Bugs: A New Twist To The Insider Threat


According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report published by Verizon, 34% of breaches were committed by company insiders. Security directors should be discussing electronic surveillance device sweeps as a method to reduce their firm’s vulnerability to internal and external spies however, many do not see the need to invest time and budget. It is a security best practice to conduct quarterly Technical Surveillance Counter-Measure (TSCM) sweeps of high-value targets (e.g., board rooms, IT rooms and C-suite offices), and new developments warrant serious consideration of a program that is run by a security partner with expertise in modern detection technologies.

Surveillance equipment has become not only more sophisticated but increasingly affordable, which means 'bugging' devices are no longer tools exclusively used by government spies or bad actors trying to steal trade secrets. With access to advanced surveillance technologies and to company locations where data and high-value information is exchanged, rogue employees now have the means to perpetrate espionage not imagined until now. When you couple this emerging threat with the realities of how business leaders and companies operate in today's mobile and interconnected world, the case is even stronger for engaging an expert to develop and execute a pro-active TSCM program.

A typical TSCM sweep aims to discover electronic surveillance devices currently in place – whether they are transmitting or not. TSCM experts look for evidence of prior eavesdropping attempts and conduct detailed examination of furniture, fixtures, wiring, ductwork, computers and small items within the sweep area. Sweeps should be memorialized and reporting should contain key action items that will improve overall operational security.

Takeaways: An expert-run TSCM program is a documented risk mitigation strategy. With broader access to sophisticated surveillance technologies, there are new considerations when addressing the Insider Threat. TSCM specialists stay on top of tactics and technologies used by bad actors. Experts should perform Non-linear Junction Detection (NLJD) to locate devices even when they are on standby, turned off or out of battery power, and should have instrumentation that senses temperature differentials and can detect devices such as GSM bugs and GPS trackers, which transmit infrequently. Click here for more information.

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