Silhouette of men in fedoras- covert spying

The Threat of Covert Spying: Understanding and Protecting Yourself

James Bond made it look cool. From fancy devices and trinkets, he got the intel with tracker devices and hidden cameras. He used it to catch the bad guy. Yet what if the threat of covert spying wasn’t in the interest of government security or gathering intelligence, as James Bond made us believe? The threat of secret surveillance is increasingly used for nefarious reasons. Even ones that put people in danger and are a great invasion of privacy.

So, how is this threat of covert spying happening? What can you do to ensure you aren’t a victim? Read on to learn more.

What Is Covert Surveillance?

Let’s start with a common understanding of covert surveillance or clandestine surveillance. As the name suggests, this type of surveillance gets executed where the person or activity being surveilled is done in secret. It’s a calculated action done secretly to watch or gather information about or from someone unknowingly. Sometimes this covert surveillance gets done by a person who’s nearby. Other times it’s executed through a device, and the person watches or gathers information from a distance.

Eavesdropping, Spying, Snooping, How It’s Done

The average person doesn’t have access to James Bond’s arsenal of secret gadgets and tools. Yet, it’s become easier for those who want information secretly to get it in today’s tech-driven world. 

So, how is eavesdropping, spying, and snooping done in today’s world? With many hidden devices, including:

  • Remote cameras
  • Hidden listening devices
  • Tracking devices, like GPS tracking
  • Apple Air tags, used for tracking
  • Drone surveillance
  • Hidden data readers 

While these devices are secret, how do you know if someone is trying to spy on you? It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the most minor clues that tell you someone has been in your space. 

Types of Clandestine Surveillance

So, what’s being used to execute this invasion of privacy? Let’s take a closer look at some types of devices used to gather clandestine surveillance. 

Hidden Cameras

You know that surveillance cameras are everywhere as you go about your daily life. From parking lots to common business areas, security is watching. But where are the hidden cameras you aren’t supposed to know about?

Hidden cameras can be nearly anywhere. The technology is so advanced that cameras can be the size of a pinhead. These can be hidden in almost any object around a room. 

Be most worried about hidden cameras in areas like bathrooms and bedrooms, where your privacy is most at risk.

Tracker Devices

Tracking devices allow someone to know your whereabouts at all times. Often cell phones now carry tracking technology, so your whereabouts are available to anyone with your cell information. 

Unwanted tracking can be achieved by adding a secret GPS device to your transportation. Apple Air tags are meant for luggage, yet are the same type of tracking device that could be hidden in a bag or clothing. 

Covert Surveillance

Other types of covert surveillance include using drones to get a birdseye view to gather information. 

Secret devices hidden in card readers to steal credit card information are a huge problem for retailers constantly working to protect their data. 

When Should You Be Most Worried About Unwanted Surveillance?

You have some understanding of the types of threats that could be used for unwanted surveillance. You know how that surveillance might be attempted. Let’s consider where you’re likely most at risk for the potential for unwanted surveillance. 

Businesses Managers and Owners

If you’re a James Bond movie buff, you will likely have seen a few films involving corporate espionage and insider trading. 

You’re at risk if you own or run a business with valuable information. Every employer wants to trust the people who work for them. Yet, one disgruntled worker could wreak havoc with some covert spying. 

Gathering and using the information to start a new business using your information or selling to the competition could profoundly damage any business. 

If you’ve created a product or service, businesses must also protect their intellectual property. Covert spying could take your most valuable assets from you.

School Environments

Most people want to believe they send their children to school where they are supervised and taught by well-intentioned individuals. Sadly, in today’s world, that isn’t always the case. 

There are too many news stories of secret cameras in schools and school personnel using surveillance as sexual predators. This could include teachers, coaches, and school support staff. If your child suspects anything or you get an uncomfortable feeling, trust it and investigate.

Hotels and Rental Accommodations

You’ve heard plenty of stories about when people do a property share through a business like Airbnb or VRBO, only to find they’ve been under surveillance while staying in the property. 

This is a massive invasion of privacy, even if they aren’t the property owner. It’s important to learn about hidden cameras and listening devices and learn how to find a hidden camera when you’re on or staying at someone else’s property.

Retail Environments

You also face some potential unwanted surveillance risks when you’re out shopping. Be very aware of dressing rooms and their set-up. Some people have chosen to avoid them together to avoid the risk of clandestine cameras watching while trying on clothes. 

Other retail risks include cameras working on getting PINs from debit cards or tracking devices in card readers to steal customer information.

Be aware of the cybersecurity measures used by the places where you spend your money. You should expect any business to be working to protect your data. 

Understanding the Threat of Covert Spying

Unfortunately, the threat of covert spying is real. The more aware you are of the risks, the better you can work to protect yourself. 

If you’re worried someone is attempting to spy on you covertly, it might be time to call in the professionals for an assessment. Contact us for help with the digital forensics you need to protect yourself.