Communications Security (COMSEC)

Communications Security (COMSEC)

COMSEC would include any electronic communications such as email, text messages, and postings on social media websites.

Who What When and Where

Who are you, someone may want to know, what are you doing, someone may want to know this as well, when is something going to happen, and where is it going to happen is relevant information that must be safeguarded when communicating electronically.

Radio Signals

Radio signals can be intercepted and with a directional antenna someone can determine your location by triangulation. All it requires is three bearings from three different locations. Where the bearings intersect is your location.

It is not quite as easy as described for those that have never triangulated a signal, but with a little practice and some knowledge of radio transmissions virtually anyone can do it.

Typically, someone would be monitoring radio traffic for information, and then decide based on that information they may decide they need/want your location.

Reduce Your Risk

To reduce the risk of giving away a location you can transmit from another location that is not relevant to you, or cannot be connected to you in any way. In other words, do not key the microphone while standing on your front porch if you do not want someone finding your front porch.

Keep your transmissions short and use just enough power to make contact with others on the net. The stronger the signal the easier it is to intercept and track.

Personal names should never be used so you should assign call signs to anyone on your communications net. If someone does not use the proper call sign and attempts to communicate with you then go dark, change to a backup frequency and attempt contact again, or wait to be contacted.

Remember, someone is always monitoring, and you would not know it. Unless you have sophisticated equipment your traffic would not be encrypted, and can be intercepted by anyone with a receiver.

The military and some law enforcement agencies use Communications-Electronics Operating Instructions (CEOI). The information is changed after a certain period typically every 24-hours. The guide would contain an authentication table, among other information, that all users would have to follow to communicate with anyone on the communications network. This is something that you could easily replicate for your communications net. A simple code that lets you know that the person you are talking to is a “friendly” and not someone searching for information.

Email

Once you hit the send button there is absolutely no way of knowing who at some point may have access to the contents. The person receiving it may distribute it to any number of people, the service provider may scan the email contents for keywords so advertisers can target you and hackers and others can intercept it as well.

Think before sending email, is there information in the correspondence that could compromise your personal, family or business’s security. If there is any doubt do not send.

Text Messages

Treat text messages, as you would email. Once sent any number of people could view the information and it is not unheard of to text to the wrong phone number. Once again think and double check before hitting send.

Social Media

It should be obvious to most people that posting personal information online can be dangerous. Even information that is supposedly only accessible by “friends” can in some cases be viewed by others, and just who are your friends by the way, do you know.

Certain social media sites update their privacy policies from time to time, and they do not make much of an effort to notify users, so this could change who has to access your information. Typically, the sites do this so advertisers have greater access to your browsing habits, but along with advertisers there are others out there looking.

You may not even be aware of your privacy settings, so take some time to review how your accounts are set up to determine who has access to what as far as your online accounts are concerned.

Know what your children are posting on social media. An innocent picture of mom and dad’s new firearm may bring unwanted attention to your family. Pictures of your home and vehicles with license plates showing is not a good idea either. Of course anyone driving by can see your plates, but if someone is looking for your home, because they liked what they saw online, and they have the plate numbers of your vehicles it only makes it that much easier to find the right home.

Taking pictures of your prepping supplies and posting them online is not a good idea even though you think there is no information in the pictures anyone can use there may be a clue that together with another clue can allow someone to figure out who you are and where you live.

If you have to stop and wonder if it is a good idea then it probably is not a good idea when it comes to posting information online.

No one has to break into your home to plant electronic intrusion devices anymore. Electronic surveillance can be conducted from down the street or hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are by no means secure for the common user. You have to assume every call is being intercepted and the contents of the call possibly stored somewhere. For most this is not a concern, because all of the calls being swept up in a dragnet, as it were, cannot be listened too, there are simply too many and it is not the intention of the agencies doing it to listen to everyone. The information is stored, and if something happens later on then they may access some calls, because certain keywords not previously relevant have surfaced.

The agencies conducting surveillance and call collection dragnets are looking for specific keywords and they focus on the location and destination.

Calls of interest include those that connect with callers overseas. The call may originate from the United States or come into the United States from overseas. Law enforcement agencies will intercept cell phones during investigations as well, so all in all, you have to assume to be safe that all calls are being recorded, stored, and possibly analyzed. For the typical person this means nothing and nothing would ever come of all this surveillance as far as the average person is concerned.

If you do not want anyone to know you are a Prepper then do not tell anyone you are a Prepper. However, your actions and purchases can indicate you are a Prepper. If you buy a lot of supplies on Amazon for example, it is a safe bet someone at Amazon knows or suspects you are a Prepper. They don’t care, but that is not the point, if someone gets a look at your browsing history or credit card purchases, for example they too will know.

Your browsing history will tell someone a lot about you and knowing what sites you visit may make you an easier target for hackers or others that may be gathering information about you.

Keep your phone locked/password protected so no one can access it to see what you have been up too. The same applies to your computer at home, use password protection so no one has access to your laptop, for example, to see what you have been up too.

Use common sense, security lapses often times occur because people did not stop and think. Something as simple as opening up an email attachment can override thousands of dollars of sophisticated security hardware.

Stop and think about who, what, when and where, when communicating with anyone.

Thanks to

Communications Security (COMSEC) – Preparing for shtf.

Avoid these common Prepper mistakes

1. Not keeping track of what you have.

     If your anything like me your space is limited to where you can store items and food you have bought. So you may have several locations within your home, or apartment you store your preps. If you don’t  keep track of what you have a couple of things can happen. a) You may not be able to find items you need during an emergency. b) You buy unneeded items because you already have 10 of them and have forgotten about them. So it’s a good idea to keep an inventory list of all the items you have and where they are located. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy just something you can reference when you need it.  Say when your shopping for preps or looking for your candles during a power outage.

 

2. Don’t keep your preps in plain view.

     Keeping your preps out of site outside your home is just common sense, people are no where near as honest as they used to be, some will steal your last bite of food if given the chance, even if they didn’t need it. But inside your home or apartment , you might not think about keeping your stuff out of site. You should! Because anyone that sees inside can potentially break in and take it if they know it’s there, especially if they need it for themselves during a disaster or such. They could just kill you and your family and take what they want. Here are a few tips to help.  Be selective about who you let in your home or apartment, Keep the blinds or curtains closed to avoid prying eyes, Try to hide as much as possible inside because some situations are unavoidable, such as maintenance coming over to fix something or pest control. Now your maintenance person, pest control technician, or best friend most likely wont steal from you but, They may inadvertently bring up your preps in conversations with others that may, so be careful. Trust me people will show up at your door during a disaster or SHTF situation if they know your prepared for it and have supplies.

 

3. Not having a plan.

     All the preps or survival gear are of no use if you don’t have a plan to use them. Because you don’t want to be decked all out in camo talking secret code on your 2 way radio, wielding a tomahawk just because the power is out for 20 mins. Ok I know most won’t do this but hey it could happen. In reality there are several things and types of emergencies you should plan for. Everything from a short term power outage, to teotwawki, and mass rioting. Know what you have and when to use it. A couple of plans I would suggest to start with are a home evacuation plan in case of fire, a get home plan for emergencies while your away from home such as at work, and a communications plan to communicate with your family and close friends during an emergency. There a lot more plans to create but this is a start. When you create your plans especially your communications plan be sure to involve who your trying to contact, you can’t contact your family if they are not aware how your planning on contacting them. Don’t share your plans with everyone but at least everyone involved in those plans.

 

4. Not buying ahead of time.

     During the April 27, 2011 tornado that struck my county here in Alabama, people could not get simple things like water. I wanted to help by donating water to the town of Hackleburg, AL I had to drive 110 miles round trip to get a pickup truck load of water to donate. Everyone lost power a lot lost their homes, and family members. In the days following everyone flocked to the local stores to buy up what they needed to survive, but the stores didn’t have any, other  people had bought it all already. You could not just go to Wal-Mart and get a case of water or loaf of bread, it was not that simple. So it is always a good idea to buy the stuff you need before you need it.

 

5. Not Keeping track of Expiration Dates.

     I know that dates on food items are not exact expiration dates, because many items will keep past their posted expiration date. However, some foods really do not taste so good even when slightly past the date. The item may just not taste good, you could get sick or even worse, so be mindful of what you eat close to or past the expiration date. Take a marker and rewrite the date where it is visible and keep rotating your stock.

 

6. Storing water in weak containers.

     Storing water in flimsy containers is asking for trouble. The container can break and flood the location you have it stored, Although flood is kind of a strong word for this situation unless you have water stored in a 100 gallon generic space bag. At the very lease you will have a mess to clean up but it could get much worse if your supplies are ruined because of a cracked container. I recommend storing your water in disinfected soda bottles or BPA free plastic containers.

 

7. Buying big ticket items you don’t have room for or not allowed to have.

     If your planning on purchasing a large item such as a generator make sure you have a place to store it, you would not want to just leave it on the porch. If you live in an apartment or rental house make sure your lease does not forbid the item for some reason.

 

8. Only Preparing for Big Events

     One mistake I have seen is people preparing for the large scale events that have a small chance of happening, while ignoring the smaller scale things that actually happen in their area. While I think a general approach to preparedness is best, I think it also makes sense to make sure we’re prepared to face the events that are most likely to happen in our area. For my area, that includes Tornados and Severe Storms

 

9. Having an Obsession With Prepping

     A healthy, happy family is more important than extending your food stock another month. Everything in the family begins with the husband-wife relationship. Make sure that’s solid above all else, and everything else will fall into place.

The Ultimate Bug Out Bag

I was browsing the internet this morning and I came across an article on instructables.com. I found it it be a nice setup, So I thought I would share it with you all.

F6QM9TFI735ZUBC

Wikipedia defines a bug out Bag as:

"A bug-out bag is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours, when evacuating from a disaster, however some kits are designed to last longer periods of time than just 72 hours. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism subculture.

The term "bug-out bag" is related to, and possibly derived from, the "bail-out bag" emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternate defensive positions, in the event that the units had to displace. They were directed to "bug out" when being overrun was imminent. The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the "bail-out bag" is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency.

Other names for such a bag are a BOB, 72-hour kit, a grab bag, a battle box, a Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERK), a go bag, a GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge) or INCHbag (I’m Never Coming Home)."

Well, if all I have to take a bag, or there is two of us and we get two bags, I am going to need more than to survive for 72 hours. If the Zombie Apocalypse, the Zompocalypse, the you know, occurs, I’m betting Rick et al. would be much appreciative of something with a little more than a water bottle and a med kit.

My parameters:

(1) Must be light enough to carry;

(2) Must be compact enough to not getting in the way when in an all-out run;

(3) Must have any and everything I, or a small group, could need to survive.

Assumptions:

(1) I will not be alone, at the least, my fiancée will likely be with me, and her bag will contain almost entirely clothes. The bag will thus be lighter in weight and allow her more freedom to move. I do not mean this in anyway saying that men are more fit than women, or anything like that. I am a former Div. I track runner, in the balance, I can take more of the weight. If your companion (assuming 2-person deal here) is the more fit for moving fast person, regardless of gender or age, they should carry this bag, and then you should carry the clothes.

(2) Along the way we would be able to pick up food supplies. Food and water are the first to run out, but with enough water treatment, ways of catching food, and ways of cooking it, the strength comes in the versatility of your supplies and how they move.

NB: Some items are doubled-up on (fire starters, etc.), for those items, in a larger group, would be distributed so that only one is held per person so if there are any issues, at least one of those items survives.

