Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to Locate a Cell Phone Bug

Cell phone bugs are the most popular means of electronic eavesdropping today. When I talk about cell phone bugs, I don't mean a bugged, or tapped, cell phone. While the government has equipment that can pick up your cell phone conversations, you're probably not a major criminal or a threat to national security, so the government has no interest in you. If you think otherwise, you're probably paranoid.

Most people who are interested in what you say on your cell can't afford $75,000 for the electronic equipment to do the job, and the manufacturer wouldn't sell it to them anyway.

However, there is a real threat with cell phone bugs. In this case, a cell phone itself is the bug. While you can purchase a specially equipped cell phone to use as a bug for around $1000 on the Internet, you can just go to your nearest cell phone store.

One or two things make these cell phones unique. First, when you call them, they don't ring or vibrate. Calling them simply turns on their microphone. Now the person calling can hear every word that's spoken within a certain proximity. Most cell phones have a pretty good microphone (mouthpiece) that serves quite well for eavesdropping. Some cell phones, though, are equipped with a highly sensitive mike that will easily pick up a conversation twenty feet away.

Think about the possibilities. A person could visit an office and drop one in a plant, under a bed, or, using double-sided tape, stick one under a conference table or desk. Then go on their merry way, and call the phone anytime they want to listen to the sounds in that room.

The best kind of phone to buy for eavesdropping purposes is a pre-paid cell phone that has a feature to shut off the ringer. These phones can't be traced to the purchaser. But, the number the person calls from would still show up if it was a published number.

There's another adaptation of these phones that you should know about. Eventually, the battery's going to die. Cell phone bugs placed in a vehicle have a wire going from the phone to the car's battery. This means unlimited listening time. They also have a seperate, sensitive microphone. The tiny mircrophone is often hidden several feet from the phone.

Thus, the phone could be hidden in almost any place in a vehicle. The wires to the battery and microphone are hidden very carefully, usually in interior trim or molding. These cell phone bugs often have a tiny circuit board about the size of a postage stamp attached to the mic wire.

Now, how to locate them. (Professionals have sensitive equipped that can locate a cell phone that is powered on.) First, any unclaimed cell phone in an office or home should be suspect. This is especially true if you find that they are turned on. To disable one, simply remove the battery.

If you go in a room, think about where you would hide a cell phone if you wanted to eavesdrop. Use your imagination. Don't forget to look on top of the tiles of a room with a dropped ceiling. Look under tables, chairs, in plants. Thoroughly search the room.

In a vehicle, do the same thing. The most likely place to hide a cell phone bug in a car is within a few feet in front of the driver. Look in the air vents, under the dash (use a mirror and flashlight), and under the seats.

If the cell phone bug is equipped with a seperate microphone, the search is much harder. Look for any screws, trim, or molding that may have been tampered with. Look in the map light, the air vents. Look at the battery and see if there is an extra wire that's not original equipment. The same with the fuse box.

It once took me two hours to locate a cell phone bug in an SUV. The microphone was in the maplight. I followed one wire up into the roof where I found a Motorola cell phone. Another wire went from the cell phone to the battery for power.

When someone calls a cell phone bug, they can hear everything up to twenty or more feet from the device. Cell phone bugs are the easiest and cheapest eavesdropping devices to install. No wonder they're so popular.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you would tell me where I can find out more information on this item. I am just breaking into the investigation field and am looking for any thing I can use of this nature. I also would like to know if this is illegal?? You can email me at with response.

Anonymous said...

Can the Motorola E815 become a "bug"?
When not in use as a "bug", can you still use it?
What if I want to make a call when I am using it as a "bug", is there something special to do before I dial?

Anonymous said...

Hehe - I'd like to see anyone tap a phone when this is around: . If they can't connect to the phone due to no signal, they cannot monitor data being sent to / from it. A most excellent solution I think.......