Posts Tagged ‘Bugs’

What’s Buggin’ Morris?

Articles | Posted by (CS)d June 9th, 2009


According to a report in the Telegraph, the CIA decided to think outside the box when hostilities with Russia were at their peak during the Cold War in the 1960’s. CIA operatives decided to use cats fitted with bugging devices in order to try and uncover the deepest and darkest secrets of the Kremlin and to prevent espionage against them. The Telegraph relies upon recently declassified documents to bring to light the CIA’s unusual approach of feline bugging devices.

Bugging Devices – Kremlin Cat Flap

In what was a fairly unprecedented move in spy circles, the CIA decided to implement the use of cats as a form of eavesdropping device during the height of the Cold War in the 1960’s. According to the report in the Telegraph, the CIA believed that the cats deemed worthy of being fitted with bugging devices, could be used to listen to secret conversations from park benches, window sills and dustbins. The crude technological ability of bugging devices at the time was not good news for the cats that were chosen for the top secret missions. Speaking to the Telegraph, former CIA officer, Victor Marchetti, states “They slit the cat open, put batteries in him and wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that.” So, understandably, cats weren’t lining up round the block to be fitted with the bugging devices.


Bugging Devices – Accident Waiting To Happen

Unfortunately, the CIA’s decision to fit cats with bugging devices was a fairly unmitigated disaster and can scarcely have got off to a worse start. The first trial run of the spy cat was a financial faux pas to say the least. Speaking to the Telegraph, Victor Marchetti stated, “They took it out to a park and put him out of the van, and a taxi comes and runs him over. There they were, sitting in the van with all those dials, and the cat was dead.” Bugging devices have come a long way since the Cold War as technologically capabilities have improved dramatically which, no doubt, will come as a relief to members of the feline community.

What is a Bug?

Articles | Posted by (CS)d June 8th, 2009


A “Bug” is a device which is placed in an area which then intercepts communications and transmits or conducts them out of that area to a listening post. The eavesdropper can be just a few feet away from the victim, hundreds of feet, or even miles depending on the kind of bug used.

There are five primary categories of “Bugs”: (Acoustic, Ultrasonic, RF, Optical, and Hybrid).


An Acoustic Bug is the placing of a water glass, stethoscope, or rubber tube into an area and directly intercepting the communication with the naked ear (without the use of electronics). This also applies to sections of an area where sound is leaking though soft spots around windows, structural defects, ventilation structures, poorly installed power outlets, and so on.

An Ultrasonic or VLF Bug is a technique use to convert the sound into an audio signal above the range of human hearing, the ultrasonic signal is then intercepted nearby and converted back to audio. In this case audio pressure waves are used instead of creating a radio signal.

An RF (or Radio Frequency) Bug is the most well known type of bugging device. A radio transmitter is placed in an area or in a device. This is your classic martini olive bug and “spy shop” store device. Extremely easy to detect, but cheap, disposable, and difficult to trace back to the person who planted it.

An Optical Bug is a bugging device that converts sound (or data) into an optical pulse or beam of light. It is rarely used, expensive, and easy to detect. A good example of this would be active or passive laser listening devices.

Any of the above techniques and devices can be combined to make a Hybrid eavesdropping device.

Families of Bugs
Free Space Emission:
• Acoustic/Audible Pressure Waves
• Acoustic/Ultrasonic Pressure Waves
• Optical/Invisible Light (UV, etc…)
• Optical/Visible Light
• Optical/Invisible Light (Infrared, etc…)
• RF Transmission (VLF) 3 kHz – 3 MHz
• RF Transmission (HF) 100 kHz – 70 MHz
• RF Transmission (VHF) 30 MHz – 300 MHz
• RF Transmission (UHF) 300 MHz – 1 GHz
• RF Transmission (Microwave Low) 900 MHz – 3 GHz
• RF Transmission (Microwave Mid) 3 GHz – 12.5 GHz
• RF Transmission (Microwave High) 12.5 GHz – 26.5/33/40 GHz
• RF Transmission (Microwave mm) 26.5/33/40 GHz – 325 GHz
• RF Transmission (Microwave mm2) 325 GHz – 1.5 THz
• Free Space – Magnetic

Conducted Emission:
• Audible (Voice Frequency)
• Ultrasonic
• Video
• Current Carrier up to 500 kHz (AC Mains, Phone, CATV, etc)
• Radio Frequency (AC/Mains Devices, waveguide, etc)
Fiber Optic
• Other