Sunday, November 30, 2008

If you are going to peep and eavesdrop, don't...

• pick on a female,
• with a gun,
• who, oh by the way... is an FBI Agent,
• who, oh by the way... will shoot your sorry...

SC - faces criminal charges after he was shot during a scuffle with an FBI agent outside her home... Ronnie William Pennington, 59, of 116 William St., was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and peeping Tom, eavesdropping or peeping, according to warrants... He tried to get away, and she grabbed him... The man hit her with his hands as he tried to escape... The woman, who was not injured, fired a handgun at the man, striking him in the left buttocks... (more)
The initial investigation lead officers believe the shooting was justified. (imagine that)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Heavy breath, ok, another heavy breath. Humm."

VT - A Woodford man, who apparently used a stethoscope to eavesdrop on his ex-girlfriend, was charged with stalking Tuesday by Vermont State Police.

Police arrested Ryan Nystrom, 23, after a witness spotted a young man perched on a residential back porch roof, next to a bedroom window early Tuesday morning.

A police report says the victim and her new boyfriend were in the bedroom at the time of the incident. (more)

I'm Dreaming of a Spy Christmas

New spy tank transmits video and audio
...the Spy Video ATV-360, can handle nearly anything in its path since it is, as the name indicates, and all-terrain vehicle.
With a simple push of a remote button, the ATV’s camera will transmit a 360-degree scan of its surroundings. OK. No one is in the kitchen, it’s safe to proceed.

The ATV’s track-based movement allows it to climb over obstacles while being controlled remotely up to 75 feet away. The video images it sends back are displayed on an LCD lens built into a pair of glasses. A single earbud helps the spy hear what’s going on around the ATV. (more)

Wireless SpyCam Built into a Wristwatch!
"A normal but luxury metal wristwatch has one smallest camera inside. Just press the power switch; it begins transmitting high quality color video with sound to our supplied 2.4GHz wireless MPEG-4 DVR up to 300 feet away. Put the DVR in a bag or on a belt. Then, just press one button. It will start to transmitter video and audio simultaneously. This also works as a normal watch." (more)

Wireless SpyCam Helicopter
The Draganflyer X6 is a remotely operated, unmanned, miniature helicopter designed to carry wireless video cameras and still cameras. Operate the Draganflyer X6 helicopter with the easy to use handheld controller while viewing what the helicopter sees through video glasses... The Draganflyer X6 helicopter uses 11 sensors and thousands of lines of code to self-stabilize during flight. This means the Draganflyer X6 is easier to fly than any other helicopter in its class. (more with video)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1966 Telephone Encryption Device

Wiretap-proof telephone
This scrambler keeps private phone conversations safe from wiretappers and eavesdroppers. Fitted to an ordinary handset, it needs no electrical connection, has its own power source. To hear, a person needs an unscrambler coded identically. Delcon Division, Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif., sells it for $275, keeps your name and code locked in its vault.

Unsold units were later turned into platform shoes :)
Just kidding.

Email Sinks Two Anchors - One Stays Anchored

PA - Former Philadelphia TV anchor Larry Mendte has learned his fate for spying on his co-worker's computers.

Mendte was snooping on former CBS 3 co-anchor Alycia Lane's emails and releasing personal information about her to the media. His punishment for his evil ways?
• Six months house arrest
• He must wear an electronic monitoring device
• $5,000 fine
• 250 hours of community service
• Three years probation
• Special filtering device on his personal computer
• No contact with Lane

Mendte, 51, had pleaded guilty to one felony count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and obtaining information, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid.

He had accessed Lane's emails thousands of times according to prosecutors. Lane fired back at Mendte in September by filing a suit in the Common Pleas Court. Lane accuses Mendte of invading her privacy and helping to cause her demise by leaking information to the press. (more) (background)

The Year's Biggest Data Breaches, and 8 Tips

In Pictures: The Year's Biggest Data Breaches
In Pictures: Eight Ways To Guard Your Online Privacy

Queen's Electric Teapot 'Bugged'

UK - The samovar was identified as a potential bugging device following a recent sweep by the security services.

The ornate red and yellow urn was presented to the Queen by a Russian aerobatics team about 20 years ago, at the tail end of the Soviet era. It reportedly became a favourite of the Queen Mother, who put it in a corner of a room in the Aberdeenshire estate and apparently showed it off to visitors.

Security services apparently suspected that the complicated eastern European wiring could have concealed a listening device. If true, the teapot could have listened in to the Queen's conversations with prime ministers, world leaders and members of her family.

One retainer told the Daily Express: "The samovar was always a bit of an enigma. No one could work out what the Russians thought we were going to do with it.
"The wiring looked as if it came from a Second World War tank and it was not exactly pretty. "No one ever considered it a security risk until a recent sweep by these spooks with their electronic devices. They swept everywhere imaginable, public and private rooms, and the first thing to go was the samovar." (more)

The Russian side of the story...
Mikhail Lyubimov, who served in the Russian secret services in Britain for several decades, says that the story may be a canard, since the alleged bugging model referred to by the Daily Express is both ineffective and useless.

