Brian O´Shea – Spying on Spies: Detecting, Evading, and Countering Surveillance

May 19, 2019 posted by

it is my distinct honor to present to you our next speaker this has been a long time coming and it was very excited that we were able to make this work the gentleman seated to my right is mr. Brian O'Shea he's worked over 20 years in the intelligence and counterintelligence world he's worked across multiple intelligence agencies whether it be for the US intelligence special operations private competitive intelligence firms corporate litigation investigative firms and several gray boutique intelligence firms he can tell you more about that later currently he's the CEO of Stryker Pearce investigations very interesting company it provides private citizens with counter stalking counter-surveillance private investigations and missing persons services both in the United States and abroad he's also the managing director of the Thane Andrus group it specializes in providing corporate clients law firms nonprofit organizations and private organizations around the world with services such as the counter competitive intelligence counter corporate subversion internal corporate investigations and whenever any other organization has been attacked from the outside we haven't really had a speaker like this at an es FLC event before so fairly interesting for us to have he's also the founder he also is a founder of a nonprofit organization called the ILA foundation and it provides investigations counter stalking services and counter harassment services to survivors or potential victims of campus rape sexual assault and stalking through direct involvement through any type of organizations and they do workshops they do a lot of empowerment and they really have done a great job in attempting to to give a kind of ammunition to people who have been in bad situations in ways to improve them he's had many clients fortune 500 CEOs Saudi princes plenty of lawyers I think you a lawyer call for a bid it kept him a bit busy he wasn't able to join us here until right before and he's spoken about all of these issues and his work in many fora we met at the Oslo Freedom Forum the premier gathering for human rights supporters in the world he's given workshops their other speeches there he's been present at all the large security conferences around the world giving his advice trying to meet potential clients and to use his services he's advised many people including the author Naomi Wolf former presidential candidate James Gilmore to Saudi princes and he even jumped out of the plane with the current king of Jordan many years ago did not know that very interesting so he was featured in the best-selling book you can't lie to me and he plays a stalker slash assassin in the soon-to-be released movie blind with such stars as Alec Baldwin Demi Moore and Dylan McDermott he's a master manipulator of the truth understands where people are being led astray and provides those services so that people can be helped and people do have protection against those who do seek harm he is the embodiment of all the principles of entrepreneurship and the ideas of Liberty that we try to talk about and get people excited about across the continent ladies and gentlemen I present to you mr. Brian O'Shea well that's a lot to live up to I don't think he was a king at the time by the way I'm the worst spy ever it took me about an hour to find my wallet and my tie this morning I think the maid took them so I am here to talk to you today about detecting surveillance countering surveillance and using those same skills to learn who's surveilling you now why is this important well we'll get to that in a second but first I think it's important that we define what is surveillance okay according to my quick research in the Webster's dictionary basically it comes from the word to watch over to gather you know to watch someone to surveil to show vigilance now the way the UK defines it is observation or looking at a person to see if they're going to commit a crime I think that's a bit limited the way we define it at the different organizations I work with is to watch over someone to surveil someone and to collect intelligence on them now who conducts surveillance is it governments is it organizations is it nonprofits is it stalkers is it this guy that's actually I'll but this guy possibly perhaps it's these people well that's the right answer right there everyone conduct surveillance everyone in this room at some point has conducted some sort of surveillance think about when you were that five year old kid you really wanted that cookie now your mom or your dad I already told you that you cannot have one so what did get to you peaked around the corner you waited till mom or dad was out of the room you collected intelligence you did a risk assessment you waited till they left you assess the situation and you moved in for the kill and you got that cookie if you didn't do good intelligence he probably got caught and got in a lot of trouble but the point is everyone conduct surveillance or has the capacity to now is that bad no surveillance is important you should always be watching the people around you you should always be assessing your environment your competitors people that simply don't like you and the reason why it's important to lay out that everyone conduct surveillance is because so many times in history we never saw coming we never realize when there were for lack of a better term spies in our myths who remembers us kiss okay a group of alleged spies in the United States for decades for decades okay collecting doing agent provocateur type stuff I'm not really sure what the outcome of what they did was and we may never know but that's a great example of the fact that if you look left and you look right and I'm not trying to subvert or tear you guys apart but you just never know and the worst thing about what I like to call the various surveillance or nefarious espionage is a lot of times of people conducting intelligence collection or surveillance don't even realize who they're doing it for or why they're doing it and we'll get to that a little later so yes everyone can be a spy now you see the list we already went over it everyone especially since Edward Snowden is convinced that the government is spying and yeah they probably are they're collecting on you at a minimum I don't think they have the manpower to actually go through eight billion phone calls with 39,000 employees but they're definitely collecting that came out I mean this undeniable but where people forget is that a lot of times it's not the government a lot of times it can be criminal organizations it can be stalkers that's actually the number one purveyors of surveillance around the world his stalkers people who want to do you ill intent either through psychosis or jealousy which could also be psychosis or for any other reason but another main reason that people do collection and surveillance is for competitors okay now we've all seen the movies like duplicity anyone watched a new show billions they're always spying on each other on that show and so what that shows is that it's everywhere and at Stryker piers you know look what Edward Snowden did was good for the world he got it out there they shouldn't be doing that I totally agree with that but yeah I got a problem with that word Snowden I'll tell you why because my phone has been ringing off the hook since those revelations came out and everyone and their sister and brother calls me and they're like the CIA is spying on me that's it okay what do you do well I'm macrame shorts at home down in Georgia so okay why do you think the CIA spying on you well I have a Twitter profile and I speak my mind so what ends up happening is normally a stalk or an ex-husband in those cases and the funniest thing about those calls or when I have those meetings is when you tell someone that it's not the CIA or not the NSA or GCHQ or mi5 whoever they always look disappointed like and then I have to tell them to then I become life coach and I say but you're still important I mean someone's stalking you so why is it conducted why do people conduct surveillance seems kind of skullduggery I feel I felt a little bad last night listening to the keynote when speaker's talking about how you shouldn't lie and you shouldn't sneak around and I don't like quiche as I do for a living but that's okay because what we're doing is we're trying to stop the people that are using those same nefarious skill sets to