Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables
The object to the right is a bugging device Miami Beach Coral Gables – a tiny microphone that can be hidden almost anywhere. It is but one in a startling arsenal of devices used today to spy on personal enemies, competing companies, and other world powers. Such devices played a major role in the recent spying controversy between the United States and the Soviet Union. Much was written about the resulting international skirmishing. But little has been said about the devices themselves, their incredible capabilities, and the astonishing technology on which they are based. Almost nothing has been written about how some of the most interesting equipment works.
What kinds of bugging devices are Miami Beach Coral Gables available? How are they put in place? Detected? Designed to avoid detection? What about tuning in on the computer down the block to learn the secrets it contains? Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables typewriters? Bouncing laser beams against window panes?
In the larger picture, what is happening in the bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables war between the superpowers? What did security officials find in the Moscow embassy?
Most of this information is classified. Yet much can be learned. Today, snooping is big business with widespread industrial and commercial applications. Companies make and sell a remarkable variety of devices.
In addition, bits and pieces of information have leaked from Congressional hearings and from other unclassified sources. Those with inside knowledge make occasional statements that, combined with what we know about commercial equipment, can be revealing. From these sources emerges a hazy but informative picture of the shadowy world of spying.
The Veil of Secrecy
Nobody wants to talk about bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables. The Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency refused to be interviewed. Private companies were also wary; several prospective sources hung up when they learned why we were calling.
Most manufacturers of bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables make it clear that they will not talk for publication. For example, Intelligence Devices Corp. of Fairfield, N.J., advertises 100 different pieces of security equipment. The ad begins, “We supply the most sophisticated electronic intelligence devices available to law enforcement, but the law prohibits us from discussing our products in detail without the properly written requests…Complete and detailed product information is available only to authorized agencies upon written request on departmental letterhead.”
Despite such problems, we were able to dig out some surprising facts. Among them:
Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables can be made almost any size. The smallest we actually saw was the one picture to the right. It is a tiny electret microphone just 3/16-inch across at its largest dimension. The security expert who gave it to us wouldn’t say where he got it.
Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables are widely available. Tiny ones undoubtedly used in industrial espionage can be bought openly in some European and Asian cities, though they’re illegal there as here. Easily available even here, however, are wireless microphones smaller than a cigarette pack. They have legitimate uses but also can be used for bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables.
Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables experts use dozens of methods to keep their devices from being detected, from planting them in electronic equipment to wiring them with the latest in fiber-optic technology. The Soviets planted thousands of false bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables in the now infamous US embassy in Moscow to confuse sweeping attempts.
While the CIA and FBI undoubtedly bring the latest in electronics technology to bear in acquiring super-small, difficult-to-detect devices, surprisingly sophisticated bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables are relatively easy to build. We obtained plans for the so-called “martini olive” bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables that received considerable publicity several years ago. It can be built in any reasonably equipped electronics workshop by anybody with even a moderate amount of electronics knowledge.
Sensitive information in computers is easy to steal; a $500 device can tune in on any unprotected computer at ranges of perhaps a mile and reproduce anything appearing on the computer’s screen. A British expert recently gave a demonstration that left computer users in a state of shock.
The highly publicized laser beam that can be bounced off a window pane to eavesdrop on voices inside sounds flashy, but is apparently of limited usefulness in real life.
People who don’t want their conversations with bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables rely on frequent sweeping of sensitive areas. We saw a demonstration of several kinds of advanced equipment used in this effort.
Because of the sensitive nature of the subject, no one was willing to come right out and talk in detail about bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables and bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, or even to admit to having detailed knowledge. Nevertheless, we uncovered bits and pieces and a picture began to form. Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables – devices designed to eavesdrop surreptitiously on conversations – we learned, come in three basic forms. First are units that contain both a microphone and a small transmitter. They are hidden in a room and transmit a signal to a nearby receiver. If such a unit is tied into a power source – room electrical wiring or a telephone line, for example – it can transmit indefinitely. And the wiring may also be used to route signals from the bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables to distant points.