"Buckingham Palace and the Queen were never objects of great interest to us, since the Queen doesn't have an active role in Britain's governance,” he points out.

Moreover, Lyubimov states that the electric device is unlikely to have been a regular guest at government mee
tings or any negotiations that the Queen might have conducted with important visitors.

Nevertheless, the ex-secret agent recalls an equally strange story, involving a Russian souvenir. In the 1960s, the US ambassador to Russia was presented with a wooden eagle, which stood in the corner of his office for several years before it was discovered that there was a bug embedded in it. (more) (The Great Seal Bug)

A Security Hole So Big Most People Miss It... Wi-Fi

A tip from Roger A. Grimes, Security Adviser, InfoWorld...
"Secure your wireless networks. In today's world, there are few valid excuses for not using WPA2, 802.11i, or 802.1x to secure them. Even "guest" networks. Secure them... Use security management tools and scripts to enforce security policy across as many computers as you can. (more)

Wi-Fi Espionage Trick – WiPhishing
Hackers use an authorized SSID to trap mobile professionals into accessing the illegal access point and thus gaining access to information and data... This type of attack can occur when a mobile professional's laptop or PDA has been configured to automatically connect to an access point using an SSID such as Linksys or tmobile. [result] ...they have connected to an unauthorized access point... the connection was made without their knowledge. (more)

Wi-Fi Espionage Trick – Evil Twin
A hacker prevents access to an authorized Wi-Fi access point and re-directs a mobile professional to a false access point where information or access to networks can be obtained by the unauthorized person. The unauthorized user can also gain access to VPN client software. (more)

• Force laptop wireless cards off when plugged into the corporate LAN.
• Force laptops to connect to company authorized wireless LANs only.
• Force laptops to ignore adhoc connections.
All are easy to implement, and will operate automatically.

Solution Resources:
Full Solution
Partial Solution

Additional Recommendation:
• Conduct periodic independent Wi-Fi Security Audits which take into account legal compliance. (more)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What could George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus and Jackie Chan possibly have in common?

How about a new family comedy titled The Spy Next Door? Reuters is reporting that the three are now in Albuquerque, N.M., as shooting has already begun on the film. (more) (more)

Corporate Espionage: The hack at an all-time high

Criminals are breaking into personal and corporate computers to steal critical information and money. Don't believe it's not serious -- or that it can't happen to you.

If you haven't gotten the memo, the bad guys are after your money or your company's money... Today's malicious hackers (not all of them, but most of them) and their malware creations are out to steal your money or your identity (which is used to steal your money).

If you find malware on your PC...
• back up your data,
• format the hard drive,
• re-install everything,
• change every password or PIN you used on that computer since its last verifiable clean state,
• and actively monitor your bank account and credit report.

Letting an anti-malware program remove the infection and calling it a day is no longer acceptable.

Find out how you and your company can stay safe, even when you're watching the bottom line: "Good security in recessionary times" (more)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twitter Stalkers

"Sometimes you want to follow someone on Twitter, but you don't want them to know you're following them. We present to you TweetStalk ‒ the simple way to stalk Twitter users without having to follow them." (more)

Moral - Stop your confidential Twittering!

Spies' Demise - November 2008

Iran - An Iranian businessman convicted of spying for Israel has been executed, according to a statement released today by Iran’s judiciary.

Ali Ashtari was reportedly hanged on Monday. The manager of a telecommunications and security equipment company who dealt with the Iranian military... found guilty of cooperating with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad...

Iranian state TV showed the balding Ashtari calmly giving what was billed as the confession of a Mossad spy. Ashtari reportedly met with Israeli spooks abroad who gave him surveillance technology to monitor high ranking officials in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Israeli spies gave him equipment with built in bugs to be sold to high ranking (military) officials so that Mossad could eavesdrop on everything they said on phones and other telecommunication devices,” said an Iranian journalist who asked not to be named. (more)

UK - The man accused of murdering former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London said in a British newspaper on Saturday he was prepared to come to Britain to be questioned about the case. (more)

China - A London-based rights group said Saturday that China was preparing to execute a Chinese businessman convicted of spying for Taiwan, and urged Beijing to halt the execution. (more)

Germany declined to comment on Saturday on reports that three Germans arrested on suspicion of throwing explosives at an EU office in Kosovo were intelligence officers. (more)

Isreal - The end of George W. Bush's term in office marks a golden opportunity for the release of Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned in the US for more than 20 years now, his wife Esther wrote in an emotional plea to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday evening. (more)

Iran - Reported was the arrest of Hossein Derakshan, a Canadian-Iranian who pioneered blogging in Iran and was called the "blogfather" there... He returned to his native Iran from his adoptive Canada last month and various media reported his arrest this week. A website reported that Derakshan confessed to spying for Israel. (more)

Friday, November 21, 2008

How spying was done at BexarMet

TX - Secretly recorded phone conversations, snapshots of computer screens and a program that tracked computer keystrokes all were part of a strategy by former General Manager Gilbert Olivares to spy on top managers at Bexar Metropolitan Water District, according to a court document obtained by the San Antonio Express-News...

