Have you ever been in a situation where someone who really shouldn't suddenly knows some information you have shared only in a private conversation or within a closed meeting with colleagues? Or have competitors known about confidential business information that was shared with only a few trusted individuals within a company?
In situations like this it might be that your communications may have fallen foul of being bugged with electronic eavesdropping equipment.
Eavesdropping can cost companies and individuals huge amounts in terms of money, time and reputation and it's therefore something to try and spot and stop early in order to limit the damage caused by covert surveillance.
If you think you or your company is being bugged taking the following steps can help minimise the damage.
Confirm Your Suspicions
The first steps to take is to establish whether the information leak might simply be a slip of the tongue or if significant amounts of important data has fallen into the hands of those who should not be aware of it. Sometimes a few questions can reveal that a colleague has accidentally spoken out of term and that you are not being bugged at all.
Try to recall where the information may have been intercepted. Would it have come from a particular meeting room, from an email sent from a specific computer or an office or mobile phone?
If you think the leak came from a particular office or room take a look to see if you can identify anything as being different to normal in that room. For example, have any recent repairs been carried out or has anything significant been moved. This might indicate the planting of bugs.
Though it might be tempting, it is not advisable to look for bugs yourself. Experienced surveillance experts are skilled at hiding eavesdropping equipment. Tampering with any you find may affect the ability of counter surveillance experts to effectively find and deal with all bugs planted.
Contact Counter Surveillance Experts
If you are still suspicious that you under unauthorised surveillance it is important that you contact experienced bug sweeping professionals as soon as possible.
Leave the area that you believe is under suspicion and make a call to them from a safe area. This may even be from a public call box. This is important as you do not want to alert the person spying on you to the fact that you have become suspicious.
A counter surveillance expert will talk you through the initial steps you need to take to secure your communications. Where appropriate they will also arrange for a team to carry out a bug sweep of the suspected area.
Keep Your Suspicions To Yourself
To allow counter surveillance experts to carry out an effective bug sweep and discover all bugging devices before they are removed or disabled by the by bugger, it is essential that you keep your suspicions to yourself. Particularly in the workplace as bugs are often planted internally by members of staff.
Refrain from talking about your suspicions within the affected areas and from using any of the communication tools you suspect are being bugged.
The only people who should be aware of the situation are those with whom you have the utmost trust and who need to be aware of the situation in order for a bug sweep to be carried out. It is important to take the advice of counter surveillance experts on this before sharing your suspicions.
Consider What Action To Take
Consider carefully what action you would take in the event of a bugging device being found. A competent bug sweep team will not alert the eavesdropper that an inspection is being performed. Thus leaving you three options:
a. Remove and destroy the bugging device.
b. Take steps to catch the eavesdropper leading to the option to pursue criminal charges.
c. Feed the device misinformation and monitor for results.
Once the suspected area has been cleared of bugs it is important to remain vigilant to minimise the future eavesdropping risks.
When discussing important or sensitive business information with colleagues and associates remind them of the confidential nature of the discussion and ask them to treat the information with care.
Keep track of who is and who is not privy to confidential and proprietary information.
Keep your email communications secure by logging off or locking access to your computer when you leave your desk.
Consider asking counter surveillance professionals to make regular bug sweeps of areas at risk of being bugged to minimise future loss of confidential information.
UK based QCC is a leading counter surveillance company with over 12 years experience in conducting TSCM sweeps for global clients operating in many different business sectors. Their counter surveillance services deal with all traditional, modern and emerging surveillance threats allowing clients to conduct business in a secure and confidential environment.