Faraday bags

We are starting a series of posts covering surveillance/counter surveillance or offense and defense and the equipment used and thought of no better place to start than faraday bags.

Faraday bags are a very simple but important piece of defensive equipment that serves basically two purposes. Blocking signals from entering or escaping and device protection from outside EMFs.

They come in sizes ranging from small for your key fob for newer high end luxury cars to prevent cloning and car theft on up to full on back packs and suit cases for those needing to carry around lots of sensitive equipment. The most popular sizes though are for Phones, tablets, and laptops.

Faraday bags consist of a special fabric that blocks out 100% of wireless signals being either sent or received by what ever device you put in them. (or at least they should) you should always test your bags before you are needing to rely on them.

Some can also offer protection from EMP and other sources of EMFs that can damage your electronic devices if they are strong enough. This is where the protection category falls as well as they prevent anyone in the immediate area from connecting to your device, usually this is done over bluetooth.

They come in sizes ranging from small for your key fob for newer high end luxury cars to prevent cloning and car theft on up to full on back packs and suit cases for those needing to carry around lots of sensitive equipment. The most popular sizes though are for Phones, tablets, and laptops.

There are many reasons you will want to use a faraday bag/pouch. Ones of those cases would be….

Privacy. Placing your devices in a faraday bag cuts off and keeps anyone or thing from connecting to your device with out your knowledge. This applies if you want to avoid being GPS tracked by apps or having your phone or device wifi/blutooth hacked. Another privacy related reason is that cities are starting to place blu tooth tracking nodes through out the city to track “traffic patterns” or so they say. These nodes connect to any device that enters their range and logs the information. Even if this is for traffic patterns it would not surprise me if this is used to look up who was in an area at a certain time when law enforcement needs too. Or in relation to our previous post when a rouge employee wants to track their girlfriend

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Dodging Drones intro

Drones are quickly becoming a bigger and bigger part of everyday life. From governments to private citizens, for recreation to emergency response, and military operations. With this rapid expansion it’s only natural that criminals and their organizations have started using them as well.

This is ranging from smuggling contraband, IEDs, and illegal surveillance which can range from the neighborhood creep to high-end corporate espionage and organized crime such as recon for cartel groups and so on.

The average citizen wont likely encounter the majority of these except some form of illegal surveillance. The most common examples of this are peeping Toms, stalkers, and paparazzi for the more famous people out there. All three of these groups have been caught using drones to accomplish their tasks in one form or another. Papparazi don’t need to scale a fence or wall anymore when they run a drone from the road or side walk and get better pictures.

If you’re a high profile or targeted individual you also can’t rule out criminals and organizations that are targeting you from using drones for site recon, tailing, etc as they would be stupid not to. There is a reason that Law enforcement and the military started using drones in the first place.

The tactics used to counter a drone operation against you is going to depend on the your situation. Mainly, who is targeting you, the quality of the drone they are using, and whether you are mobile or stationary.

If a government or an organization that has access to predators, reapers, or other Nation state drone tech. You options are going to be very limited. As drones will not be the only equipment and type of surveillance directed at you. We will not really be covering this group but keep in mind that many of the tactics for other drones will still apply just to different degrees of effectiveness.

Evading surveillance by drones when you are mobile is going to be the same as other forms of surveillance. You need to break line of sight and then either hide or change direction and move out of the area without being re-acquired.

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Bailing out and GHBs

Could you drop everything leave your office/house/hotel room in less than a minute and still be operational or able to survive or conduct your everyday life if you had to?

Any skill takes practice, even escaping a situation. Have you ever tried to quickly pack the same day you needed to leave for a trip? Bailing out is the same concept just with an even shorter time frame.

The key is practice and some organization. Start by makeing sure that you keep your supplies or important items in a designated place when they are not in use so that you don’t have to search for them when you are in a hurry. Pre-stageing important equipment is also important and this is where what a lot of people call a go bag/get home bag comes in.

A go bag or Get home bag is a small bag that you have with you whether in the office or traveling(its contents can change depending on the situation but has enough to operate for about 24-48 hours) we will cover GHB use when traveling in a future post for some special considerations.

If something kicks off when you are in your away from home, in your office/on your drive home etc you can grab your bag and the majority of your necessities are covered to get you home. This frees up time to grab the loose items or additional items/equipment that you may need or that would be nice to have.

