GPS detection

GPS detection in car – case study

An example of the problem we most commonly encounter with our clients is the suspicion that someone is tracking them. Sometimes this is related to family matters, but it also happens that a thief is interested in the car’s location, for instance. In the case mentioned, the security director of a large company approached us. He was afraid he was being watched because he often encountered the same person in different locations. According to our client, he has no enemies and cannot identify any suspects. Concerned whether it was a coincidence or intentional action, he decided to use our services to identify potential threats.

Location of the Investigation

The car, which was supposed to be checked for the presence of tracking devices, was handed over to us at the client’s headquarters. Due to unfavorable conditions, we had to move to our investigation location. The main problem at the client’s location was the close proximity to a busy street, resulting in a variable number of nearby transmission sources. Pedestrians passing by the car, as well as nearby residences, made it practically impossible to identify every present signal source.

Multidimensional Vehicle Inspection

Technicians conducted a multidimensional vehicle inspection according to the adopted methodology. The equipment used during the examination allows not only for the detection of active and reporting locators but also of other electronics, both functioning and discharged. In the case of modern vehicles with advanced electronic systems, it is essential to deactivate wireless communication in the vehicle settings. This action will streamline the examination process, as it will prevent the accidental triggering of monitoring equipment due to signal level deviations.

Examination Process

After about 10 minutes of examination, alarms for transmission were triggered on both present RAKSA detectors. The difference in signal strength levels of 21 dB and 38 dB indicated the rear half of the car as the direction from which the detected signal originated. Technicians reacted by modifying the layout of the detectors to narrow down the area and determine whether the signal source was from within the car or behind it. Despite the technicians’ prompt response to the alarm, it was not possible to repeat the measurement in the changed configuration during the subsequent 50 minutes. No cyclic transmissions were detected emanating from the vehicle, and the intercepted signal was likely incidental. In the further course of the examination, the technician working with the low-frequency magnetic field detector drew attention to suspicious readings from the vicinity of the rear left fender, where it meets the bumper. Thermal imaging camera did not confirm any deviations in the thermal signature, which could otherwise suggest the presence of a device on the other side of the car’s body panel. The use of other detection devices in this area did not provide resolution. Technicians proceeded to physically inspect the vehicle’s interior and undercarriage, hoping for a repeat alarm from the still monitoring RAKSA. Using a mirror and flashlight, the technician inspecting the undercarriage revealed an unknown device attached to a flat structural element near the location previously indicated by the ST-600 detector as suspicious. Upon directing the thermal imaging camera towards the detected device, it was found to be significantly warmer than its surroundings, indicating it was active. The detected device resembled a commonly found GPS locator with magnetic mounting on the market. However, no transmissions were detected from this device during the examination, which could indicate it was either in a dormant state or lacked SIM card resources. In accordance with the directive, the device was removed from the vehicle and returned to the client in its original condition. This decision aligned with the client’s action plan. Subsequent examination did not reveal the presence of any other surveillance devices, including microphones, GSM listening devices, hidden cameras, or other locating devices, including those based on Bluetooth technology.

Revealed during the examination was a GPS locator with eavesdropping function through a GSM module.


During the preparation stage of the report on the vehicle inspection, it was possible to identify online the device uncovered in the vehicle as a GPS locator with eavesdropping function via a GSM module, which was duly noted in the report. However, during the detection process, it was not determined whether the uncovered locator was reporting its position, as no transmissions were detected throughout the entirety of the examination. The assignment was concluded with the delivery of the report to the client, along with a recommendation to consult with a lawyer regarding further action.

Author: Michał Nosowski

*For the respect and safety of our clients, all sensitive data has been anonymised for publication purposes.

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