“This confirms how pervasive this was over there,” said Elliott Cappuccio, an attorney for two employees who have sued BexarMet over the wiretaps...

When the recordings began, Hopkins said he also launched programs on the computers of Morin, Garza and Oranday. The programs captured every computer keystroke and took screen snapshots about every 30 seconds. (more)

Bank Security Stank - Databanks Shrank

During the past year, banks have lost more of their customers' personal data than ever before. Countrywide Financial may have become a poster child for U.S. financial institutions ruined by poisonous subprime loans--but junk assets, it turns out, weren't the only element of Countrywide's inner workings that were rotten.

So, allegedly, was one senior financial analyst in the company's subprime mortgage division. According to the reports of FBI officials who arrested him in August, 36-year-old Rene Rebollo spent his Sunday nights last summer copying a total of more than 2 million of Countrywide's customer records to a flash drive and selling the data to identity thieves. Rebollo's case isn't as unique as banks would like to believe... (more) (slide show)

Security Tip #413 - Invisible Secrets (Steganography)

Invisible Secrets 4 hides your private data into innocent looking files, like pictures, or web pages.
It also features: strong encryption algorithms; a locker that allows you to password protect certain applications; a password management solution and a real-random password generator; a shredder that helps you destroy beyond recovery files, folders and internet traces; the ability to create self-decrypting packages; secured password transfer.
Version 4.6 features: Windows Vista compatibility. Free trial. (

Security Tip #412 - Free Laptop Theft Alarm

Afraid that someone will take your laptop?
Now there is a simple and free solution to this problem!

Laptop Alarm will ring a loud alarm if someone will try to steal your laptop!

When the laptop is disconnected from AC-power (someone pulls the AC adapter plug out) or someone removes or moves the USB mouse the alarm will go off. Version 1.2 adds Mouse movement detection. (more)

Grab a coffee.
Watch a thief steal several laptops in broad daylight!

Obama's Cellphone Records Breached

Verizon Wireless disclosed late Thursday that several of its employees accessed and viewed President-elect Barack Obama's personal cellphone account, and said it planned to discipline workers for the privacy breach... The company said it has put all employees with access to the account on leave, with pay, as it sorts out which of those workers accessed the account without a justifiable business purpose. (more)

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless has fired an unspecified number of employees it said had accessed President-elect Barack Obama's old cell phone records without permission. The firings ended an internal investigation into the matter. (more)

Moral: Your information... if they want it, they will get it.

How well you protect your information determines how fast they move on to easier prey. Don't look like lunch. Take an information security specialist to lunch. ~Kevin

FutureWatch - 21st Century Loudspeakers

Imagine a loudspeaker that...
• does not use a magnet
• is ultra-thin (nanometer thickness)
• does not vibrate
• is transparent
• is flexible (enough to be made into clothing)
• can be integrated into a computer or TV screen

Welcome to the world of the Transparent Carbon Nanotube Thin (CNT) Film Loudspeaker.

"Ok, so how does it work?" I hear you say.

When AC electricity courses through carbon nanotubes, it creates heat. Unlike conventional speakers which bump air molecules to create a sound wave, CNTs don't move; they change temperature. It is this temperature oscillation which bumps the air molecules, thus creating sound. Heat is soooo cool!

New idea? No, the thermophone was invented before 1886 and was upgraded in the 1920's. It worked, but not very well. Right idea, wrong materials.

It took 21st Century carbon nanotubes to make this flag sing. (flag)

Why are we interested?
Well, hot cool technologies are always intereting. But, our interests are more sinister. Did you know... many conventional speakers can also be used as microphones. This has made for some interesting eavesdropping installations for us to discover. If nanotube speakers have the same capability... the future will be even more interesting for us. Can't wait to test one! ~Kevin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FutureWatch - GPS Tracking to be made illegal?

GA - It is now legal for anyone to track someone with a hidden GPS device on a car. Now, one Georgia lawmaker is introducing a new bill to make the practice against the law.

Georgia State Representative Kevin Levitas said after watching a FOX 5 special report, he decided to take action to stop people from following others with a hidden GPS device.

"My law would prohibit a stranger from going up, or even somebody that knows that person, from going up to their car without their consent whether in a public place or private place and placing a GPS tracking device," said Rep. Levitas. (

Private Investigators and spouse-spies will be the ones affected most. Corporate espionage types won't care. Doesn't matter. Businesses hire specialists like us to find these things for them.

