Prevent Spying On Your Business
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Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Prevent Spying On Your Business
Why would they come after me?
People who snoop are primarily motivated by cash and influence with sex as
a close third. If it’s possible to gain money or power by stealing anything
you write or say, they may be after you.
Can I prevent it?
Absolutely. Surveillance can be countered but you need to know your
weaknesses and build defenses against them. The range of spying techniques
used is large, from the simple and obvious to those incorporating the latest
technologies. They all could have a disastrous effect on your business.
The good news is, most spies are not that smart. The same tricks are
employed on a regular basis. Read through the Top 10 techniques in this
guide to arm your business and prepare to return the fire!
Spying is normal. Every day, information is released
through our media outlets that was taken illegally or
provided from a leak.
Your most precious resource is
information. There are professionals
out there trained to rob you of it.
Prevent Spying On
Who are they?
10 Ways To Out-Spy A Spy
People prying on your
business activities could be
anyone from professionals,
employees of competitors,
the press or even your own
employees or business
Information is released
every day to our media
outlets that was obtained
illegally or provided from a
These people are
professionals, paid to get
information for your
competitors to destroy you.
1. Dumpster Diving
Also known by the creative titles of “Waste
Archeology”, Trash Trawling or simply ‘Trashing”, this
technique is about finding valuable information your
business has thrown away. It’s considered the
premier method for finding material because stealing
garbage is not illegal. Once it’s out on the curb or in
the bin, it technically has no ownership.
Those little pieces of paper that seem useless to you,
when combined together, can be a gold mine for
someone attempting to bring down your business.
You need to implement a clear plan if you’re going to
maintain confidentiality. No puzzle piece must be
allowed out of the building.
How To Protect Yourself
- Annihilate all paper headed for the garbage with
- Don’t keep papers in a box under your desk! This is
perfect for a snoop.
- We don’t recommend Professional Waste Paper
- Shredders need to be crosscut for ultimate business
- Get many, small shredders, rather than one large
shredder. Some people can’t be bothered to shred
and if you add walking a long way to the equation it
- Let your clients know you shred. They will see value
in your concern for their privacy.
2. Temporary Workers
One of the greatest risks, and the reason why
important documentation shouldn’t be held under
your desk in a cardboard box, is the transiency of
temporary workers, otherwise known as Drop-By
Spies. These can look like:
- Computer and Network Experts
- Office equipment repair persons
- Maintenance Crew
- Electricians for your lights or heating
- Telecommunication technicians
- Garbage Disposers
How to Protect Yourself
1. All contractors should be escorted by a
trusted member of your team. Never allow someone
to be on your premises unaccompanied.
2. Sight and take a copy of the credentials and
work orders of any person arriving to do work. Your
receptionist should always check personally with the
employee who ordered the work that they definitely
3. Choose objective professionals when setting
up your systems. Be sure to ask whether they get
kick-backs from any products they recommend and
use ones that don’t. This will ensure you get the best
product for you.
4. Tackle the key control system immediately.
If you’re not sure who has what, reissue everything
and start again. The best systems log who went
where and when through key cards or tags.
5. Regularly check locks and doors are working.
This should be a part of the maintenance schedule
every 2-3 months.
6. Request that all work is performed inside of
business hours. Require special permission and full
time supervision for any work that must be completed
when the rest of the employees are not around.
3. Listening Devices
Bugs and wiretaps are used when very
private information needs irrefutable
evidence before, say, running a media
article about it. You can’t afford not to
pay attention to your suspicions.
How To Protect Yourself
1. Keep quiet. Save your concerns
unless someone else has a real need to
know. And share it somewhere you’re
unlikely to be heard, like the middle of a
2. There are no do-it-yourself
solutions to finding bugs. Spy toys are a
waste of money. You need professionals
to deal with the issue immediately.
It’s not a simple process finding wires
and bugs or confirming a room is free of
them. Companies who provide this
service invest about half a million dollars
in their equipment and even more in
their honing their skills over years.
This is not the area to be cheap!
Consider how much your secrets are
worth and use that knowledge to protect
them by hiring people who know what
they’re doing. The Yellow Pages is
If you’re feeling paranoid that someone might be
bugging your conversations, listen to that paranoia.
probably not the place to find them. We
recommend calling a professional
security organization and asking them to
point you in the right direction.
