According to Bo Dietl, corporate espionage is a growing threat to businesses that want to safeguard their trade secrets. To gain a competitive edge, many companies hire professionals to steal intelligence with video surveillance or listening devices, and some even rummage through trash for documents.

If successful, corporate espionage can threaten the future of the victimized company. This is why it is so important for corporations take preventative measures and learn counter surveillance techniques to identify potential threats.

Surveillance has become easier than ever before. Advanced wireless devices are abundantly available online and are typically inexpensive to buy. Bribes often tempt cleaning crews or employees to place these devices, collect paper trash, or find computer passwords under keyboards or on desks.

CEO offices are popular targets for surveillance, along with private conference rooms, assistants’ offices and other areas that house company intelligence. Some corporate spies will actually record conversations that occur outside the workplace. Technical counter surveillance is the best preventative measure that companies can take to avoid a breach.

With technical surveillance countermeasures, or TSCM, companies can screen for existing threats and prevent future breaches. TSCM can find surveillance equipment and detect other risks before important meetings onsite or offsite. These countermeasures include:

  • Infrared Spectrum Analysis
  • Full Radio Frequency Spectrum Analysis
  • Searching electrical systems and wiring for transmitting devices
  • Computer forensics, such as finding emails that discuss a private topic that may suggest a leak after meetings
  • Using static “white noise” or window coatings to disrupt laser frequencies and prevent these systems from listening to private conversations
  • Physically searching for idle surveillance equipment, ceiling microphones or cameras, camera lens reflections, transmitters that broadcast to external radios, bugged telephones and vulnerable passwords left in obvious places, computers still on and logged in, inadequate document shredders and other forms of risky document disposal

Important corporate meetings that occur offsite or at hotel conventions are easy surveillance opportunities. It is crucial to sweep guest rooms, meeting rooms and bathrooms beforehand. Then, security staff should guard the area to ensure no one bugs it during the meeting.

Executive cars are easy targets, as well, and using valet services is especially risky. Additionally, executive phones that are vulnerable to Trojan horse software can easily become a listening device for conversations, or an opportunity to steal texts and email data.