take away civil liberties to take away you know your sense of safety your sense of worth to take away your profit and some people really do just do it for fun when I was a kid we used to go on what we called missions we'd spy on the neighbors in today's day and age I realize it's actually called breaking and entering but hey who knew but again the reasons for surveillance and the reason for espionage are not as important as understanding how to detect it and how to defend against it and then you can backpedal and figure out why they're doing it which is part of everything that I'm going to try to present to you now also keep in mind too I'm not here to teach you anything everything I'm about to tell you except for maybe some facts and figures you already know you are the kid in the kitchen with the cookie you've spied on someone okay don't look innocent you all have okay as some way shape or form u.s. hey how you do on the test that's collection did you get into the school that's collection you want to find out your chances of getting into a certain school so and that's okay okay but the key thing is understanding what it is what it looks like when it is organized and when it is nefarious now here's the scariest thing I learned in my career if it's the government spying on you depending on the government caveat but if it's the US government or some of what they call you know the five eyes that's less worrisome to me as a service provider of counterintelligence and counter surveillance then if it's a stalker than if it's a criminal but one of the main things we see is competitive intelligence collection now who's ever heard of competitive intelligence okay this is one of the fastest growing industries in the information market now let me just put this up front I'm not gonna talk much about cyber everyone last night at the cocktail reception hours like tell me about cyber tell me about Snowden I'm not that smart I took on the term social hacking so I could have hacking in the title I don't really know what it is we used to call a manipulation but the key thing is what we see is traditional surveillance techniques being used to gain information on competitors now they're doing this for many reasons to get an edge on the competition of course and there's nothing wrong with that there's nothing actually wrong with legal competitive intelligence the type of competitive intelligence and collection that I'm talking about today is stuff that falls outside of the norms of the law of what's considered moral and what's considered ethical now those can vary group to group country to country but you know what's right and you know what's wrong if you have to pick a lock and hack a computer to get someone's secrets if you don't think that's wrong probably should be locked up but the key thing is that you know what's right you know what's wrong so looking at Google getting company business reports there is nothing wrong with that and you should do that and it when I say competitive intelligence I don't want you to tune out because you're probably thanking corporations big businesses Saudi princes but it's also one of the biggest clients of competitive intelligence is nonprofits we actually had a retirement agency come to us and they said hey her competition has hired some people to spy on us and they're actually getting stuff we don't know how they're doing it we've had a donut company come to us with the same complaints we've had a waffle company we've we actually had a dog walking service in DC come to us and he's like hey someone's stealing all my clients now amazingly in DC it's actually a multi-million dollar industry to walk dogs I may be in the wrong business but the point is no one is immune to it one of the main things I from almost every potential client they say well why would they want to spy on me but you don't know why you know you'll never know why a lot of people say well my company's not public why would they care everything's out there about me why would they care you don't know the reasons the reasons could be to turn you against your organization the reasons could be to find out who's the most important person in your organization and hire them away thus breaking apart your leadership structure you just don't know and it's all important now what's even scarier about this industry and let me just drop that word I actually don't find a scary at all because once you learn about it and hopefully a little bit by the end of this presentation if it is something that's scary to you you won't be as scared of it because at the end of the day for a lot of people it's just a job it's very rare as a matter of fact I have never in 20 years come across anyone who is twisting their moustache and adjusting their monocle and petting their hairless cat saying I can't wait to spy on someone no they were normally getting paid they were on a contract there's a statement of work there's very described deliverables again this is a business people have to pay mortgages people have to send their kids to school I have so many clients that will come to me and say it's the CIA and I'm like no it's not and they said well what if they're going rogue and I'm like well at eighty-five thousand dollars a year in the DC Beltway where mortgages are about a million dollars I don't think they're spending their time just for fun spying on you and so that's one thing to keep in mind we had a lot of discussions last night about why people do things and it really just comes down to a return on investment you have something that someone else wants and is going to profit them either monetarily either in terms of popularity or in terms of reputation okay but there's always a return on investment if you think someone's spying on you always try to figure out okay what do I have what assets do I have that someone would want it doesn't mean they're not spying on you if you can't figure that out that just means that you don't know the reason and that's why it's important to start detecting it and start learning what they're doing how they do it so you can figure that out now one thing I've noticed and I'm working on a book to this effect it's competitive intelligence attracts all of the X will so many of the ex-intelligence officers from around the world and think about it you've been an intelligence analyst or a collector or a human intelligence collector all of these things that people normally call spies so what are you gonna do when your clearance gets shut off when you get kicked out of your country well you Google a job and guess what comes up competitive intelligence here's some examples that I pulled from a previous talk that I gave these are actual headlines okay Wall Street Journal we are all spies now this former CIA director said that ABC's news of you manhattan investment banker caught working for the Russian government when it's air is the biggest reform challenge is unemployed spies and the rest goes on don't don't look at the epoch times one that that's about May it wasn't good but when you look at these things you're like wow what are these people going to do they have they have mortgages they have student loans they need to make money they have a skill set there's someone out there willing to hire them now it's not as shady as I'd like it to be in terms of fiction the way it works normally is a client will hire their general counsel or their law firm and then what happens is the general counsel will reach out to a large consulting firm okay it could be any one of them you know those consulting firms sa management and strategic solutions they will then turn around and reach out to an actual competitive intelligence firm and you can actually go to skip org scip ERG there's a whole list of competitive intelligence firms and again I'm not saying they're doing anything illegal but then what happens is you get to these smaller groups that really need to impress the lawyer they really need to impress their client and a lot of times those statements of work are so ambiguous just get the information and they get the information a lot of clients will even have them signed something called a master services agreement that says you will not break the law you will not violate our ethical values and the person at the very end of that chain says you got it no problem but they did a lot of them do it anyways just this morning I've pulled this off Simply Hired can everyone see that look at the very top part that's highlighted okay that's just one website one website