April 10, 2021

Denying the Adversary

It's one thing when actively malicious hackers get into a government database and steal all the information about you including your sock size. Not much you can do about that, when government refuses to a) hire competent IT staff, b) recognize competent IT staff when wearing "I know IT" tee-shirts, and c) thwart security measures because they are too inconvenient (koff Hillary's Bathroom Server koff ).

However, you do not need to help the hackers that haven't yet gotten your data from Uncle Sam. And by this, I mean ... keep the personally identifying information to a MINIMUM online. And don't think because you leave your (real) name and birthday on one site, your hometown and phone number on another, that hackers can't stitch the two together--and then they start to have enough information to do social engineering attacks and possibly take over accounts that involve real money, or information you don't want exposed, or compromise your physical security. Think it doesn't matter? Even if they can look up your mortgage, or when you last voted?  DO NOT USE YOUR REAL BIRTHDAY on any site you are not legally obligated to do so. My birthday is Jan 1, 1900 as far as social media is concerned.

Then there is the regrettable fact that currently, the government may be one of the hackers, at least in the sense of wanting to track down information to your disadvantage. There is no reason to make this easy for them.

  • Be mindful when using debit or credit cards. As was seen after the January 6 protests in D.C., the government had willing assistance from credit card companies looking up anyone who had the temerity to use a card in the DC area on that date, and used it as a list to Ask A Few Questions.
  • Gift cards are not necessarily an alternative. Stores keep track of how they are purchased, and may also have security camera footage to look back on later.
  • Know how to turn off the geolocator on your phone, or remove the SIM card. (Another means used to hunt down Jan. 6 protestors). If you are thinking you could be doing something the government would harass you for, consider leaving your phone somewhere else. Burner phones (bought without using a credit card!) can be an option.
  • Anything electronic can be captured and forwarded without your knowledge, even messages set to autodelete. Screenshots can be taken locally, on the device the message was sent to, or using a phone to photograph a screen. Remember this, and be discreet.
  • (And as we go further down the danger gradient...) Do Not Talk About Your Security Prep In Public. That means, don't talk about your guns, or your bug-out bag, or your carefully measured perimeter on your property. Nothing about your supplies, or plans to relocate. Be careful even in groups of people you trust. It's fun to brag, but we are not in safe times. You may actually be using all this preparation, for real. Make sure it doesn't get taken away from you.

Just remember – counteraction should be a surprise....