Laser microphones are often seen as the pinnacle of spy technology as you don't have to install a transmitter to hear what's going in a building. Instead a laser beam is projected onto a window and bounced back -- sound waves from the voices in the target room are picked up with the laser beam and bounced back to your receiver where the audio is played through a speaker. You can build a basic laser microphone using a laser pointer, an NPN PhotoTransistor, a headphone amp and a handful of miscellaneous electronics parts.
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Encrypted messages, fancy technology, spies use them all to communicate, but sometimes the best way to hide is in plain sight. Right now, broadcasting across the airwaves around the world, are automated, anonymous shortwave AM radio stations that most governments won't acknowledge even exist, much less explain. Best of all, you can hear recordings from them right now and if you have the right gear, tune in and listen yourself.
The Sparrows UNCUFF LINK cufflinks look like normal accessories when they're in your sleeves, but pop them out and you can use them to unlock and open any pair of standard handcuffs, thanks to the key engineered into the body. We're not going to ask how you got into those cuffs in the first place, but no good superspy would be caught unable to get out of them.
If there's one spy skill we all envy, it's the Sherlock Holmes-like ability to quickly read a situation and come up with a theory that explains it (like the toothpaste stain that reveals your co-worker overslept, or the nervous twitch that shows your friend drank too much). Fortunately, anyone can hone these same skills, and it isn't that hard. Here's how to do it.
In the movies, right after a spy loads up on gadgets, they get their "secret identity": the person they should pretend to be to get behind enemy lines or into the villain's lair. Intelligence professionals call this a "cover", and it serves multiple purposes, one of which being to hide the operative's true identity and reason for being there. You can use cover identities too, whether you want to blend in with the locals while travelling, negotiate on your boss's behalf, impress a colleague with your knowledge, or just fool someone into thinking you're someone else for fun.
When spies need to make sure their colleagues get a package or a signal without anyone else knowing, they leave a dead drop in a specific location and trust that another spy -- ideally the one they need to communicate with -- will retrieve the package. You don't have to be a spy to make use of dead drops though: they can be useful to safely leave a package for a friend, play a game with multiple friends, or leave yourself something you want to retrieve when the time is right.
Psychologists and psychotherapists have long relied on the power of narrative storytelling to help their patients make sense of their world. In fact, it's been said that we are our narratives. For evidence that this may be true, pay attention to how people shape their stories about themselves. As it turns out, there is a big difference between the way we narrate events that have really happened to us and those we've invented.
The spies in our lives aren't like the ones in movies -- they take the form of a suspicious lover, obsessive coworker or jealous "friend". While you can't distrust everyone you meet and lead a happy life, you can protect your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Here's how to guard yourself from spies without slipping into a state of constant paranoia.