it's one again it is one of the fastest growing industries in the world ironically these two gentlemen in gilad and Fuld were former Mossad and they pretty much started the competitive intelligence industry they established a competitive intelligence academy in came Cambridge Massachusetts they came from the intelligence background and with that flowed the entire influx of people who want to get into this work and again I have to underline this the majority of them are not nefarious are not criminals are not bad but it's a small percentage of do the most damage and really really can mess things up both in business and nonprofits in any organization so why should you care okay you should care because even if you're just a student even if you're just a non-profit even if you're a church yes we've had Church clients as sad as that us a lot of times it's not just about profit like I said earlier a lot of times it's about taking apart the leadership creating doubt in an organization someone may want this this crowd next year they may go after the reputation of this organization this all falls into it it can destroy profits and plain and simple some of the larger firms that don't really care how competitive intelligence is performed will actually get price pages and figure out what a smaller competitor is going to display at a tradeshow so they can scoop them so they could get in front of them and just wipe out whatever little profits I have and then they gobble up the company sometimes they collect competitive intelligence to mess up a merger and an acquisition something that's supposed to be confidential it gets collected they put it out to the media and now the entire deal is canned so again you just never really know the reason why and sometimes actually I get to that because that's one of my case studies but sometimes it's so bizarre you cannot realize it and if anyone ever wants to give me a call and listen to some funny stories I mean some of the calls we get in some of the cases we worked they blow your mind I mean they're just so crazy you can also get you arrested it can get you fired I could get you killed the reason why is because if someone comes up to you let's say you start at your new job you start at your new law firm well there's these firms called expert and network firms have you heard of this so what they do is they will call you up they'll find your resume and they'll say hey you are an expert underwater basket weaver we have a client that wants to learn more about that industry would you be willing to consult over the phone for about $300 an hour just in your free time and that's what that expert network firm is well what happens then is you're led to give out information about your company sometimes you don't realize that because you're making good money and they say hey I want to set up a project on how to do this this and this can you tell me what that looks like without revealing anything confidential you start talking you start talking and if they're really doing their job correctly albeit morally dubiously you're gonna start actually talking about the stuff you are working on and not even realize it and then you turn around and you know the police could be showing up at your cubicle or your office that's what we call an unwitting spy versus a wedding spy it can get you fired obviously and then it can get you killed I was once doing competitive intelligence in a favela south of Sao Paulo and I had a tape recorder in my pockets well my meeting got cancelled in walk these really large men it was a construction firm again I'm not the best when it comes to judgement and I walk in and I'm sitting there going oh this is really bad and they're interrogating us they're like why do you want to know this information why are you here that was around the point in my career I realized now I need to get on the other side of this this is not cool and here I have this blinking light in my pocket as I'm trying to cover it with my handkerchief and they have a bunch of excavators out back and a dog on a rope and I'm like yeah this just can get me killed now that's an extreme situation but you just never know it depends on the country you're in or if you inadvertently are revealing things about your boss your company you don't realize your company may be involved in something yeah a bit illegal you know that can get you kill two very rare so here are a couple cases I just want to quickly go over that we have recently worked on now the first one is called the Red Queen now the reason why they have these funny names is because we actually just assign a name to a case to help us remember but also to kind of hide the identity of the client now in the case of the right Queen this was one of those the CIA spying on me they're messing up my career I can't get a job someone inserted four hundred criminal charges in my county records and of course I'm looking at him going okay here's another one Edward Snowden thank you but as it turned out he was right now it wasn't the government per se it was his ex-wife who was very high up in the government very attractive and very influential getting people to kind of harass or ex-husband as she moved organization to organization and as I looked at I said huh I said well you're not wrong I said but this is not exactly a government operation it's just using the government tools now we were able to solve that case and she got fired and is currently facing some problems of her own but that's a that's a great example we called I just love the title the Red Queen because I was just really nasty stuff she was done' this poor guy and she did in fact get someone in a police department to insert paper charges into his file and what happens in the u.s. is you start with a file that's paper the police report once they do the audit the audit just means matching up the paper files to the online files it becomes part of your permanent record and then you have to work like hell to get it out of there that's what she was doing to him messed up his clearance and everything the guy could not get a job he's doing better now but we're still trying to help him find a job another one and I have this article is actually in a Canadian magazine that I wrote for a conference I did the tale of two insiders now this is exactly how nefarious competitive intelligence firms will work in this case here you had two people he had one disgruntled employee okay and then you had one employee that was just overzealous so this firm swooped in on these employees how they find them LinkedIn they just look for anyone that kept updating their profile and putting a lot of stuff out there about themselves every time this person sneeze and then another guy was putting on his linkedin just finished a project in Ontario the new factory is almost built well that was pretty easy deliverable right there so what they ended up doing with one of them was they called one as a recruiter they said hey love your resume and he told them everything thinking he's getting a job the other one they just kept meeting her on planes they happen to have people everywhere who were Wow just what do you do for a living she's like oh you know not too much and they're like that's fascinating I have never met anyone that does and just gave her an audience and she's talked and talked and talking and you know that's how they did this and so they got insiders both of them unwitting who just took that company apart and that became a major case and then the other one happened to me now this is real spy versus spy stuff at a law firm come to me and they said hey we have a problem this firm from another country is spying on our intelligence guy their competitive intelligence guy trying to lure him to a meeting to get him discredited thus taking him off the case which would wipe out our key witness so they hired me to do counterintelligence on this company that was spying on him and it was hilarious and it was real amateur hour too because they were dog walkers on their van I just done a dog walking job so I kind of knew every dog walker in the DC area and they'd even take the time to put up a website and so everywhere I went there was the dog walking ban and I was thinking they either have a really great business that just happens to be where all the dogs are near me where these are the guys then it was just a question of getting them off the scent so I would I would do things like say hey I'm going to go to this embassy or that embassy and then I'm gonna go to Brooklyn