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How to build your listening bug

October 23, 2010 Technology 1 Commento

For those who want to give audio surveillance a try and, despite not having the necessary resources to purchase a complete set of bugging devices and hidden microphones for secret listening, are equipped with a good deal of patience as well as some basic knowledge of electronics, today on the Internet it is very easy to find instructions to build your own equipment that can perform the same job at a fraction of the cost.

For example, on one of the many specialized sites, you can find detailed instructions to concoct your own spy bug, with simple off-the-shelf pieces that can easily be obtained by recycling an old radio.

Obviously the result will not be something that can be used by a surveillance professional for performance at the highest level, but it can be more than enough, for example, to listen to your neighbors or your children while they are playing in their room.

The intelligence you gather can be easily listened to with a standard FM radio, so maybe if you’re going to pull a prank on your neighbors, make sure that they do not have their radio on, or they may end up listening to themselves in real time!

Detailed instructions for building this device, that must be considered nothing more than a toy, are quite simple for those who have a basic understanding of electronics, and with just a few hours of work, you can build your first bug and start playing the secret agent!

Obviously though, if you plan to use an audio surveillance system, made up not only of spy bugs and hidden microphones, but also of radio transmitters suitable for professional use, for example to resolve a case of marital infidelity, it is strongly advised to consult experts in this field, who could give you professional advice, according to your surveillance needs, and why not, to your budget.

Listening bugs are safe, for now

August 11, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who have followed political life in Italy lately will certainly have noticed how the headlines are no longer arguing about the proposed bill, better known as “gag bill” which was supposed to impose limitations on telephone wiretapping, while at the same time it was raising serious doubts about his legitimacy and the real reason why this bill was supposed to pass.

Difficulties within the centre-right coalition, and the split of a party only apparently monolithic and centered on Berlusconi’s figure as an absolute Chief, have taken the spotlight, leaving discussion on this bill in the shade. To tell the truth, the bill on eavesdropping has been one of the reasons for this crisis, ultimately leading to a split between supporters of the absolute Chief and those, in the coalition that supports the Government, that keep ears and eyes open to listen to the cry for law, order and honesty coming not only from their electorate, but from electors of other parties.

The ones that just left the PDL party had already raised exceptions and suggested amendments to the gag bill, so much that it would have been completely changed, taking it into a direction that, obviously, would not have been useful for the interests of the Prime Minister and of others who would silently have benefited from this law.

Therefore, because of this split, the Berlusconi administration is no longer (or not only) negotiating amendments to the bill that would regulate the recourse to listening bugs, but also to reach a stable majority to keep ruling the country.

For what it matters, from our little corner on the Web, we will maintain our no to a bill that does not really heed the cry for privacy coming from the common man (who would have nothing to fear if he leads a honest life), but rather heeds that coming from those who would not want their dirty deals to be exposed.

Listening bugs, it’s not the end yet

July 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who follow Italian political life will certainly be aware of the controversy that the bill on telephone eavesdropping is arising not only between the ruling coalition and its opposition, but also within the Italian governmental majority.

Not only the centre-left opposition, but a large chunk of the centre-right coalition that rules the country does not like some parts of this bill, which seem to aim at gagging the press in its ability to report about investigations, and ends up making life much harder for police forces when investigating and when wiretapping phones or planting listening devices.

The fact that between the lines of the bill presented for approval were hiding some norms that would have dramatically limited the possibility of planting bugs to eavesdrop conversations, making it possible to use them only when serious clues of guilt are involved, and that the eavesdropped intelligence could only be used against the specific crime in question and not any additional offences that might be revealed while listening, raised more than one eyebrow.

What seems to be happening now is a showdown within the coalition, between a right-wing that supports Berlusconi no matter what, and those who, taking into consideration the “law and order” attitude of most of their electorate (an attitude also shared by the centre-left) might be in trouble having to explain why such a bill, that ends up making life easier for criminals, is being passed by using the electors’ mandate.

Those who work in this field are sitting on the riverside, hoping that the interests of a few do not prevail over everyone else’s call for security.

Telephone interception on the rise in the US. And in Italy?

June 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In the States, the public opinion is extremely sensitive when it comes to financial crimes, especially when Wall Street is involved, where huge sums of money are constantly moving; these huge sums are often made up of normal people’s lifetime savings, and thanks to reckless financial operations carried out by so-called “wizards”, these savings may end up disappearing within a short time.

To fight such crimes, certainly one of the most efficient methods is using telephone eavesdropping, which can prove very useful in gathering intelligence to fight tax evasion, scams and financial offences of several kinds.

In fact, if thanks to the usage of miniature bugs, the US law enforcement has been able to uncover scams as big as the one perpetrated by the Ponzi-scheme master Bernie Madoff, who embezzled something like 15 billion dollars over the course of several years, recourse to interception, both for phone calls and for conversations that take place inside a room or a conference hall, can also be a great tool to fight terror, which is often tightly connected to the world of finance.

In the US territory, during the year 2009, interception of phone calls and environmental conversations has increased 26% in comparison with the previous year. Obviously, the US justice places a great deal of trust in the technicians specialized in this kind of war against crime, in the analysts who work on the intelligence gathered, and in detectives who place all this information into the right context to fight crime and defeat terrorist cells or scammers’ gangs of any kind and at any level.

Without including in the count investigations for crimes connected to terrorism and national security, whose data is not published, last year the installation of bugs, listening devices and hidden microphones in the US has been authorized for more than 280 thousand people.