In your GHB/or Go bag we recommend some basic practices when ever possible and the more dangerous the area you’re in the more important these become. Keep in mind that your GHB is a supplement to your Every day carry which we will also cover in a separate post.

1 Use pouches, packing cubes and organizers to organize your bag internally so you only have to remove what you need and so your different equipment is easy to locate quickly.

2 only unpack what you need when you need it

Some recommendations for your GHB

The bag should be between roughly 10 liters and 27 liters with at least two separate compartments for organization and can be worn hands free.

The bag should not be brightly colored nor military patterned.

Now next time you have some free time put your self on 1min-30 sec clock and see if you can get what you need and get out the door before the alarm goes off

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Common Sense and Life Skills

Look around how many people do you see on an electronic device? How long do you think they could go with out one? How long could you? What about going other forms of technology in general?

As a society we are becoming so dependent on technology that most people have lost all common sense and are not able to function without some form of it with even the most basic of tasks.

If you need proof Look back at the news interviews from from the google black out or Texas “snowmageddon” black out or even just try to talk to a younger person or anyone these days in person and see how awkward that gets.

When google went down people couldn’t turn lights on in their own houses, or unlock their doors(I don’t know if they forgot you can unlock manually or if google locks don’t have a manual override).

If you try to talk to someone in person if they string a sentence together your luckiest than most. This was one of the biggest problems for law enforcement recruiting prior to 2020 because people cant communicate or function without a device or keyboard in front of them.

Now in Texas they were hit with snow, ice, and subzero temps knocking out the power for multiple days.

In the interviews from Texas you will hear stories of running out of food, food spoiling because they had no power, or having no access to water, no way to cook, no heat, The stories are becoming common place any time there is a new “catastrophe”

Now lets break that down for a moment, Subzero temps, and food is spoiling…. No water….. 5+ inches of snow out side, no way to cook….(Some had gas stoves, or grills) but all should have been able to make a fire.

You can make a fire to cook and melt snow to make water(But few know how to make a fire). If you have a gas stove you can still manually light it with out power. The farther generations get from a time when technology wasn’t everywhere our fridges weren’t “smart” and our lights weren’t connected to the internet, the worse this is going to get.

Now look at yourself and honestly answer can you survive with out your phone, can you start a fire, change a tire, be comfortable or not run out of food if you loose access to power or grocery stores for more than 48 hours.

If the answer to any of these questions is no then make it point to learn. No one thinks they will be stuck in a catastrophe “it can never happen to me” but it can and likely will happen to you on some scale at some point

Now if you answered Yes, Good, now make sure your family knows how too, especially your children. Teach them the basics life skills and how to keep them selves alive. They will not learn this stuff any where else.

For those that don’t know where to start here are some ideas or these may be some things that you just haven’t thought of…

-Starting a fire
For reasons above

-Melting snow/ice to make and treat water
Reason for this is obvious you need water to live

-Change a tire (even or especially your daughters)
This can keep them from having to rely on the good will of strangers and keep them from being preyed on by predators on the roadside.

-Basics of how a car works, what breaks and how you can fix it or what can be limped to safety
This can get them out of a dangerous situation if their car breaks down in the middle of no where as well as the same reason for changing a tire.

-Basic home skills
Breakers, shutting off water, shutting off gas etc in an emergency all of these can cause issues if the systems in your home are damaged.

-Corded land lines work with out power
Allows communications in times of emergency if you can find one(buy one now)

-Basics of first aide
They could save their own life or someone else’s

-Emergency signaling( especially with out power) mirrors, lights, sound, symbols
IF hey get lost or are caught in an emergency/catastrophe they will be able to signal to rescuers where they are.

Now for the people that are better off in this regard, on a day off put your phone in airplane mode and flip the main breaker in your box and go 24 hours without power(probably want to warn your loved ones your doing this) This will show you your weak spots and things that you didn’t think about.

How AirTags are a Potential Threat to privacy

A new property tracking product turns the entire IOS network into a location tracking mesh network that could easily be used by stalkers and criminals to target their victims.

Apples AirTags are compact have wide spread coverage, and are affordable. These devices are designed to be used for tracking your belongings but potentially can track anything. Airtags are registered to the owners ICloud account so they can be found using the Find My app or simply by connect to blue tooth for near by locating.

