Letter Re: Nefarious Uses of Google Earth

Howdy Mr. Rawles, I had two comments to add to the conversation about thieves using Google Earth to steal koi. First, when we typed our address into Google Earth, it popped to a house about a 1/4 mile from us (we checked that fact many times, not just once, so it was not a typo on our part). That was just ducky with the family, as it helped our farm stay invisible. After reading about the koi thefts, I decided to check on Google Earth again. I was so disappointed when it popped right to the farm this time! The …




Letter Re: Cuban Spy Ring Arrests Raises Concern of Ham Radio Restrictions

Jim: This article concerns me: Cuban spies’ shortwave radios go undetected: Low-tech transmissions no big deal for U.S. intelligence. The journalist mentions: “The International Amateur Radio Union said there are more than 700,000 amateur radio operators in the United States.” I hope the governmental paranoia does not try to constrain the best method of rural emergency communications. – KAF JWR Replies: Without mentioning anything classified, I can safely say that they are describing clandestine operatives in in the US. receiving the old-fashioned HF “Numbers” broadcasts from Cuba. These are typically code groups of five numbers, read aloud by a woman, …




Four Letters Re: Firewalls, Anonymity, and SurvivalBlog

Two notes about Some Call Me Tim’s excellent recommendation of JanusVM: 1) Use Decloak.net to verify that you’ve done everything right. It uses a whole host of very strong tests to attempt to locate your computer and will find out if you’ve slipped up somewhere. The place you’ve slipped up is almost always DNS but cookies and other things can give you away too. 2) Be aware that this encrypts the traffic you’re sending and receiving, it doesn’t make it go away. Someone listening in can tell when you’re sending/receiving and how much, they just can’t read it. Timing and …




Two Letters Re: Firewalls, Anonymity, and SurvivalBlog

Dear Mr. Rawles As a network administrator, I spend a fair amount of time making sure my end users cannot access certain web sites from company computers and data lines. I try to make sure we don’t get too draconian in our filtering practices, I do my best to make sure that not streaming audio or video, social networking sites, or other time killers make their way through the network. Recently, a friend of mine told me about a tool called JanusVM, a combination of Internet anonymity tools (TOR, PRIVoxy, Squid, and VPN) that runs in a virtual machine. You …




Good Compsec Practices for Preppers, by T.

Compsec is a subset of OPSEC that is concerned with computer security. It can not be ignored if you plan to use computers now and after a SHTF situation. The personal computer is a powerful tool to help cope with any disaster or survival situation. The capacity for enormous data storage in a very small footprint makes it a valuable resource when the grid and net go down. You will have all the information you need at your finger tips; first aid and medical info, maps and topography, equipment and firearms manuals, personal records and pictures, and the list goes …




Two Letters Re: Questions About FRS Radio Capabilities

Sir: I’ll establish my bona fides by stating that I am a General class Amateur Radio licensee with extensive experience in the VHF and UHF radio bands. While I applaud your promotion of the MURS radio for general use, it is not the best choice for the gentleman residing in the concrete condos in Florida. Penetration of concrete and steel structures is significantly better (by approximately 30%) at UHF frequencies (as used by FRS/GMRS radios) than at the VHF frequencies as used by MURS. Though free air range favors VHF, UHF penetrates obstacles better, assuming the effective radiated power (ERP) …




The Grand Illusion: G8 – 1 = Cold War II?

Perhaps Anatoliy Golitsyn was right. He was a high level Soviet defector that predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, claiming that perestroika and glasnost were charades that had been planned for decades by the Soviet-era KGB leadership to strategically deceive the West into thinking that we had “won” the Cold War. Some evidence: the recent Russian invasion of Georgia, Russia’s nuclear threats against Poland, and Putin’s hints of positioning ICBMs in Cuba. (As I’ve written before, history doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it often rhymes.) Was Golitsyn right? The West may have been the victim of the greatest dezinformatisaya …




Letter Re: Advice on Preparedness for Travelers?

