RF Wireless Eavesdropping Devices


Introduction to the wireless audio eavesdropping device

  The most common type of wireless eavesdropping device, the "BUG", is a covert listening device placed into an area, hidden from the targeted individual, that transmits audio to a remote location, where that information can be directly monitored and/or recorded.. The basic "bug" is comprised of a small, tiny microphone, electret or condensor type, which is used to change sound waves into electrical signals, then amplified by electronic circuitry which is then modulated and transmitted. 

A few examples of what a "bug" looks like:

There are 3 main classifications of "bugs":

  • Active bug - this type of bug is the simplest, as it's transmitter remains on or active all of the time
  • Passive bug - this type of bug can be triggered to turn on whenever it is needed, to save battery life and be more difficult to detect
    • Voice activated bug - is only triggered to transmit when sound is received.
    • Burst bug - this bug is triggered from any outside signal source, directly from the eavesdropper.
  • Wired bug - physically seperated microphone from transmitter, as which the microphone may be installed in one area, and the transmitter into another
Some common different types of operational bugs that are used in RF
  • Simple audio modulation and transmission - easily picked up by a simple receiver or scanner
  • Digitally encoded transmission - received by a special receiver with decoder.
  • Spread Spectrum transmission - otherwise known as frequency hopping, as this type of modulation changes the actual center frequency of transmission many times a second in which a specialized receiver is used to intercept. This makes the overall finding of the bug's transmitting frequency difficult.
  • Single or Double modulated side band - (SSB, DSB) - where the modulation of the signal is found only in the sidebands of the transmission. Can only be received with a special receiver or equipment tuned to the modulation of the carrier.
  • FM, NFM, WFM, or AM - common types of modulation such as Frequency Modulation, Narrow-Band Modulation, Wide-Band Modulation or Amplitude Modulation.
Overview of All wireless Bugs
  • Small in physical size and can be disguised as almost anything. Devices can also be installed directly into a premises.
  • Transduce audible sounds into an electrical impulse, which is then amplified, modulated and transmitted to a remote location for monitoring.
  • They emit radio waves of some type.
  • Usually lower powered to medium powered RF transmitters.
  • They are powered by batteries or leech power from the AC wiring in a residence or DC power in a vehicle.
  • Are received by some type of special radio receiver.
  • Can be found with an "All Band Receiver" or counter-surveillance receiver


Introduction to the wireless video transmitter

The newest type of wireless transmitter is now using video. With video, the eavesdropper can now see the occupants and area under surveillance. As video can be transmitted to a remote location, without the knowledge or consent of the individual, a whole new world of eavesdropping now exists. 

The basic "video bug" or video transmitter consists of a lens or aperature in which optical infomation is transfered to a series of photo cells, usually in a grid pattern. The CCD or Charge Coupled Device receives light strength and/or colors which is commonly interpreted by a microchip. The signal is then encoded, which in turn is processed into a standard video pattern, which is then modulated and transmitted by means of RF (Radio Frequency).

Even though the video bug or video camera could transfer information wired or wireless, the wireless method is now often preferred, because the surveillancer no longer needs to run wiring or cables to his remote location. This new method of wireless transmission makes covert video transmitters easily placed on a premises or into existing equipment such as appliances and home electronics, making placement easy, portable, cost effective and covert.

A few examples of what the basic "video bug" looks like:




A few examples of what the "video bug" could be placed into, for concealment:


There are 3 main classifications of "video bugs":

  • Active video bug - this type of video bug is the simplest, as it's transmitter remains on or active all of the time
  • Passive video bug - this type of bug can be triggered to turn on whenever it is needed, to save battery life and be more difficult to detect
    • Visual activated bug - is only triggered to transmit when the light source changes
    • Burst video bug - this bug is triggered from any outside signal source, directly from the eavesdropper or may be triggered at certain time intervals
  • Wired video bug - physically seperated camera from transmitter, where the actual CCD lens may be installed in one area, and the transmitter into another 
Some common different types of operational video bugs that are used in RF
  • Simple video modulation and transmission - easily picked up by a simple television receiver or scanner
  • Digitally Encoded transmission - received by a special receiver with decoder.
  • Spread Spectrum transmission - otherwise known as frequency hopping, as this type of modulation changes the actual center frequency of transmission many times a second in which a specialized receiver is used to intercept. This makes the overall finding of the bug's transmitting frequency difficult.
  • Single or Double modulated side band - (SSB, DSB) - where the modulation of the signal is found only in the sidebands of the transmission. Can only be received with a special receiver or equipment tuned to the modulation of the carrier.
  • FM, NFM, WFM, or AM - common types of modulation such as Frequency Modulation, Narrow-Band Modulation, Wide-Band Modulation or Amplitude Modulation.
Overview of All wireless Video Bugs / Video transmitters
  • Can be small in physical size and can be disguised as almost anything. Devices can also be installed directly into a premises.
  • Capture physical light which is converted into an electrical impulse, which is then amplified, modulated and transmitted to a remote location for monitoring.
  • They emit radio waves of some type.
  • Usually lower powered to medium powered RF transmitters.
  • They are powered by batteries or leech power from the AC wiring in a residence or DC power in a vehicle.
  • Are received by some type of special radio receiver.
  • Can be found with an "All Band Receiver" or counter-surveillance receiver