to go meet with that guy and I'm just dropping my itinerary behind and they followed it around finally what we did is we just called him up we acted like a we set up our own company and we said hi you do competitive intelligence he's like yeah we do and I was like where are you located he's like New York he's like what's your problem I said I'm really scared I I don't even know if this stuff exists and spies and everything and I just gave him an audience and he would not shut up and he did himself in he was just going on and on and on about every single case he even sent me documents where I could see the white out over the confidential at the top in the bottom and that's you know and that's a case – but the point of all those cases is kind of show you how espionage and collection transcends all the different industries all sorts of different lifestyles and it really is everywhere so what I'm sure most people came here for is how do you do it how do you how to evade surveillance how do you avoid collection okay well the first thing you have to do is you you kind of have to learn how the spies do it okay so they do a number of things first we're going to actually I'm gonna go the next slide and get back to this one okay so how they do it is the first thing they do is if you jump down is the first thing you want to do is learn how to detect physical surveillance now yes this really happens actually New York according to some statistics has the most spies in the world from not only different countries but different industries I mean literally if you come from if you come from this conference and you went to New York especially if you're hanging out with Yale just kidding but if you went to New York this weekend when I go to New York when I go back to New York this weekend I guarantee I'll have someone knocking on my door saying hey I'm doing a background check on your neighbor well they're not they were actually trying to figure out what I'm doing at this conference okay so the first thing you want to do is learn how to detect physical surveillance now the easiest way to do this is called a surveillance detection route and everything I'm telling you is not confidential you can actually look most of the stuff up it used to be but a surveillance detection route is really easy and it's a very good skill to have simply because it can save your life if you have a stalk or if you have a potential rapist anything like that and I don't have a diagram for this and it's a longer class but in a nutshell what you're doing whether you're driving a car or whether you're walking is you're taking people on a stair-step looking route to get to your objective so if you're walking from across town to get here you want to map out your route and take yourself through as many intersections as you can so you get to the first intersection you look left you look right you cross the street you turn right okay as you're walking you can actually look left and right you take a left you take a right you keep doing this at every single thing what you're looking for is the same people who are taking on that route now if it's organized surveillance it'll usually two to three people sometimes five every third turn typically they have to change who's called the eye who's ever heard of that term from spy movies and on the eye allsey eye is that is a person who's got their eyes on the target they're in radio communication with their team the rest of the team is on alternate streets so if you keep forcing them to make these turns they have to rotate the eye okay and what you're looking for is that same value initially spotted to be back behind you maybe seven blocks later now what you've done is you've collected against them you know the size of their team you know who's on their team you know what they look like and you know you're definitely being surveilled now if you're heading to a meeting with a source or journalist or a business meeting if you do detect surveillance don't go to the meeting okay if you detect surveillance and you decide not to go to the meeting what you don't want to do is pick up your phone and go I can't go to the meeting and then hurry off because now you've just confirmed it a lot of times surveillance is just trying to figure out if you're up to something so you just want to be cool and then the next thing you want to do too is burn their budget everyone's getting paid most surveillance is conducted by private detectives in most countries it's usually subcontracted out because it's expensive and they're getting paid hourly I pick up surveillance all the time because the opposing party doesn't know who I am so they think I'm the guy who's you know with the wife or something like that they think I'm the cheater or something and when I pick it up I actually took a guy to the ocean I stared at the ocean contemplative Lee for about three hours then I went to medieval times I cheered for the Black Knight for about three hours and also his doing was burning up the budget and you just and that's a way of making yourself a hard target as well once you spot the surveillance okay the other thing you want to do is learn how to read body language and not only body language of individuals but body language of crowds okay so who's ever read any books on body language reading okay who knows what a baseline is okay what a baseline is is that is the normal body language behavior of your target okay so what happens with the baseline is the way you establish someone's baseline is simple when you meet them you say how was your day to give you breakfast that sort of thing okay once you get to that point you're watching and it's easy to remember head shoulders knees and toes to start up ahead and just watch the way they look now does this indicate deception no it could be their normal baseline behavior what you want to do is just get a sense of what their normal baseline behavior is and then once you ask the hard questions did you steal the stapler what you're looking for is anything to change in that pattern most of the time subconsciously it's turning feet away or covering vital organs okay that's a natural you know like men will adjust their watch what they're doing is they're covering their heart women will always play with the necklace of their neck that's called a pacifying behavior okay because they're massaging their neck because you just asked them something stressful and they stressed out a little men do this too they just are tight okay pay attention of that too because it's good way to tell if that date is gonna go anywhere they're doing a lot of this you might as well get the check and skip dessert because it's not gonna happen okay so see all sorts of uses but that's you want to learn to and now the reason why you want to learn to do that is because it's easy to detect people when you walk by them on the street you'll actually see their body language change if they have if they're causing you ill intent I've actually seen the guys watching they so I turned right around walked right by him anyone like this I mean yeah and now baselining crowds now this is most important because this this is where you can save your life as well if you're in a really bad country it's a great way to detect if some like riots gonna happen or anything what you want to do is you want to watch everywhere you go now if you do this every day you make this a practice he'll just do it naturally but for instance when you're walking down the city street what do you see you see tourists you see tours okay you see people everyone is going somewhere but you always know when someone's gonna try to ask you for money or try to rob you why cuz they loiter they're breaking the baseline of the crowd everyone else is going somewhere someone's staring at you you just want to become aware of that you're in an elevator what do you do ask them what floor how's your day going that's natural if someone starts asking you how's your day going oh do you live in this building how long have you lived here get off the elevator and take the stairs and make a note of who that person is so everywhere you go you want to be baselining behavior if you're at the cocktail hour tonight and someone's like the whole time through the crowd not normal they either really really like you and are gonna ask you out on a date where you can massage your neck or you know they may want to do something bad to you you just don't know or they may just be weird but you have to assess that okay and then the other thing is