Three Very Amazing Video Cameras

• Fog Penetrating,
• X-Low Light,
• Car Key Fob CamCorder

View the short movie clip of this tricky fog-busting CCTV camera. Amazing!

Now, take a look at their extremely low-light level camera. Sit down... 0.00009 lux F1.4, 570 lines resolution, B&W. Basically, this is a camera which allows you to 'see in the dark' as long as it is not totally dark. Add a few IR LEDs in the area and voila, it's daytime!

Their latest... A car key-fob covert camera which records (3.1 megapixels still and 460x480 movie) up to 90 minutes (with time/date stamp) then downloads into your computer via USB. Yes, it records the sound, too.

Security Source Tip #207 - CCTV Made Easy

Have a CCTV equipment question on Sunday?
Need a wide selection?
Need a decent price?
Need all the correct parts and pieces at your door by Tuesday?
"Who you gonna call?"

Welcome to Surveillent!

Surveillent was created to provide small businesses and the non-typical low-voltage installation companies (electrical contractors, IT cabling companies and installation-only firms) an opportunity to take advantage of our security-industry knowledge and expertise. All of the highly visible security brands we offer are available on eBay and if you do not see what you are looking for, contact us and we will try and get it for you.

Through our store on eBay today, businesses and resellers who do not have the in-house security staff can take advantage of Surveillent's expertise to make those buying decisions the right ones, the first time. Many small businesses and low-voltage contractors simply cannot afford and do not have the resources to hire an outside security consultant or engineering firm to help them make those purchasing decisions.

This is where Surveillent makes a difference. We are not here just to sell you parts. Our greatest value is to provide you with the smarts necessary in order to make the right decisions from the start.

I saw this scenario in action this week.
The system worked, and worked well.

Source: Surveillent, Inc., Presales Support, Chris Jahnke, (612) 275-1401,

Real Thought Police at a Real University. Whowouldhavethunkitwouldreallyhappen?

via the National Post...
Canada - Just who is Queen's University trying to kid? The school may call its new political-correctness cops "facilitators." It may insist they will not be eavesdropping on private conservations, "preaching" to students they overhear using "offending terms," serving as "disciplinarians" or being judgmental. But administrators are simply deluding themselves with euphemisms if they swallow their own tripe.

The half-dozen speech monitors employed by Queen's dean of student affairs to wander campus and listen for mentions of racist, sexist, homophobic or other "non-inclusive" language, are nothing more than thought police.

The simple act of determining what terms are and are not "offending" is judgmental. Singling students out for "a respectful and educational dialogue" about how their "derogatory terminology" might lead to "marginalization or exclusion" of identifiable groups is the epitome of judgmentalism. Intruding on students' chats with dorm mates or interrupting their joke telling in the cafeteria is the very definition of eavesdropping, even if Queen's wants to insist it is not. (more)

From Queen's University website...
"Queen's is one of Canada's leading universities with an international reputation for scholarship, social purpose, spirit and diversity."

Monday, November 17, 2008

US Court Orders Halt to Sale of Spyware, and then changes their mind...

United States of America - At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. District Court has issued a temporary restraining order halting the sale of keylogger spyware.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the Florida-based CyberSpy Software, LLC marketed and sold RemoteSpy keylogger spyware to clients who would then secretly monitor unsuspecting consumers’ computers. The FTC seeks to permanently bar the unfair and deceptive practices and require the defendants to give up their ill-gotten gains.

According to papers filed with the court, the defendants provided RemoteSpy clients with detailed instructions explaining how to disguise the spyware as an innocuous file, such as a photo, attached to an email. When consumer victims clicked on the disguised file, the keylogger spyware silently installed in the background without the victims’ knowledge. This spyware recorded every keystroke typed on the victim’s computer (including passwords); captured images of the computer screen; and recorded Web sites visited. To access the information gathered and organized by the spyware, RemoteSpy clients would log into a Web site maintained by the defendants.

Defendants touted RemoteSpy as a “100% undetectable” way to “Spy on Anyone. From Anywhere.” (more)

UPDATE (12/3/08 - from a RemoteSpy press release)
RemoteSpy is once again available for sale and users of the popular software can once again access their accounts. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (case no. 6:08-cv-1872-ORL-31GJK) to issue an injunction to:
(1) stop the sale of RemoteSpy, the best remote computer monitoring tool on the market;
(2) prevent current RemoteSpy customers from using the product;
(3) freeze the assets of the company and its CEO, Tracer Spence; and
(4) prevent CyberSpy and Spence from operating any other business without the FTC's consent.
The Court refused to take such punitive actions, instead simply requiring CyberSpy to do what it had already offered to do: change its promotional materials and advertising practices to make it clear that the software is not designed or intended to be used to monitor any computer without the owner's knowledge and consent. (more)

For Sale: TSCM instrumentation. Bargain prices.

