Like most young boys growing up in America, I not only went through a magician phase, but a spy phase as well. I read all the books on the history of espionage, watched all the James Bond movies, and I had the complete line of Spy Tech toys (including the cool rearview mirror sunglasses). I even dabbled in codes and invisible inks. My targets were usually unsuspecting siblings, our family’s suspiciously aloof cat, and annoying neighbor kids.
Even though I’m an adult, I still love the intrigue of cloak and dagger operations. While I’ll never be a part of the CIA or MI6, thanks to a booming home and personal security industry that sells real spy technology to civilians, I can at least have a few of the cool toys that spies throughout history have used.
Below we highlight some spy gear and apps for everyday civilian use. Some of the items we highlight simply have a fun factor, while others have practical home and personal security applications. Put on your dark shades and flip up your trench coat collars. It’s spying time.
Hollow coins have been used by spies all over the world for almost a century and were especially popular during the Cold War. The coins were made of two halves that screwed together in a virtually undetectable way, and they could be used to hide suicide poisons, secret messages, and microfilm.
These days civilians can tote around a hollow coin too. They’re available in many denominations (nickel, quarter, half dollar, and so on), and some come with a MicroSD card that fits inside the coin. With 32 gig MicroSD cards now available, you can carry around a lot of information in your pocket. Just don’t accidentally stick the coin in a vending machine!
To see how hollow coins work, watch this review from the guys at ITS Tactical:
Your smartphone contains sensitive information. If by chance it gets into enemy hands (or somebody who simply picks up your misplaced phone), you might want to know what they’re looking at and doing with it. The Mobile Spy App lets you do just that. Simply install the app on the phone you want to track and boot up Mobile Spy software on your desktop to see what phone calls and text messages the crook is making and the photos they’re taking. You can even open up a screen to watch a live view of your smartphone’s screen.
A common intelligence-collecting tactic is for a spy to carry a discreet looking object that’s actually a recording device. The Spy Tie allows you to pull off this trick with style. What looks like a normal necktie is actually a hi-res video recorder. Simply put on the Spy Tie like you would any other necktie. When you’re ready to record your target, hit the record button on a standard-looking key fob. The video is downloaded later to a computer for review.
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