Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Private Investigator Posts a TSCM Question to an Industry Newsgroup - Scary

Q. Looking for a cheap, do it yourself debugging product. Any recommendations?

It's one thing to be ignorant. We all are at one point. But, we do our own homework and learn. Copying other people's homework never leads to the A+ answer.

It's a, "Which end of the soldering iron should I hold?" question. If you don't know, better find something else to do. 

The Editor-in-Chief of PI Magazine, Jimmie Mesis, kindly responded with the following cogent reply... 

A. There really is no such thing as a cheap do-it-yourself debugging product. Even the most basic TSCM / debugging inspect requires you search for RF (radio frequency) signals, hidden video cameras that are either wired or wireless, on or off, hidden audio records, telephone instrument and phone line inspection, as well as searching for GPS trackers that can be battery operated or hardwired.

Each of the categories listed above require specialized equipment unique to the item(s) being searched. Even if you were to acquire a cheap RF detector, you wouldn’t know what type of signal you’re picking up or the source. I always recommend that if you get a call for a debugging assignment, refer the job to a professional TSCM specialist and ask for a commission. I’ve been associated with TSCM for decades and have more than $100k in electronic equipment and hundreds of hours of manufacturer training to properly do a debugging job. Just because you own a piece of equipment doesn’t mean you’ll know how to use it.

By the way, the FTC has been known to criminally charge private individuals and PIs for “theft by deception” for conducting bugsweeps without the proper equipment and training. Call me and I’ll give you some specific recommendations.

Good luck,

Jimmie Mesis, LPI, BAIEditor-in-Chief
PI Magazine, Inc.4400 Route 9, suite 1000
Freehold, NJ 07728
T - (732)308-3800   F - (732) 303-3314

For anyone seeking to hire a Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) "expert", this is a cautionary tale. Please, do your due diligence. The TSCM field is littered with gum-under-the-table trolls out to make a fast buck with cheap sweeps. ~Kevin

UPDATE: A Blue Blazer Regular writes in with his two cents... "Doing it yourself is like do it yourself brain surgery."