Wiretaps are preferred when obtaining intelligence. If you are conducting surveillance as a private eye or a law enforcement professional, wiretaps can be most beneficial. This is because they are high quality due to the fact that they tap right into a telephone line, local area network, CCTV video system, a PBX cable, or even an alarm system. The other thing that makes wiretaps so popular is the fact that they are harder to detect than listening devices that make use of radiated signals. There are four types: hardwired, soft, transmit, and record.
Hardwired. These wiretaps involve physical access to part of the wire (i.e. access to a section of the PBX cable). A second set of wires is attached and then the signal is bridged to a third location. Communication between the two parties is not interrupted, and if an isolation device (a “slave”) is used as part of the bridge, there are very few bug sweepers that can detect the wiretap.
Soft. Soft wiretaps make use of software. A modification is made to the software that runs the system, allowing the eavesdropper access. This may take place at the phone company (most phone companies use some sort of digital lines even for traditional land lines), or at a business (for the PBX). This wiretap is easy to find if the person looking for it can have unrestricted access to the affected system.
Transmit. These wiretaps transmit information, rather than sending it along a line or allowing access through a software system. These are fairly easy to detect if one uses a good bug sweeper, as the RF energy produced by transmit wiretaps is fairly great.
Record. As one might expect, record wiretaps are just that: recorders. However, they are not like the hardwired in that there is no line to a third location. The eavesdropper must go and change the tape or disc out as well. This can lead to being caught red-handed, but it is still a method that works well enough for many private investigators.
Before deciding what to use, make sure you fully evaluate your needs. Proper surveillance requires that you understand your wiretaps.
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This article was posted on October 02, 2005