In Italy instead, by hiding behind the excuse that “honest people are afraid that their conversations might be eavesdropped” or that “trials happen first on the media and then before a court”, the Berlusconi administration is doing everything to pass a bill which, by limiting recourse to interception of phone calls and conversations, and reducing the lifespan of eavesdropping operations, would in the end make life much easier for criminals, scammers, pedophiles or mobsters, while tying the detectives’ hands, or at least, making their job much harder than now.

According to this bill, telephone interception will be possible only for criminal offences which can be punished with more than 5 years in prison, and for a maximum of 75 days, which can be prolonged by 3 days at the time after a specific court order (one every 3 days). For mafia crimes, the time limit is 40 days and can be extended of 20 days at a time. Environmental eavesdropping will be done via bugs which can be installed only for a maximum of 3 days (plus a 3-day extension).

Furthermore, it will no longer be possible to publish the intercepted conversations on newspapers or magazines, otherwise journalists might be sent to jail, and their editors dearly fined.

All this goes in a direction which is exactly the opposite of the world trend (as we can see from US statistics) of using the services of the much-feared, ever present and almighty technological “Big Brother” which can potentially listen to our every breath, by taking advantage of possibilities offered by technological advancement to defend honest people and fight crimes, not only of a financial nature but also connected with terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Only a few weeks ago, with an unprecedented move, even the US Administration showed a polite, albeit clear, criticism of this new Italian bill. What we all hope for, not only those who work in the surveillance or law enforcement field, is that the Italian government takes a step back and rethinks its position.

Spy listening devices are wireless in the 21st century

March 18, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Lives

Being the movie aficionado that I am, the other day I was watching a German movie called The Lives Of Others, about a Stasi agent in 1980s German Democratic Republic.
When I came to the scene in which the main character finds out that his home had been bugged, and that he had been listened to for years, I could not help but smile.

In fact, in this scene he uncovers the hundreds of meters of cables which were placed within his walls, and that were connecting hidden audio transmitters which enabled a listener, placed in a room in the adjacent building, to listen to all his conversations.

I had a nostalgic smile, thinking of what results the Stasi was able to achieve with its primitive equipment, especially if we compare those bugs with today’s modern listening devices.

First of all, the modern hidden transmitters do not need cables to operate, as they are powered either by a battery or can harness power from the telephone line cables. This allows for an unlimited duration of the surveillance operation.

But the most important feature is the possibility of transmitting the intelligence gathered, not via airwaves to the next building, but via a phone call to anywhere, even the other end of the world. In fact, a GSM bug can house a SIM card just like the one we have on our cellphones, and use it to place a secret phone call towards a preset number.

The person who receives the call just has to pick up the phone, wherever he is and whatever he is doing, and can comfortably listen in, without having to sit for long hours waiting for a sound or a sign.

Quite an improvement, huh?

A bug inside your ordinary mouse

March 9, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Mouse

When it comes to long distance surveillance, one of the main factors is keeping the operation as secret as it gets, and when you have to use a remote monitoring system, you should try to make them as invisible as possible.

Thanks to the ever increasing miniaturization of technology, particularly the kind that is used in this specific field, it is now possible to conceal listening devices inside objects of everyday use and of small size, such as table calculators, office lamps, inside what looks like a USB drive or, for example, on the inside of a computer mouse, which can be equipped with a GSM bug.

The GSM mouse, at a first glance, is a perfectly normal mouse which, along with carrying out its ordinary duties, on the inside conceals a small but important secret: a micro transmitter teamed up with a SIM card.

All you have to do is replace your old mouse with this new one, and as soon as it is connected to the USB port, the transmitter will immediately be available to start working, allowing a third party listener to hear in real time the conversations in the room, no matter where he is. To listen in, all you have to do is a phone call.

When it is not used as a remote listening device, your GSM mouse works normally, in order to avoid arising any possible suspicion in its unaware user. When you want to be in touch with him, all you have to do is call the number connected to the SIM card, and in a completely invisible fashion you will be able to listen in real time to environmental conversations taking place within a few meters around your spy mouse.

Once the surveillance operation is completed, just hang up and the mouse will keep working normally, while the bug is in standby mode.

GSM Bugs

November 30, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Triband

Long distance listening devices have reached such a level of miniaturization, versatility and reliability that allows anyone who needs to use them to find the right type for his needs, be it law enforcement agencies hunting for criminals, concerned husbands wishing to check on their wives’ fidelity, or businessmen who need to keep a watchful eye over their staff.

To be always able to keep under control the subject of surveillance, whatever the distance between him and the person who is monitoring him, the best solution is using a GSM bug, that is, a hidden microphone, powered either by a battery or by continuous or alternate current, connected to a SIM card just like the one of our common mobile phone.

Thanks to this ingenious system, it is possible to follow your subject anywhere he goes, without risking to screw up the entire surveillance operation by arising unnecessary attention, as it will be possible to stay in constant touch with a simple phone call towards the number connected to the covert listening device.

To be sure about the operation’s efficiency, most of the GSM bugs are equipped with an automated activation sensor which allows to detect a voice, a motion or, if installed inside a car, can detect when the vehicle is switched on. Once an event is detected, the bug will automatically call you towards a preset number to inform you that the person under control is moving or talking, and allow you to listen in.

GSM listening devices can be remotely controlled and configured; in fact, by sending a simple SMS, you can set the number that controls the hidden microphone, as well as sensor sensitivity parameters, or even reset the whole device, in order to optimize your surveillance operation and sleep tight!.

For more information on any kind of listening devices, as well as on a wide range of security and surveillance-related items, you can visit the Endoacustica website.

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