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What is a Technical Surveillance Countermeasure?

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM), commonly known as ‘bug sweeping or security sweeping’, involves not only the detailed physical and technical inspection of the work or home environment but also detecting potential areas of vulnerability.

A TSCM survey can not only detect and locate any illicit devices, it can also identify additional areas where an organisation may be losing information such as through IT, Bluetooth, unencrypted systems and human error.

Who might need a TSCM or an electronic sweep?

Businesses who are experiencing higher than average rates of losing tenders, staff losses or information leakage may wish to undergo a security sweep to rule out the possibility of corporate espionage.

Individuals who are concerned about in-home privacy often wish to undergo a bug sweep to rule out clandestine devices that may have been planted by a current or former partner, landlord or previous tenant.

Anyone wishing to gain peace of mind that their information and privacy remains safe may wish to undertake a counter surveillance sweep.

Some actual phases of a TSCM Sweep

A TSCM sweep generally involves 4 phases:

  1. Physical Scanning of rooms/spaces for hidden devices  Advanced Sweeping conducts technical inspections using advanced countermeasure receiver systems. Our team is equipped with frequency catching devices, audio and video detectors, GSM hunters (Mobile phone detector), RF Detectors, Infrared sensors and various other tools. We have identified listening devices hidden fake pot plants, spy cameras installed in wall vents and ceiling voids, just to name a few!
  2. Inspection of electrical devices, telecommunications, wall sockets and IT systems   In-depth searches are undertaken to check for hidden hard-wired listening devices and/or hidden cameras. We have located devices hidden in adapters, overhead ceiling panels, smoke detectors, phone handsets and sockets and have even Wi-Fi store and forward devices that sit on the network normally in a hidden manner.
  3. Inspection of physical security and access control  Sometimes a threat can walk right in through the front door. A visitor may arrive offering a range of plausible excuses – ‘I’m here for the electrics’ or ‘I’ve been called to fix a computer’. Ensuring implementation of appropriate physical access controls are major consideration in a TSCM sweep. Whether it be in the home or the office, ensuring restricted access to a property or space is essential. 
  4. Neutralise and document any ‘listening bugs’ or vulnerabilities identified If any devices are located, we neutralise these and document any findings using a ‘chain of evidence’ form. This chain of evidence form can be used in legal proceedings that may arise. Our team will compile a comprehensive TSCM report on your existing security practices and where necessary, make recommendations to enhance your level of security.

Our expert team also employs the use of ‘invisible’ markers and some UV indicators when examining vents, sockets, switches, devices etc. can be used to show evidence any tampering on subsequent visits. This can decrease the time needed upon a return sweep, saving both time and money when ensuring your home or business remains secure. Companies serious about information security should have TSCM inspections conducted on a regular basis.

For any further information or a quote, please contact Advanced Sweeping on +44 (0)3450 343 945.


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