Special unit against eavesdroppers

A bug in the coffee pot, microphones in the ceiling panelling, a camera in the indoor palm tree: these are cases for Hollywood heroes. And for Deutsche Telekom's "eavesdropping defense" team. The certified experts protect companies from eavesdropping attacks.

Collage shows people using technical devices to examine a meeting room.

Tracking down bugs and cameras: The "eavesdropping defense" team examines a room for eavesdropping technology. © Dominik Pietsch

When the "eavesdropping defense" professionals go out, they have all kinds of equipment with them to check rooms for cameras, transmitters and microphones. They use X-ray equipment to look through steel, check walls and equipment with thermal imaging cameras, examine cavities with video endoscopes and detect radio signals with high-frequency meters. They disassemble power strips, light switches and smoke detectors. "Despite booming cybercrime, the classic bug is not dying out," says Jens Bolte, head of the special team. "Wiretapping systems today are tiny. Microphones can be hidden in USB sticks, fingernail-sized cameras can fit almost anywhere. The technology is available on the Internet and it doesn't cost much." 

Protect business secrets

New developments or strategic deals that become known to the competition early on? A horror scenario for the companies involved. That's why eavesdropping protection is part of corporate security. Deutsche Telekom has been using the "eavesdropping defense" team within the Group for many years. Since 2013, the specialists have also been helping other companies to protect their company and business secrets.  

The eavesdropping and technology specialists work in Germany and abroad. The team checks rooms regularly or on an ad hoc basis, for example before an important meeting, and also accompanies meetings and conferences live on request - so that the bug doesn't get into the room in a pen or with the coffee pot.  

"We start where even the best IT security can't do anything," explains Jens Bolte. He and his team prepare detailed reports after their investigations and recommend measures that increase eavesdropping security.

Rare expertise - certified annually

Those who work at Eavesdropping Defense must undergo rigorous examinations. The team is certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security and is re-audited annually. Currently, Deutsche Telekom is the only company in Germany with certification as an IT security service provider for the area of eavesdropping defense in the business sector.

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