A conceptual computer keyboard with a single key featuring an icon of a surveillance camera pointing towards a human figure, illustrating the theme of counter-surveillance and the importance of personal privacy in the digital age.

Surveillance technology is creeping into more areas of our lives, from street CCTV to computer spyware.

You can use this technology to improve your life, from securing your home to investigating a mysterious theft at your business. But what happens when unwanted surveillance starts to affect you? This is where counter surveillance comes in.

Why is Counter Surveillance so important?

Counter-surveillance techniques, tools and devices can help protect you from a range of potential threats. These include:

  • Cybercrime and identity theft.
  • Invasion of privacy.
  • Stalking, harassment and blackmail.
  • Theft of company secrets.

Some of these situations sound quite extreme, but they happen surprisingly often, particularly in the case of cybercrime. A huge 46% of UK businesses reported a cyber attack or security breach in 2019, while cases of identity fraud in the same year rose 32% compared to 2015.

Counter surveillance can help you to secure the devices you use for banking and sharing private information. It can also shield your property from unwanted surveillance to protect your family's privacy.

For businesses, counter-surveillance is even more crucial. A major cyber attack could be catastrophic for your company's reputation and finances. It could even land you in legal difficulties.

You can’t predict or prevent every threat, but counter-surveillance strategies give you the power to eliminate some of the most likely. If nothing else, it can help you sleep more easily at night.

How to ‘do’ Counter-Surveillance effectively

We’ve examined why counter-surveillance is so important in our increasingly digital world, but how can you protect yourself from these threats?

In many cases, it’s tech to the rescue. Thankfully, counter-surveillance tech is much more accessible and affordable to the everyday buyer. This means you don’t need to bring in a specialist counter-surveillance team to sweep the building or spend a fortune on high-level expert equipment.

Here are just a few ways to protect yourself at home, work and in everyday life:

  • Sweep your property for bugs

It sounds paranoid, but it’s still worth doing. An RF bug detector can pick up radio frequencies from anything transmitting a signal from your house that shouldn’t be. This includes spy cameras, listening devices, vehicle tracking devices and more. It only takes a few minutes to sweep your home or office, and it’s easy to identify unwanted spy tech.

  • De-bug your phone

Many of us have an antivirus or other security software on our phones, but how often do you carry out a deep-level sweep for malware or spyware? Some malicious apps are very good at hiding or stealing your data or images in the background without you having a clue. Smartphone defence analysis can give your device a clean bill of health, so you can be 100% confident that no bugs are installed.

  • Encrypt your data

If you’ve got sensitive, personal or confidential information to send or store, here’s how to keep it private. Get yourself an encrypted USB stick. This automatically safeguards your data from prying eyes through encryption and tamper-proof technology such as brute force hack defence mechanisms. No one else can access your data, even if you lose your USB stick.