Friday, July 5, 2013

TSCM Bug Sweep Cost Question & Infrared Instrumentation Example

Security Director: "When I ask for TSCM bug sweep quotes I get some prices which seem incredibly low. Shouldn't everyone be in the same ballpark?"

Answer: There are many reasons for this. Most revolve around skimping by the vendor — on everything from insurance to training to instrumentation.

Let's look at one representative example, thermal imaging...

Most TSCM providers these days offer thermal imaging as a detection technique. The skimpers use ineffective, cheap cameras – just so they can claim this capability. It is a dishonest marketing ploy which lets skimpers "say" they are in the game.

• Outdated and low-end utility thermal cameras are available on ebay for less than $2,000.
• High-sensitivity / resolution thermal cameras cost between $25,000-$50,000.

DIY Test:
A TSCM-capable infrared thermal camera will clearly show heat from a fingerprint after an object has been lightly and briefly, touched.

Generally speaking, low-cost equals low probability of detection. Effective TSCM service costs are driven by capital / educational investment... and sincere commitment.

Moral: A cheap sweep is worse than no sweep. Bugs aren't eliminated, just your sense of caution, and budget.

[sotto voce] If you like cartoons, hire a clown.