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Under Surveillance

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Spy vs. Counterspy
Two private eyes face off on getting the goods and keeping your secrets.
By Sarah Bernard

Skipp Porteous
Sherlock Investigations

EAVESDROPPING
Inexpensive scanners pick up wireless phone calls easily. Most bugs these days are repurposed cell phones. When you call the cell, you’re turning on the microphone. Obviously, the phone doesn’t ring, it just listens. Drop one in a plant, or tape it to the bottom of a conference-room table.

STALKING
One tracking unit we use is the size of a pack of gum. You can drop it in someone’s pocket or briefcase and follow him in real time. Some have a magnet and attach to any metal part under a car. Just not the muffler, because it’ll roast it.

DIGITS
Half the time, you can type a phone number into Google and a name will come up. Also, if you call 411 and give them a number that’s listed, they’ll reverse it for you.


VISUAL CONTACT
We have a GE clock radio with a hidden camera. Or you can have an investigator follow someone. We have pinhole cameras that we can hide in a button.

CYBERSECURITY
Download a spyware program and send an e-mail with it hidden in the attachment. When they open it, they’re installing the program and you can see everything they do. Key-logging programs and gadgets can also track everything someone has typed, including passwords.

Todd Morris
BrickHouse Security


EAVESDROPPING
Never talk on a cell phone or cordless phone. You might as well use a bullhorn in the middle of Times Square. To secure landlines, we have something called a Tap Nullifier that deactivates bugs. Also, both parties can use a scrambler or an audio jammer that generates white noise.

STALKING
You have to take your car to a professional for a sweeping. It takes a trained expert. We’ve found trackers inside speakers, under the plastic of a dashboard, even under seat cushions.


DIGITS
Buy several prepaid cell phones. That’s what drug dealers do.

VISUAL CONTACT
Wireless video bugs can be detected with a camera hunter. For non-wireless cameras, we use a nonlinear junction evaluator—it’s like a metal detector but costs $20,000.

CYBERSECURITY
Some of the key-logging devices are actually hardware that’s connected to the back of your computer. It’s so simple to look out for, but people don’t.


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