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  What's a "bug"?
Phone taps
Found a bug?
Where to look
Home inspections
Off-site meetings
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A company will often have an off-site meeting with executives so they can concentrate on a specific agenda away from the day-to-day office routine. These meetings usually are held at a hotel, resort or at a convention center.

The program frequently is a combined effort between the company, a meeting/event planner and the hotel convention staff. Adequate security is often lax when an off-site meeting is held at a commercial establishment. Their primary goal is to create a pleasant environment for the attendees. Security issues are not their primary concern.

An off-site meeting is an excellent opportunity for an industrial spy to gather intelligence and proprietary information. They identify the location of the meeting rooms, the agenda, the speakers, the topics to be discussed, and the decisions made. This is the information that the spy needs to provide to their client.

As the company is planning the event, so is the industrial spy. A reservation clerk may provide a list of the attendees and their room numbers. After each session, the janitor may pick up all the papers on the tables along with discarded paper from the meeting rooms. While serving refreshments a waiter may hide a transmitter under a table. A hotel security officer may talk in the hotel bar about any, or the lack of, special security arrangements.

The eavesdropper may have attended previous meetings in the hotel and had monitored radio signals coming from the public address system in each meeting room. Using his monitoring equipment, he has identified the ideal location in the hotel to set-up his listening post if he installs a "bug". He may have compiled a list of floors that receive the best radio signals for each piece of equipment he intends to use. It is an opportunity to eavesdrop using the hotel or the event production crews' wireless public address system; this is a "freebie".

To obtain maximum security for an off-site meeting, the company should engage the services of a professional Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM) team at the preplanning stage. The team would then coordinate the security efforts with the company, the hotel staff and the event planner.

Several hours before the scheduled meeting, the TSCM team should perform a physical sweep of the meeting rooms and/or any "break out" rooms that will be used. They would establish a "monitoring post" (MP) in a nearby room, a service corridor, or outside the building in a specially equipped van. They must be close enough to hear low powered device i.e. a test transmitter under 10 milliwatts from the podium. It is critical that the monitoring site be as close as possible to the podium.

When a device is actively broadcasting the signal outside the meeting the TSCM team hears what was being presented in the meeting .

At a recent meeting where sensitive proprietary information was to be discussed, the hotelís audio/video technician stated that "his wireless microphones would not broadcast much beyond the parking lot."

And then there is the problem of cellular telephones being carried into the meeting...

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