once you get to that point where both with the body language of physical surveillance you have now detected espionage you've detected collection now the next thing you want to do is learn as much about that person as you can now don't try this at home but we we've actually put gps taggers on people's cars who are following us so we can figure out who they work for and then once we figured it out we found gps taggers on our own cars which i then put on dump trucks and you know semi-trailer trucks that are heading five states away you know run up that budget I don't know if they actually went that far but a lot of them did okay so you've detected it now the other thing and we talked about this last night let's talk a little bit about cyber everyone says well what about cyber yeah you got to worry about it but let's face the facts I mean these things are being hacked and exploited so quickly hey can you really protect that much information I mean you really can so the key thing with that I and you know do what you want what I tell people I told some of us last night the best thing you could do is as long as it's not damaging to yourself put as much stuff out there about yourself as you can really make them work for it you know just listen you go to my LinkedIn profile oh my god my entire biography is on there someone's not getting paid for my information because I've already put it out there for free but what you're also doing too is by always putting things out now caveat to this don't put out hey the combination to my ATM card is this SSS now what I'm talking about but what I am talking about is tweet every time you sneeze okay post a link every time your boss says good job because someone has to collect on that and someone eventually has to go to their boss and say hey I spent the last six months I've got 200 pages of intelligence and they sneezed and they got an attaboy from the boss if you create a haystack it's easier to hide needles people that don't have a social media footprint they're susceptible to things reputation attack because if you're not talking about yourself someone can control that conversation or even spook you or the minute you put something out on social media it's gonna be important someone's gonna follow it so that's just my just to answer that question because I know I was gonna get asked so I always say if it's not harmful to you have a as big of a footprint as you can and then the other thing too with that red herrings who knows what a red herring us okay red herring is misinformation throw it out there make it seem plausible don't say hey learn to fly today with wings but what you want to say is hey I'm looking at this other job and then the next day say not in a workout well now someone if they are collecting on you they've got to follow that leave now they got to figure out what the job was budgets are going up someone's getting fired that means someone's not going to be spying on you for long because they're doing a bad job so why is it important okay back to that slide information elicitation this is the keyway surveillance and information elicitation is conducted this is how spies do it this is how they're trained whether in competitive intelligence or the government this is how they do it watch investigative reporters and watch the way they ask questions okay the first technique is called the hourglass technique okay the hourglass technique and I'm sure you've all seen this goes like this piece of information you want is right at the center of that hourglass human nature tells us that you always remember the beginning and the end of a conversation never the middle so what you do is you start up here and I'm telling you to think this way because this is how it's done someone will come up to you and they'll say hey you go to Charles University that's really great I've always wanted to be a law student why'd you choose that one that's no problem saying that so you start talking they're doing two things they're our glassing they're getting uncomfortable and they're socially engineering you to give them information albeit at that point you know nothing really needle needle moving okay and then it starts going in a little more yeah so you study law yeah it's a law school oh really you don't look like the lawyer type to me well I do and actually I'm a good lawyer my dad's a lawyer well now they're collecting more information and the key piece of information they want maybe who sits next to you in that class how many people are in that class they're gonna get to that and then they're gonna come out and say oh by the way do you know a good restaurant around here you know what's the best flight out of here what's the weather gonna do tomorrow by the end of that you have no way of knowing which information they were after because a hourglass it and an hourglass thing that they also just baseline do they also figured out your baseline pattern and body language this is the number one way of collecting intelligence in a non cyber way is information elicitation the other ones a recruiter technique how many people have received a phone call from a recruiter it went really really well you talked for an hour you went home you were like hey you know what I'm getting this job that guy talked to me for like an hour and then never heard back again that is one of the most common techniques in collecting information because what happens is when you post your resume online people we used to actually look to see who recently updated resumes and anyone that updated it in the last week that's our number one target and then we also looked for areas where people didn't make a lot of money and so they'd call now I never did this this is one of the reasons I left this firm that I was at because when I saw that happening I thought it was absolutely disgusting but that's what they do and so they get the guy talking they start with the job furthest back why'd you go to that school what they're after is the project that person was working on so I say so this current job white why you leaving it or why do you leave well this this and this really so you're a program manager I mean what's that look like in your industry and they start describing it and what they're doing is they're basically re-engineering or reverse engineering the project management structure of that target and then with a little more secondary a couple more sources couple more recruitment calls they put together what the competitors working on because they were told by the people that worked on it and then they never call that person again okay and that's a technique you have to look out for it if a recruiter calls you never take the call on the spot just say well now it's not a good time for me but can I get your number and we can schedule something check them out not just on LinkedIn not just on Google check them out check out the physical address of their office I have so many clients that come to me and they're like hey we're about to invest 20 million dollars in you know the unicorn fund I don't like oh great give me the information I check it out there's not even an office it's an empty lot I'm like did you really but it happens all the time so check it out make them give you information take control of it planes trains and automobiles what is going on on planes trains and automobiles people seem to think that they're in a secure facility when they're traveling it blows my mind how many people have seen on a plane like some lawyer working on a document as as confidential it is again you know and we've done penetration tests where we spy on the company for the company to show vulnerabilities I've been behind a lead counsel with my phone on a plane just great I know the whole strategy okay automobiles one of the number one things that people bug is automobiles why because texting and driving is illegal okay and it's easy it's a lot easier than hack you buy yourself a little recording device you throw it under the seat it records for 72 hours and you retrieve it okay and you've got everything because people get in their car and they talk they think they're in a secure facility it's not secure nothing's secure okay and then of course trains blow my mind trains are the best I travel to New York to DC every week and it just I mean that is an SP that is a spies dream as the Amtrak that runs between New York and DC because who's on the train politicians lawyers people in the intelligence community and those are my favorite by the way I love asking them hey what