There are 3 main Searches that are involved in a Counter Surveillance Exercise. The Searches include three main elements: a visual, electronic, and physical inspection.
The Visual Inspection is also known as a vulnerability assessment. In this phase, the team walks through the target area and looks for possible weak points that could allow an outsider to listen to private corporate discussions. The team talks to the security manager about existing security practices. This information helps the team determine whether the company has failed to implement basic security procedures that might make it easier for spies to access proprietary information.
In the Physical Search, the team checks the type and physical placement of company equipment, including telephones, fax machines, and computers. For example, a telephone wire that runs under a computer, even if it is not touching the machine, will act as an antenna. Places where bugs can be planted for good hearing, are examined.
Finally, the team checks the location and function of utilities, including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The team might check the ventilation system of the building to see whether air ducks could carry voices from the boardroom to another office in the facility where a corporate spy might be listening.
Electronic search. The team begins looking for electronic devices that may be transmitting signals (and proprietary information) to a remote listening post. A Counter surveillance electronic equipment designed to detect radio frequency (RF) transmitters, carrier current devices, manipulated telephones and switches, infrared devices and interferometers (transmitters that send signals to a listening post via laser beams), and microphones that transmit through copper or fiber-optic wire, is used for the Electronic Search.
Microphones, video cameras, and other listening devices that transmit signals via RF waves can be easily purchased through the Internet or specialty magazines, mail order catalogs, books, related underground publications, and spy shops around the world. It is critical for the TSCM team to conduct an extensive search of the RF spectrum in the target area through the use of spectrum analyzers and receivers that pick up radio frequencies. The counter surveillance technician must be able to tell the difference between radio waves that belong in the target area and those that might be transmitting signals to a listening post.
A counter surveillance team will usually conduct an inspection for "esoteric" devices such as infrared transmitters or interferometers (lasers). Both listening devices transmit information with the use of invisible light. infrared or laser beam is carrying information from the target area.
Telephone lines and other telecommunication equipment (Internet connections and fax machines, for example) will also be searched thoroughly for listening devices.