Everyone’s seen wiretaps in old CIA movies and crime dramas, and so we all have a general assumption on what they do and how they work: it’s a device that records and/or transmits conversations over the phone line it’s connected to. This is generally true, but what most people don’t know or even think about is how a wiretap is found. In Law and Order or James Bond, usually the hero will just naturally know where it is, and when it’s showed to us it’s clear that there’s something in that phone that isn’t supposed to be there, then Pierce Brosnan plucks the tap out of the phone and throw it away. This is where the media’s portrayal of phone taps is false. Many times it’s very difficult to find a wiretap because they’re usually disguised as normal internal parts of the phone, and some of them can be very small compared to the bulky-looking tape recorders with antennas you’ll see in the old eighties films.
So how would you find a wiretap in your home or business? How can you be sure that your phone conversations aren’t being recorded? The thought of a phone tap can be a scary one, so there are a number of products on the market that can help give you peace of mind and keep your conversations private.
Finding a wiretap manually can be a long and annoying process that can sometimes cause irreparable damage to the phone you’re trying to check. If you’re paranoid enough, you might even end up gutting and ruining a phone that doesn’t have anything in it, which in turn causes you to fork over a few bucks to the nearest electronics store for a new one.
So you want to find a phone tap but don’t want to take apart your phone?
The easier alternative to hours spent digging through your phone’s innards is with a wiretap detector. These nifty little gizmos can save you time, effort, and frustration in finding an invasive phone tap. They work by looking for transmissions on frequencies that phone taps generally operate on (anywhere between 0.2 and 30MHz) to find a suspected tap. Another technology that can be useful in this process is a phone tap locator. Using a pre-determined frequency that can usually be found with the detector, it measures the distance of phone line between it and the tap to discover where it is.
A device that combines both these techniques is the CCTA-1100b made by Security Intelligence Technologies. It uses the technology found in a phone tap detector and in a wiretap locator to:
a) Test for the presence of a phone or wire tap
b) Extrapolate its location to aid in its removal
In addition, the CCTA-1100b can detect multiple phone taps even if they are working on the same frequency, in case you are scanning a large office area or similar where there may be more than one suspected tap, and because it also works on transmission frequencies as well as the phone line itself, it can find surveillance and eavesdropping equipment and is easily portable due to its briefcase-integrated design, making it perfect for confidential meetings or conferences.
For more information on the CCTA-1100b, visit http://www.secintel.com/pc-987-25-wiretap-detection-locator.aspx .
The CCTA-1100b does have drawbacks though. One is price; it goes for around twenty-four thousand dollars a pop, money most people don’t have or want to pay to find a phone tap. Another is that it has a steep learning curve, and could frustrate you more than just looking through your phone. It is, however, ideal for large businesses or government agencies that need a powerful product and have a dedicated IT staff who can take care of the detection process.
So what should I do if I just want to find a tap in my home?
Security Intelligence Technologies does offer a much simpler device, the B400, also called Tap Alert™. The B400 is perfect for the home user who just wants an easy way to find bugs or taps on their phone. It’s far easier to set up and use than the CCTA-1100b, and is much cheaper. The downside is that you sacrifice some of the features that the CCTA-1100b, but that by no means makes it obsolete.
The B400 is engineered more towards someone who doesn’t have the time or money to invest in a more expensive system, and just wants the peace of mind to know if they’re being listened in on. It has a much simpler interface than the CCTA-1100b and can indicate if a wire tap has been activated in its radio vicinity. It can be left unobtrusively on a desk or drawer, and will alert you if any bugs are active. If you are not home when the alarm activates, the alarm light will stay on until you come back.
The drawbacks to the B400 are that it can only function on single-line phones, meaning that in an office with many phones set up in a network with an extension assigned to each, it will only be able to tell if there is a bug or tap somewhere in the system, but because it lacks the locator technology the CCTA-1100b has, it can’t tell exactly where it is on the phone line. This is a feature that is not necessary in a home where there are only a few phones to check. Another aspect where the CCTA-1100b has an advantage over the B400 is that the CCTA-1100b has a much wider radio range than the B400, making it better for large rooms like auditoriums or conference halls, while the B400 can only reach within the confines of an average-sized home. For more information about the B400, visit
In conclusion, the CCTA-1100b is a more powerful yet more expensive and complicated system engineered towards a business or military and government organization, whereas the B400 is better for a home user.