The Latest in TSCM/Bug Sweep Technology
Editor's note: This article was written by Paul Cicarella about his certification experience at REI’s Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) training. The opinions expressed here belong to Paul Cicarella.
In February of 2019, investigators gathered at the Research Electronics International (REI)’s Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) training to stay on top of today’s cutting edge counter-surveillance and TSCM/bug sweeping technology.
Over a period of five days, technical security professionals reviewed tactics and best practices with attendees, shedding light on advanced techniques and new technology. The professionals at REI work with a variety of security specialists including federal agencies, local municipalities, and world corporations as well as private sector agencies and companies. In order to be proficient, trainers allowed attendees to work with top of the line TSCM equipment. This equipment allows agencies and companies to test for a wide range of technical threats and ultimately eliminate those threats.
REI’s Core Concepts Course consisted of hands-on training in the fields of telephone testing, free space radio frequency (RF) detection, and non-linear junction detection, which involves using equipment to detect electronic semi-conductor components. The course also covered the key fundamentals of a technical security investigation to ensure that investigators complete each investigation fully and properly, all the way from preparation to debriefing the client. Part of this was learning how to use REI’s state of the art detectors, Andre and Orion, to their full capacities along with CMA 100. To accomplish this, REI provided mock hotel rooms, offices, and average household rooms as well as fully functional phones and phone lines. The Orion 2.4 HX is a non-linear junction detector that detects hidden electronic devices regardless of whether they are radiating, hard-wired, or turned off. The Andre is a handheld broadband receiver that locates nearby RF, infrared, visible light, carrier current, and other types of transmitters. The CMA-100 Countermeasures Amplifier is a high gain audio amplifier identifies surveillance devices specifically attached to building wiring such as telephone wiring, LAN and server systems, AC power, and alarm wire.
The Andre is one of REI’s near-field detection receivers that sweeps for various transmissions such as radio frequency, infrared, visible light, and carrier current. It comes equipped with numerous attachments, which pick up transmissions ranging from 10 KHz to 12 GHz. The Andre can also be used to fully sweep a phone booth, the phone itself, and the phone block where the phone lines run as well as wiring in buildings. In regards to bug sweeps, this is particularly useful in identifying malicious equipment designed to gather information over a suspect’s phone communications.
The Orion is REI’s non-linear junction detector that detects hidden electronics whether they are on or off. It can even detect the devices through surfaces such as furniture or walls. By transmitting its own radio frequency energy to the hidden device, the Orion is able to detect it due to the frequency energy bouncing off of the semiconductors within the device and sending a signal back to the Orion itself. The Orion may be one of the investigator’s best tools for counter-surveillance investigations. Since technology is expanding and a wider range of digital devices are now available, the Orion’s capability to find a variety of electronics is invaluable. The Orion can find hidden devices not otherwise noticed, wrapping up an investigator with ease.
The Andre and Orion tools allow for improved counter surveillance investigations as trained professionals can easily locate suspicious devices that may be used to record an individual’s actions. This faster, accurate devices can lower the cost of TSCM (bug sweep) investigations and get clients the answers they need.
Technical threats and attacks occur on a daily basis and are often at times when you would least expect them. Whether it is a domestic dispute between a husband and wife, a former business partner who had a falling out with their company, or a foreign entity trying to obtain vital information from our government, there is no way to be 100% sure that you are safe from these attacks. We need to take the proper precautions and steps to stay protected. Attacks can happen to anyone but they can also happen in a variety of different ways.
With state of the art equipment and hands-on training in the fields of broadband detection, non-linear junction detection, and telephone testing, any investigation agency should be prepared to take these steps and ensure that its clients are protected from technical threats. Advanced Investigations LLC specializes in bug sweeping, utilizing the latest equipment/training from professionals. We also focus our efforts on litigation support for personal injury, criminal, family, and trial consulting as well as solving unique problems and issues with the help of experts in their respective fields.
About the Author
Paul Cicarella Jr. LPI started Advanced Investigations, LLC. in 2009, making him the youngest licensed investigator at that time in the state of Connecticut. In total, Paul has 16 years of investigative experience. Paul is also the owner of Advanced Installations, an alarm and security company specializing in CCTV cameras. Paul recently merged with Advanced Total Protection (ATP) which helps and provides better service to his larger loss prevention clients. Paul is involved in many industry associations, he’s the president of CT Private Investigators Association (CPIA), Region 2 Director of National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS), a member of the Fraternal Order of Investigators (FOI), World Association of Detectives (W.A.D.), National Defender Investigator Association (NDIA), American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC), Business Network International (BNI), Better Business Bureau (BBB) and associated with Fairfield Bar Association (FBA). Advanced Investigations LLC is located in CT with offices in Westport, Stratford, New Haven, North Haven, Waterbury, Hartford, and Guilford. Open 24/7, Advanced Investigations can be reached at 203-745-4455 and [email protected].