Businesses urged to watch out for bugs in the boardroom

Government minister Laurence Skelly had a shock in store when a transmitter was found hidden under his chair at an important meeting.

But there’s no need to worry that any secrets or confidential information has been leaked to the outside world.

For Mr Skelly, who heads the Department of Economic Development, was part of an audience of people who attended a special presentation called Bugs in the Boardroom.

The planting of a secret transmitter which could record important information to criminals, was used as an example of how easy it could be done.

More than 50 people attended the business breakfast event at the Embassy Room on North Quay, Douglas, on Tuesday, where the message was that island businesses can never be complacent.
Ian Henderson, an expert consultant for island based investigations firm Expol, stood in front of valuable, specialist equipment, used in technical surveillance operations such as ’bug sweeps’ in boardrooms and offices.

He told Business News:

’I’ve been to the Isle of Man in a professional capacity on a number of occasions but I cannot mentionindividual cases.
’The bottom line is that it is very easy to ignore this risk and that can actually be a huge mistake. If you are responsible for handling confidential information that potentially is of interest to criminals you have a professional obligation to protect that. And it is only going to increase as GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] comes in.

’Today has been about raising awareness. We are not selling anything, we are just trying to get people to think about the risks. We have talked about people and systems and places.
’People will always remain a risk but that is nothing new.

’The third area, places, is often overlooked. Just because you have a boardroom,does not make that place secure and if someone wants to target your organisation that is often the route they will use to attack your company.’

Mr Henderson, who is a forensic computing expert witness and fraud investigator talked about the availablity of relatively cheap devices on the internet thatcould be used to conduct underhand tactics to find out confidential and sensitive information.

Expol director Robert Kinrade said there was a good cross section of professionals at the event.

’I think they have learned some valuable advice. The message we have tried to get across is that people should not be complacent.’