Mr. Rawles, I just picked up two rugged 4GB USB memory sticks at a rather good price of $15 each. ($19.99 less a mail-in rebate of $5.) Your readers might consider them for their emergency kits to store scanned in copies of their legal documents, insurance, investments and personal records and photos. This isn’t bullets and butter but might just prove more valuable than both when trying to get a replacement social security card or passport. The 10 year warranty is awfully nice so keep your receipt. Maybe you should scan that and save it on the memory stick too! …




Letter Re: Preparedness for Martial Law–Finding Gaps in Bilateral Rendition Treaties

James; This might seem like an odd [question], but have you given any thought to the [possible] aftermath of a major WMD terrorist attack, in which martial law is clamped down on the USofA? In times like that, political freedom might just evaporate. For [those of] us that have been [politically] outspoken–(I’m one of those cranky old guys with hundreds of published Letters To The Editor, and with one of those big Ron Paul [campaign] signs in my front yard)–where could we go in the event of some sort of round up? Now, in peril of sounding even more odd: …




Letter Re: Keeping a Low Profile is Crucial for Preparedness

Hi Jim, I agree with you that you shouldn’t “get so paranoid that you withdraw to hide under a rock” when using the Internet. Take precautions, certainly, but strike a balance. To illustrate why total privacy is practically impossible while making use of the Internet, here’s a discussion about recent work done with “de-anonymize” algorithms. In short, the researchers were able to identify 99% of anonymous users by comparing different datasets, one anonymous, and one not. Further, there have been studies with publicly available census data that show a person can be reasonably identified by all sorts of seemingly innocuous …




Identity Theft–The Jury Duty Scam

The following is one of those items that widely gets circulated via e-mail, but this one is legitimate and I think that warrants posting to the blog: “Be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she …




Letter Re: Keeping a Low Profile is Crucial for Preparedness

James, I have to disagree with some of C.D.’s measures listed in his letter (i.e. using Scroogle and Zone Alarm) and refer your readership to the best article I’ve yet seen on the great difficulty in online anonymity: The Ugly Truth About Online Anonymity Also note comment on the linked article 12 – even if all else could be secured, the moment you behave according to your established surfing profile, you’ll be spotted. Kind Regards, – J. in Kyrgyzstan JWR Replies: I have my own perspective about online activities: Do the best that you can to cover your cyber trail, …




Letter Re: Keeping a Low Profile is Crucial for Preparedness

Jim, My missus and I have been into “prepping” for about 15 years. Our house has a basement and it is practically wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with shelves–with just narrow aisles in between. The shelves are chockablock with storage food (all labeled and organized “FIFO“-style), medical supplies, assorted “field” type gear, tools, barter/charity stuff, ammo cans, propane cylinders (that fit our camp stove and camping lantern), reels of field phone wire, paper products, and so forth. Following the example of Mr. Whiskey (from your “Profiles“) we have recently built up 27 sets of designated “charity duffles”, each packed in a cheap …




Your Life in Your Pocket by John T.

A significant part of being prepared and being able to weather a crisis is having information. Remember, those in charge now will make it their first priority after TSHTF to return to the status quo. Banks and mortgage companies will do everything possible to continue banking and lending. Landlords will do whatever it takes to make sure they continue to collect rent from their tenants, and any police or military personnel you come into contact with will be very unhappy if you cannot prove who you are or otherwise deflect suspicion. You can call having critical information available during and …




Letter Re: Digitized Data for Your Bug-Out Bag

James: JN is absolutely right about TrueCrypt, it’s an excellent tool. Be aware, however, that you can be compelled to disclose your encryption keys in the UK legally, and you can always be compelled to do so via extra-legal means. If you have any data that you truly wish to keep secret, a good start is to use a second TrueCrypt volume containing important data inside the primary volume which contains data that is less crucial. Regards, – PH