Technical Surveillance Countermeasures for the 21st Century
Dangers potentially lurk everywhere: at home, work, and travel. Of course, the UHNW or CEO will be at one of these three junctures anytime during the day. If you are one of them or work for them, you likely need technical surveillance countermeasures as you are uniquely exposed to hostile surveillance and similar forms of reconnaissance.
Somebody could be watching you for hours, days, or months, and you might still be unaware of their presence in your everyday life. In fact, many high-level individuals shrug off such possibilities. Simply put, they believe there is no reason for anyone to follow them around and collect information about them. However, you will never know without conducting a threat, vulnerability, and risk assessment!
At any rate, hostile technical surveillance is a technique that threat actors use to gather intelligence about their target due to its status, wealth, or influence. To combat such risks, executive protection professionals aim to:
· Reduce the risk of injury, embarrassment, or loss, and
· Harden the target by imposing technical surveillance countermeasures.
At the end of 2021, more than one billion surveillance cameras were installed worldwide for a myriad of reasons, surveillance being one of them.
Similarly, competitors, paparazzi, and disgruntled employees try to discover information about the affluent to use for their own gain — often with malicious intent. In other words, staying under the radar of the public eye is becoming increasingly challenging.
Therefore, this article explains how technical surveillance countermeasures can become part of a person's or family's everyday life without impinging on their lifestyle.
Generally speaking, we can divide threat actors' surveillance tactics into two categories: mobile and stationary.
Mobile surveillance is when threat actors observe you travel from home to the office and vice versa — on foot or via a means of transportation. It typically includes one or two vehicles and a few individuals who collect information about your whereabouts throughout the day. They gather intelligence on when you depart from the office and home, when you return, and which other places you visit.
Hostile surveillance actors can use these facts to create a bigger picture of your movements and routines. In turn, this helps them plan and implement attacks or facilitate inappropriate contact with their targets.
For instance, it might be helpful for them to know that there is a security gap between when you exit a vehicle and enter your gated estate. Similarly, they may establish that you have a regular chauffeur drive you around instead of a trained security driver.
Such circumstances can allow hostile surveillants to:
· bug your vehicles or home phones,
· install GPS tracking devices,
· conduct mobile phone monitoring, etc.
On the other side, stationary surveillance means they don't expect you to move. So, for instance, you could be spending days on end in your gated property in a remote or rural location.
To get their way, threat actors can try to infiltrate your household staff, including reaching out to butlers, nannies, and gardeners. For this reason, we suggest conducting background checks on each individual close to or having information about the UHNW individual or CEO.
Everyday Technical Surveillance Countermeasures
Each adverse situation warrants a unique approach. But broadly speaking, there are active and passive practices.
Depending on the circumstances, you may want the hostile surveillance team to either suspect or be clueless about whether you detected them. Both courses of action can be beneficial. For example, it could be helpful if they think you are traveling in the same car, although it is only a decoy.
On the other hand, to deter an imminent attack, you may want to make it abundantly clear to the hostile surveillants that you know who they are. In addition, that you have likely informed the authorities about their reconnaissance efforts.
To make it more practical, electronic eavesdropping — also known as bugging — has been one of the most efficient ways to gather information. Threat actors use this method to acquire real-time data on
· security, and other details.
Moreover, they could eavesdrop in virtually any setting anywhere, as long as they have the right equipment. However, this is still nothing that technical surveillance countermeasures cannot manage.
For this reason, we recommend conducting a site advance before you enter a specific room, suite, or office. A select EP team has the know-how to remove bugs and render laser microphones less effective.
Other Helpful Countermeasures
An individual or family doesn't need to hire an executive protection company to acquire all advantages of protecting themselves. In fact, they can impose some measures on their own, including:
· Using illogical routes,
· Varying departure and arrival times,
· Making more than one circuit at roundabouts, or
· Pulling into a rest area and let traffic go past.
Now, we understand that this may not work for most busy executives. That is why, if possible, we still recommend engaging a proficient EP team that can do this and much more, including using a layback vehicle to conduct further observations of suspects or cause traffic delays.
Ultimately, it would not be entirely reasonable to expect a high-profile individual to keep all these precautions in mind. A far better, more convenient option is simply working with a team of security operatives who can ensure a safe environment for you, your family, and your closest associates.
Prevention yields far greater results than a reactive mindset. Reflections like "I think somebody is following us" clearly show the failure of technical surveillance countermeasures — or any countermeasures for that matter.
In contrast, executive protection agents must remain calm and collected when they discover hostile surveillance. This gives them time to devise a response to the problem without immediately tipping off the surveillants.
But for countermeasures to be efficient, they don't need to involve several EP agents at all. In fact, the UHNW or CEO may require only a single security professional by their side. The reason? Perhaps they want to present a particular public image or keep up appearances.
Whatever the case may be, we urge you to consider the possibility that somebody is watching you without your knowledge. Moreover, that they intend to gather information about you, your family, or your company for nefarious reasons!
Bedrock Special Projects provides peace of mind by implementing technical surveillance countermeasures to benefit prominent individuals, their families, and corporations. The Art of Executive Protection – Delivered with Elegance by Design.
Drop us a line to learn more!