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March 18, 2012

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Where to look for a GPS bug on your car

Think you're being tracked?

Remember what Andrew Grove said, admittedly in a different context: "Only the paranoid survive."

Note that the video above, demonstrating an over-the-counter GPS device in action, is five years old.

Five years in terms of this technology is an enormous amount of time and what's available today is far smaller and more powerful, as well as much cheaper and therefore more ubiquitous.

Adam Dachis wrote in an Ides of March Lifehacker post about the most likely places you'll find a GPS tracker that someone's attached to your vehicle; excerpts follow.

Hopefully most of us will go throughout life without being tracked by a GPS bug, but if you're worried that someone may be following your whereabouts with technology, there are common places you can look to find the device. Security and investigations expert Brandon Gregg offers up a few suggestions to help you discover these bugs.

Brandon's answer comes from a question on Quora and provides plenty of detail, but here's the gist:

• You should first look thoroughly at the underside and trunk of your vehicle. Many older tracking devices are large and magnetic, so they're most quickly and easily placed in these areas. (In some cases they'll be taped on or adhered in another manner if they can't be attached magnetically.) GPS signals are also well-received near the road's surface, so placing the devices beneath your car can help to ensure that the signal is received.

• While the device may be very large and obvious, keep an eye out for anything as small as the size of a pager. While this may seem like a difficult search, the devices tend to stick out and you shouldn't have too hard of a time noticing them.

• In the event that your car was impounded, stolen, or there are strict GPS laws for law enforcement where you live you will need to be more thorough. Smaller and more expensive GPS tracking devices can be hard-wired into your car's battery and hidden almost anywhere. To find them, you'll likely need to enlist the aid of a Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM) device (like these). They're very expensive, but will get the job done.

I would add that deep-black level government-grade devices will be unfindable even with the aid of a TSCM device available to you as a civilian.

March 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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serious jamming going on here


Posted by: sherlock | Mar 21, 2012 12:01:05 AM

Jammers, LOL. I did reports on 25 trucks with different types of GPS.

Anyone can spot a "problem" quickly.

It's more on how you handle and solve the problem. And "the question",

Do you or your employees run the company?

Posted by: JoePeach | Mar 20, 2012 8:24:31 PM

"Are Cheap GPS Jammers Bringing Air Traffic Control Offline?" http://gizmodo.com/5894528/are-cheap-gps-jammers-bringing-air-traffic-control-offline

Posted by: bookofjoe | Mar 20, 2012 11:53:40 AM

HeavyG --

The GPS jammers are overpowering on just about any channel around, and have been known to shut down air traffic control by truckers that don't want their bosses snooping on them (this was recently posted elsewhere, but I don't remember the link).

Posted by: clifyt | Mar 20, 2012 11:47:01 AM

Or just buy one of these:


for those trips you really, really, really don't want anyone to know about.

Posted by: HeavyG | Mar 19, 2012 9:36:35 PM

it is the duty of parents to try to prevent their kids from doing what they did when they were young – be hypocritical

Posted by: sherlock | Mar 18, 2012 9:53:04 PM

Most of us will never be that important.

Posted by: dalai grandma | Mar 18, 2012 7:01:59 PM

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