do you do they go I can't tell you well now you don't have to but that's the thing is trains are the worst and people just talk I don't know if it's a sense of self important or the trains too loud but a guy just two days ago when I was going up to JFK to catch a flight out here he's talking about his entire defense strategy so loud that people were leaving the car because he was so annoying I wasn't leaving the car I was trying to figure out who he worked for so I could get a new client he laid out the whole strategy I finally took pity and I said hey here's my card I socially hacked people for a living if I knew who the plaintiffs were your case would be dead in the water and he's like well who are you and I'm like no no I'm not here to hurt I'm just saying shut up you know stop talking you're not doing your client a service again planes trains automobiles you are not safe in them information is information those are the easiest places to collect and finally the super star technique every single penetration test I've done I've been able to get information because you play on people's egos and just so we're clear you guys know the penetration test is right yeah you're spying on your client at the request to detect vulnerabilities and so I waited and I started getting the guy talking and I'm not proud of this but I gotta say a lot of those techniques that neil strauss the guy that wrote the game whether you're a man or a woman they do kind of work and so this one guy's sitting next to me now to be honest we knew his itinerary and we were able to get inside his United Airlines to kind of get me seated right next to him but I knew too that this guy had a real problem because he was always checking out his own LinkedIn profile we could you know we could see him checking it out and so we get on the plane I'm like eh so man what a tough day and I ordered two whiskey's but he didn't know that and I said oh she brought me to by accident he do you want one he's like yeah sure man it's been a rough day I said oh really tell me about that he's like well we just installed this big cybersecurity solution bla bla bla make a long story short this guy clearly had no audience at work so I gave him the audience and he told me everything by the end of that flight from LA to JFK I knew every client at their data centers I knew every algorithm problem they had I knew who was getting fired I knew he was gonna ask out on a date I even knew the name of his dog and of course I keep a rolodex of different dogs on my phone from Google cuz if you have a Labrador I have a Labrador really yours names lucky mine's not so lucky but that's really cool you know we have a lot in common okay so the super star technique if someone is really really interested in what you do and it's really not that exciting or you don't think it is or the topics not that exciting to be aware of that I mean it's kind of like a humble pie experiment you know no one's that interested in you know the way I write my name on a report no one's that interested in my white paper about dog collars so someone shows an express amount of interest always be wary now this kind of this kind of sucks because you gets gonna walk out of here and go like I said that gave a good speech what's he after it's not that this goes back to baselining you have to look at everyone and you have to assess them okay and you know and just get that in your head and these things all work together because most people will play these techniques in unison they do the hourglass they do the flattery oh they do the misinterpretation of what you do so you're lost do then huh great so how long have you been studying computer science no I'm a law student and I study the system this when you tell something someone something wrong that they just told you there's this human nature thing to correct you and in correcting people you give them more information and then the best one is the dramatic pause who's ever seen this one actually any future or current litigators here really okay surprise I'm one of the key techniques is just asking a question they give you an answer and you just stare at them and people feel really uncomfortable with that silence it works especially well on the phone because a little bit like hello hello yeah I'm listening go ahead I just told you mmm that's it well I mean it's this isn't this now if you ever go to a competitive intelligence cocktail party the most boring things in the world because people are just staring at each other okay but that is one of the most common techniques so remember yeah you know you can trust your neighbor everything you guys have friends you all work together but if someone is putting these techniques together systematically out of the blue be wary of that okay definitely be wary of that so why is it important to learn the ways of a spy well the reason why is because you have a right to conduct your business or go to college or do what you want without people disrupting that in the various ways competition is good I believe in competition because I think it lets the best people make it to the top competition is great because it brings out the best in everyone sometimes the worse when it brings out the worst you have yourself espionage okay so you this stuff is important because you have a right to play on a fair battlefield you have a right to conduct your business without someone stealing your stuff they just need to make a better product or do a better service and that's your right okay you have the right to protect yourself there's so many companies that press the cyber but and they say hey we got a cybersecurity solution we don't have to do anything wrong okay wrong because most of my clients come to me after they've invested that money and they say hey can you do a vulnerability assessment sure I pick up my cell phone one time I was playing xbox while I was hacking a company and have my brother on skype going yeah because he was listening today and that's the thing is you know you are responsible for your own security do not leave it in the hands of anyone else if you're alone on the street okay your cyber solution isn't hovering above you protecting you okay if you're not with your crowd you are alone you are responsible for it no one else can do it for you and then you also have the right to transparency and by transparency I'm saying if you employ techniques of counterintelligence you have a right to know why people are doing this you have a right to know people breaking the law because if they are breaking the law report them go to their general counsel sue them because if they're if they're breaking all their doing this kind of stuff hey you know what they're not playing the game fairly they need to be taken off off the board okay and you haven't already to make them work for a living you know what make yourselves harder targets if someone's going to spy on you make them work for it you can't stop them all the time from spying on you so once you detect them or if you even think you're being spied on make them work for it run up that budget make it take forever I don't recommend medieval times for everyone that gets kind of pricey but again really run up the budget make yourself a hard target and that's what being of our target is is making yourself harder to spy on harder to corner and harder to attack is it wrong no now His Holiness the Dalai Lama is up there because a very good friend of mine Dan Goleman who wrote emotional and emotional intelligence and the versions are after he recently did a book with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Dalai Lama told them a story about this man in the woods and the elephants charging at him and the guy gets trampled by the elephants so the Dalai Lama comes up to him and he says why he gets trampled by the elephant he said well you told me to practice peace and turning the other cheek he goes well I also told you to get out of the way so that's why it's not wrong get out of the way make yourself harder targets and finally it's important because it's not going away it's only increasing so I always like to end my talk with this great quote from one of my favorite books because when you are among Mad Men you've got to learn their ways so you can protect yourself from them okay so that is my presentation of today go out don't spy on each other but detect people that are okay keep your organizations and yourself safe so that way you can keep doing really really great things and promoting Liberty everywhere


