Technological advancements are, unfortunately, making it harder for us to protect our privacy. Fortunately, however, there are certain steps you can take to detect eavesdropping devices and ensure your privacy.
We consulted the experts and put together here their top tips on how you can find out if your room has been bugged.
Apps to listen in on you can be purchased by anyone. To install, many of them require access to your device. They can sometimes be found on the SIM card rather than the operating system. Some may, however, be installed over the air (over-the-air, remotely).
The bug's power supply is something to consider. Some are battery-powered, and as a result, their lifespan is limited. If someone wants to listen to you all the time, they'll need a gadget with a consistent and reliable power source, so look for visible wires that could signal a concealed bug.
Other devices' power could be stolen by a flaw. Some can hide in a USB cable, for example, and take power whenever the cord is plugged in.
When the house is quiet, and the traffic outside has died down, go around the house and turn off all electrical appliances like the refrigerator and computers. Take a deep breath and listen. Listen for any gentle buzzing or bleeping as you walk about the house. Locate the source of the problem.
Electric switch plates are a popular spot for bug infestations. Examine each switch plate and wall socket by looking at it first and then moving it. It may be visually out of alignment or loose if it has recently been disturbed. Turn the power off, detach the plate, and look behind it for anything that shouldn't be there.
Nicholas Rosenfeld, Director at Making A Will
Detecting the signals that these eavesdropping devices emit is one way of discovering whether listening bugs have been planted around you. Many high-end listening devices will mask their signals to avoid detection. You will need to purchase professional equipment such as radiofrequency detectors and non-linear junction detectors to effectively scan and find such listening bugs.
For listening devices that are not high-end, common phone apps will normally do the trick. If you have the money and if the situation warrants it, you can also opt for audio jammers that interfere with the spying devices' ability to listen and record any of your conversations.
Eric McGee, Senior Network Engineer at TRGDatacenters
There are applications on the play store that can help you identify listening devices in your home or office. To do this manually, however, take a phone, make a call to another that is on silent, move the calling phone around the room.
If there is a listening device, it would interfere with the listening device by making cracking sounds. If the sound is heard at any point, stop and search the area thoroughly. Proceed to do this around the entire room to make sure there aren't any left.
Alina Clark, Co-Founder of CocoDoc
You can identify eavesdropping devices using a variety of techniques. The first step you'd want to take is to do a full physical sweep of the area in question. Conduct a thorough examination of the interior and exterior areas such as the space above false ceilings, heating and air conditioning, ventilation systems, and even any small nooks and crannies in the room to search for any form of physical evidence.
If this is unsuccessful, you can try a more efficient method such as conducting an electronic search of the radio frequency spectrum to detect any unauthorized frequency from the area under question. The same process can be repeated to conduct an electronically enhanced search of walls, ceilings, floors, and accessories to look for bugs, microphones, transmitters, or even recorders.
Isla Sibanda, Cybersecurity Specialist with a background in ethical hacking and an entrepreneur at privacyaustralia.net
You can detect such devices using your smartphone. You can use apps like FxSound Enhancer for that purpose.
The apps available in the market vary from free to paid ones, with varying capabilities when it comes to spying detection and blocking of signals. Also, they require their own set of skills and expertise which you can master by learning and experimenting with them.
You can identify and block different spying devices which might be active near you. This may include cell phone jammers, hidden cameras, room bugs, or any unusual device which is transmitting radio signals. You can also detect those active around you as per their functionality like the GPS tracking app, listening devices etc. They can be identified using the signal strength and radiofrequency of each device.
Farhan Advani, Director Marketing at Buy Here Pay Here
Hidden cameras and recording devices can be concealed inside other electrical devices, such as smoke alarms. Remove your smoke detector and look inside for a microphone or camera. Look for signs of tampering in your speakers, lighting, and other devices, as this could suggest the presence of an extra microphone.
Tim Parker, Director of Marketing at Syntax Integration
One of the most typical methods for smuggling a microphone or camera into a room is to conceal it in an innocuous object, such as a stuffed animal or a vase of flowers. Look around the room for any decorations that seem out of place or are positioned in unusual ways. While most cameras can be concealed inside anything, the lens must be visible for the camera to function.
Examine any glossy surfaces for strange decorations or apparent lenses that could indicate the presence of a hidden camera. Hidden microphones operate best in the middle of a room, where they can hear everything equally. Look for details on a table in the center of the room, as well as hidden microphones.
Rodney Yo, Owner of Best Online Traffic School
Modern cameras and microphones communicate data over the internet, allowing them to be accessed from virtually anywhere. They do, however, frequently have Wi-Fi signals. Searching for available Wi-Fi signals and looking for unusual or suspect networks might also help you find hidden cameras and listening devices.
Daniel Carter, SEO Manager at Manhattan Tech Support
SpyBubble is an application that can be installed on smartphones, tablets or laptops to detect spying devices (e.g., hidden cameras), whether in your hotel room, office, coffee shop or any place you visit. The application detects both wired and wireless hidden cameras using its internal database of more than 30,000 different camera models.
It also detects GPS trackers (e.g., installed on your vehicle by an adversary), phone line and audio listening bugs, wiretapping devices (e.g., keyloggers) and hidden microphones with a user-friendly interface that is easy to use for non-technical people.
The application can easily detect most of the spying devices that are commonly used by private detectives, law enforcement personnel, the intelligence community, or any other person that may want to spy on you.Andrew Drow, COO of Cloom