Demand for ‘Bug Sweeping’ grows as return to the Office nears – Q1/21

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In the Security Industry the practice of ‘bug sweeping’ is known as TSCM, which is the abbreviation for ‘Technical Surveillance Countermeasures’. Whilst information can be stolen by other means, information gathered through the use of electronic eavesdropping represents a real, significant and growing threat.


COVID-19 has and continues to have devastating impacts upon individuals and businesses worldwide, both at a human level but also the pandemic has created multifaceted problems and new complex risks for industry, both in the UK and globally.

Commercial organisations face major challenges resulting from the pandemic, including the temporary (and sometimes permanent) closure of locations, staff redundancies and staff furloughed, changes to the business model which in turn, has resulted in changes to both customers and suppliers.

Many Companies have been working from home, which leaves the few employees and other staff that are working onsite, unsupervised, often over long periods of time.

This has created the perfect opportunity for adversaries to breach security and the resultant effect is the requirement for ‘bug sweeping’ or TSCM services.


What is TSCM?

TSCM, bug sweeping or debugging, is the procedure for locating and neutralising covert surveillance devices, which include audio, video and telephony transmitters in offices, residential homes, equipment, vehicles and other forms of transport.

As technology continues to progress, the cost of equipment and knowledge required to carry out this form of surveillance has drastically reduced. Whilst information can be stolen by other means, information gathered through the use of electronic eavesdropping represents a real, significant and growing threat.

How real is the threat landscape?

The covert listening (and watching) devices of today use advanced technology, are more sophisticated, complex and smaller in size, with longer battery life and access to wireless networks designed to collect information such as audio, video and data.

These devices are readily available on the open market and anyone can purchase and deploy them.

Information Risk Management

The loss of business information can have a critical impact on economic survival, it can damage company reputation, image and intellectual property; the effects of which can be irreversible. This can include sensitive client information, employee data and trading information and key commercial decision-making processes and outcomes.

Industrial espionage through electronic eavesdropping is not only directed at the corporate market place, it can be activated against high profile individuals and their families and associates.

Whilst information can be stolen by many means, information gathering by electronic eavesdropping represents a real and significant threat. The attack can come from an unscrupulous employee or a rival, and it can be directed from within the target location, or a remote location.

What can we do to address this emerging threat?

Deploying a TSCM specialist team such as Matrix is the only way to counter this threat and to provide effective information risk management for your assets, employees, reputation, and commercial decision-making processes; ensuring privacy is maintained, particularly when key commercial decisions are being made.

Just as important, and this cannot be stressed enough, effective TSCM will also identify potential vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in your physical information risk management framework.

Matrix TSCM

The Matrix Risk Solutions team has 80+ years experience of carrying out TSCM work with UK Special Forces, the Security Services and the Metropolitan Police Special Branch.

Matrix provides a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001: 2008 for the provision of Technical Surveillance Countermeasures and our team were founding members of the Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Institute (TSCMi).

About Matrix Risk Solutions

Established and staffed by former members of United Kingdom Tier-1 Special Operations, Intelligence Service Officers, Lawyers and Business Process Management professionals.

Our world-class risk and security experts are able to identify, assess and understand complex risks, scenarios and events; we then draw upon a wide range of capabilities in order to design appropriate and deliverable bespoke risk solutions, for key decision makers.

” Fundamentally, TSCM represents the sharp end of Information Risk Management. It can’t be stressed enough that without an effective Information Risk Management framework in place then organisations will be vulnerable to data theft or loss. Matrix can assist you from the ground up, from initial assessment, to policy and procedure creation, through to the technology solutions that are required to mitigate the risks incumbent to data security. “

If you would like further information or to discuss how the Matrix Risk Solutions team can assist you with Technical Surveillance Countermeasures, contact us.

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