Ever wonder what happens to last generation professional eavesdropping detection instruments? Find out, here... The Ultimate TSCM Sale.

PIs Allegedly Plant a Bug They Were Hired to Find

A cautionary tale...
Australia - Lesley Broadbent did not feel safe anywhere... she believed she was under constant surveillance... To try and put her mind at ease she hired a private eye company, with the help of her daughter, Cheryl Metcalfe.

Two female private investigators and a man allegedly claimed they found a "listening device" in Ms. Broadbent's roof, after a bug sweep of her Nambour house.

The trio was yesterday committed to stand trial in Maroochydore Magistrates Court, accused of planting the device.

The court heard Kathleen Joan Kitchner, 53, and Corinne Martell, 46, first went to the Nambour home on June 4 this year, and went back with Shane Martell for a second bug sweep a couple of days later.

After climbing into the roof, Mr. Martell emerged with a device he said had been found somewhere above the kitchen, the court heard...

The court heard Ms. Metcalfe began to get suspicious when the investigators failed to hand the device in to police and refused to return phone calls.

Ms. Martell said the company, Private Eyes 007, seemed perfectly legitimate at first. "They were professional, they had credentials and professional equipment with them, I wouldn't have thought anything else," Ms. Metcalfe told the court. (more)

Tricks of the trade...
While most private investigators are sincere and honest, a few are fraudsters. The "plant a bug, to find a bug," trick is fairly common. Combined with other scare tactics, it is used to assure unnecessary additional inspections and sales of countermeasures gadgets, CCTV cameras, etc..

Even sincere private investigators can provide ineffective eavesdropping detection services, inadvertently. Eavesdropping detection is a specialty. When handled in a Jack-of-all-trades fashion, it is rarely successful, no matter how good the intentions.

Please, if you are seeking assistance to solve a personal electronic surveillance matter, hire a specialist. To find candidates in your area use; search term: TSCM [+ your city or state]. Carefully evaluate your candidates. Trust your instincts.

Businesses and governments have an even greater need for a specialist – the issues are more complicated, the stakes are higher. Finding a bug is not the goal; discovering an espionage attack while there is still time to prevent damage is the goal.

Employ the most experienced specialist you can find. Ask fellow security directors for recommendations, and don't be afraid to 'fly in' the best people. Importing security consultants is commonplace. High stakes demand the best preventative measures.

Resource for locating information security consultants, eavesdropping detection specialists and counterespionage consultants:
International Association of Professional Security Consultants
Still need help, or a second opinion? Call me. ~Kevin

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monthly Poll Results - Have you ever been...?

F/S Used Car w/ slight water damage, £80,000+

The white 1976 Lotus Esprit from the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, starring Roger Moore and Barbara Bach, will be sold by the international auctioneers on 1 December at its annual motoring Auction Sale at Olympia, in West London.

The vehicle is one of two Lotus cars driven in the film by Roger Moore’s James Bond character. It turns into an amphibious car for the movie, driven both on land and underwater. (moore) relax, it's a joke

Click here to read an article first published contemporarily in Road and Track Magazine by Doug Nye, renowned motor historian and Bonhams consultant.

For further information please contact: Tim Schofiel, +44 (0) 20 7468 5804

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spy gear used to cheat immigration test

UK - Two men have been jailed after using hi-tech hidden cameras, transmitters and surveillance gadgets to tell candidates sitting the exams the right answers.

The Life in the UK test is the last step towards earning citizenship and those who pass are then entitled to apply for a British passport.

But there are fears unsuitable candidates may have earned the right to settle here thanks to a highly sophisticated scam to cheat the questions.

Participants, who did not understand English, went in to a test centre in Wimbledon library, south west London, armed with a hidden shirt buttonhole camera, microphone and earpiece. In a scam akin to a scene in a James Bond movie, two fraudsters sat outside in BMW car packed with hi-tech equipment and a laptop and directed them to tick the right answers via the secret link.

When police first came across the pair they thought they were running a cashpoint fraud, skimming the cards of unsuspecting users.

But it emerged they were helping Chinese nationals undertake the multiple choice immigration tests in the nearby building. (more)

FutureWatch - Rise of the Franchise Spy

from their press release...
The Spy Place LLC is now developing its Business Model for a Franchise System. Raymond Huck, President and Founder of The Spy Place LLC, has just announced that the new company, The Spy Place Franchising LLC., has contracted with Scott C. Kern, ... to prepare and register a Franchise Disclosure Document to allow the franchising of The Spy Place.

