The Importance of Electronic Scanning “SWEEP”

The Importance of Electronic Scanning “SWEEP”

By Cecilio Andrade

Electronic Scanning ¨SWEEP¨ is one of the most important security countermeasures. It is the systematic search for active and/or passive espionage devices, intrusion information collection systems, eavesdropping and telephone intervention systems.

Electronic Scanning is one of the most important security countermeasures. Electronic Sweeps are procedures that follow a scientific and systematic methodology, and must be implemented by qualified personnel with specific technical equipment for such purposes.

After completing the ¨SWEEP¨ a full detailed technical report, along with comments, conclusions, and recommendations is presented.


The electronic scanning ¨SWEEP¨ is applied as a preventive measure in meeting rooms and offices, where meetings and/or important and confidential interviews are held, as well as in environments where working or personal activities and conditions are subject to procedures and the theft of sensitive information could be a threat.

As a secondary measure where suspicion or evidence of leakage of
information, it is recommended to extend the environments to analyze further rooms, vehicles, central telephone lines, mobile phones and residence.

Based on the constant study and analysis of surveillance equipment, investigations and experience, an Electronic Scan “SWEEP¨ procedure that ensures the safety of the environments that are discussed is developed.

Sweep procedure

  1. RF spectrum analysis.
    • Search for audio and video signals in wide and narrow band, sending and receiving wiretap equipment and video cameras.
    • Search of mobile phone emissions.
  1. Telephone lines analysis.
    • Checking of brownouts and fluctuations.
    • Search of interventions by electronic detection of components on the line.
    • Switchboards analysis with specific software.
  1. Electronic network analysis.
    • Checking the use as transmission line information.
    • Detecting infiltrated emissions.
  1. Specialized physical inspection.
    • Systematic review of the environment by qualified personnel with professional equipment.
    • Physical detection of hidden espionage equipment.


With this procedure one should be able to conclude and detect any audio and video streaming, cameras, hidden microphones, cables, power supplies, computer security vulnerability and network intrusion systems in switchboards and registration systems in the telephone wire.

General recommendations

Some points to consider when contracting an Electronic Scan ¨SWEEP¨ service are:

  • pg-46-espionage-gettyContact a company with experience in electronic scanning.
  • Communicate with provider outside of the suspected controlled environment.
  • No communication by fax, nor company or private email.
  • Keep absolute confidentiality; inform the fewest number of people, even if you think they are of the utmost confidence.
  • Perform the ¨SWEEP¨ in hours where there is no one around and that could intervene on the procedure.
  • If the service is done with people in place, efforts should be made to have them think that it is the work of a service, maintenance or repair.
  • If the control environment is done periodically, one must take into account the shielding of some areas and technical equipment.
  • For security reasons, no one should know what and/or how is being done.

Only with the most suitable technology and with these recommendations, we will have the best broom to “sweep” and “sanitize” areas and polluted environments.


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