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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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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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.

Personal Infosec

A lie is a false statement made by one, to another who is entitled to hear and know the truth and which false statement tends toward injury to the other.

~JJ.lune

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Whether to Lie or not, with only a few exceptions, is a moral issue. This means everyone has to make their own decision on when it is acceptable to lie. Of course with the few exceptions, when telling a lie is in fact illegal.

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This applies to protecting your personal information when in person and on the internet and in this day and age your personal infosec is also your physical security.

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Does the random person on the subway that started talking to you need to know where you were born, how old you are, where you live, or where you work?

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Is this person just a friendly commuter looking for conversation? are they a corporate spy looking for info on a project at your work? or maybe they are a criminal deciding if you are a worthy target or not. The point is you can’t always tell a persons intentions from a single meeting

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I am not saying lie to every one who strikes up conversation with you but take precautions and be more vague in your answers until you get to the know the person. Trust but verify.

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JJ Luna gives an example of his personal guide lines that he follows in his book How to be invisible.

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1. If no harm will be done, and no oath is sworn he gives false information.

2. If an oath is sworn or to be sworn he does not lie.

3. He MAY withhold or not volunteer info to government representatives unless specifically asked depending on the situation but he will not lie.

4.Under no condition whatsoever will he file a false tax return.

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This covers most in person interactions but your infosec also applies to more passive situations where you’re not being directly interacted with but simply leave info laying around.

Few people realize how much information about themselves they leave lying around.

This is the bumper stickers, Parking permits on your windshield, the Stickers on your laptop, food wrappers on your floorboards, trash in garbage cans, and info on your face book (not just your profile but in your captions and comments).

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From just a persons car you could glean where someone works or lives, where they like to eat, where their kids go to school, political affiliations just to name a few.

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These details can all be used to decide whether or not to target you or develop a plan to target you or your family if they have already made the decision to do so.

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Most people will say there is no reason to target me or some other form of it will never happen to me. Which statistically may be true, but if something happens and you end up on the wrong side of those stats and you haven’t taken precautions then it’s already too late.

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You witness a crime, you cut off the wrong person in traffic, someone begins stalking you or simply being a wealthier than average individual. All are situations that the average person can find them selves in and have led to people being targeted for one crime or another. So make sure to make it as hard as possible for people to get the information about you.

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