Letter: An Amazon OPSEC Reminder

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

You have a profile and Amazon has been getting more aggressive of late. I noted an old pic from before they linked every social media organization and gave facebook-level creepy info so I deleted everything and reduced my name to something unrelatable.

Use the Amazon Link from SurvivalBlog, but make sure your profile isn’t leaking too much info. (please do review with a stripped profile since it helps everyone to know which products work) – T.Z.

Internet Censorship is Now Rampant — It is High Time to Bookmark Your Alternatives

The New Censorship

With every passing week, we are seeing growing censorship of the Internet. The key  mass media phrase of 2016 and 2017  has been “Fake News.” But much of what  is being called fake news isn’t, while much of what the mainstream media is pushing is indeed what is “fake.” Meanwhile, The Powers That Be are enforcing their view of “Community Standards” to quash free speech. I won’t re-hash this with a huge laundry list of particular incidents, because they are too numerous and have been well-documented. Rather, I will suffice with just a few summaries:

  • The Google search engine now routinely uses special algorithms to deemphasize some search engine results. Meanwhile, they over-emphasize others, in an overt “pay for play” arrangement. In essence, if your site is conservative, it often gets pushed far down the list of search results, out … Continue reading

Letter Re: Search Engine Privacy and Security

Search engine privacy

Good day, Hugh,

I recently switched over to TOR as my web browser. I am now using Proton mail as my email address, and I now use Signals as my SMS text messenger. My bases are covered. These are also recommended actions by Snowden himself:

  • TOR sends your search through a relay of servers, making it extremely difficult to find your true IP Address.
  • Proton mail is an encrypted server that prevent your messages from being intercepted.
  • Signals is an app that prevents text messages to other persons, other than the person you sent the message to, from being read.

A Response to Going Analog, by M.G.


Selectric Typewriter Security Issues

Back in the 1970s IBM was required by at least one of its customers to make some options available for Selectric typewriters because they discovered the Selectric design was susceptible to electronic eavesdropping that could determine what the typewriter was printing. As it turns out, mid-’70s electronics were capable of detecting not only the unique electronic signature of individual typewriter motors but also measuring the load incurred by that motor during character selection from the main power feed outside the building. So, it’s possible that even using a mechanical electric typewriter for written communications may not be as secure as we think.

Typebar typewriters, both electric and manual, do produce a typeface “signature”; so actually does a Selectric typing element– the “ball”. However, it’s trivial to change elements. Were someone to use a Selectric for secure communications I’d suggest, depending on the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Search Engine Privacy and Security

Security and Privacy

Good day Sir,

I want to reference to a topic which could prove of great importance. A situation where the loss of personal liberty and freedom occurs. There are some that believe that we are in that situation currently.

I browse the Internet for news and factual information, much like earlier times when a person would pick up a newspaper. I have in the past used “Google” as my primary “Search Engine”. To my understanding and experience, my search results are cataloged and referenced. When I do searches through “Google”, I am bombarded by advertisements that seemingly reference my previous search preferences.

An example

Case in point. I had been doing a search for cold weather sleeping bags, and nearly every site I visit contains an exact advertisement to a choice that I in fact have already purchased.

I have recently switched over to the “Epic privacy browser”. Their site … Continue reading

A Quiet Life: How to Lower Your Profile or Go Fully Off the Grid


Part of my work life in most weeks involves consulting phone calls.  The majority of my clients are in the U.S. and Canada.  Not surprisingly, many of my clients have questions for me about privacy.  These questions are generally along three lines:  1.) Buying guns privately, 2.) buying land privately, and 3.) how to avoid paper trails on storage food purchases.  In this essay,  I will try to address all three of those topics, as well as a few related points. One of the key concepts herein is Going Analog.  But first, I’ll mention completely dropping off the grid.

Going Dark

The Going Dark concept implies someone cutting off all normal contacts. This is often coincident with relocating in an attempt to disappear without a trace.  This extreme in privacy is only required for someone in duress.  That is, for instance, someone who is the target of a manhunt,  for … Continue reading

Letter Re: Taking Out the Trash: Secure Deletion


Technically, short of physically destroying flash media, there is no way to insure that something is securely erased. This applies to USB drives, SD cards of all sizes, and even SSD disk drives. It applies less so to magnetic hard drives.

Hard drives can drift so there can be a thin shadow of old data, but that is something only someone with very deep pockets can recover, and it would be hit and miss.

With flash drives, data is eventually erased, but what normally happens is the prior place the data was stored is mapped as “obsolete, erase when you need space”, while the new data is written to a new, freshly erased area. It can be a long time until the algorithm (or something like a “trim” or “secure erase” command, though not all devices have that) really erases the old data. Until actually erased, the flash chips … Continue reading

Letter Re: Cell Phone Masking and Denial of Geolocation Data

Hello James,

I was stunned when out of the blue Google Maps sent me an e-mail detailing several hundred locations I have been to over the past several months. I immediately attempted to change settings to prevent this, but I feel Internet/cell phone data is an insidious invasion of privacy with the next logical step for government to bypass the usual requirements to access locations, phone numbers, data, et cetera, the 4th Amendment be damned. There are various RFID-blocking cell phone wallets/sleeves for sale online with varying degree of price and effectiveness as per reviews. Can you recommend a product to shield cell phones from transmitting data? – D.W.

