Eavesdrop on a billion: how information is stolen

The secret services wiretapped the negotiations of presidents and high-ranking officials (remember the scandals with wiretapping of the conversations of Angela Merkel, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande), which more than once reflected in their political decisions. More than one top manager has lost his position due


to leaks of confidential information (remember the scandals in the banking sector in a number of countries). How to protect yourself from extra eyes and ears? How to prepare serious negotiations and avoid disclosing important information? 


 How do large companies organize security and what do they have to deal with?
Information has become an expensive commodity in the modern world. A billion US dollars is such a price for Russian commercial companies due to leaks of confidential information.

In 2016, 49% of Russian companies faced confidential data leaks. And only 17% of companies were able to stop the data theft attempt. Most often, information about customers and transactions (25%) and data constituting a trade secret (18%) fell into third hands. The global damage from leaks of confidential information in 2011-12 amounted to about $ 20 billion per year.
In my post today, I will tell you how you can eavesdrop using the perimeter of the meeting room or external structures of the building. And also how to protect yourself from this and how to properly organize a meeting room for a serious conversation. 



"Bugs" can be divided into long-term (constant receipt of information) and short-term (laid down for a specific event).

The former take a long time to install. As a rule, they are installed at the stage of construction, repair, decoration or when carrying out some work on the equipment of the premises (for example, computer and telephone networks, "electrics", air conditioning of the electrical network or low-current lines) and can be installed in enclosing structures, finishing elements, elements of electrical equipment, sensors, etc.





The second - "tossed", have an autonomous power supply and are designed to work from several days to several weeks, or even months. A few seconds are enough to install them (came in - threw it). They can be placed in hidden cavities, crevices and folds of furniture upholstery, interior items, plastic boxes, etc.


Bookmark locations



In addition, both the first and the second can be camouflaged under various items necessary for the functioning of this room, as well as souvenirs and gifts.

In some cases, it is not necessary to enter the room and install (or "throw up") a "bug", since acoustic vibrations (air vibrations) turn into vibrations of elastic media - enclosing structures, pipelines, glazing of windows, etc. ("walls also have ears" ), which can be received from the outside in different ways. These are the so-called channels of information leakage.


Windows are the weakest points


It is difficult to detect wiretapping on your own, and it is safer to call a specialist. “Many customers think that upon their call a person will come with a suitcase, open it, push something and immediately detect any device. In fact, this process takes much longer, and the search equipment takes several large bags, "said the head of the special work department of STT-GROUP (a company one of the activities of which is the search and neutralization of spy equipment, and STT-GROUP uses for this, the original equipment of our own production) Nikita Tkach.


OPTIK-2 Optical detector of hidden video cameras



It is never known in advance what devices can be used to secretly obtain information. Therefore, in the process of searching for "bugs", three main directions can be distinguished: a thorough visual examination of the room and interior items using optical instruments, analysis and identification of signals in possible transmission channels (air, wired communications, optical channel), analysis of various physical parameters of environments and objects and detection of local anomalies of these parameters using special equipment.


Cassandra-SO Complex radio monitoring


STT-GROUP specialists use the most modern equipment for this work, some samples of which have no analogues. The range of equipment used by STT-GROUP specialists is sufficient for the analysis of almost all signs of "bugs" and their detection. For example, STT-GROUP equipment is able to see a SIM card beyond 20 cm of a concrete wall.


NR-2000 nonlinear locator



 It should be noted that this type of activity is subject to licensing. Therefore, there are not so many companies that provide such services at the appropriate level. For example, in Moscow you can count them on one hand.

So, how is the protection against unauthorized eavesdropping of serious conversations behind closed doors actually built?
“If you are constantly holding closed negotiations, then it makes sense to prepare the premises even at the stage of organizing the office and renovation. This is exactly what they do in all major government agencies and large companies.

The room is chosen as isolated as possible from the outer perimeter of the building and the rest of the office, a minimum of windows and communications suitable for such a meeting room. Windows are generally a weak point; special attention is paid to them. Special materials and sound-insulating panels, double doors, a special design of walls and partitions are laid in the repair, the necessary equipment is selected. The main thing is vibroacoustic protection. Neighboring premises, an attic, a basement, ventilation, heating, fire extinguishing systems, alarms, telephony and computer networks are all leakage channels, ”say STT-GROUP specialists. 



It is better to prepare a "secret" meeting room at the stage of renovation.

If the room for negotiations is not prepared, but there is a need to maintain the confidentiality of the conversation, then first a group of specialists examines the room for a pre-established "wiretapping", then equipment that creates acoustic interference is installed in the room. That is, a person who overhears, hears noise and does not recognize speech.

VNG-012GL Generator of vibroacoustic protection of premises


There is a certain classification according to the level of protection against leakage of speech information (by analogy with assessing the quality of communication channels), which is determined by the level of speech intelligibility (verbal, syllabic, etc.), expressed as a percentage. This determines the level of generated interference, depending on the importance of the protected information.

“We have a complex for assessing the effectiveness of the protection of speech information" Kolibri ", it measures the levels and evaluates the parameters of acoustic, vibration and low-power low-frequency electrical signals. If we understand that the percentage of speech intelligibility in a room is higher than what is necessary to protect information, we install additional security measures. This is a unique complex, and we are the only developer, manufacturer and holder of the working design documentation for the complex, ”says Nikita Tkach.


"Kolibri" - a complex for assessing the effectiveness of protection of speech information



 After a set of measures to protect the premises from prying eyes and ears, you can calmly talk about the most intimate. 

 But! There are other sources of danger as well. I will tell you how to neutralize "infected" gadgets in the next post!

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