Second are microphones. Because they can be extremely small, they can be hidden almost anywhere. But they require wires – which can be smaller than a human hair – to conduct the signal to a listening post outside the room. Finally, there are passive devices, which sit silent and unobserved but which can transmit room sounds when stimulated by a radio signal from outside. More about this later.
Although all bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables fall into one of these categories, they come in a variety of shapes, forms, and sizes. Private investigators who talked on the condition they not be identified told us that bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables they find are sometimes built on small circuit boards, at other times they’re simply strung together in little balls of wires and components that look like a tangle of spaghetti. They can be put in small cases or encapsulated in epoxy. Epoxy encapsulation is attractive, says a textbook we saw, because such bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables look like little blobs of unidentifiable substances and may not even be recognized as bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables. Incidentally, the book, Measure by Countermeasure, a Textbook on Anti-Eavesdropping, was written to train security professionals who attend the school conducted by a security company called Microlab/FXR located in Livingston, N.J. It talks about bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, now they work, their sizes and types, and how to find and recognize them.
While some bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables are homemade, others are available commercially; you can buy them from radio supply stores where they are sold as wireless microphones or babysitting devices. Several such devices are pictured in this article. They cost just a few dollars and transmit a signal that can be picked up by an ordinary FM radio. “Lots of people are taking Radioshack wireless microphones and converting them,” says Charles Miller, a technician with Law Enforcement Associates, Inc., of Medford, N.J. “Take the shell off, and if you’re good with your hands you can make them pretty small.” “You can find them advertised in the backs of magazines,” says Rob Muessel, a technical service coordinator for Information Security Associates of Stamford, Conn.
More sophisticated devices – legally available in this country only to law-enforcement officers – are available off the shelf in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and at the Frankfurt airport in West Germany. “In Japan, they make on the transmitter that’s a quarter inch square and about one and one-half inches long,” says Muessel.
Bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables can be very small – small enough to be built into a fountain pen or stuck into a small hole in the wall, the binding of a book, or elsewhere. Harry A. Augenblick, president of Microlab/FXR, tells of one clever design. “This is a picture-hook bugging device Miami Beach Coral Gables,” says Augenblick, pointing to a one-inch-long, 1/4-inch-diameter spike with a picture hook on its flat end. “First you use a tool that punches a hole in a wall, then you slip the bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables in. After you hang the picture back on the wall, you wouldn’t know for years that somebody had changed your picture hook.”
Another investigator who insisted on anonymity showed us a transmitter about the size of a book of matches. “With its battery pack this one will transmit for nine days,” he said. “You can throw one of these guys in a trash can and retrieve it later.” How far can such bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables transmit? “A matchbook-sized device can have a range of a quarter of a mile,” says Frank G. Mason, president of a Fairfield, Conn., security firm that bears his name.
The variety is endless. Pictures accompanying this article show a bugging device Miami Beach Coral Gables that slips into a telephone handset. Picking up the handset supplies telephone line voltage to the bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, which then transmits anything said into the mouthpiece to a nearby receiver. “We once got a call from a guy who said every time he picked up his telephone his television picture went blurry,” said Muessel. “We never found out what that meant because he didn’t hire us. But there was probably a transmitter planted inside his phone.”
Similar bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables can be designed to send out signals all the time – even when the telephone is thought to be inoperative. “Wires are often put in telephones for non-existent intercoms or speaker phones,” says Mason. “So there is a spare pair of wires.” If someone intent on bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables can get to a terminal board in that building, he can wire the spare pair so that the microphone in the telephone sends a voice signal to the terminal even when it is on the hook. “In government agencies where the phones must be replaced quite often,” he says, “they test phones before new ones are put in and find that eight out of ten phones are ‘hot on the hook’.”
Another astonishing fact is how easy it is to build very small – and very effective – bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables. For example, a San Francisco security expert name Hal Lipset won momentary fame some years ago as the man who had bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables a martini olive. During our research, we obtained plans and directions on how to build the infamous martini-olive bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables.
