covert surveillanceWould you consider a cat or dog roaming around your business or home as a possible security threat? What about if the animal was your own pet? At International Investigators, we doubt you’d even consider it. But you may start to wonder about it after reading this blog post.

According to an article in The Hacker News, a security researcher with a large security consultancy firm thought it would be fun to conduct an experiment in “weaponizing” his grandmother’s pet cat to map vulnerable WiFi networks in his neighborhood. He built a custom collar for Coco made from a Wi-Fi card, GPS module, Spark Core chip, battery and leopard-print fabric. He then set Coco loose. During the cat’s three-hour jaunt through the neighborhood, the security researcher identified 23 unique WIFI networks. Of these, four used old, easily-broken encryption, and another four weren’t protected at all. While the security researcher conducted the experiment more as a joke to see what was possible, and not to actually hack into his neighbors’ computer systems, it still illustrates how easily an animal could be used to conduct covert surveillance.

Instead of installing WiFi-tracking equipment in an animal’s collar, someone could equip it with a listening device and/or video surveillance equipment. With the use of covert surveillance equipment and eavesdropping devices, someone easily could monitor the actions of another person or listen in on private conversations.

But bad people aren’t just using spy surveillance equipment to stalk people these days. In one cyber stalking case, a business woman was frantic to stop a cyber stalker who had been harassing her. The private investigator uncovered spyware on her computer and cell phone that may have been used to steal confidential business information. However, that didn’t stop the harassment. Eventually, when the woman hired a private investigator that specialized in technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), it was found that her stalker was using radio frequency identification (RFID) reader device to get transmissions from the microchip implanted in her dog. Since the woman took her dog with her everywhere she went, the stalker was able to follow her when she had her dog with her.

While these cases may seem extreme, they illustrate how far bad guys may go to spy on you and uncover confidential information. If you suspect someone, like a rival business competitor, an abusive ex or another malicious person is spying on you, contact the TSCM Services experts at International Investigators. We can conduct a confidential TSCM sweep (also known as a video or bug sweep) using advanced technology to detect computer surveillance equipment, cell phone taps, eavesdropping devices, electronic surveillance cameras and other spy equipment. Additionally, we can perform a computer forensic investigation using spyware detectors to determine if someone is stealing private data from your computer.

And if you suspect Fluffy or Fido’s collar has been tampered with, we can always check it for spyware, too.

-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators