Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Join a Club!

Want to expand your social circle, give back to your community, and learn a few things in the process?  Join a club!  Here are some to consider...

  • HAM radio club.  These clubs will teach you about HAM radio communication, offer contests and challenges, and increase your radio knowledge considerably.
  • Walking club.  Besides being great exercise, these clubs will show you little-known places even in your own city.  Examples here, here, and here.
  • Shooting club.  Your local gun club is a great place to shoot, learn tactical skills, and meet with like-minded people.  In addition to searching for a local club, this and this organization are also worth joining.
  • Hiking and backpacking clubs.  You can find these clubs on Meet Up as well as by Googling the topic and your local area.  This is a great way to get out in the wilderness with fun, interesting people.
  • Maker clubs.  When TEOTWAWKI comes around, your maker skills are going to be a top priority.  Learn these valuable skills now at a maker space in our community.
  • Gardening.  Learning how to grow your own food is a vital skill.  With both local and national gardening clubs to join, you will be well on your way to food self sufficiency.
  • Random, specific knowledge clubs like orienteering, hacking, lockpicking, hunting, etc.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 4 of 4)


76.  Continually reinforce the need for OpSec with your family.  You don't want your spouse or kids telling their friends about the armory in the basement, the stash of gold you maintain, or the two year's worth of food you have stored for an emergency.

77.  Be aware of KYC laws and how this can impact your banking/other business activity.

78.  Don't talk to the police besides the basics of identifying yourself.

79.  Beware that if you are connected to the grid, your utility usage can make your private life habits public knowledge (and be used to prosecute you in some cases).

80.  Speaking of utilities, don't allow companies to use remote access programs to access your private data.  Examples here and here.

81.  Beware of how your activities can put your personal information on display.  This can be things like race tracking or even getting your name in the paper for something you have done.

82.  When traveling, especially internationally, take extra care with your device security.

83.  Take steps to improve the privacy of your home such as following these tips, walking around the exterior of your home both during the day and at night to ensure people can not see into your home, covering anything in the garage you don't want the neighbors to see when you open your garage door (like your gun safe or stored food), etc.

84.  Take a look at your work environment and institute as many privacy and security tips as possible (examples here, here, and here).

85.  Take privacy precautions if you will be participating in a protest.

86.  Teach your children about privacy and do your best to keep their personal data (photos, cell number...basically everything kids regularly post on social media these days) off-line.  This education also includes personal privacy topics as well.

87.  Biohacking, implant tracking, and even cyber hacking your vehicle are the "brave new world" of privacy problems.  Examples here, here, and here.  

88.  Before you have guests, the housekeeper, workmen, etc come into your home, securely store cash/jewelry/prescription meds/guns/mail/personal papers/etc. away from prying eyes.

89.  Make your car as generic looking as possible.  Keep the interior clean and bare of anything that would attract thieves or privacy snoops, and for the love of God, don't put bumper stickers on your vehicle.

90.  Similarly, before you leave your vehicle with the valet or mechanic, only give them the vehicle's valet key (not your whole keychain), and lock valuables (firearm, cash, registration info, anything with your personal info on it) in your glove box.

91.  If you want to be in for a shocker when it comes to how little digital privacy you have, download your Apple or Google data.

92.  Take steps to avoid cross-device tracking, including browser isolation, using an air-gapped computer, etc.

93.  Use physical devices to secure your cell phone and laptop including camera covers, privacy screen protectors, microphone blocker device, USB data blockers, etc.

94. Learn how to hide from drones.  More info here.

95. If you need to take extreme measures, consider using a disguise when you go out.

96. Keep up with new privacy/tech topics as this subject changes very rapidly.  On YouTube, check out The Hated One, Rob Braxman, Techlore, All Things Secured, Wolfgang's Channel, Sumsub, Shannon Morris, Naomi Brockwell, etc.

97. If money is no object, you can hire a cybersecurity team to assist you with all manner of digital security.

98. Don't want your consumer purchases used to track you?  Become a maker.

99. Brush up on privacy laws that effect you.  Examples here, here, and here.

100.  Mind what you say when speaking to people.  Many people inadvertently give away a lot of personal information when having friendly conversations with others.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 3 of 4)

Moving right along...

51.  Clear up any legal/financial problems so you will not be encumbered by the legal/court system (also consider expunging or sealing your records if this is needed/possible).

52.  Do not rely on any government assistance programs.

53.  For even more privacy, consider renting a home which includes all utilities "off the books".

54.  Own a pre-1990's vehicle which doesn't have a "black box", On-Star, etc.

55.  Do not drive a company/commercial vehicle (examples why here and here).

56.  Be aware that the dashcam you use to protect you is also recording everything you do and say.

57.  Also be aware that when you call 911 you are being recorded (even before the 911 operator answers).

58.  Avoid CCTV/facial recognition cameras by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and mask when you are out in public (which isn't nearly as unusual post-pandemic as it was pre-pandemic). 

59.  Develop a wide skill set that would allow you to work "off the books."

60.  Go backpacking in a remote area for a couple of weeks (this may drop you totally off the grid if you do not bring any electronic devices with you).

61.  Use a notebook and pen for taking notes as digital notes can be compromised.

62.  Scrub your metadata from photos and email headers.

63.  Use non-digital home security options to safeguard your home.

64.  Learn how pre-digital surveillance societies did things (examples here, here, and here).

65.  Engineer a "normal life" and a separate "private" life.

66.  Improve your health and fitness to the point you don't need ongoing prescription medicines, ongoing medical monitoring, etc. 

67.  If you need another reason to avoid social media, realize that these services can and do share your most personal data (examples here and here).

68.  Become aware of old fashioned spy-craft skills.

69.  Learn how to avoid online scams and phishing attacks.

70.  Use items that can not be digitally tracked (old fashioned alarm clocks, "dumb" TVs, non-digital cameras, etc).

71.  Become familiar with Tor, Tails, and the Dark Web.

72.  Realize that the most mundane appliances can be used to track you (example here).

73.  Continually update your knowledge of surveillance self defense.  Also this.

74.  Learn about OSINT techniques then use these research skills on yourself so you will learn what modifications you need to make to enhance your privacy.

75.  Also, regularly Google 'how to protect my privacy' for new and updated techniques to use.



Tuesday, March 7, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 2 of 4)

Continuing on...

26.  Shop thrift stores, garage sales, swap meets, etc where you pay cash for what you buy and there is no log of your transactions.

27.  Don't use store apps when shopping (don't even keep these apps on your cell phone) so your purchases won't be tracked.

28.  If you must buy online, shop directly through store websites instead of buying on Amazon.

29.  Consider concealing your voting information (this varies by state).

30.  Crosscut shred all documents with your personal information on them.

31.  Remove your personal information from people finder sites.

32.  Take your cyber security seriously (here's how).

33.  Consider using crypto for private financial transactions.

34.  Consider using your passport for definitive ID instead of you driver's license (your passport does not have your address on it like your license does).

35.  Consider being unbanked or underbanked.

36.  Consider getting a second passport.

37.  Consider getting your medical/dental/mental health care outside of the US.

38.  Learn how to barter.

39.  Live off the grid.

40.  Grow your own food.

41.  Don't have a conventional home camera security system in your home.

42.  Do not have any smart appliances in your home.

43.  Live with a simple living/minimalist/buy-it-for-life mindset.

44.  Learn about ghost guns.

45.  Have lots of non-digital entertainment options (board games, hobbies like sewing and knitting, fishing gear, etc).

46.  Do not use commercial (or any) DNA testing services.

47.  Be a gray man.

48.  Use a faraday bag when necessary.

49.  Use maps/an atlas when traveling instead of a GPS device.

50.  Be completely debt free.

Monday, March 6, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 1 of 4)

Privacy is pretty much dead these days.  And not just for the rich and famous but for every single person on the planet who probably has a pile of their data sitting on a computer in a data center being parsed, packaged, and sold to whoever will buy it (advertisers most likely, but even the feds will gladly pay for data on people so they can avoid the pesky fourth amendment).  

That being said, there are still many ways to keep a bit of privacy in your life but remember none of these tips are 100% foolproof so any app/service/person who says "do this and you will have 100% privacy" is lying.  Even being out in the middle of the wilderness seemingly alone doesn't mean your activities are completely private (see also the Gabby Petito murder that was solved when someone driving by the remote murder site happened to catch the boyfriend's vehicle on their dash cam).  Here are some ways to make your everyday life a bit more private and secure:

  1. De-google a pixel phone using graphene (and never use it to log into google services).
  2. And use an anonymous SIM card in your phone. 
  3. Replace the Windows OS on your computer with Linux.
  4. Choose apps/websites/browsers with your privacy in mind.
  5. Use VPNs and/or a secure router when accessing the internet.
  6. Use an encrypted USB flash drive to store your files and/or back up your files.
  7. Own property through a trust and/or LLC (seek legal guidance for setting this up).
  8. Use an electric bike to avoid vehicle tracking technologies.
  9. Live in a remote area to avoid (most) community and residential surveillance cameras.
  10. Set up your own library of books gleaned from garage sales and thrift stores (not Amazon, not e-books).
  11. Set up your own DVD library gleaned from garage sales and thrift stores (not Amazon, not streaming services).
  12. Set up your own CD/record music library gleaned from garage sales and thrift stores (not Amazon, not Spotify).
  13. Use an over-the-air antenna instead of using cable or streaming services.
  14. Use a "dumb" TV instead of a "smart" TV.
  15. Use a regular vacuum instead of a "smart" vacuum.
  16. Never use voice assistant devices in your home.
  17. Pay cash for as many things as possible.
  18. If you must use a credit card, consider using a virtual credit card.
  19. Consider using a virtual mailbox address for privacy.
  20. And if you must use Amazon, pick up your purchases at a Hub locker instead of having home delivery.
  21. Instead of a fitness tracker, use an old fashioned pedometer.
  22. Instead of a smart watch, use an old fashioned watch.
  23. Instead of streaming radio, use an old fashioned radio.
  24. Delete social media (yes, this includes Facebook).
  25. Do not use Apple devices.   

Monday, February 27, 2023

Are You Prepared to Spend the Night in Your Vehicle?

A few days ago a storm came through our area which caused the major freeway between LA and Vegas to be closed down overnight.  Needless to say, a lot of people found themselves spending the night in their vehicles until the freeway reopened the next day.  I am also guessing that many of these people were unprepared for such an experience.  

Everyone should have basic supplies and equipment in their car in case of emergency.  This includes:

  • Bottled water
  • Simple, easy to eat, no cooking required food
  • A charged battery bank to power your cell phone
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • A way to stay warm (usb handwarmers and an additional battery bank, for example)
  • Flashlights and spare batteries
  • A way to go to the bathroom (a coffee can with cat litter, TP, and hand sanitizer, for example)
  • Entertainment (a book and reading light, cards, etc)
  • Other emergency supplies

Saturday, February 18, 2023

100 Items for Your Bug Out Bag

Twice a year, generally in the spring and fall, I like to dump out my bug out bag and revamp/reset all of the items so I know that they are in good working order in case I need to grab my bag and go in an emergency.  I may update items to newer versions, change out lower quality items to higher quality items, and more importantly, make sure the clothes still fit and are appropriate for the upcoming season.  My BOB runs a fine line between the possibility of bugging out to a city hotel room/spending multiple days in a hospital to true bugging out to the wilderness or living in my vehicle for days on end.  I also like the idea of having a small, minimalist kit versus including every possible thing in a 95l pack.  Here are 100 items you might consider putting in your bug out bag:

  1. Backpack.  Much easier to carry than a duffel bag or messenger bag.
  2. Tent/footprint.  Pick the smallest and lightest for your needs.
  3. Sleeping bag.  A down bag can pack extremely small yet still be quite warm.
  4. Sleeping pad.  I like a torso-sized, cheap, closed-cell foam pad.
  5. Emergency blanket.  Of the mylar variety.
  6. Matador blanket.  Thin, lite and has a variety of uses.
  7. Rumple blanket.  Ditto.
  8. Food.  Several day's worth, lightweight, easy to cook and eat, stuff you like to eat.
  9. Matches.  For obvious reasons.
  10. Lighter.  A back up for matches.
  11. Utensils.  Spork, spoon, fork, etc.
  12. Ferro rod and striker.  A back up for your matches and lighter.
  13. Firestarter.  A small packet of tinder to make fire-starting easier.
  14. Stove/fuel.  Could be anything from a cat food tin stove and fuel to a sterno set to a MSR stove.
  15. Mess kit.  To cook ad eat your food with.
  16. Can opener.  A p 38 type works fine.
  17. Pot scrubber.  Just cut off a chunk from your general kitchen-type scrubber.
  18. Titanium cup.  You can drink coffee as well as cook and eat from one of these.
  19. Bandana.  Has a hundred uses.
  20. Folding water bottle.  Good for extra water storage.
  21. Nalgene water bottle.  A standard way to carry water or beverages.
  22. Water purification tablets.  A cheap and easy way to purify water.
  23. Water filter/purification system.  Sawyer offers several types of these.
  24. Shoes: long-distance walking shoes, flip flops.
  25. Underwear: briefs, socks, bras/sports bras
  26. Clothes: pants, belt, tank tops, t shirts, long sleeve shirts.
  27. Outerwear: windbreaker, rain shell, rain pants, down jacket, fleece jacket.
  28. Accessories: umbrella, sunglasses, rain poncho, baseball hat, shemagh.
  29. Related items: winter hat, winter gloves, down booties, work gloves, buff, swim suit, sleepwear.
  30. $5000 cash/roll of quarters.  Bands of $1, $5, $10, $20, and some $100s.
  31. Burner phone and sim card.  Maybe take the time to degoogle the phone and pick up a Mint sim.
  32. First aid kit/vitamins/acidophilous/prescription meds/denture stuff/hearing aid stuff/etc.
  33. Trauma kit.  This is more comprehensive than a basic first aid kit.
  34. Insect repellent/bug head net.  For bugging out in a buggy area.
  35. Toiletry kit/make up kit/kit for contacts/spare glasses.
  36. Office kit.  Include a passport, copies of important documents, list of contact info, etc.
  37. Tech kit.  Spare USB drives, spare memory cards, charger cord/brick. etc.
  38. Hand sanitizer.  Small bottle; can also be used as a firestarter.
  39. Wet Wipes.  Varying sizes; use for hand cleaning, a sponge bath, etc.
  40. Toilet paper and/or bottle bidet.  For obvious reasons.
  41. Shovel or trowel.  To bury waste among other things.
  42. Ziplocs.  Assorted sizes for a variety of purposes.
  43. Dr Bronner's soap.  A good all-purpose soap.
  44. Towel.  An ultralight backpacker's towel.
  45. Wash cloth.  Ditto.
  46. Pocketknife.  Has multiple uses.
  47. Multi tool.  Also has multiple uses.
  48. Sillcok key.  For accessing water in various places.
  49. Lockpick set.  Practice using it before you need it.
  50. Axe.  Has multiple uses.
  51. Fixed blade knife.  Get a quality knife with a good blade and sturdy hilt.
  52. Headlamp. With white, red, and green colors.
  53. Flashlight.  Small but with high lumens.
  54. Spare batteries.  For any items that are not rechargeable.
  55. Candle.  Tea light size is fine.
  56. Solar charger.  There are several good backpacker-style panel set ups.
  57. Battery bank.  Make sure it works with your solar set up.
  58. Portable AM/FM/SW radio.  For receiving info in a disaster.
  59. Hand-crank radio.  Good if you don't have battery or solar options.
  60. HAM radio.  Get licensed and practice using this type of radio before you need it.
  61. Maps.  A local map, state map, and US map.
  62. Compass.  Learn how to use it before you need it.
  63. Whistle.  To use for signaling in an emergency.
  64. Notepad.  Write in the rain type is a good option.
  65. Pencil/pen.  A mechanical pencil and/or Fisher Space pen are good options.
  66. Pepper spray.  A good, basic self defense option.
  67. Duct tape.  A good all-around "fix it" option.
  68. Zipties/rubberbands.  Ditto.
  69. Paracord.  Many uses.
  70. Carabiners.  Ditto.
  71. Handgun/ammo/cleaning kit.  Optional, of course.
  72. Large garbage bags.  Multiple uses.
  73. N95 face mask/nitrile gloves.  For use in an emergency.
  74. Sewing kit.  You can put together your own kit.
  75. Fishing kit.  Ditto.
  76. Knife sharpener.  To keep a good blade on your knives.
  77. Snare wire.  Multiple uses.
  78. Latex tubing.  Ditto.
  79. Condoms.  For various purposes.
  80. Binoculars.  For seeing distant things.
  81. Bungie cords.  Multiple uses.
  82. Watch.  For timekeeping and distance marking.
  83. Glow sticks.  Can be found at the Dollar Store for emergency lighting and signalling.
  84. Trekking poles.  For long-distance walking.
  85. Tablet or laptop.  For computing, information, and entertainment needs.
  86. Small sharpie.  Useful for messaging and note-taking purposes.
  87. Magnifying glass.  Can be used for fire starting and to see small things.
  88. PLB.  A personal locator beacon can be used to summon help in an emergency.
  89. Saw.  Many uses (shelter building, fire building, etc).
  90. Aluminum foil.  Many uses.
  91. Pack rain cover.  To keep your backpack and its contents dry (use an interior plastic bag as well).
  92. Waterproof bag.  To keep stuff dry, also useful for doing laundry.
  93. Bear container.  If you will be bugging out to the wilderness.
  94. Bear spray.  Another good self-defense tool.
  95. Gaiters.  Useful for long-distance walking.
  96. Hand warmers.  A "nice to have" in cold climates.
  97. Goggles.  Useful for swimming, dust storms, etc.
  98. Signal mirror.  For signaling for help.
  99. Pry bar.  Many uses.
  100. Other stuff depending on your needs (drone, body armor, etc).