De Bugging and Sweeping Services

Be subtle, be subtle and use your spies for every kind of business. Sun Tzu. Art of War.

Information affords advantages and power to the holder of that information and it has done so since the dawn of man. Spying and other illegal forms of information gathering is however no longer the sole domain of Kings, Generals and cold war governments.

In the 21st century world, the global competition for evermore scarcer resources has created a cutthroat market place for information that is gathered and sold illegally, for Billions of Rand annually.

Competitors and other interested parties will stoop to any level to get ahead and illegal surveillance is a first-choice method used to gather incriminating or valuable information. At the same time, it has become easier for unscrupulous operators to purchase and install highly sophisticated bugging equipment. This means that the threat to businesses and individuals is now more imminent than ever before.

Which entities are under threat?

  •  Banks and financial institutions: The nature of their business make these industries vulnerable to criminals as well as competitors alike.
  • Pharmaceutical and other industrial companies: Trade secrets as well as copyrighted and patented information needs to be guarded continuously.
  • Advertising and marketing agencies: Their campaigns as well as sensitive information about their clients are lucrative information for anyone to get their hands on.
  • Software and IT companies: What is the latest newest software or app that you are about to launch? Wouldn’t your competition like to know?
  • Government and public services operations: Tenders are big business and everyone wants a slice of that cake.
  • Law firms, especially while you are in the middle of sensitive litigation.
  • Retail companies: Because of the size of these operations they have multiple risks and are very difficult to monitor.
  • Hotels and conference facilities: More companies are having their conferences and important business meetings offsite in hotels and conference centres. It makes it a goldmine for unscrupulous dealers in information.
  • High net worth individuals.
  • Sport stars and other high-profile entertainers.
  • News agencies dealing with sensitive information.
  • Private individuals involved in litigation eg. divorce settlements.

The risks are however, not only financial. Loss of reputation and legal threats are as important to counter. In the current South African political arena, there are many examples of the damage that leaked and stolen information can cause.

What are some of the possible signs that you or you company might be bugged?

  • Technicians show up unannounced claiming they need to inspect the aircon or telephone lines.
  • Disturbance to electrical outlets, wall plugs, aircon units, smoke detector units or lighting etc.
  • The quality of your electronic communication such as emails, internet speed and WIFI connectivity has changed.
  • A very competitive tender you submitted is inexplicably awarded to your competition.
  • Sensitive strategic information is used by your competition in their campaigns.
  • There are signs that illegal access was gained to your business or private premises and nothing appears to be stolen.
  • New equipment such as for instance wall clocks, paintings, lamps and TV monitors appear “out of the blue”.
  • Maintenance vehicles are parked nearby for extended periods
  • Interference with your radio or TV signal.
  • You answer a landline phone and hears static tone or nothing at all.

80% of victims only do a bug sweep after the damage is already done. It should therefore be your highest priority, if you have any information worth protecting, that you include a TCSM (Technical Surveillance Counter Measure) sweep as part of your security protocol. It is of no use just doing a once of sweep and then think that it is done. Corporate companies should always be aware of when the highest risk times are in the cycle of their business and plan accordingly.

What are the technical methods used to gather unauthorised possibly damaging information?

RF (Radio Frequency) bugging device.

This is a device placed where it is expected that valuable or damaging information will be discussed. It could transmit sound or video footage to a remote listening post where it is either monitored or stored for later retrieval.

In some instances, these bugs have simply been placed under a boardroom table or in a pot plant. In other instances, they are very carefully hidden which makes detection almost impossible. Many of these bugs also use countermeasures such as frequency hopping to avoid detection from a cursory sweep. The different bugs also make use of a wide range of frequencies which can take a long time to detect.

Other bugs can even be switched of remotely to further complicate counter measures. The equipment needed for these counter surveillance measures needs to be of the highest quality and are very expensive. This means that not many TSCM companies can afford them. Make sure that you deal with an agency that is up to standard with the latest equipment available.

GSM Bugs

The global system for mobile communication standard (GSM), is the way that we communicate via cellular phones. A GSM bug works in the same way as a cell phone. Someone remotely dials into the bug that is fitted with a Sim card, and listens to your conference from anywhere. These bugs are easy to purchase online for less than a thousand rand.

Telephone bugs or taps

A device is connected to your telephone line that intercepts telephone conversation. There are various methods of doing this and it is therefore important to use expert techniques to locate the threats to analogue and digital devices as well as VoIP (Voice over internet Protocol).

The team that does your sweep should include such an expert.

What does a TSCM sweep from NiB offer you?

Our highly qualified countermeasure consultants will,

Do an electronic search of:

  • The radio frequency spectrum on site to detect any radio frequencies.
  • An electronic as well as infrared search of all walls, ceilings, furniture and equipment to find clandestine recorders, microphones or transmitters, active as well as passive (switched off).

A physical examination of interior as well as exterior spaces. These spaces include

  • Bathrooms and toilets
  • Ventilation systems
  • Air-conditioning units
  • Boardrooms
  • Offices,

For any evidence of surveillance. For a TSCM physical examination you need highly trained and experienced consultants who know what to look for and where.

electronic sweep debugging

A thorough phone and phone line check.

Because business is conducted everywhere we can also include a sweep of your

  • Motor vehicle
  • Private residence
  • Yacht
  • Private jet
  • Any offsite conference facility where sensitive confidential information is discussed. 

Equipment used by NiB

Our equipment integrates all major categories of eavesdropping detection. With a huge investment in state of the art equipment that rivals the equipment used by many Intelligence agencies across the world, you are assured peace of mind that not a single bug or threat will be missed during our sweep of your site.

The equipment used by NiB is to help you carry out a surveillance threat analysis and elimination. The dual approach of sophisticated equipment, covering the whole spectrum of bugging operations, combined with our team’s expertise and years of frontline experience ensures peace of mind to enterprises and business alike.


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