JWR’s Comment: Yes. Simply buy an older-style cell phone from which you can quickly and easily remove the battery. (Most of the newer smart phones have integral batteries that require complicated disassembly of the case.) A TracFone flip phone is what … Continue reading

Building An 80% Firearm- Part 1, by Tupreco


Learn the Why and How

The election of Donald Trump is beginning to show concrete steps toward dialing back the Obama administration’s numerous efforts to undermine our Second Amendment rights. How that will continue to play out remains to be seen. Surprisingly though, even on Obama’s watch there were several pro-2nd Amendment (2A) court and legislative victories, including expansion of concealed carry in many states.

Another thing that occurred while Obama was in office was an unexpected but welcome surprise from the ATF. Several years ago, a well-known AR-15 parts manufacturer requested and received the ATF’s formal approval to manufacture and sell, without restriction, a partially-finished AR-15 lower receiver. This receiver would only be legal for unrestricted sale if the ATF approved the exact design where several very specific features remained un-machined or marked in a way that would aid in its completion. This partially-complete receiver (now commonly called … Continue reading

Letter Re: License Plate Readers & OPSEC


Two of SurvivalBlog’s recent posts referenced altering or covering license plates to avoid identification by license plate readers. Coincidentally, the last two episodes of the reality show Hunted involved people being tracked by this technology. Altering your plate is clearly illegal. Apparently plastic covers are also illegal, at least in some jurisdictions. Electronic surveillance devices seem to be virtually everywhere these days. Do you have any advice for those of us who still believe in personal privacy but don’t want to break the law? About all I can think of is a good coat of mud or a trailer-hitch receiver cargo rack.

– R. in Maine

JWR Replies: You are correct that this is an emerging threat to our privacy. Sadly, it is just one part of the emerging Surveillance State.

There are a few options that I’ve mentioned to my consulting clients who have raised this issue:

Continue reading

Letter Re: Drones and Airspace


I believe that the article posted on December 22 may present inaccurate guidance to the readers of SurvivalBlog.

In June, 2016 the FAA announced the forthcoming release of Part 107 of their regulations. The likely final regulations are here. The regulations detail the Operating Rules for drone pilots, including things such as See-And-Avoid and Visibility Requirements, Containment and Loss of Positive Control, Careless and Reckless Operation, and more.

For drone pilots, note that the Section on Careless and Reckless Operation is a FAA “catch all” that will be used to legally go after drone pilots who operate in an unsafe manner. Similar Sections exist in other FAA regulations for private and commercial pilots, and this “catch all” has been used to convict pilots who did dangerous things.

More importantly, the FAA and the courts have already demonstrated that the FAA regulates … Continue reading

Attack of the Drones: Defending the Air Above Your Property, by RD, Prepper Law


One night you suddenly see a drone hovering next to a window of your home. Outraged, you shoot it down. Somebody calls the police because they heard a firearm discharged, and ten minutes later you hear a knock on your door. Or, say a military plane swoops across your backyard, barely skimming the tops of your pine trees, and you hear a massive crash. You look out your window and see a fully intact missile stuck head first in the ground. Apparently the military accidentally dropped a bomb on your land. Can you do more than shake your fist?

The question: Who owns the air above your property?

You do, to a limit. The law says, “The entry of an aircraft into the airspace over land belonging to another person is privileged and lawful unless the entry is in such a manner as to interfere … Continue reading

Letter Re: Ammunition Buying OPSEC

Mr. Rawles,

In response to Cliff’s e-mail regarding ammunition OPSEC, I just wanted to write in and express my firm belief that the worst thing one can do, unfortunately, is to conduct e-commerce for bulk ammo via any Internet sites. I have nothing against any of the online vendors, but their records are kept and not immune from subpoenas or government seizures. I have had particular luck with bulk ammo sales on Sunday afternoons at gun shows. The fact of the matter is that no vendor wants to carry that weight of unsold inventory back to their trailer after the show ends. Now, if you think you are walking out with 5000 rounds of 5.56 for 15 cents a round, you’re dreaming. These vendors still need to make a living, but numerous times bulk ammo can be dickered down to at or near online vendor prices if you’re willing to … Continue reading

When and How Do We Fight? That is the Question, by X. Liberal

This message is more on a serious note. Before we get started I want to make an attribution to Lavoy Finicum. My wife and I had the privilege of being present in Utah to pay respects to him and his loved ones as we were driving back from our final Redoubt Property inspection in Montana while traveling home to Nevada. His sacrifice sparks this message:

“THEY” say Lavoy Finicum and his cohorts were illegally occupying the Wildlife Refuge in Burns Oregon. THEY say nothing about the Occupy Wall Street Movement illegally occupying City Squares. THEY say that it was unsanitary to be at the Burns Wildlife Refugee without running water and working toilets. THEY say nothing about Occupy Wall Street protesters using drugs, fornicating, defecating, and urinating on city property. THEY say the Bundys and their cohorts overstayed their welcome when they slept overnight at the Refuge. THEY say nothing … Continue reading

Letter: The Global Cyber War and DDOS Ping Attacks

For some background, I’ve worked as a UNIX systems administrator  for more than 20 years in the financial environment. This background includes working for major bankig and stock mark trading companies. I’m not saying that to impress, I am saying it so you know that I have a good amount of experience in the field.

Although logs and paths can be modified, a significant amount of scanning and denial attacks on both commercial and personal computer systems really does seem to come from Russia, China, and the Netherlands.

Now a layperson may ask:  “Why does China care about my PC, my Twitter account, or keeping me from accessing PayPal?” The short answer is that they don’t in most cases. I believe these cyberattacks should be seen in layers, however I must also say that what I discus next is my personal opinion and not the opinion … Continue reading