back to article Be your own Big Brother: Covert home spy gadgetry

Ah, lurve. The sweet strains of Barry White, the bouquets of flowers, the boxes of chocolates. That was Valentine's day. Now it's a week later, and perhaps the nagging paranoia is starting to set in. Why haven't they called? Is your phone still working? Go on, pick it up again and check. On the Street Where You Live On the …

  1. Chris Miller

    What's even creepier than the song

    is to find Sherlock Holmes singing it.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: What's even creepier than the song

      Well spotted!

      I do like a man who knows his musical theatre :)

  2. frank ly

    re. 'Casio' and 'Pure' items

    I'd imagine that Casio and Pure are not exactly happy about their good names being used in this way. However, I believe that as long as the customer is made aware of the true nature of the equipment (which they obviously will be), then Casio and Pure etc. can't do anything about it.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: re. 'Casio' and 'Pure' items

      Can't they? If that calculator has Casio's name on it, can they not sue anyway? It may be explained to the purchaser so it's not actually passing off, but it is damaging Casio's good name if their kit is distrusted by other people as if it was made by Sony or Lenovo.

      And it presumably carries various things that are registered as Casio trademarks. I doubt you could get away with selling something with a picture of Mickey Mouse on it just by telling the buyer that it's not a genuine Disney product!

      1. The Mole

        Re: re. 'Casio' and 'Pure' items

        My guess is they are genuine Sony/Pure/Casio products.. . just with some 'after-market' modifications done to them and being sold second hand. It's legal with cars, but whether a judge would take the same view of these type of modifications is another matter.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: re. 'Casio' and 'Pure' items

          I'd expect if the modications are clearly stated with their intended purpose and aren't sold as being approved or directly supplied by the manufacturer by the person selling it (which lets face it, is going to be a spy/surviellance outfit - so it should be clear), then they are just modified second hand goods from that perspective?

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Many other devices.

    Movement detectors apparently part of alarm system. The one behind the till has a camera to keep an eye on the worker.

    Clocks.

    Bug on the P.O. cabinet can remote voice, fax and and analogue modems.

    Root kit on laptop / tablet using mic & camera.

    (anyone notice that with current Skype you can't turn off camera or mic?)

    Smoke Alarms

    Extension socket strips.

    Plug in 2 and 3 way mains adaptors.

    Modified Phones

    Patched HDD firmware.

    Local fake mobile base station relaying to real one doing Man in Middle attack on Voice, SMS, MMS, and all data. (routinely used in USA).

    Laser bounced remotely of the window.

    The GSM, Bluetooth, WiFi and other regular wireless bugs are easily found. There are ultra wide spread spectrum bugs that can't be detected as they just create a very small rise in local background noise over a very wide spectrum.

  4. jake Silver badge

    "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

    Uh ... no.

    I trust my wife. She is her own person, and can do what she wants, when she wants to do it. I don't keep tabs on her, and she doesn't keep tabs on me.

    If you are paranoid about what your significant other is doing, your significant other is in the wrong relationship.

    Humanity is using technology for all the wrong reasons. Projection is an ugly thing.

    1. Little Mouse
      Happy

      Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

      Can't argue with any of your points Jake - but I hope you didn't take the "True Love" angle of the article too seriously!

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

        I think you'd be surprised at how many would use these just for that "angle". I wouldn't own any of this but I know quite a few control freaks/paranoids who would and be proud of it.

      2. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

        Well, indeed; with the piece coming out around Valentine's day, the lurve angle seemed like a good way to get into the subject, but as I pointed out at the end, communication is rather better for your relationship than gadgetry.

        And, that's also why we included a mention of some simple countermeasures, too. Possessive behaviour's not cool kids. Please don't try it at home.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Nigel Whitfield. (was:Re: "You" ::elided to fit the <s>Subject</s> Title length restriction::

          Somewhat sadly, Nigel, according to ElReg's "thumbs"[1], roughly 10% of your readership approves of spying on their loved ones.

          [1] Not that I think "thumbs" are a useful statistic, mind, but still ...

      3. dogged

        Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

        > Can't argue with any of your points Jake - but I hope you didn't take the "True Love" angle of the article too seriously!

        Of course he did, otherwise he'd have had to complain about a technical inaccuracy that isn't there.

        Far easier to simply decry all technology as unnecessary.

        jake posts by banging rocks on a telegraph wire.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "You want to be with your loved one every moment, or at the very least know what they're up to."

      It can be good business.

      Worked on one of the first gps fleet tracking systems.

      One of our customers, a family firm, noticed that one of their vehicles was parked odd somewhere overnight. Turns out she was playing away from home.

      She got half the business and both halves (amazingly) continued to buy our product.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "check that you can account for anything that's been given an IP address. If you can't, block it on the router, or find it and hit it with a hammer."

    or and hit it with a hammer. Percussive maintenance as a security tool isn't in many textbooks, but it can work sometimes ....

    Oh - and given the 'Every breath you take, every move you make...' line, i was expecting this slightly creepy version ...

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Joke

    Old tech

    I see there's one of those very early and ancient Microsoft tablet computers on your WiFi network. How well does MsDs work on a touch screen? And will MS or Apple be suing each other of the use of MsDs iPad?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "if you call their mobile and hear a different ring tone, you know they're abroad." So true. An employee called in sick. Called back later, foreign ringtone. Not terribly clever especially if you work in telephony support.

    Even less clever to show up with a nice tan and a bag full of duty free cigarettes under the desk.

    To prove AWOL you'd often need spy equipment. Not so in this severely career limiting case.

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