Detection of RF surveillance devices:

Spurious Emissions of Radio Waves:

One of the first things an electronic technician learns about is the famous "spurious emissions of radio waves". In today's world, we are surrounded with all types of "radio interference". Many different types of "spurious RF" signals can be sought anywhere in a residence using any type of "Bug Detector" and can be misconstrued as a possible "RF Bug", leading the sweeping individual into the wrong direction.

Radio interference that can be received from nearby:

  • Radio Stations
  • Television towers
  • Amateur radio operators
  • Cell towers
  • 60 hertz wiring from a residence
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Television sets and VCR's
  • Computers
  • Power and Electrical Boxes
  • and the list goes on...


Inexpensive "bug detectors" on the market are popping up all over the place. The competition sells these products to unwary consumers claiming to be the best and cheapest. Again, this is FAR from the truth.

  • Frequency counters are now being sold as "Bug Detectors". A frequency counter is designed to find the strongest single frequency of a transmitter. These counters in their nature are slow to respond, and will not find Spread Spectrum (frequency hopping) transmitters. The other factor is that these counters will display all "spurious emissions of RF", giving results of different backround readings of multiple frequencies. This ever changing display of frequencies only adds more to the confusion.
  • "Bug Detectors" that feature the "little light" indication or "led indication" only offer simple detection of radio frequencies in general.
  • "Bug Detectors" that feature a metronome noise or Geiger counter type pulsing noise, again only offer simple detection of RF, which can be any radio wave including spurious radio emissions.. 
  • "Bug Detectors" that are so small they'll fit in your pocket that do not include an antenna! Even some units that have a silent vibrating function. Again, not allowing the user for identification of a real signal or backround noise.


Valid Methods of Detection:

Having a specialized counter-surveillance device for detection:

  • Finding the location of the transmitter - having a device that displays the proximity or amplitude of the signal. This can tell you how close you are to the transmitter.
  • Identify what type of signal is detected
    • Spurious Emissions - Finding if the signal received is a backround noise or garbage.
    • What type of signal are you receiving - is the signal AM,FM,NFM,WFM,SSB,CW,Video.
    • Does the signal have intelligence - does the transmitter have an informative signal that pertains to your situation.
    • Demodulation of what type of signal you are receiving - the ability to visually see and hear the type of signal of the main RF carrier
Our company has several units of RF "Bug" detectors that have all of the above features, for a statistical, logical approach for finding hidden RF audio and video transmitters. The main idea is having the proper equipment to not only locate the RF signal source, but to positively identify and classify the actual content of the transmission.

With the also added ability to tune out unwanted RF sources of "spurious emissions", our equipment can be very useful in the hands of an individual. With the proper technical literature that is encompassed in our owners and operators manuals, any individual or technician will be able to use the professional features in our equipment, to provide a professional quality counter-surveillance sweep.

Check out our RF Counter-Surveillance Detection Equipment on our products page.
 
or go directly to our RF Detector with Analog Meter or our RF Detector with Video Detector

At an ending:

As to solve any problem, taking a logical approach to solve a particular surveillance situation is always the right approach. Now with a new knowledge of how surveillance devices work, where they can be placed and how to identify common types of wireless surveillance devices, the individual can now take affirmative action with the proper equipment.

Remember that not all equipment that is sold in the open marketplace for counter-surveillance detection is suitable, nor has all the features needed to provide a detailed counter-surveillance sweep. 

Our test equipment uses the latest technological innovations to help the individual or technician in the aid of locating and positively identifying surveillance equipment.

Remember, that our equipment is only a tool used to aid a person in the field of counter-surveillance. Only a human being using knowledge, skill, and a methodical approach can find a surveillance device and remove it from operation.
 


 
Continue Reading to Next Article
Explanation of Telephone Wiretaps - Taps
Back to Home Page

 

Copyright © 2005-2014
MESINNOVATIONS.COM
All Rights Reserved


Redistribution or Unauthorized reproduction of this article / or
contents within, is restricted by law and may be used only
with written permission by MES INNOVATIONS Co. /
MESINNOVATIONS.COM
Copyright © 2005-2014
All Rights Reserved