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Eavesdropping Surveillance & Espionage: Threats, Techniques & Counter-Measures

Night Howl Productions;; 246 pages; $59

The overarching message of Eavesdropping Surveillance & Espionage is that security professionals must “grasp the serious nature of these threats and understand available counter-measures.” Author Norbert Zaenglein makes the case that, until recently, today’s sophisticated audio and visual electronic surveillance capabilities were available only to national level organizations. The miniaturization of equipment, improved quality, and transmission potential present challenges for maintaining safe areas for many persons and organizations. While many devices are marketed for positive applications, such as the discovery of criminal activity, they are also susceptible to abuse by those wishing to invade privacy of others. Everyone is potentially at risk virtually anywhere.

The author encourages the reader to study computer and digital espionage threats and the topics of surveillance, countersurveillance, and industrial espionage. This work reflects the author’s concern with these types of threats and a desire to create general and specific awareness. The content is informative and would be useful to students or security practitioners.

The book covers technical surveillance countermeasures and related equipment, threat assessments, the electromagnetic spectrum, listening devices and acoustic compromises, spy cameras, GPS tracking, signal jamming, landline and wireless telephone issues, and computer surveillance. The book wraps up with a section on physical inspection and some brief thoughts on how to catch a spy. 

The section labeled “Index” would be more appropriately called “Table of Contents.” Improved labeling of the various sections would enable the reader to better understand where one section terminates and the next section begins. Misspelled words here and there detract from the text. 

The overall visual presentation is professional with quality materials and clear typeset. Useful explanatory drawings, photographs, and tables are found throughout the book. The discussions in some sections are accompanied by almost a sample catalog of the various devices available with photographs and drawings. Discussions of concepts and operational techniques are included and illustrated. There are neither references nor a bibliography, and the book lacks a real index.

There is no biographical information about the author Norbert Zaenglein contained in the book; however, there may be an Internet presence with more information. A brief author biography could be added to the back of the book, along with any other publications written by the author.

This book is recommended for the general reader of security and privacy literature and those with a specific interest in or concern with electronic surveillance threats. It would be beneficial as supplemental reading in studies of industrial espionage and privacy issues. 

Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), SFPC (Security Fundamentals Professional Certification), is an adjunct professor in industrial espionage and security management programs. He is a member of ASIS International. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer and does not imply a view of any organization.