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Bugs Life

by msecadm4921

Roy Chantler writes: bugging, quite rightly, is viewed as utilising modern technology and executed by professional spies; providers will not start talking about eavesdropping on a big name company for less than £20,000; it can climb much higher if listening station premises have to be rented, expensive gear cannot be recovered and many palms greased.

I have always made it clear to clients that the risks from such organisations must be taken as very real and constant vigilance is essential.

The internet has hundreds of web sites showing how to make bugging devices and I happened on one of the amateur sites at the low cost end. There it was, a basic circuit diagram showing about 20 components, total cost of no more than £15 from a radio shop. Wind a coil of X number of turns on a pencil and so on. This sort of information has been around in one form or another since radio was invented yet there is still a demand for such simple technology it seems, and what a demand!

Scrolling down I read the first six of the many requests for further information on the bug, and answers; will it run on a watch battery? Yes. How long will battery last? Ten to 12 hours. What range? 30 metres. Will signal pass through a boardroom wall because I have always wanted to bug the meetings? Yes it will. Can I use an ordinary little radio to listen into the bugged conversation? Yes. I want to bug my boss‚s office, if I blu-tacked the bug under his desk, is that a good place to hear his phone calls as well? Yes, a good place….and so on.

So there you have it, a subculture of budding self build amateur spies who have two big advantages over their professional counterparts; anonymity and opportunity.

The big worry for the eavesdropping fraternity is remaining anonymous and remote from the ‘coal face’. They have to assign the job to a bugging operator who in turn has to gain access to the area to be bugged and hope it is unoccupied at the time. This is difficult enough but then there is the small matter of setting up a radio listening station in range of the bug.

I often remind clients about the ‘Trojan Horse’ risk of bugs masquerading as common office items such as plant displays, pens and executive gifts, but could not an employee of a large company also be a Trojan Horse?

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