Off-Site Monitoring

A company will often have an off-site meeting with executives so they can concentrate on a specific agenda away from the daily routine.These meetings usually are held at a hotel, resort or a convention center.Frequently, the program is a combined effort between the company, a meeting/event planner and the hotel convention staff.Security is often lax when a meeting is held at a commercial establishment.Their primary goal is to create a pleasant environment for the attendees.Security issues are not their primary concern.

An off-site meeting is an excellent opportunity for an industrial spy to gather intelligence by determining the location of the meeting rooms, the agenda, the speakers, topics to be discussed and the decisions made.This is the information that he/she needs to provide to their client.

As the company is planning the event, so is the industrial spy.A reservation clerk may provide a list of attendees and their room numbers.After each session the janitor may pick up all the papers on the tables along with waste paper form the meeting rooms.While serving refreshment s a waiter may hide a transmitter under a table.A hotel security office off duty talks in the bar next door about any or the lack of any special security arrangements.

The eavesdropper may have attended previous meetings in the hotel to examine radio signals coming from the public address system in each of the meeting rooms.Using his monitoring equipment he is aware of the best locations in the hotel to set up his listening post if he must install a bug.He may have compiled a list of which floors get the best radio signals for each piece of equipment he intends to use.It is an opportunity to eavesdrop using the hotel’s or the event production crew’s wireless public address system. This is a “freebie”.

To secure an off-site meeting from an eavesdropper, the company should engage the services of a professional technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) team in the early planning stages to coordinate security efforts with the company, hotel staff and the event planner.Several hours before the meeting is scheduled the TSCM team should perform a physical sweep of the meeting rooms and/or any breakout rooms that will be used.They would establish a “monitoring post” (MP) in a nearby room, service corridor or outside the building in a specially equipped van.They must be close enough to hear an extremely low powered device (a test transmitter under 10 milliwatts) from the podium.It is critical that the monitoring site is close.

The TSCM team only hears what is being presented in the meeting when a device is activated and broadcast the signal outside the meeting. At a recent meeting where highly proprietary was going to be discussed, the hotel’s audio/video technician stated that his wireless microphones would not broadcast much beyond the parking lot.

And then there is the problem of cellular telephones carried into the meeting………..

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