"Since we opened here last October, the ft. Wayne business community has received us very well", Huck said... The Spy Place, is a retail operation that sells and installs affordable Remote Viewing Video Surveillance Systems... The Spy Place, also sells, through its retail store, and soon on its Web-Site, computer tracking software... Vehicle tracking software is something that is also very popular today. The Spy Place sells and installs these units as well... The Spy Place, even sells some "James Bond, gadgets too. Take for instance the neck tie or ball point pen that is a camera, or the pen that is an MP3 voice recorder...

We intend to educate all potential Franchisees with one week hands on training at our flagship store located in ft. Wayne, and continue with a second week of training at The Spy Place University, located at our world headquarters, also here in ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Upon the successful completion of The Spy Place University, the graduate will now enjoy the use of, and the excitement generated from the use of our 'The Spy Place' name.

Spy Shops, have been around for a long time... kindalike adult bookstores. Even the previous attempts at franchising missed the mark: either too self-important, pricey and megalopolitan, or too strip mall-ish. Both came staffed with people who didn't get the used car sales position they really wanted.

The Spy Place, LLC may be different. Even though their debut press release could give a 7th grade English teacher angina, and 'surveillance' is spelled wrong on their youtube video entry, these folks may be the Paul Revere's of their craft.
(Paul was a spy and a craftsman.) When heartland America, Indiana, sprouts an out-of-the-closet Spy Shop, you know "spy" is no longer a dirty word.
(youtube commercial; narrated by a Sean Connery Mr. 'T'etanus sound-a-like.)

FutureWatch - Fingerprint 'developer' can read a letter from its envelope

UK scientists have discovered a fingerprint' “developer' which can highlight invisible prints on almost any surface – and read the text of a letter just from the envelope it was sent in.

Paul Kelly and colleagues at Loughborough University found that a disulfur dinitride (S2N2) polymer turned exposed fingerprints brown, as the polymer reaction was initiated from the near-undetectable remaining residues.
Traces of inkjet printer ink can also initiate the polymer.

The detection limit is so low that details of a printed letter previously in an envelope could be read off the inside of the envelope after being exposed to S2N2.

Friday, November 14, 2008

FutureWatch - Micro Cameras

Sony Corp commercialized the IMX060PQ, a 12.25-Mpixel CMOS image sensor with an optical size of 1/2.5-inch, for use in mobile phone cameras.

The new image sensor has a pixel pitch of 1.4μm. Sample shipments will start in March 2009 at a price of ¥2,500 (approx. US $25.75). (more)

When these find their way into the production stream it will make the cell-phone-as-a-professional-spy-tool a reality. Also, look for these new sensors in pens and other spycam housings. Yet another good reason to secure your sensitive paperwork at night. ~Kevin

Our Staff Spies a Real Busybody in Philadelphia

No surveillance device escapes the notice of our staff, not even a Busybody. This photo was taken in Philadelphia just the other day.

t is a BUSYBODY, you may ask. As any resident of Old Philadelphia can tell you, the BUSYBODY is a set of three mirrors set in a black metal frame - two mirrors on the bottom and one mirror on top. It is held together by a scrolled iron bar which mounts alongside or under a window, or next to a door, usually on the second or third story of a house (first floor for ranch type houses).

By adjusting the mirrors, the home dweller can see who's at the door below, or what's going on up and down th
e street or alley, without being seen himself or herself!

Invented by none other than Philadelphia's most famous denizen, Ben Franklin!

Get one of your own!
Attaches to windowsill with 2 screws.
Overall height 21". Overall width 12 1/2". Each mirror measures 5" x 6". Sources: Busybody1 Busybody2

Electronic Surveillance Law Overview

US - Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping – Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress (164 pages)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SpyCam Story #494 - Janitors Mopped Up

NY - MTA police busted a janitor for using a cell phone hidden in a bathroom stall to videotape more than a dozen women using the toilet at the Stamford train station.

Felicitos Gonzalez, who lives a block away from the bustling Metro-North facility, was arrested at his home and charged with 16 counts of voyeurism, the Stamford Advocate first reported on its Web site.

The perverted scheme was unraveled after a woman found the camera inside a basket of toilet paper and contacted the MTA police. Gonzalez could still face additional charges. (

CA - A former janitor has been given three years in prison for secretly videotaping students in the girls' locker room of a Westlake Village school.

Hilario Medina, 39, was sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty to sexually violating the privacy of children. Eighteen lesser charges were dismissed.

Prosecutors say Medina used a video camera wrapped in a shirt and placed on a maintenance cart to secretly tape at least 18 girls at Oaks Christian School, which has grades six through 12. (

SpyCam Story #493 - 15-Years. No Parole.

MO - A federal judge gave the former owner of a tanning salon a 15-year prison sentence for producing child pornography by secretly videotaping teenage girls who were customers of his business. Brett Kent, who owned 360 Degree Tan on East Republic Road, won't be eligible for parole.

