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View Full Version : Installing spy-ware inside a house ?



WBuck
01-24-2014, 09:11 PM
How would a group of people install spying cameras and microphones in the house of someone without that someone noticing the devices ?

I have a scene where some people decide they want to monitor the activities of one of their members and they go into his house when it is empty and install micro cameras and microphones in it. Id really appreciate the advice on general logistic steps that they would need to take in order to do it successfully. No need to get overly detailed since the narration will not be very specific about this undertaking. I can try my best to conceal most of the logistical step through a "naive" narration, but id like to have a solid ground where to begin from with the scene.

Where would they buy such tools in an anonymous way that doesnt trace them back to the group ?

How would they install them in the house ?

And can the cameras be traced back to the user if say the person who is being watched finds them out ? The person is not a layman btw, so i want to know whether an experienced person in espionage could trace the cameras back to the user (only through the object itself, not with assumptions and associations).

Thanks a lot for every possible advice you can give me !

P.s: The story happens in modern times. So we are talking about high technology.

ClareGreen
01-24-2014, 10:08 PM
Two questions for you:

Firstly, are the people installing this kit part of a law enforcement agency? The kit available to LEOs and allied trades is not the same as the kit available at your local Spy Shop.

Secondly, do they actually know what they're doing, or are they just installing stuff and hoping they got it right?

Maryn
01-24-2014, 10:28 PM
Clearly, WBuck, you do not watch enough TV!

Audio devices can be affixed near where people are likely to sit or stand. Video devices tend to be hidden in light fixtures and vents. Some can be controlled remotely and aimed where you want; others are fixed on likely places of interest.

Stores sell spy equipment openly; it's not illegal to purchase it. If you pay cash and make yourself unrecognizable and/or unremarkable, the seller may not remember you at all, or be able to provide information leading to you even if his recall is excellent.

If I were doing this, I'd have individuals within my group each buy, for cash, parts of what I need for complete monitoring, plus other items having nothing to do with it. I'd have them do it over a period of months, mostly at remote stores they've reached by car, ideally dirty car with muddy plates. I'd encourage them to vacation, visit relatives, etc. so the purpose of the trip to buy spyware is not apparent.

My understanding, based on plenty of TV and movies, is that most spy cameras and listening devices are mass-produced and don't have individual registration numbers, making them untraceable. The buyers would want to get something right off the shelf, no custom stuff, nothing experimental. If they have the skills, they might even assemble it from readily available parts.

Maryn, not a spy (no kidding!)

veinglory
01-24-2014, 10:31 PM
You can get a remote controllable wifi camera with audio and infrared that stores all video for about 100 bucks. There are various ways to hide them.

WBuck
01-24-2014, 11:33 PM
Two questions for you:

Firstly, are the people installing this kit part of a law enforcement agency? The kit available to LEOs and allied trades is not the same as the kit available at your local Spy Shop.

Secondly, do they actually know what they're doing, or are they just installing stuff and hoping they got it right?

Well, the characters are not fully developed yet, but i doubt any of them would be any familiar with spying things. but they are quite smart and quick learners, so with the right education they can do a good job. thats why i wanted to know some details so that i can mention them as part of their learning curve. And no, they are not officials...but men in their 20s who both do different non-related jobs.

WBuck
01-24-2014, 11:36 PM
Clearly, WBuck, you do not watch enough TV

Indeed you are right! But i refuse to watch them, because i dont want to reproduce the copy of a copy. i seek to provide a more original point of view to something already presented. and i know how many movies and series have used spy-tools excessively. but i want to add a more "do it yourself" kind of amateur feel to it all....but thank you for your advice, it was quite interesting!

WBuck
01-24-2014, 11:39 PM
One more thing.....can these devices put in ceilings or corners of the wall to get a better perspective of the whole room, yet not attract the attention of the person inside ? Any more creative suggestions ?

ClareGreen
01-25-2014, 12:01 AM
What Maryn says, with these additions:

1) You can hide these things, but I'd think there has to be something to hide them in. An experienced espionage-type person will know what to look for and will know where things are most likely to be hidden - a camera is a camera is a camera, and however small the lens gets there presumably still needs to be one. Things that won't get a first glance from most people will get a second look from them as a matter of course. This isn't an insurmountable problem, but it does make life more difficult.

2) There are a couple of elementary and non-obvious cock-ups that novices at sound engineering can make. For instance, I found out that if you put a microphone equidistant from two walls the sound will interfere with itself. I'm still a rank novice at sound engineering, but there are going to be a lot more easy-to-make cock-ups like that one.

3) Listening devices and cameras should be able to relay signals to one or several transmitters, at which point your spied-upon party can't trace further. Or they might be wired to the house next door, at which point he or she can follow the wires. It depends on what your story really needs.

WBuck
01-25-2014, 12:11 AM
What Maryn says, with these additions:

1) You can hide these things, but I'd think there has to be something to hide them in. An experienced espionage-type person will know what to look for and will know where things are most likely to be hidden - a camera is a camera is a camera, and however small the lens gets there presumably still needs to be one. Things that won't get a first glance from most people will get a second look from them as a matter of course. This isn't an insurmountable problem, but it does make life more difficult.