4. Meeting Chameleons
When technological methods aren’t
working, face-to-face is often the best
way to access data. Any environment in
which your employees are discussing
business with outsiders can be a
potential hazard for your private
information. This includes:
- Trade Shows
- Off-site meetings
How To Protect Yourself
1. Brief your employees. They need
to know what information is sensitive
and know appropriate places to discuss it
(ie: not in a crowded restaurant). Their
behavior will be different at conventions
and workshops than in the office; never
leaving briefcases or laptops
unsupervised or with a relative stranger
and leaving super-sensitive information
with trusted security.
They are the hardest to uncover but the most lethal to your
organization. A reliable employee who turns their back on
There are some characteristics that may suggest a person
could turn into a traitor:
1. Employees living beyond their means. Unless they have a
rich Aunt they’ve never mentioned, anyone spending more regularly than you believe
they could on what you pay them may be receiving dividends from a competitor.
2. Personal circumstances are out of control. Particularly if someone has debts
they need to pay off for whatever reason (mortgage, medical bills, gambling
3. Entrepreneurial Personalities. Surprisingly many traitors are those who are
your greatest advocates, until they’re not anymore. Entrepreneurial personalities
want to get ahead and get ahead fast and they may be tempted to take the short cut.
4. Disgruntled employees; you can find them moaning about their lack of a raise
over the photocopier.
5. Betrayal SpyAssociates.com
2. Confirm what the term ‘Proprietary
Information’ means for your business. It generally is
information that the public or anyone outside the
business does not know and can be about your
strategies, your clients, resources or your products.
Another way of looking at it is anything that could put
the business at a disadvantage if with the wrong
3. Prepare Seminars Correctly. Employ security
to limit access to rooms, request that every person
wear an ID badge and show ID to prove their identity
and utilize listening device audits.
By far the best source of validated information is
contained in the computers you and your staff use.
This explains why the most common target for data
are these electronic devices.
A lost laptop can hurt financially but you may not
have previously considered the other ways it could
hurt your business:
- Your business information could be sold to
- The data will need to be rebuilt from scratch
taking a lot of time
- Passwords to intranets, supplier accounts and
online websites are now available
to whoever stole the laptop
How To Protect Yourself
1. Train your staff on why it’s
important, especially those who
maintain sensitive information.
They need to:
2. Flag suspicious activity or
mysteriously altered / missing
3. Log off always
4. Delete sensitive information
5. Use only USB’s issued by the company. Gifted
USBs may contain nasty surprises.
6. Set up automatically appearing screen-savers with
7. Set up your IT system for protection
8. Allow only quality passwords and require them to
be changed regularly
9. Limit physical access especially to important
10.Use better encryption than 802.11b wireless when
transferring confidential information
11.Protect computers accessing internet through
12.Ensure all hard drives are reformatted before
dumping old laptops
13.Always back up your information with security-
14.Do not allow shareware, illegal downloads or
borrowed software on your laptops
7. Phone Tapping
Just because a technology is analog doesn’t mean it’s
more difficult to listen to. In fact, wireless
telephones and headsets using analog technology are
perhaps one of the easiest products to listen in on;
there is generally no noise, everything you say can be
Even though it is illegal to snoop on
conversations held over any
communication device, this rarely
protects victims because they are
difficult to uphold in a court.
The transition years ago from analog
to digital transmission did a lot for
improving the privacy of
conversations. However it opened
up the door for hackers (more on
that below) and a little thing called
Is it Possible? Someone can:
Listen to your voicemails
Pretend spyware is a legitimate download
Have your phone send them messages about
your calls, including the length and recipient
Dial someone else from your phone
Send fake text messages to and from your
Turn on your microphone 24/7
Take your contact lists remotely
Track you using your GPS receiver
Take a copy of your calls using your phone’s
Listen on your calls
How To Protect Yourself
Just because a
technology is analog
doesn’t mean it is
more difficult to
How To Protect Yourself
1. Meet face to face wherever possible
2. Remember that it’s not just about your equipment. Conversations
are two-way and the people you call may be tapped. Encryption is a good
option for highly sensitive information.
3. Upgrade your technology: they must use spread spectrum and 5.8
GHz technology as a minimum. Also look out for DECT cordless models
which prevent eavesdropping.
4. To protect against spyware, don’t let anyone else use your phone
and check the validity of anything you download. If you think you may
have spyware, change your phone and SIM card then contact a professional
to get information on who it was.