He admitted he used a hidden camera to secretly videotape at least 20 female customers, including seven minors, while they used the tanning beds... An employee of 360 Degree Tan discovered video of a customer (a minor female) in various stages of undress, including full nudity, on the business' computer... The employee reported what she found to Springfield police...

The camera lens was mounted inside the fan unit of a tanning bed using Velcro tape, positioned at the foot of the bed. Velcro tape was also found inside the fan unit of a second tanning bed. (more)

Satellite Version of Lo-Jack Proves Worth

UK - A JCB digger stolen in Durham has been recovered in the Netherlands after police followed it around Europe by using its satellite tracking device.

The new £50,000 machine travelled thousands of miles before it was found, journeying across England before resurfacing in the Netherlands and then going to Germany and back. It was tracked and recovered in an operation involving five English police forces as well as Dutch and German detectives.

...eight days after the theft the device switched itself on, telling police that the digger was in Middlesbrough. Four days later the tracker was sending a signal from Lancashire, but by the following day the digger was back in Humberside. The device was monitored by a group called Securi-Guard... then, they knew that it had left British shores, because the signal died.

Pete Stanley, of Securi-Guard, said: “It had been shipped over the North Sea in a container so the global positioning satellite (GPS) couldn’t pick up the tracker device until it had been unloaded.” (more)

$1 million reward for arrest of cyberextortionists

MO - A pharmacy benefits management firm announced that it is offering a $1 million reward for information leading to the conviction of whomever is threatening to divulge the personal information of millions of its members.

St. Louis-based Express Scripts disclosed it received an anonymous letter that included the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and, in some cases, prescription information of 75 members. The writer or writers threatened to release millions more of similar records if the business failed to pay an unspecified sum of money.

Anyone with information should contact the FBI at (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324). (more)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spy Coins - You know you want one!

During the Cold War, Spies from both the East and West used Hollow Coins to ferry secret messages, suicide poisons, and microfilms undetected.

On May 1st, 1960 U2 Pilot, Francis
Gary Powers, was shot down over the Soviet Union and taken captive. In his possession was a hollow silver dollar containing a poisoned needle that was to be used to take his own life in such a circumstance. For one reason or another, he did not use it and was held for 21 months by the Soviets. He was then exchanged for Soviet spy KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher (aka Rudolf Abel) at the Glienicke Bridge, in Berlin, Germany.

Colonel Fisher was also no stranger to hollow coins... his original capture by the United States FBI was directly related to a hollow nickel that was used to transport microfilm.

Want one? Become a client. Click here.

Make: Your own spy gear!

No mission is impossible when makers put their minds to it.

Make Volume 16 will help you get smart [Sorry about that, Chief.] with a special section on spy tech. Learn how to build and use tiny surveillance devices, and how to know if a spy is using them on you. From tiny video cameras to sneaky recorders, this volume has enough cool stuff to make James Bond's inventor Q envious.

Coming soon!
On newsstands November 25!
(more) (complete Table of Contents)

Your Security Nightmare - Covert USB Sticks

He has in his pocket a seemingly torn and frayed piece of USB cabling. Who is he? A psycho nerd with his lucky charm, or a spy?

He pulls a cigarette lighter from his pocket. Who is he? A smoker, a pyro or a spy?"

He walks in wearing a nice watch; carrying a USB cable. Who is he? Who knows why? Spy?

"Woh, dude, a cassette tape! But, uh, why does it have a USB cable attached to it?" What do we have here; a Luddite or a Black Knight?

And, that hip flask?!? Or is it? Who is he - a data drunkard, or a spy?
Hint: This is really a 250GB USB drive – disguised as a flask!

The reality is, you really don't know. These devices can carry a small library of your business secrets out the door, and make you smile at the same time. Conversely, they can also be used to inject spyware and viruses.

If you see these in your workplace don't be amused, be suspicious. ~Kevin

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

from the manufacturer's web site...
"Virtually undetectable spy camera built into classy looking metal and glass wrist watch for James Bond like espionage.

Ever want to go to a dress up party or to the office with a spy camera, but couldn't find the spy tool that you could carry with you wherever you went without drawing attention? We solved this problem for you, with this micro spy camera built into a fancy watch which lets you take spy video without anyone ever being the wiser. Artfully hidden behind the number 2, this mini-cam gives you an AVI format 352x288 resolution clips at 15FPS, and with 2GB of onboard storage, you will get hours upon hours of video.

The watch itself is an elegantly designed full metal watch with a glass face cover, has accurate, gear driven time in seconds, minutes and hours, has a back clasp design for easily taking the watch on and putting it off, and a twisting crown for time adjustment.

Imagine the candid video with sound that you can take without anyone ever being the wiser..." (more)

Why do I mention it?
So you will know what you are up against.

Lady: Bugs in flowers. Bed bugs, too!

MI - James Holland pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of stalking, two misdemeanor counts of attempted eavesdropping and one misdemeanor count of illegal entry, said Steven Hiller, deputy chief assistant prosecutor for Washtenaw County.

