Which of these USB cables is spying on you?


A GSM spy bug listening device is hidden inside a functional Micro USB data charging cable. It is a wireless listening device fitted with a SIM card using the GSM network (Global System for Mobile).

It can easily be remotely activated or have its settings changed by sending a simple text message. It can automatically call the attacker when a voice is detected.

TSCM Threat level 3 – Amateur Eavesdropping Products
GSM BANDS: Supports 850 – 900 – 1800 – 1900Mhz
  Price < £10

TSCM methodology: Visual thermographic inspection

Be careful, it’s warming up! Think of this hidden device as a standard mobile phone: just remove the keypad, screen, speakers and batteries (it is powered by the USB Port). Now squeeze and compress it inside a USB 2.0 Type A male Plug, with the same shape and size. When a device is running, it consumes electrical energy, which is transformed into heat. The forced overload design cause a thermal dissipation issue.

Visual Image

Thermal Image

The hidden device can reach up to 117.5°F (47.5°C) during the eavesdropping, when the digital data transmission is activated.

TSCM methodology: Spectrum Analyzer

Most technical surveillance devices (bugs) transmit data, video, or voice through the air by using radio waves in various frequencies. The most effective counter-measure is to search for such an attack with a spectrum analyzer. The Spectrum Analyzer (REI - Oscor Green) is designed to detect illicit eavesdropping signals, perform site surveys for communication systems, conduct radio frequency (RF) emissions analysis up to 24Ghz, and investigate misuse of the RF spectrum.

USB Cable bug device: GSM-900 band Uplink – Pulse Spectrum

USB Cable bug device: GSM-900 band Uplink – Broadcasting Spectrum

TSCM methodology: Non-Linear Junction Detector (NLJD)

Non-Linear Junction Detector (REI - Orion NLJD) detects electronic semi-conductor components. It is made to detect and locate hidden cameras, microphones, and other electronic devices in any operational mode: active, stand-by or switch-off.

USB Cable – Apple

USB Cable – GSM Bug Device

USB Cable – Type C USB Data Cable

The 2nd harmonic (RX2) identifies semiconductor material, also operative to differentiate the responses between standards USB and possible eavesdrop device.

A Test: Amateur Vs Amateur

There are many downloadable Apps on the market that claim to be able to detect any secretly-installed listening devices on your phone. The above GSM audio bug is merely an amateur eavesdropping device with a TSCM threat level-3. We ran an experiment to test the claims of App manufacturers. The idea of conducting a simple test came after a recent conversation with a client who was confident that nobody was bugging his office or his vehicle, mainly because he had been using such software on his phone. So, could any of these Apps detect, identify and locate audio bugs? We planted a bug, activated the audio-eavesdrop, and conducted a “paint” (a sweep) utilizing 3 of these bug-sweep apps.

APP #1

APP #2

APP #3


As expected, NONE of the Apps was able to detect, identify and locate the device. Not one gave even the slightest indication of the presence of the bug. These Apps are supposed to detect electromagnetic fields (EMF) and metal using the magnetic sensor in compass of your phone and display the reading. Except for rare scenarios (such as a bug device hidden in a metal free object) the technology used by these Apps to perform the bug sweep is completely unreliable.

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