involve power, air conditioning, telephone, and even the occasional false fire alarm.
There are methods to combat these types of intrusions, from hiring a private investigative service capable of performing an Electronic Eavesdropping Detection Sweep to performing “on the ground” detective work to ferret out the parties listening in.
Do you have any questions about how to hire investigative services to protect your company’s assets? Please let me know and I would be pleased to address your concerns.