Holland had faced more serious felony charges of home invasion and eavesdropping, but the charges were reduced in a plea deal, Hiller said...

Holland's former girlfriend discovered a voice-activated tape recorder hidden in a flower basket on a wall in her home Sept. 4 and contacted the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department, sheriff's Sgt. David Archer said. Deputies interviewed Holland that night and he admitted to placing two tape recorders in his ex-girlfriend's home, Archer said.

"He confessed to a second recorder in the bedroom of the victim,'' Archer said.

Archer said Holland had entered his ex-girlfriend's home with a duplicate key, which he had made before he returned a key she had given him. (more)

$1 Billion Trade Secrets Theft - Employee Charged

CA - A former Intel Corp. engineer has been charged with stealing trade secrets worth $1 billion from the chip maker while he worked for its main rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts alleged this week in a five-count indictment that Biswamohan Pani, 33, illegally downloaded more than a dozen confidential documents from Intel's computer system in California during a four-day stretch in June. He had already resigned from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, but remained on the payroll and still had access to the company's computers while he burned unused vacation days.

What Pani's supervisors didn't know then is that instead of taking the time to investigate a hedge fund job Pani claimed he was considering, he had actually started working for AMD and for a brief period was on both companies' payrolls. (more)

Secret Service Secret Code Words Announced (?!?!)

via Associated Press...
"The Secret Service has released the code names for the Obama and Biden families.
The White House Military Office dubbed President-elect Barack Obama “Renegade,” while his wife, Michelle Obama, is “Renaissance.”

Their children, Malia and Sasha, were named “Radiance” and “Rosebud.”

Vice President-elect Joe Biden was given the name “Celtic.” His wife, Jill, was nicknamed “Capri.”

A spokesperson said the names aren’t as important as they once were because of more sophisticated communications equipment that’s more difficult to eavesdrop." (more)

We can make you a difficult eavesdropping target, too. Call us.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spying is an art. Spying is art. Spying is. Spying.

For most people, photographing something that isn't there might be tough. Not so for Trevor Paglen.

His shots of 189 secret spy satellites are the subject of a new exhibit -- despite the fact that, officially speaking, the satellites don't exist. The Other Night Sky, on display at the University of California at Berkeley Art Museum through September 14 [Apologies for the late reporting.], is only a small selection from the 1,500 astrophotographs Paglen has taken thus far.

In taking these photos, Paglen is trying to draw a metaphorical connection between modern government secrecy and the doctrine of the Catholic Church in Galileo's time. (more)
Very cool, Trevor!
And, that's not all...
Trevor has a unusual book, too!
"I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World"

They’re on the shoulder of all military personnel: patches that symbolize what a soldier’s unit does. But what happens if it’s top secret? Shown here for the first time, these sixty patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names (“Goat Suckers,” “None of Your F***ing Business,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches—which are worn by military units working on classified missions—are precisely photographed, strangely hinting at a world about which little is known.

By submitting hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, the author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide to the patches included here, making this volume one of the best available surveys of the military’s black world—a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.

SpyCam Story #492 - Camp Dumbstaffer

Canada - A camp employee who claimed he was only trying to scare a female co-worker when he hid a video camera in her shower stall will be sentenced in January.

The 19-year-old Fergus-area man pleaded guilty yesterday to voyeurism and breaching an undertaking by contacting the victim. The man cannot be named to protect the identity of his 17-year-old victim.

Court heard OPP were called to a camp in Wellington County Aug. 5 where a female employee reported being videotaped in the shower.

Police learned the girl was showering when she discovered the video camera on a shelf, hidden among some toiletries but pointed directly into the stall.

Officers discovered three videos on the camera. The first two depicted the suspect aiming the camera to ensure it was aimed correctly, while the third showed the victim nude in the shower.

The suspect was arrested for voyeurism and released by police on an undertaking, including a condition that he not contact the victim.

Nine hours later, he sent the victim a message through the Facebook networking website.

In that message, he wrote that the camera was there as "a prank" and said his intention was to scare someone and get their reaction on video. (more)

Corporate Spy Suit Ends

Von Roll USA Inc. said Friday it has settled its lawsuit against four former employees it had accused of corporate espionage.

In a U.S. District Court filing last December, the Swiss-based company claimed the employees, including former Chief Executive Jack Craig, were using stolen information to set up a rival company, Craig Wire Products LLC.

The suit even claimed that the employees — the others were Brett Portwood, Brad Archambeau and Linda Belcher — remotely accessed confidential information on Von Roll computers in its plant in Rotterdam.

Belcher and Archambeau are former managers at Von Roll's Rotterdam plant, court papers say.

On Friday, Von Roll in a written statement said "all claims and counterclaims in the case have now been settled and the lawsuit will be discontinued in its entirety." (more)