TSCM — What and Why?

In today’s interconnected world, organizations are looking for that competitive edge that will thrust them ahead of their competition, and sometimes they will go to great lengths and unethical means to get that edge — enter espionage. For organizations that suspect corporate espionage, a full security risk assessment may be necessary, starting with a Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) exam.

Contact Pinkerton

Blog — Technical Surveillance Countermeasures to Prevent Corporate Espionage

Your organization has called an important company board meeting to discuss a top-secret product development project. If this unique product idea gets leaked to your competitors, the consequences could be dire. How to prevent your organization from becoming victim to corporate espionage.

Blog — The Role of TSCM in Company Security

There are many reasons why a surveillance device might be used against a company or other entity. While it might seem far-fetched that anyone would practice such tactics, a laissez-faire attitude is quite misguided. Pinkerton Director Steve Ringhofer provides insight regarding a hot trend in security right now: TSCM.

Quote graphic which reads: "You can't be distracted, or you will miss something. You have to know what to look for while also investigating everything." - Steve Ringhofer, Director, TSCM

Specific Types of Technical Surveillance Countermeasures

Infrared Spectrum Analysis (IR)

When energy moves through an electronic circuit, some of it is converted to heat, which creates low frequency light waves. Small bugging devices — audio bugs, micro video cameras, recorders, and wiretap or video transmitters — require little energy to operate but still create some light waves.

The infrared thermal imagers used in IR are sensitive enough to detect even the smallest light waves created from slightly elevated temperatures to pinpoint where bugging devices are located… or, in some cases, where they were once located.

Full Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum Analysis

The most common type of eavesdropping devices used in surveillance are wireless audio bugs, or small microphones that convert sound waves into electrical signals and transmit them to receivers using radio frequencies. Bugs are inexpensive, readily available, and depending on the device, can broadcast continuously for up to 37 days — long enough to be placed inside a conference room a month before an important new product or board meeting.

Fortunately, bugs are also relatively easy to uncover using a tactic called Full Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum Analysis. When properly performed, RF detector sweeps are not intrusive or disruptive and can detect, identify, and locate transmitting devices from a considerable distance, such as a supply room, warehouse, or even a nondescript delivery truck across the street.

Physical Searches

In addition to a high-tech sweep for malicious audio and video devices, there must be a thorough physical search for:

  • Bugged telephones and Polycom phone systems
  • Idle surveillance equipment that may be turned off or out of batteries
  • Reflections from camera lenses
  • Passwords left on desks or under keyboards
  • Computers left on and logged in
  • Inadequate document disposal and paper shredders

When it comes to detecting corporate espionage, it’s not always about advancing technology. There is no substitute for well-trained eyes and experienced, deft hands.

Contact Pinkerton Today