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The Technical Side of Bug Sweeps

Bug sweeps are the every day term for locating a hidden camera or listening device. However, in the security and investigation field, it is known as TSCM or Technical Security Counter Measures.

The TSCM equipment utilized by Hawk Professional Investigations examines radio and infrared frequency using a variety of input instruments to detect carrier current devices on AC power lines. These surreptitious devices utilize electrical wiring to transmit audio signals. For example, a listening device could be hardwired into an electrical socket, and using the electrical wiring transmitted and monitored away from the site. To combat this, a spectrum analyzer is used to survey a 1/2 mile radius of the target area to locate potential hostile monitoring sites and/or compromised telephone facilities.

For instruments that do not transmit signals, a Non-Linear Junction Evaluator is utilized to locate hidden devices in active or inactive mode. These typically would be battery powered devices with internal data storage. For example, a hidden camera within a houseplant (similar to a “nanny-cam” hidden inside a teddy bear) that is motion activated would require a long life battery and SD card for storage. The Non-Linear Junction Evaluator would detect the presence of this.

A separate audit of the telephone line configuration is also conducted examining any programming that would be a threat to privacy.

In addition to these procedures, all of the special equipment in the world could never take the place of a thorough physical search. While the TSCM equipment will detect current on-site threats, it will not pick up on devices that were in place at one time but now removed. A physical hands-on search may detect loose wiring or phone switches that have been tampered with.


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