2) There are a couple of elementary and non-obvious cock-ups that novices at sound engineering can make. For instance, I found out that if you put a microphone equidistant from two walls the sound will interfere with itself. I'm still a rank novice at sound engineering, but there are going to be a lot more easy-to-make cock-ups like that one.

3) Listening devices and cameras should be able to relay signals to one or several transmitters, at which point your spied-upon party can't trace further. Or they might be wired to the house next door, at which point he or she can follow the wires. It depends on what your story really needs.

That sound thing made me think. Maybe corners of walls are a no go....gotta think of a better spot then, or maybe leave it like that and unfortunately disappoint some of you sound engineers :P
As for the tracing...i want them to be distance-comunication like (if it made any sense), i want the people to see from their computers whats going on in the house while they themselves are far away from the spied house, so i guess the transmitters thing is the only option.

veinglory
01-25-2014, 12:14 AM
Basically you need a blind spot. A dark area in a stack or files, the seam of a teddy bear, preferable something that has always been there and is rarely touch. Then you hide it in there.

jkenton
01-25-2014, 03:37 AM
A mike can be pretty darn small. If memory serves, there are some pretty tiny ones that can be affixed to a window, say, down in a corner. The window itself will vibrate with every sound and act as the pickup for the mike.

The assorted devices can have wireless transmitters; theyl broadcast their signal to a receiver hidden outside the target structure. The receiver then collects and relays the sneakyty goodness via a cellular connection to the interweb connection of the sneak's choice. Can upload the recordings and vids to a server or even email address.

NeuroGlide
01-25-2014, 04:14 AM
Here's my thought:

I'ld break into his house, steal some stuff and leave. When he came in the next day and told me about it, I'ld take him to a electronics store, help him him pick out a good security system with cameras, motion detectors and remote access over the internet so he can monitor it remotely, help him install it, and subvert it so I can monitor it too.

WBuck
01-25-2014, 06:03 PM
Here's my thought:

I'ld break into his house, steal some stuff and leave. When he came in the next day and told me about it, I'ld take him to a electronics store, help him him pick out a good security system with cameras, motion detectors and remote access over the internet so he can monitor it remotely, help him install it, and subvert it so I can monitor it too.

I like your perspective, however seems too involving. I want the observer to be unaware of the group in all ways. No contact, no manipulating. Just pure invisibility.

rtilryarms
01-26-2014, 02:29 AM
How would a group of people install spying cameras and microphones in the house of someone without that someone noticing the devices ?

I have a scene where some people decide they want to monitor the activities of one of their members and they go into his house when it is empty and install micro cameras and microphones in it. Id really appreciate the advice on general logistic steps that they would need to take in order to do it successfully. No need to get overly detailed since the narration will not be very specific about this undertaking. I can try my best to conceal most of the logistical step through a "naive" narration, but id like to have a solid ground where to begin from with the scene.

Where would they buy such tools in an anonymous way that doesnt trace them back to the group ?

How would they install them in the house ?

And can the cameras be traced back to the user if say the person who is being watched finds them out ? The person is not a layman btw, so i want to know whether an experienced person in espionage could trace the cameras back to the user (only through the object itself, not with assumptions and associations).

Thanks a lot for every possible advice you can give me !

P.s: The story happens in modern times. So we are talking about high technology.

Covert cameras right in the open. My favorite is a casually laid pen.

They aren't perfect but they work. Just make yours wireless, you don't have to say more

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Hidden-Cameras/ci/18682/pn/2/N/4045021092

Maxx B
01-28-2014, 11:06 PM
My advice would be to go to a spy shop and ask the staff about the kit they sell. I'd explain that I was writing a book and give them the scenario and ask them what they would advise the MC if he/she came to them.

From my time working in casino surveillance, we have placed cameras in smoke detectors, PIR alarm sensors, clocks (a hole for the lens can be made in the thick part of black numbers which is almost invisible), inside computer towers, VCR and TVs.

Microphones can be placed anywhere, but avoid the cliche places. You can also hack webcams to be used for remote viewing.

wandering
01-29-2014, 06:51 AM
Video cameras can be hidden in just about any device from smoke detectors to wall clocks. Audio devices can be put into wall outlets which also serve as a power source. Just use your imagination.

However, you might address counter measures which can detect the cameras and detect RF sources/transmitters.

MDSchafer
01-29-2014, 07:43 AM
you might want to google this guy called Edward Snowden. Apparently no one has to bother with physical spycraft anymore.

All you have to do is hack someone's smart phone and you're golden.

wandering
01-29-2014, 07:51 AM
Apparently no one has to bother with physical spycraft anymore.


True and the more we go wireless, the more opportunities for spies. Wireless phones, baby monitors, and one can even turn on a computer's camera and mic.

wandering
01-29-2014, 09:32 AM
Another technique for audio recording is to use a laser to pick up conversations off the vibrations of windows.

WeaselFire
01-31-2014, 01:54 AM
Nanny cams. Available everywhere.

Jeff