As Mumbai’s best anti spying and anti bugging experts, we have been called upon to conduct radio sweeps of the premises of many industrial corporations and headquarters of Indian and foreign multinationals. It was apt that we started a section on our blog to enlighten our many readers on bugging and spying activities.
So Who’s (bugging) whom?
Well, the answer is anyone who has the need (or just the desire), who possesses the equipment, and who has access to the area.
Motive, method, and opportunity.
Most bugging is industrial: big corporations (and increasingly sme’s and small businesses in India) spying on their competitors. In a legal lawsuit between two companies, a lot of money may be at stake. At some point, each side shares their list of witnesses. But if one of the law firms were able to get advance notice of these witnesses or other parts of the game plan, it would give them an advantage over the opposition. So they spy. The chemical formula for a new Super-Healthy Vita-Charged (46-percent added sugar) breakfast cereal or the design details of a new car launch or cell phone model or the marketing plan for an over-the-counter common-cold remedy could be worth big bucks to a competing company. Nothing personal, of course; it’s just business! So they bug each other’s offices and boardrooms and bathrooms. But why stop there?
Profit isn’t Everything, It’s the Only Thing!
An employee who is privy to this classified information might be bribed or blackmailed into selling company secrets. So, they bug bedrooms. Much easier than boardrooms and probably more entertaining to whoever is listening. Using technology that has been around for some years, they may be able to tap phones by remote control. Connect a personal computer to the telephone company DMS electronic switching system, and dial in the number you want to tap and there you go snooping. It’s a slight oversimplification, but basically that’s how it works. This is the world of industrial espionage, where profit isn’t everything; it’s the only thing! A few lakhs spent on surveillance is a good “investment.” So they spy.
Then we have the good old domestic spying -wives and husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends checking up on each other! We get many of those too. Once limited to listening in on the old telephone party lines or pressing an ear to the walls, it has evolved to a science. Neighbours spy on neighbors using directional microphones or tuning in on their cellular and cordless phones. They hide bugs under the bed and connect tape recorders to the phones. And the result is: “Hey, she’s on the radio!”
Do not Spy on Family Members – It Can Ruin Relationships
Shweta came home from work one afternoon, and brought with her something that was intended to amuse her husband and some friends who had been invited over for a dinner party. After the mutton biryani and dessert, the kids were put to bed, everyone gathered in the living room. But this night was not to be the usual boring charades and teen patti. Shweta produced her surprise, and after tuning the stereo to an unused frequency, started playing disk jockey. What she had was a wireless microphone. Needless to mention, everyone had a ball!
Later that night, the party ended. The guests left, and Shweta and her husband went to bed. The transmitter was on a coffee table, where the last person to play DJ had left it. Shweta didn’t notice that it was missing the next morning as she left for work, and by the time she got home the transmitter was forgotten. Sometimes kids do innocent things they think are clever, not intending to harm anyone. In this case, they were too young to really understand that hiding the transmitter in their parents’ bedroom was not a nice thing to do—especially since that night, Shweta and her husband got into a heated argument. At first the kids thought it was funny, but then Shweta’s husband said something that he could never take back. Something that the kids heard. Something that planted the seeds of doubt and finally resulted in a divorce. Not the most entertaining of stories, but it makes a point – something that anyone who is considering using surveillance against another should think about, even if it is in self-defense. The consequences can be devastating. The information obtained can break up families, cause people to lose their jobs, and so many other things, just because someone bugged them. Think about it.
Big Brother is Watching You
Shows like Big Boss in India have caricatured 24 hour surveillance but it is often the case with Governments watching over crime suspects. Countries like the US and some European countries are big on spying. We all know what Snowden did and the fate that befell him, don’t we?
Government agencies want desperately to read suspicious E-mail. Your E-mail too if you send emails containing sensitive keywords. Don’t ask me which ones or else I will soon be under the Government’s radar! This is, of course, necessary. After all, maybe the suspect has sacks of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in his basement, which means he is probably a terrorist. Government interception can save lives – yours and mine!
Technology is Getting Cheaper & Better
But reading these millions of messages is a herculean task! Try reading 5 days worth of unread mails and here we are talking scouring through hundreds of inboxes! So the agencies have specially designed software that scans the text, looking for certain keywords, and if any of these are found, the sender (and probably the recipient) gets his or her name in a file. But the wrongdoers are always one step ahead. New and better equipment have been developed, some of which defeats all but the most experienced and determined countermeasures technician. So governments are always busy trying to keep up! Much of the stuff they use to spy won’t be found online, and the salesperson at Manish Market won’t be much help if you ask him about it. And if you are the average businessperson, housewife, or a salaried person, you will not likely encounter this super-sophisticated government spy stuff.
But in spite of the new technology, some things do not change. Techniques, the basic principles of electronic surveillance, remain essentially the same. For example, if you can not get a microphone close enough to a person to pick up the sound of his or her voice, then a surveillance transmitter is useless. Makes no difference if it is a cheap wireless microphone or a spread spectrum transmitter costing lakhs. If you can’t get access to a phone line, you can’t physically tap it. So, no matter who might be trying to bug you; spouse, boss, competitor, or Big Brother, and no matter how sophisticated the equipment, there are certain principles-laws of physics and electronics-that never change. There are also elements of human nature that do not change. Ergo, the principles of using surveillance equipment, and of defeating it, are much the same. We will talk about all this in future articles. And if you suspect someone is bugging you and we mean not irritating you – but spying on you through cheap China-made microphones that are available at all black markets, you should immediately contact us. Because knowledge is power and by giving away all your secrets to someone else, you are digging your own grave! You can call me on and my team will arrive at your house or office and conduct a thorough sweep to detect any hidden bugs. We will also advise you on how to prevent such bugging incidences from happening to you in the future. You can call me on +91 +91 98206 07875.
Amit Sen, a commercial pilot by training, has over 15 years experience in the space of corporate investigations, handling Copyright & Trademark infringement cases, Pre – employment verification Industrial Espionage investigations, Asset & Net – Worth assessment assignments and vendor / supplier verification cases, among others. Co-founder of Alliance One – who are the best anti bugging and espionage detectives in India. Amit has also successfully completed assignments in a wide range of sectors, including the machine tools industry, pharmaceutical industry, hospitality sector, specialized equipment (Oil & natural gas sector, aviation industry etc.), telecom industry & the IT & ITes sectors. These cases have all involved both offline and online investigations.