27 Replies to “Brian O´Shea – Spying on Spies: Detecting, Evading, and Countering Surveillance”

  1. Jack Gonsalves says:

    51:09….. what the fuck. What does this mean???!!!!!

  2. Jack Gonsalves says:

    This guy is so full of shit. Says he looks on the resumé sites and sees whos updated his resume most recently, and that's his target. (So randomly picking people to spy on) then says, in that same example, that he makes the recruiting call to the resume guy and is collecting info about his former employer….like that was his target from the beginning. Doesn't make sense. Then says that they will go to the low income areas to do that technique… so the low income areas have the former employees of your target company? This guy is goofy

  3. Jack Gonsalves says:

    This guy sucks…..and is making a lot of this stuff up. I've been in the industry for a long time, different areas and sectors, and I can tell you for sure this guy has up sold himself and is out right lying at times

  4. Hector Tellez says:

    Having multiple objectives, I’m old school, Multiplicity Duplicity, can’t have multiple objectives when committing a crime. Thanks

  5. Suka Rokonaceva says:


  6. Donna Taliercio says:


  7. Parrish Investigations says:

    I'm convinced, you are a homosexual shill…

  8. Parrish Investigations says:

    For a PI, I'm shocked that you didn't mention gang stalking???

  9. Iraj Poladchang says:

    to say spying on us is ok special if the state does it is stupid and brain washing for fascist and dictator society to live in. lot of garbage

  10. iubire romaneasca says:

    go to the super secret stuff ZZZZZZZ zzzzzzz :)))

  11. Wu James says:

    Paranoia on a whole different level…

  12. The Kaiser says:

    He is not the worst spy. The worst spy ever will always be Bob Baer.
    However, is working for the Russian government a good thing or a bad thing?

  13. A MB says:


  14. Terry Tyler says:

    This guy is a trip. What do you do about the nano bugs?

  15. diegocastellano1 says:

