Phone locations can be tracked without GPS

The location of your phone can be tracked even If your GPS is turned off, and used to track your location. This is done by a method triangulating the phone using cell towers and the signal from them in called Radio Direction Finding.

Quick defense tactic to counter this tracking is a faraday bag, get yours here and support our site in the process

When your phone connects to a cell tower the cell tower generally can tell what general direction your phone is from that tower based on the strength of the connection in different directions. This is the same concept of how wildlife tracking collars have used for decades and how the FCC tracks down pirate radio stations, this is because “cell service” is really just a radio signal sent out from the tower, same as any radio station, or hand held radio just on a different frequency.

The result of this is a general direction/heading from that tower that your phone could be found. With typical cell phones now the signal sent out by the cell tower is a wide beam
that spreads out and gets weaker over distance, imagine a cone with the wide end extending out from the tower.

Now if your phone can connect to multiple towers this gives multiple directions/headings that if laid over a map would create a cross point, al be it a wide one where theoretically your phone would be located. Now the more towers your phone can connect to the more accurate the location will be because the
the area within that cross point where your phone can connect to all the towers theoretically gets smaller the more towers there are. Now in most areas your phone will connect to 1 or maybe 2 towers with the exception of larger major cities where you may connect to more.

This method can also be used to track location via Bluetooth connection. It was announced a few years ago that the UK was using Bluetooth hotspots in trashcans and other city fixtures to track “traffic patterns” by connecting to peoples phones that walk near them.

Any device that uses cell service or any radio frequency, can be tracked in this fashion, Tablet, Car, laptops, smart watches, ham radio, etc. If it has cell service or uses radio frequencies, it can be tracked by radio direction finding.

S2_Underground has a great video on Radio direction finding on their #lbry channel.

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Threat assessment and Area Study Part 2

Once you have the area(s) figured out you need to identify What type of threats exist, It is up to you to understand your enemy (the threats) so that you can know how to best counter them Is it organized crime? Violent crime? Narcotics? corrupt government, terrorism etc. As well as which ones have the most impact on your time in the area.

There are many tools available to you that can be used to gauge and understand the threats in the area. Mainly being information. You can find much of this information online without leaving your desk. While you cannot find everything this way in many cases it will be a good place to start at the least.

Other good sources depending on if your in the area already is coworkers, neighbors, local workers or business owners, local law enforcement agencies, community networks, and of course Personal observation and situational awareness.

Once you’ve gathered as much research as you see fit, outline the various threats in your area, their tactics and techniques who the shot callers are if applicable etc.

Finally, you must determine the plausibility of becoming a victim or attempted victim of any of the threats in your area.

In short, analyze the information to predict what your enemy will do next. For instance if a serial killer only targets short blonde females, a large black haired male is not likely going to be targeted by them.

You can use historical trends, law enforcement reports, or personal research online to try and identify how your enemy (for instance violent crime) will act. Have they targeted innocent bystanders, targets of opportunity, or do they surveil the big fish targets?

Based on what you come up with from the analysis, determine possible actions they might take and how you could counter it.

be sure to identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How factors in order to produce the most specific profile of the threat you face. This will provide you with the info necessary to come up with a way to counter the threat (ideally).

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Threat assessment and Area Study Part 1

Don’t underestimate the power of information.

You need to understand the environment and threats in the area you are or will be in. Whether thats your home, hometown, work or when your traveling.

The first step is to identify the environment. In short you need to know your immediate situation and the various areas that your activities and needs will take you into. Where will you spend the majority of your time? What areas do you visit frequently, or work in most often? What information about these areas is available?

Take into account any factors in your area that could affect the way you go about your day to day, this could include. Geography, Terrain, Weather, Ethnic, religious, income, & age groups in the area, Political and socio-economic factors, Transportation systems and other infrastructure.

Next you must figure out how these factors could affect you. Identify any limitations or opportunities in the area. Where is the local police station? Are the police there straight or crooked? What’s the neighborhood like? Is it a safe area for criminals to operate? What is the weather typically like?

Is there more crime in certain times of the year (the summer months when everyone’s outside)? Is this crime generally located in a certain area? Is the public transportation safe and reliable? Do you need certain clothing, shoes, or gear for the terrain or weather of the area?

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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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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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ProtonMail and Encrypted Email

A secure and encrypted email address is the backbone of even the most basic online privacy plan. This is the first thing that just about any other tool, account or service that you will need such as email forwarders, cell phone accounts, and so one is going to ask for.

I recommend having multiple addresses for different aspects of your plan/life. I have mentioned this before in other posts and I will cover this in more depth in the future as well as how to benifit most from Protonmail for the privacy minded.

