by David Crane
david at defensereview.com
Covert surveillance and counter-surveillance technology technologies are an important component in the global war on terror. In in order to keep up with these technologies, DefenseReview reads a number of web and print publications that deal with this high-tech security technology sector. One of the print publications we read is Eye Spy intelligence magazine, a British publication that’s self-billed as "the world’s leading newsstand magazine on inteligence and espionage", which is "read by the global intelligence community."
In every issue, we’ve seen a number of covert surveillance, counter-surveillance and espionage products that are actually affordable to security-conscious individuals (civilians). These security products are kind of cool, so we thought we’d publish some info on them:…
We’ll start with the SpyFinder hidden camera detector/locator, which is described as "the most reliable and easy-to-use technology on the market for making sure you are not being watched." Sounds like something a lot of famous people could have used to keep themselves from getting Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher. Anyway, the handheld SpyFinder device operates on the principal of "optical augmentation". Here’s how it works: Focused optical systems like video cameras (lenses, specifically) reflect light. This reflected light can be illuminated and seen using light-emitting device like SpyFinder. All you have to do to detect hidden/covert cameras (wired or wireless) is turn SpyFinder on, look through the viewing window, and scan the room/area. Any/all operating cameras that are hit by SpyFinder’s light beam will create a strong reflection ("return the beam", so to speak) and thus reveal themselves to the user. The "beam" that’s returned resembles a "flashing pulsating light." Suggested retail on SpyFinder is $135.00 USD, but Defense Review has seen the device listed on the internet for as low as $79.99 USD. Not bad, considering that the device is supposed to be reliable. That said, DefenseReview hasn’t tested SpyFinder ourselves, yet.
Speaking of hidden/covert camera detectors, Eye Spy magazine also showcases the VideoTek Finder a.k.a. VideoTek Camera Finder, which is a "wireless camera hunter" device that will locate any secret wireless video camera in the area, albeit via a different mechanism than SpyFinder. The VideoTek Camera Finder works by automatically scanning all commonly-used video fequencies and in less than five seconds and locks-in on any video transmitter. The VideoTek Camera Finder will display on its own screen what the video camera is seeing and sound an audible alarm/tone. DefenseReview doesn’t know what will happen if multiple cameras, all using the same frequency, are operating in a given area. You can select the antenna sensitivity on the device to lock onto sources at distances of up to 500 feet away, depending on the power level of the source transmitter. Suggested retail is $695.00 USD, but Defense Review has seen the device available on the internet in the $495.00 USD range.
But, hidden cameras aren’t the only surveillance technology you may face. Covert listening devices (a.k.a. covert audio devices) also pose a serious security threat. That’s why you might want to get yourself a Zap Checker Advanced covert bug and camera detector . We think this is the same unit as the Zap Checker ZC 190B (unconfirmed/unverified). However, why screw around? For a couple hundred more dollars, you can upgrade to the Zap Checker Model ZC 300 (1.8-6.0 GHz LPDA) with advanced-technology RF-detection (radio frequency detection). This Zap Checker 300 gives you broadband RF detection of 1.0 MHz to 8.0 GHz usable frequency spectrum. The device’s "extraordinary sensitivity" allows the user to detect any/all devices operating in that frequency range, and zero in on their exact location. It can also distinguish between analog and digital signals. Just how sensitive is it? Better than -75 dBm at 2.4 GHz, "right where you need it most". Uhhmm, o.k., we’re sold. So how much? The Zap Checker ZC 300 clocks in at $599.00 USD.
Just FYI, there’s also a ZAP Checker ABC 126 that detects RF signals at frequencies of 1MHz to 14 GHz, but that unit will set you back $2,799.00 USD.
If covert micro audio recorders a.k.a. micro audio recording devices are you’re thing, might want to check out the Telesystems EDIC-mini Model B6 18.6-hour (flash memory) micro digital audio recorder (micro-DAR) a.k.a. micro digital voice recorder (micro-DVR), which measures 34x25x7mm (not too much larger than a quarter) and weighs 8 grams. However, when we went to the the TS-Market Ltd. (a Telesystems Ltd. company) website, we didn’t see the Model B6 on their. Their homepage appears to list all of the Edic-mini DAR models. In any case, suggested retail on the Telesystems Edic-Mini Model B6 digital audio micro-recorder is $725.00 USD.
Then there’s the New Generation MicroDot Squared Black Tiny Audio Recorder, which appears to be the same device (unconfirmed/unverified) as the Telesystems Miniature Edic-Mini Tiny digital voice recorder (DVR), which records in stereo. In any case, the New Generation MicroDot "Tiny" micro-DAR/DVR is 12x35x17mm and weighs 10 grams. Recording time is 1120, 2240, 4480, 8960, or 17920 minutes, "depending on a modification" (i.e. internal memory modification), and battery life in record mode is up to 60 hours. The price of the unit is dependent on the amount of internal memory (i.e. storage capacity) you get. Click here for pricing information.
If you want to conduct a little covert video surveillance yourself, you might want to take a look at the Eye Spy Covert Black Set and Covert Black Economy Set covert video surveillance systems (digital MP4 recorders). Both sets utilize button cameras (they’re disguised as shirt buttons), the only differences being that the more expensive Covert Black Set comes with four sets of interchangeable buttons and screws (the screw heads allow concealment in wall panels, for example), has slightly better image quality (450 horizontal lines vs. 380 horizontal lines), and you can use a 4GB SD card with the Covert Black Set. The Eye Spy Covert Black Economy Set is priced at $599.00. We don’t have pricing information on the more expensive system, yet.
Just one suggestion: If you’re going to employ/deploy either of the above video surveillance systems, you’d better hope that your surveillee doesn’t have the aformentioned SpyFinder or VideoTek Finder on him/her, or it could get ugly real fast.