Do you ever pretend to be a spy? It can be a lot of fun to sneak around the backyard, gathering intelligence (information that is useful) on foreign beings, such as squirrels and the neighbor's dog!
Being a real spy is not easy, though. It takes a lot of courage to travel to faraway and exotic places, putting yourself in unknown and potentially-dangerous situations.
Spies need to be smart. For spies to gather valuable intelligence, they have to be intelligent, too! Spies often speak several languages and must be able to memorize lots of information important to the completion of a successful mission.
Spies also must be creative and able to adapt to situations that change quickly. When faced with a unique problem, spies must make good decisions under pressure. Part of being prepared for anything includes making sure you have the right gadgets with you on every mission.
While television shows and movies about spies may make it seem like spies have gadgets that can do just about anything, not all of what you see on television or the movie screen is realistic. Spies can and do use a wide variety of gadgets to make their lives easier, though. Let's take a look at some of the real-life gadgets that spies use.
A lot of spy work involves surveillance. Surveillance is a fancy word that just means watching or closely observing a person or a group of people. To avoid being seen themselves, spies often use fancy gadgets to help them with their surveillance.
For example, to keep an eye on someone from a distance, a spy might use binoculars. Spies might also use high-tech cameras hidden in all sorts of different objects, from pens and buttons to key fobs and ties!
Surveillance doesn't have to be done in person, though. In fact, it doesn't even have to involve seeing. Sometimes spies just listen. A sneaky spy might slip a bug into a telephone to eavesdrop on someone's conversations. An even sneakier spy might use an audio monitoring device hidden in an electric power strip!
Modern spies have to tackle all sorts of sophisticated technology at times. To find information in a computer or to crack a password, for example, a spy might have to use a keylogger, which secretly stores all keystrokes entered on a keyboard.
If a spy needs to keep track of someone on the move, a GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking device might come in handy. Spies who use GPS trackers can place one on a vehicle and follow its movements with a computer from anywhere in the world.
There are many other types of spy gadgets out there — and probably many we don't even know about! From document scanners to night vision goggles, many of these devices have other legitimate uses beyond spying.
When used by spies, though, their use may technically be illegal in many areas. Of course, spies often work outside the bounds of the law, but remember to always obey the law when you're just pretending to be a spy!