Dont’t take mobile phones into meetings! Phones, bugs and Business:
“There is no more efficient bugging device than a mobile phone. It can be remotely switched on and listened to by any other mobile phone”
Every few months a bugging scandal appears in the press and is naturally taken very seriously. Panic sets in amongst the targeted organisation and ECM sweeps are conducted to ensure the rest of the premises are clear. It all seems like very poor security to me. If sensitive meetings are to take place then, like any other forms of security, appropriate measures should be taken before the event to ensure the area has not been compromised. “Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted” is so often how security systems are installed. It is human nature to do this but it is not the best security.
Bugs have been around to listen to conversations for years and before then, listening to other people’s conversations has always been an unfair way of obtaining information. (remember the origin of the word “eavesdropping“)
If we exclude the law enforcement officers, then eavesdropping by any organisation is normally about gaining a pecuniary advantage.
Electronic sweeping and checking rooms during meetings is essential if one is to be confident that items brought into the meeting are not themselves, knowingly or otherwise, being used as a covert listening device. It is the mobile phone which I refer to as this is such a powerful tool. If suitably modified by down loading free software, the phone can then be completely controlled by the hacker.
More later………..or just call me. Peter Clements M +44 7899987049
The world market is being flooded with miniature mobile phone modules specially designed for use as covert listening devices. They require a SIM card and a battery to be active and can then be discreetly “dialled up” from anywhere in the world. The two integral microphones are sensitive enough to pick up conversations up to 20 feet away. These new GSM bugging devices are the most effective form of eavesdropping that I know. These bugs are very efficient as they use an established worldwide communications network i.e. the mobile phone network. They are very difficult to find and locate and are quite legal to use. These bugs are the size of a small matchbox, including rechargeable battery which lasts for 36 hours. They cost £22.00 on Ebay. They pose a huge threat to confidential discussions.
The eavesdropper simply calls the phone number of the SIM card from anywhere in the world and listens in. Other versions of the GSM bug remain on standby and will call you when sounds are heard in the target room.
Templepan, in cooperation with one of the largest UK banks has developed a system to detect these GSM devices instantly and to then text a message to the designated recipient giving details of the type of the device and its location.
We would like to propose to you that a “secure area” is set up on the meeting room floor which would enable you to have meetings in complete confidence knowing that no listening device of any type, has been introduced into the room and this protection is active 24/7.
Peter Clements Templepan Security Systems Ltd
As businesses regain confidence, renewed interest in corporate mergers and acquisitions and Initial Public Offerings (IPO) appear to be on the up and this is the time for corporate Britain to wake up to the fact that this provides pickings for the corporate spy – and our corporate spying warning:
The London Stock Exchange has seen many IPOs from UK companies worth $4.5 billion so far this year – the highest year-to-date figure for UK companies listing in the home market since 2007.
I say that whether you are a mid-market player, start-up looking for funding or even a larger company looking at merging or acquiring, the same rules apply. Get your office swept for bugs. It may be highly fashionable to have hugely impenetrable Data Vaults, the very best of enterprise wide security software systems and firewalls, but at the end of the day your deal could collapse if there is one simple bug or spying device in the boardroom.
Finance directors, risk managers and compliance Officers alike need to be aware of this seemingly low-tech threat to business. Its simple: scan the office, boardroom and buildings. The last thing you need as you prepare for a float or for an acquisition is for your financial data to be used against you.
Peter Clements Templepan Security
Governments are of course already listening in to our mobile and land line phone communications, this we can only accept and nothing can be done in the short term to prevent it. We have to be sure though that these hacking interceptions are for genuine security reasons and are not used for commercial purposes.
At both GCHQ and at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire the US and UK governments are down loading and monitoring vast quantities of communications data. Published information shows that there are thousands of NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to the data bases of both sites.
Other documents reveal that even in 2012, GCHQ was handling 600m “telephone events” each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time.
We assume that in the West that governments will largely ignore commercial telephone traffic (maybe!) Without proper oversight, how will we know?
Companies operating in foreign jurisdictions are particularly vulnerable to state sponsored hacking, tapping and eavesdropping. With state sponsorship there is no limit to the scope of their activities and there is no defence to counter it.
We should never ignore the ”Back to Basics” approach to eavesdropping. Daily new stories are reported which refer to the use of transmitters and simple bugging devices and we should all be alert to these threats as well as phone tapping and data hacking by governments.
EVEN as mobile phones are becoming a cheap utility, hundreds of thousands of people continue to part with a fair cost to talk to others in parts of the world that lack network coverage. Callers are prepared to pay as much as £14 to connect to a satellite phone in exchange for secure, reliable connections. (Ringing landlines from such devices can be less than one-tenth that.) (more…)
Continuing our news on Cyber infiltration, here’s a guest post from the SGS security group regarding cyber attack risks and their increased frequency and possibility of affecting your company security.. Read on:
Small and medium sized businesses can face costs of up to £65,000 as the result of a severe information security breach, according to the most recent Information Security Breaches Survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. (more…)