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Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM): How to Secure your Home and Business

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Technology these days is pretty incredible. The power of the internet, cell phones, laptops, and more truly gives meaning to having the world at our fingertips. In addition, when something like COVID-19 affects day-to-day life, technology helps us to keep the economy going. Without technology, we wouldn’t have the option to work from home or communicate with family members around the world. Even businesses with offices in different countries would have trouble coordinating site visits or corporate meetings. While technology brings many positive things into our lives, it is also something that requires constant monitoring. This is why TSCM services exist. If you aren’t sure what TSCM services are, or how a private investigator can help to keep your private information safe, you aren’t alone. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to secure your home and business using technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM).

What is TSCM?

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) is a service provided by a professional team to help keep your home, office, and other spaces secure from those who wish you or your business harm. At its core, TSCM focuses on surveillance countermeasures. Surveillance countermeasures is the opposite of surveillance. It is the act of preventing anyone from observing your behaviour via hidden electronic or technical audio or video methods. So, if you’ve ever seen a spy movie where a bug is hidden in an office plant or telephone, this is one reason why you would require TSCM services. The difference, however, between movies and real life is that technology is vast and constantly changing. This means that TSCM services also apply to the devices and apps you use on a daily basis like your cellphone, tablet or laptop. 

To give you a better idea of when you might need TSCM services, check out the following examples. 

TSCM Examples:

Small Business Sale:

Let’s say that you’re a small business owner and a larger company is interested in buying you out. However, before the deal is announced, you hear some of your employees discussing the situation in the breakroom. While it’s possible that one of your managers may have let the news slip, it’s also possible that one or some of your employees have set up a bug in your office. As you can imagine, this is illegal. The problem is, it’s very easy to do, which is why it’s so important to hire an expert to prevent further damage to you or your business. 

Suspicious Spouse: 

A spouse looking to catch their partner cheating can invest in a few apps and other software. The spouse can install these apps and software on their partner’s cell phone, laptop, tablet and other electronic devices. When the partner receives audio, text or video messages, so will their spouse. 

The Travelling Business Person:

Many companies hire remote workers who travel extensively from site to site or client to client. These travelling business people connect to different Wi-Fi networks, work from the backseat of a taxi or Uber, from other offices, and even from home. While these people do great work, they often forget about different ways bugs can gather information. Hackers have perfected the art of gaining access to information like email, text messages, banking details, and more. It is in a company’s best interest to make sure employees protect themselves and the business by having TSCM in place while they travel. 

It’s important to note that bugging anyone, whether at home or in the office is illegal. In many provinces and states in North America, it is illegal to record anyone without their knowledge. Therefore, as part of a private investigator’s job is to identify areas where you’ve been compromised, fix those issues and then find the person responsible for monitoring you without consent. 

How Can a Private Investigator Help?

If you require TSCM services, your best option is to reach out to a private investigator or private investigation agency. The reason for this is because private investigators know all the different ways of finding and getting rid of bugs. A private investigator will conduct a sweep of your home or business. In short, a sweep is the act of searching for any bugs or other foreign devices. During a TSCM sweep, a private investigator will look for many different things including: 

  • Cell phone bugs
  • Wi-Fi bugs
  • Video or audio 
  • Audio or video transmissions (either recording or audio)
  • Landline phone bugs

TSCM in the Home

Many people work from home, especially these days. This means that unfortunately, work isn’t the only situation where someone might install surveillance equipment. Spouses, partners, jealous relatives or even neighbours and so-called friends might install bugs in your home when you’re not around. If you suspect your home might be bugged, contact a private investigation agency right away. A private investigator can help you to confirm your suspicions. They can also help you to deal with the people who installed the equipment against your knowledge and consent. After all, with the help of a private investigator, you can gather the information you need to take the guilty party to court. 

TSCM in the Office

The office or company building is a common place for bugs, which is why it’s important to ensure you hire a professional to keep confidential information safe. Private investigators have seen instances of bugs in conference rooms, CEO’s offices, colleagues’ desks and more. In addition, company laptops often don’t have virus protection. The problem with this is that malware can find its way onto company computers and hackers can steal information in the blink of an eye. Hiring a private investigator for TSCM services will help to identify any problem areas in the office. It will also help to uncover any bugs, audio or visual equipment that doesn’t belong. Once a TSCM operation or bug scan is complete, a private investigator will continue to work with the office to make sure that moving forward, information remains secure. 

TSCM Tools and Technology

A private investigator or private investigation team will use a wide range of tools and technologies to search for bugs. The most important element to a bug sweep is that no stone is left unturned. What this means is that a private investigator must be incredibly thorough in order to catch any surveillance equipment. Tools a private investigator will use include:

Visual Search:

A visual search is the best way for a private investigator to find any bugs. The reason for this is because installing any kind of audio or video transmission leaves behind visual clues. For example, let’s say that someone has hidden a camera in someone’s office. A private investigator will look for drywall dust or fresh paint. The private investigator will also look for any new items or gifts that the individual may have received. A visual search is tedious, however, if done correctly, a private investigator will find most bugs very quickly. 

Frequency Scanner:

After a private investigator completes a visual scan, they will often bring in additional equipment. This equipment typically helps a private investigator to uncover any radio frequencies. If a radio frequency is discovered, it likely means that someone is listening in on conversations or recording video. 

Virus Scan Software:

When it comes to computers, cell phones and tablets, a private investigator will ensure that appropriate virus scan software is installed. Virus scan software will help to catch any current bugs that might impact the safety and confidentiality of the information on the device. It will also help to prevent the individual from downloading any malware in the future. 

Technology Training:

As part of TSCM or a bug sweep, a private investigator will sometimes provide the client with technology training. While many people use technology on a daily basis, many people are unfamiliar with safe Internet practices. Therefore, a little training will help to keep clients protected moving forward. 

Do you need TSCM services? You’re in luck! Our private investigators stay on top of the latest TSCM technologies to help you keep your information safe and secure. For more information on TSCM services, contact us today.

Phone: (888) 950-4113 or Email:

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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