The plans call for hollowing out opposite ends of a small copper cylinder with a lathe, then carefully mounting in the two cavities about a dozen tiny parts – transistors, resistors, capacitors – available from any electronics supply house. The instructions describe how to cut apart a standard alkaline battery and use parts of it to construct a very small battery. Finally, a disc made of foil serves as a microphone. The instructions say the unit can be made in several sizes, including one in which the finished device is approximately 1/2 inch in length and slightly less than that in diameter. It will transmit at a frequency of 600 megahertz.
How do you make it look like an olive? “A case may be formed around the unit with fiberglass putty and molded to any desired shape,” the instructions conclude. The antenna is disguised as a toothpick in the olive!
The most interesting bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables we saw was the one pictured on the cover, which falls into the second category: microphones. The bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, a miniature electret microphone, would need thin wires leading to a receiving station. That would be no problem for someone with access to the target room; we were told that the “wires” can actually be two lines of metallic paint on a wall, which are then covered by regular paint. Such an installation is almost impossible to find.
Although the term electret, representing an electrostatic analogy with permanent magnets, first appeared in 1885, a practical device wasn’t devised until 1925 (the drawing shows its operating principle). An electret is made by polarizing certain waxes or plastics with high voltage; one side has a strong positive charge; the opposite side of the electret material has an equally strong negative charge. An electrical potential is permanently “frozen” into the material. Practical applications of electrets for microphones became possible with the development of low-noise transistors and suitable dielectric – nonconductive – materials.
Just how small bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables can be is unknown. Frequently news reports speak of “pinhead-sized” bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables. Yet there is no evidence that bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables that small really exist. It seems at least possible that they do not, and that the pinhead estimate is a result of logical confusion. The electret mike contains a tube on one side through which the sound enters. The hole is approximately the size of a pinhead. Thus it is possible that the smallest bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables are not themselves pinhead sized, but require a pinhead-sized hole in the wall through which they pick up the sound. Says Mike Russell of Sherwood Communications in Southampton, Pa., “Microphones are usually found in ceilings or mid-level in the wall. They’re usually behind the wall, with a tiny hole the size of a pencil point drilled through.”
Perhaps the most sneaky of all bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables is the passive device. It first came to light some years ago when American security experts revealed that they were worried about low-level microwaves beamed by the Soviets at the American embassy in Moscow. Now they’re reasonably sure that these were aimed at mysterious cavities built into the structures of the buildings.
Steel reinforcing rods or small cone-shaped metal cavities can be hidden in the walls during construction. Sound waves within the room cause the walls to vibrate slightly, distorting these metal structures. If a microwave beam at a critical frequency is aimed at such a device, the reflected signal is slightly modulated by the sound vibrations. Careful analysis of the returning reflections can re-create the original voice signals that caused the vibration.
Perhaps the most advanced – and talked about – technique of all is bouncing a laser beam off a window. The window pane vibrates slightly from the sound pressure generated by the conversation inside. The returning laser beam is modulated by these vibrations, and the original voice signals are recovered.
One of the textbooks designed to train security personal contains a section on such devices. It says one can be built using a General Electric H1A1 laser, which radiates about 35 watts of power in the infrared band. It is pulsed with a simple transistor circuit at 10 kilohertz. The receiver is an astronomical reflecting telescope bought from Edmund Scientific Company. A photomultiplier tube, which turns the pulsed infrared signal into a series of electrical pulses, is mounted in place of the eyepiece. The output of the photomultiplier is then fed to an amplifier to recover the voice signal from within the room.
It is questionable just how effective this technique is. Richard Heffernan, vice president of Information Security Associates says the technique probably doesn’t work too well. He points out that the window pane also vibrates from passing traffic and random noise, and picking out the relatively low-level voice signals would be difficult. Other experts point out that filtering techniques have been developed to get clear pictures out of TV signals returning from space – signals that when they were received are buried in and obscured by noise. Such processing might dig voices out of the background noise.
Cleaning Up the Premises
While companies are reluctant to talk about bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, they’re often happy to talk about their anti-bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables activities, which are legal, and which, indirectly, reveal a good bit about bugging devices Miami Beach Coral Gables, too.
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