The email service that I highly recommend is ProtonMail. I use it personally, as well my clients, and many people I know use it as their business email structure as well because you can link your web addresses to it so that you can have email addresses using your url.

They offer some of the best security and privacy protections in the business and have a grown a trusted reputation in the privacy sector as well as among people whoes life may very well depend on their privacy and security holding up, such as reporters, the politically and just generally persecuted and so one.

ProtonMail is a Switzerland-based secure/encrypted email service that was created in 2014. They also offer VPN service and are constantly adding features to their platform including cloud storage, contacts, and encrypted calendar(BETA). ProtonMail’s mission in their words is “to make secure and private email communication easily accessible to all.”

The following information is facts directly from Protonmail.

ProtonMail is owned by Proton Technologies, which has a long history and ​strong reputation in the privacy world.

The company maintains some of the world’s most widely used open source encryption libraries and has a long history of working towards promoting Internet privacy.

ProtonMail uses end-to-end, zero-access encryption so that no one even the company can access users’ messages, drives, calendar details and so on. There are no special or overly technical steps to follow, and all encryption happens automatically and by default.

To achieve this high level of security, in their words “ProtonMail assumes that all mail servers may eventually be compromised. Thus, ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption to protect user data. If a server only contains encrypted messages, users have a much higher level of security in the event of a security breach. The use of encryption also prevents ProtonMail from being able to decrypt and share user emails with third parties.”

As well as their security precautions that keep them from being able to analyze user data they also have no incentive to
spy on or sell its users’ data as they have no advertising inside their apps.

The security of their platforms extends beyond just strong encryption and includes features designed to mitigate human vulnerabilities and physical threats.

End-to-end encryption
Which means that messages cannot be intercepted in transit and decrypted by any third party as they are encrypted on the senders device and can only be decrypted by the recipient.

Zero-access encryption
Even if a user’s contacts are not using ProtonMail, All emails sent to/from a ProtonMail account (even if the other side is not using ProtonMail) are stored with zero-access encryption. So that the messages are encrypted, they can only be decrypted by the account owner. (Keep in mind any copy on the other persons email account may not be stored encrypted.)

Additionally, ProtonMail users can also send end-to-end encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail users with the ​”encrypt to outside” feature​. Which sends the email encrypted to the recipient and you can give them a way to decrypt the email without them needing a ProtonMail account.

Open source cryptography
ProtonMail uses only secure implementations of AES, RSA, and adheres to the open source OpenPGP standard. By using open source libraries, users have greater assurance that the encryption algorithms do not have built-in back doors. ProtonMail’s open source software has also been vetted by security experts from around the world to ensure the highest levels of protection.

Hardware-level security
ProtonMail has invested heavily in owning and controlling its server hardware and doing so within Switzerland, so data never goes to a third party cloud. This ensures that all user data is protected by Swiss privacy laws and on a system level, ProtonMail servers utilize fully encrypted hard disks, which protects user data from physical hardware seizures.

Authentication
ProtonMail uses the Secure Remote Password protocol to ensure that neither ProtonMail nor an attacker with network access can obtain users’ passwords. ProtonMail also offers two-factor authentication via 2FA apps.

Address Verification

To mitigate man-in-the-middle attacks​ ProtonMail uses Address Verification which leverages ProtonMail’s ​Encrypted Contacts​ feature. This unique feature ensures secure communications cannot be intercepted by an attacker tampering with encryption keys.

This additional enhanced level of security, and it’s one of the reasons it is the preferred email provider for journalists and other individuals with the highest security and privacy needs.

Self-destructing emails
ProtonMail allows users to send messages that will automatically delete themselves after a user-selected period of time.

Plans and pricing
All of the company’s revenue comes from subscriptions to premium plans and donations from the user community and does not show ads or make money by abusing users’ privacy.

ProtonMail has apps for IOS and Android as well as web access that can be used on any OS with an internet browser. In addition ProtonMail offers other useful apps such as The ProtonMail Bridge, which is a desktop application for paid users that encrypts and decrypts mail as it is sent or received by the user using a program that supports IMAP and SMTP, such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird etc.

They also offer an Import-Export application (beta) which is a application currently available to users on paid plans that lets them transfer emails easily to and from their ProtonMail account. This allows users to import their mailbox from another email account, such as Gmail or upload email files stored on their computer into their ProtonMail encrypted Inbox. It can also be used to export emails from their ProtonMail account to their hard drive for secure local backups.

ProtonMail believes everyone in the world should have access to secure and private online communication, regardless of their ability to pay. Which is why they offer a free plans as well as paid plans for those who need more storage, more features, or just want to support the project so that they can continue to offer the service to those who need it and cannot afford it.

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.