Technical Surveillance Counter Measures

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM)

tscm-labThe Economic Espionage Act of 1996 entitles U. S. companies to legal protection from espionage; however to become eligible for this protection, each company must be taking proactive and preventative measures to protect their proprietary information.

Increasingly, companies are preparing for threats of competitive intelligence and trade secret theft. Technical Surveillance Countermeasures is a large step in the direction of increased corporate security.

Whether your company specializes in the field of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, electronics or other field where innovation and creativity translates to profit, it’s important to realize that the training and prevention of the theft of these secrets is just as vital.

Technology is constantly evolving. Ideas, discoveries, and even potential new sources, even mentioned casually or in their rough or conceptual stage, can easily be forfeited in a myriad of ways, depending on how determined a competitor or disloyal employee is to acquire this information.

When the focus becomes “Why?”

With the electronics industry growing at a rapid pace and with hidden recording devices getting smaller without having to compromise the volume of data it can store, the decision to employ an effective countermeasure to detect an eavesdropping device(s) requires various extensive physical searches of the targeted areas and numerous specialized electronic tests.

What are the most effective options available?

To counter the growing trend of industrial espionage, a friend or work colleague may recommend simply finding a reputable firm that specializes in periodic monitoring (Sweeps) during sensitive meetings, or continuous on-site monitoring. Another suggestion may be to go to the nearest spy shop and buy what may turn out to be obsolescent “counter-spy” equipment; however, without the benefit of an espionage prevention specialist to carefully review your specific concerns, there’s no way of knowing whether one, or even three pieces of any given debugging equipment will effectively prevent an employee or competitor to continue to exploit your electronic gaps.

Don’t be fooled by TSCM “experts” who only offer sweeps through the use of an auto-tune scanner. Auto-tune scanners scour the room for AM and FM frequencies and beep if they run across a “bug” using that type of modulation, but they are unable to pick up any other modulations.

In fact, there are no upper or lower limits for radio wave frequencies that can be used to transmit information. In addition to the standard modulations, there are exotic ones, like spread spectrum, frequency hopping, single sideband, and pulse, which reduce interference.

However, once the frequency of the transmitted signal approaches the AM broadcast band and below, it is usually best to transmit the information along a wire. This can be an AC power line, a telephone line, or cable TV lines. Once put on a line, these signals are referred to as carrier current; the threat they pose has long been overlooked by TSCM services.

Only a spectrum analyzer, which is not expensive, can identify all of the standard modulations, as well as the exotic ones.

The following are just a few of the many vehicles which should be inspected

  • Approximate total square footage to be inspected
  • Brand of telephone system (NEC, Nortel, Lucent, etc.)
  • Number of telephones (including full speaker phones) to be inspected
  • Number of direct outside telephone lines (not served by PBX)
  • Number of fax machines to be inspected
  • Number of telephone closets/rooms

Tools used by would-be information thieves

  • Miniature recorders: Some of the newer, fully digital versions can operate for over one-thousand hours.
  • Telephones: There are numerous ways to modify the telephone or monitor room conversations while the handset is hung up. Using extra wires, for example, an eavesdropper may decide to build a transformer inside a cable that connects the telephone terminal to the switching equipment.
  • Radio Waves: A miniature transmitter, or “bug,” that emits radio waves. Information is transmitted by modulated radio waves, much the same way as television or radio.

Our licensed, technical staff have the experience and qualifications to determine the most likely areas where and when your business is most vulnerable to electronic surveillance eavesdropping. They are trained to collect this data without compromising productivity in the workplace or confidentiality. Temporary disruption should never be expected or assumed to be a given “trade-off.”

Some of the Corporate and Personal Espionage and Eavesdropping Countermeasures we offer and carefully explain to our clients

  • Telephone Line Monitoring equipment which alerts the technician of any telephone line tampering which may have occurred during the time between monitoring exams.
  • Time Domain Reflectometry which provides the technician a detailed picture which can identify splices, cuts, or even moved apart since the last sweep.
  • Computer and telephone line filters which neutralizes bugging technology. Without this filter, a telephone line can be converted into an antenna which can then broadcast a private conversation.