This is done without GPS (allowing them to be much smaller) by turning every IOS/MacOS device into a mesh network. The AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby apple devices that have the bluetooth turned on and that device sends the location of your AirTag to iCloud for you to find in the Find My app.

These devices being small and lightweight means they could easily be concealed on someones person or in their possessions in order to track them without their permission/knowledge presenting a huge problem specifically for someone who is being harassed or stalked.

There is an attempted countermeasure to this use case but it is unclear at this point how effective it will be especially since it would seem it requires you own an IOS device in order for it to protect you. Apple states

“If someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. After a while, if you still haven’t found it, the AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know it’s there.”

This “protection” requires if you have an IOS/MacOS device that you leave your bluetooth turned on otherwise your device cannot pick up the signal from the AirTag to know that it is there. This is unadvised as it leaves your phone vulnerable to host of other attacks and issues.

With Only 13.25% of computers in the United states being Mac and roughly 30% of mobile devices (tablets and phones) running IOS. Means that the majority of people are not protected by Apples safeguard against being tracked without consent while still having enough devices out there around a person to create a viable mesh network for someone to rather effortlessly track someone with out them ever knowing.

While compact tracking tech is not a new thing, The wide coverage, low cost, and small package due to no need for GPS makes this a serious potential threat to watch out specifically by targeted individuals, those who are victims of stalking, and criminal investigators in future cases.

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Digital GoBag

With todays tech flash drives are an amazing and under utilized tool. You can use them to store an entire media library incase of emergency or install a whole operating system and carry a “computer” on your key ring. For those interested for more information on this look into linux live drives there is way better info out there than I could ever put out.

Live drives afford many possibilities when it comes to privacy and security especially when traveling, you’re in a situation where you can’t or don’t want to carry a computer or in extreme situations you need to have a secure/concealable system to store sensitive data.

This is often the case with politically persecuted people, people in countries that heavily censor their people. This also applies to investigative journalist that cover sensitive topics that could put a target on their back.

The main way I advocate using them for the every day person is using them to set up an emergency electronic #gobag of sorts.

Using an OS called TAILS you can set up an encrypted drive that you can store important documents such as passport images, birth certificates, visas and so forth within encrypted files as well as the flash drive being encrypted. You can also set up crypto currency wallets for emergency funds if you so desire.

Once this drive is set up properly you can carry or conceal it on your person and plug it into any computer if you need to and access the information you’ve stored, the internet, you’r crypto, what ever you need it for at the time.

The drives OS and anything you do will be isolated from the main system on the computer and leaves no trace of use as it wasn’t using the main systems memory (only its flash memory which wipes on shutdown)

This makes it so that anything you do, your passwords, your information and documents etc all are safe because no tracking software that may be on the main system or the next user can access your info or data because the.

To set this up in the manner that I mentioned above you will need to set up the drive with encrypted persistence.

To do so you will need two drives as you need one drive running TAILS to set up another with encrypted persistence.

SET UP INSTRUCTIONS

ENCRYPTED PERSISTENCE INFO

Once that is done your good to go. Just about everything you should need for a basic privacy set up is on there with the OS.

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Trusted Resources

Smells and Blending In

Now in most instances unless you are the same heritage as where you are traveling and you are actively living there you are not likely to be able to pull off people thinking you’re a native. However it is possible to get to a level where you look like you belong, and the details are key.
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One detail of blending in, whether in the bush or in the urban environment that most people over look is smell.
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Where in the woods any strong smell is a give away in the urban environment it can be more subtle. While a strong smell can give you a way the wrong smell can also give you away. This comes into account mostly when traveling abroad.
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In the field to much deodorant, or not enough, tobacco, perfume/cologne, and food aroma to name a few can all give you away because they tend to be much stronger than the natural environment and are not naturally present.
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In the urban environments especially when traveling over seas it becomes the wrong deodorant, the wrong perfume, etc. and it’s not necessarily wrong but it’s that it’s not available locally and there for is novel and stands out to people.
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In some cases just like in the woods, deodorant in itself can be a give away in general as deodorants are a very American thing and in a lot of countries it’s not a common product.
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The easiest way to over come this is to buy these products when you get there. Once you get their to buy any deodorants if available, tobacco products, mints etc.
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Eating the local cuisine will take care of the food aroma as well as helps you meet the locals and experience the culture your visiting. In addition body oder changes based off what you eat. Anyone who eats onions/garlic regularly knows this fact. So if you are in a country where deodorant is less prevalent, your funk will match the locals in theory

How to Use Public Restrooms

We assume you know how to use the restroom in the usual sense so were gonna cover how to use it in the tradecraft sense.