    Well…So This Is How They Tag One Being An Terrorist….Likely Notice Police Corruption….They Gather The Data….Paint A Pretty Picture And Later Attach Said Claims Of….
    Yet What One Was Actually Doing Was Looking Out For The People In Their Small Town…
    Now Lets Go One Step Further…Say Rural Area America….Crime Pays Out Here….Just Need To Name It Something…Aww….Human Trafficking….That's Right I Said It….Being So Bad In fact….Why Have The Videos About This Dropped So Fast Within The Last Two Years?
    Yet The Increase In Law Enforcement….Jumped?
    Now Where Does These Small Rural Areas Get The Money To Protect The Said People When They Don't Have Very Much Money?
    A Sting….They Bring In Crime Yo… Label It As Such….Then Get This…DHS Claims They Know Not Of Rural Areas…So Been Using Say..City Skills….Yet….Thei Infomation Is Being Withheld By The Smal Rural Areas Law Enforcement…Why? Yet The Crime Continues…. Too Boot…Don't Offer A Heads Up To No One…May be The School's….I So Hope So…Yet The Rest Of The People…Their Words Are…" Its In The City" Simply Put…So By The Time It Get To A Rural Town One Lives In….Then What?
    I Like To Be The First Person Who Can Say…Human Trafficking Is Nothing More Then A Play To Strip What Money Is There To Fund Deep State…
    Since Having Say A Simple Stingray Or Two…One In A Small Rural Town Could Easily Know Who Is Who…
    Yet They Decide To Attack The Ones Being Human And Looking Out For Ones Village, Town What Small Town They Live In And Harrass Them…
    They Do This Using Civil And Traffic Courts….
    Won't Provide On An Attny And If One Manages To Get One That Asshole Sells You Out Too….
    So…Who The Bad Person Now? The Ones Speaking Up For The Peoples Best Interests….And Labled As The Bad Guy…
    Cause Crime Pays In Amercia….And The People….Saying Anything Gets One The Hammer Of The Law…..Since The Victims Are Told To Report To Say…Cough Cough Polaris….All Intel Is And Now Can Be Hidden From Plubic View And Later Create Whatever Story They Need To Press Their Fear Among The People…
    Yet…If They Don't Warn…Teach Them Beforehand….Aww Now Its Even More Of A Mess…
    See…Their Claims Of 78% Is Likely Only 23% In Reality…Since If It Were That High….I Would Not Heard The BS About My Recordings Of….Protecting The Rights And Family Lives….No…I Got…
    Play The Tapes I Go To Jail And Every Right I Should Have Had…Stripped Away….Yet The Same Crime Today Is Allowed To Play….
    Lives People….Hello Can Anyone Hear Me?

  16. Christine Finngaard says:

    Miguel Angel and Sean… MF

  17. Imheadstrong says:

    This guy is full of himself. He seems to almost believe his own B.S.. He B.S'ed someone to get behind the podium. I call fraud here. If I'm wrong then he has an extreemly maniacal ego.

  18. Jk hg says:

    you are fucking lier

  19. Private Private says:

    "Hacking someone's computer, picking their lock… if you don't think that's wrong, well hey, you should be locked up". Precisely. Yet in my my case they (gov) have everyone in my major U. S. city signed off on that as acceptable, that's what I find absolutely fascinating. At that point it becomes a psychotic little evil game. Competitor? satan vs GOD? So question becomes how do you lock up an entire city? After 17 years of it, if person was doing something illicit, would it be believed that just perhaps they would have uncovered it and arrested them by now? So wouldnot that define it more accurately as persecution? Yet isn't that precisely why the founding fathers created the Constitution in order to safeguard the constituents from such acts of totalitarianism? So is it fair to say that if everyone has signed on to their fun little game that they are all accepting totalitarian rule? Why would anyone voluntarily accept that over freedom? The only possible explanation that I can arrive at is that either they have been bought off (sold out) and/or they're brainwashed or just plain cowards. Anyway you look at it though it's pretty safe to say that the enemies is freedom (satanists) appear to be winning.

  20. Submarine Veteran says:

    they dont need man power when they have Artificial Intelligence Sofia does it

  21. SkylineToTheSeaAndMe says:

    Enough with the 10 minute long introduction already….

  22. Art Olson says:

    duh dum da dum ta dum de dum

  23. Renee Dole Finley says:

    Thank you for reply. Will check it out…using Tor now…. seems to help.

  24. averat84 says:

    Unwitting spy… Dry snitch.

  25. Renee Dole Finley says:

    what does one do with these rf Jammers? 14 months now. filed complaint s with every agency. county sheriff useless or suspect….was thrown in hospital after calling sheriff…ya was really upset screaming if they don't do something I going to shoot them…so they send a swat team…machine gun and all for 115 pound 65 old woman standing with camera to show evidence but already was convicted…no charges no arrest…spent 3 days in hospital emergency holding room….told they could not reach. Hines VA……loophole holiday weekend over exactly at midnight transferred to VA…who were only ones to investigate and deemed it elder abuse….here I am 7 months later… constant electronic harassment..3computers hacked…will never use mircosoft or windows 10 with this powershell hack…. impossible to get off. fake cell towers 2G,3G..1x….have had some success keeping Google phone… maybe cause still to new for hacking software to catch up….or I am up against mircosoft hackers…posted what I could on Facebook…calls blocked to sheriff…blocked from talking to St attorney. checked with sheriff about anqtiue rifle. they took…which I thought did not work but yep they sure had time to investigate the value of the rifle….and they pretty much written me off as crazy old lady. will be moving. from this little town back to civilization. but hard to house shop with no communication…I have lots and lots of electronic evidence…plus they screwing whole area sniffing everyone and everything contact list etc…selling off or working for a very bad marketing firm! getting junk mail for a company I closed 9 years ago… totally different city…not the state registration name either…only one way that was obtained. here in rural area no one understands one word am saying…so I am the crazy.

  26. Johnny Bull says:

    well i got 1 for you. people trying to kill you by poisoning you. using some sort of machine to pump it through your walls. duct work. have to seal everything up. but they won't stop. we have moved so many times. go to the ER they see something is wrong but can't get nothing done. have to keep moving. can't stay in 1 place too long to get established with a dr. we r in our late 50's. well i'll be 60 soon. bad heart disabled vet n no help from them what so ever.

  27. ken hawkins says:

    what a bunch ——waste of time

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