5. Change your language. Use code words and only first names when
discussing projects you don’t want your competitors or the media knowing
8. Your Office Equipment Is Spying On You
Living in a digital age brings an abundance of new conveniences and faster
ways to work. It’s also true that they are rife with opportunities for others
to spy on you. Here are the main culprits:
6. Baby Monitors.
These little puppies are transmitting information about your house 24/7
and can be used by thieves to see if the house is empty or simply your
annoying neighbours. We recommend a light timer when baby goes to bed
if you can’t turn it off yourself and always keep the door closed.
7. Dictation Machines (if you still use it!).
You give it to the secretary who saves it in her drawer for the next time
you need one, even after all the physical copies have been shredded. Keep
them locked away.
8. Voicemails and Answering Machines.
Messages can be accessed with the simple knowledge of a two or three
digit number which is easily discovered by sitting next to you at lunch when
you ring to access them. Change your password often.
9. Cordless Microphones.
It’s not commonly known that these FM analogue wireless microphones
send whatever you’re saying out into the airwaves for about a quarter of a
mile and are easy to listen to. Any meeting with sensitive information
should not use them. Some now have encrypted systems or utilize infrared
light and these are fine.
10. Fax Machines.
There are two things to watch here. The first
is the depositing of an important piece of
information in the middle of a kitchen or
workspace where bored security guards can
read it. Use a fax vault. Better yet, have it
sent by email instead.
Secondly, if your fax machine has ever rung
and then nothing comes through, it could be
being utilized as the home for a remote
controlled bug. Ringing through, and having
the fax answer, means the listener can hear
everything going on in the immediate vicinity.
Get it checked by professionals.
Here are some things people
do without thinking that
leave you wide open to a
Taking passwords too
lightly. People often share
or use basic passwords to
make life simpler.
Lazy desk cleaning.
Confidential paperwork is
often left under piles of
other paperwork because
someone can’t be
bothered to clean it up.
Not locking office doors,
filing cabinets or desks
because they ‘can’t be
information like credit
card numbers and social
security in easily accessed
documents on their
computer, phone or on
Rolodex files on a desk.
Leaving keys to important
rooms (like the boss’s
office) in the desk of their
Giving gossips what they
want. Every office has one
and it seems we just can’t
resist the urge
Assuming phone calls are
who they say they are. A
stranger with an
impressive title or media
connection can often
entice people to divulge
information they never
Highlight these potential
security hazards with your
team at your next briefing.
9. Just Giving It
10. VOiP and other new technologies
They may make five way conferencing possible but
they’re also a wide open door to your most
confidential meeting discussions.
Aside from perfect holes for bugs and wiretaps, the
systems themselves are microphones and speakers
ready for the taking, especially those with new and
How To Protect Yourself
1. Set up the phones so they are not connected to
an outside line. If you must, ensure you have the
callback feature which restricts participants to
only those with a recognized phone number. As
always, use strong passwords on your access
2. Train your People. The overseer needs to be
very trustworthy and ensure all your people are
aware of your intention to conduct regular
checks on settings, passwords and software.
Always have an external company do this,
contracted by yourself, not your systems
administrator. Your people should know to
report suspect activity to the security
department straight away as it could be an
attack by hackers.
3. Protect the Switch. The switch can be used to
breach your boundaries by reprogramming,
executive override features and taking a
recording of all conversations that take place.
Don’t allow direct dialing into the switch, this
can open the door for spies to create a bridge
tap. This mean they will be able to hear whats
being said from other extensions on the network.
The other way to do this is to set up a hands-free
intercom prior to the meeting starting. You’ll
never know if your intern is on a call or just
listening to yours.
The introduction of VoIP poses fresh challenges
because it is more susceptible to eavesdropping,
spam and phishing.
How to Protect Yourself
1. Take the advice of your installer and implement
all security measures possible. These should
include hardware from manufacturers like Sipera
2. Use a headset (plug-in only) with a microphone
to keep talking levels at a minimum.
3. Route and Encrypt Calls: Use a Virtual Private
Network (VPN), particularly when calling another
company. A product like ZFone is perfect for
encrypting all your calls.
You can protect yourself!
While there are many who would bring your business down by illegally or sneakily accessing your
private and confidential information, you are now prepared to combat their techniques. Knowing your
enemy is the first step…
Then take action! Don’t wait!
© 2012 Spy
Boca Raton, FL
Visit us at www.SpyAssociates.com
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the Surveillance and Security Field
since 1999. Proud to say that we
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