Public Restrooms offer you many opportunities in an operational environment to further your personal preparedness, security and situational awareness.

Check out S2 Underground and their videos on LBRY for more quick tradecraft tips.

After you are seated make a trip to the rest room. This gives you a reasonable explanation for walking around the restaurant and getting the lay of the land.

Along your way this allows you to scope the other people in the restaurant as well as the layout, alternate exits, blindspots etc. All while having a reasonable explanation for your actions if you are being watched.

In most cases the rest rooms are usually in the back near employee only locations. In restaurants this means back of the house like kitchens and so forth. By taking a peak in there on your way to the rest room you can get a glimpse of what the back of house staff uniforms look like which furthers your situational awareness.

You will know if someone coming out of there may or may not belong and whether you need to pay attention to them or not.

Another benefit to consider especially if you are being surveilled is that the rest rooms are usually one of the few places in a city that is not under cctv surveillance. Most people don’t think twice about someone changing clothes in the bathroom.

Wear Ambiguous Colors

Wear Ambiguous colors

The general pallet of colors that exist today is gigantic. Just go to your local hardware store and take a look at the paint isle to see how many different blues there are.

With that the average person will usually label colors with as little effort as possible usually lumping them together in either red blue green yellow etc. giving no mind to the shades in between unless they work in a profession that deals with colors to that degree. At most the average person may toss a dark, or light in front of it too narrow it down slightly.

To aide in blending in, or maybe a better way to describe this would be make you harder to identify, is rather easy in theory. Now in practices it is going to depend on where you are going to be operating/traveling and what the color pallet of the area is. No mater how ambiguous your gray shirt may be if everyone around you is wearing brown. It’s not going to work.

Start out by doing your research and see what the general look of the area is. Figure out the type of clothing first then play with the colors. Are they generally wearing jeans? Khakis? Gym shorts? Sports jerseys? T-shirts? what colors? Brands, Logos, and patterns will all play a part here as well.

Figure out the type/style of clothing and then play with the colors. If you’re in a business area you will likely see more suits, khakis and polos, and likely in blacks, grays, whites, and maybe some blues.

In this example you would likely want to wear a suit or at least business casual clothing and choose colors that can be mistaken for multiple others. In this instance lets say you need to wear a suit you would most likely find your self looking for something that is either black (if thats the dominate color) or a color some where in between gray and blue if there is more of a mix.

By doing this your either blending in with the crowd by wearing black or if their is more of a mix of colors your wearing a color that can be mistaken for another color by either the person identifying you to someone or the person who you are being identified to.

Say you are being followed by hostile surveillance and your tail is handing you off to another tail. If he describes you as wearing gray, but the new tail looks at you and thinks you are wearing blue he may pass you by or think someone near by wearing gray is his actual target.

That was a highly simplistic explanation of it but you get the idea (I hope). The more ambiguous the color, providing it blends in with the general pallet of the area, the higher likelihood that anyone describing you may confuse anyone they are talking to due to personal color bias of the describer and the listener.

Quick Change Disguises

Some basic disguise techniques is a good skill to know and very well could save your life.

Now I am not talking the synthetic face, mission impossible type disguises as that is out of financial possibility for most people as well as unnecessary in most cases.

The level of disguise that some one would need to escape from a pursuer. This level of disguise is the art of the quick change. This is the ability to change your appearance in a relatively discrete manner in a short amount of time.

As with most other escape and evasion techniques the first step is to break out of your pursuers line of sight, and then make your move.

In this case you add to, subtract from, or change your outfit in a way to change your appearance while out of sight and then blend in to the crowd and avoid drawing attention to your self as you make your way out of the area and away from your pursuers. Changing your direction once out of site can also aide in your escape.

You can plan a head and plan your clothing in a way that you can perform a quick change or in an emergency you can improvise in the field.

It is relatively easy to build quick change ability into your EDC. You can wear a reversible jacket or throw one in your bag to take with, bring or wear a hat, there are many options.

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