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“What are the benefits of a TSCM bug sweep?”

(pdf version)

It is a common question people ask us, and the answer comes in two parts.

On a personal level, the benefits of conducting a TSCM bug sweep are privacy, security and safety.

For organizations, TSCM bug sweep benefits include all of the above, plus a long list of additional benefits. Some of these benefits are not obvious at first glance.

Before simply listing benefits, we should start by answering the questions CEOs ask.

“What is TSCM?”

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) is a search conducted by specialists to discover electronic eavesdropping, video voyeurism, GPS tracking, and/or data theft.

TSCM inspections are often referred to with generic names like, bug sweeps or debugging.

The goal is to assure personal privacy, protect sensitive information and keep intellectual property where it belongs. This concept is expanded to include proactively identifying all types of espionage and information security vulnerabilities when conducted in a business environment.

A boardroom is an example of the benefits of TSCM inspections.

“What do TSCM inspections protect?”

  • Sensitive Communications A benefit of a TSCM inspection is prevention of visual spying.
  • Boardroom Discussions
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Delicate Negotiations
  • Lawsuit Strategies
  • Executive Suites
  • Personnel, Sales, Marketing, and Legal Departments
  • Trade Secrets
  • Personal Privacy
  • Vulnerable Off-Site Meetings
  • Wireless Local Area Networks (Wi-Fi)
  • Executive Residences & Home Offices
  • Vehicles—including airplanes and yachts

“Legally, do we need these TSCM bug sweep benefits ?”

An attorney should answer this for you, but you should consider these every-day obligations in the meantime.

  • Fiduciary Responsibility to stockholders.
  • Duty of Care to protect trade secrets, intellectual property and strategic communications.
  • Due Diligence requirements.
  • Fulfilling the legal requirements for Business Secret status in court.
  • Wi-Fi and information security compliance.

“What are the rest of the benefits of a TSCM bug sweep?”

  • Increased profitability.
  • Intellectual property protection.
  • TSCM inspections provide a known window-of-vulnerability when a bug is discovered.
  • The ability to discover and plug information loopholes before they are abused.
  • Advance warning of intelligence collection activities.
  • An assessment of how current security measures and policies are being followed.
  • Documented compliance with privacy laws.
  • Fulfilling the requirements for obtaining Business Secret status in court will be easier.
  • Enhanced personal privacy and security.
  • Employees feel their privacy is being protected—an employee morale boost.
  • If employees see management cares about information security, they will care more too.
  • Knowledge of office technology hacking vulnerabilities, and what to do about it.
  • Reduction of consequential losses, e.g. an information leak sparks a stockholder’s lawsuit, or… activists releasing wiretap recordings to damage reputation, customer good-will and sales.

TSCM Tips…

Now that you know all about the benefits of TSCM bug sweeps, here are some final tips which will make your TSCM inspections more successful.

  • Do not discuss the inspection in, or call from, suspect areas.
  • Conduct your affairs normally.
  • Do not reveal any suspicions, except on a real need-to-know basis.
  • Limit confidential conversations.
  • Keep detailed notes about anything you feel is suspicious.
  • Think ahead. What if a device is found by an employee accidentally? Have a protocol in place so the situation is properly handled.

I hope I have answered your question, “What are the benefits of a TSCM bug sweep?” If you have any other questions, or would like to discuss business/government level TSCM bug sweeps at your location, please let me know here.

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You may also want to read…

Kevin D. Murray CPP, CISM, CFE, CDPSE is a business counterespionage consultant and TSCM specialist with over four decades of experience.

Murray Associates is an independent security consulting firm, providing eavesdropping detection and counterespionage services to business, government and at-risk individuals.

Headquartered in the New York metropolitan area, a Murray Associates team can assist you quickly, anywhere in the United States, and internationally.

EXTRAS:
• More security tips, spy and privacy news at spybusters.blogspot.com. Sign up for the free email version.
• Concerned about Spy Cameras? Learn how to detect them.