With that, I give you … The Ultimate Bug Out Bag.

Thanks ezeisel for the great post.

3 Easy Tips for Successful Container Gardening

Here are three easy things to do to guarantee a successful container garden – no matter the plants you’re growing.

Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container this summer.  The first is to use an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss.  Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer.  Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering.  And when it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients.  Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers.  I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year.  I dump it out of the pot. Chew it up with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots and add approximately 10 % by volume of compost. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition.

Feed your plants weekly.  Nitrogen, the engine of plant growth, is water soluble and as you water your containers from the top the dissolved nitrogen is leaving from the bottom.   I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require and recommend it highly.  You can use any liquid plant food (like Miracle Grow or Shultz) to promote growth.  Compost tea is the Cadillac of liquid plant food and if you make your own compost tea, your plants will respond with bigger and better blooms as well as increased vigour. 

And finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to soak it all the way to the bottom at each watering.  Continue watering until water emerges from the pot bottom.  This ensures the roots can reach all parts of the container and grow properly.

The Importance of Water Storage

Water is one of the basic needs of man and among the most important elements of life. It is essential for numerous reasons. It is needed for hydration in order to survive. People have to drink water regularly in order to replenish the loss of liquid in the body and to quench the thirst.

Water is vital to a human body. Purified water is needed for optimum health. It is also used for other important activities of man such as bathing, cleaning and cooking.

Water can come from rain, stream or through other sources. Water is brought in homes through water pipes from local water stations. Homes can store water by using a water storage tank. Some designs of water storage tank can be used to collect rain water.

A clean, sterilized bottle can be used for water storage. Containers made of thermoplastic have been invented for water storage. Since ancient times, people have invented containers from different materials for the purpose for storing water.

Water storage containers are important for survival in a wilderness adventure. A water storage container is one of the few important things that can be brought by survivalist campers. A bottle is perhaps the most popular portable form of water storage. It can be of different designs, materials and shapes. The Sigg bottle, a Swiss-made water storage container made from true aluminum is one of the popular bottles for outdoor activities. It has been considered by Backpacker Magazine as one of the toughest water bottles in the world.

The company that produces Sigg bottle was established in Biel, Switzerland by Ferdinand Sigg in 1908. It used to manufacture kitchenware and electrical appliances made from aluminum. However, in 1998, it concentrated on producing aluminum bottles. The Sigg Bottle is one of the most recognizable brands of aluminum bottles in Europe.

Though made from aluminum, Sigg bottles can come in many designs. Various online shops have offered Sigg bottles on their merchandise. You could find this product along with other outdoor equipment products. Nalgene bottles and bottles of different brands can also be found in the market.

An oasis is water storage in the desert. A well is a popular form of water storage where people can obtain water at no cost. Water tank is used to collect water in homes and in plants. Storing water can be very important in times of drought and scarcity of water supply. Water is needed for survival. Although the earth is filled with water, only a certain percentage is suitable for drinking.

Contents of a First Aid Kit

 

A first aid kit is a helpful and important item in homes and for outdoor adventures. It contains a set of medical supplies and other items for medical emergency. Homes should have a first aid kit. A homemade kit can contain various medical supplies obtained differently. Although pharmacies or stores offer first-aid kits, they may contain low-quality and lesser amount of items. These kits may contain items for treating minor injuries.

A home made kit can be customized. It could contain more than the required medical supplies. However, the amount of items that can be found in home made first aid kid may vary according to the preferences of homeowners and users.

A first aid kit can be optimized by users. It can be added with other useful items that can be used in treating wounds, bruises or injuries. Bandages and dressings are the common items that can be found in a first aid kit. Dressings should be sterile when they are used to protect wounds. Gauze roller bandages, adhesive bandages, triangular bandages and elastic bandages are types of items that can be applied to secure a dressing. Nevertheless, popular less-costly adhesive bandages with dressing such as Band-Aid could be integrated in a first aid kit.

Medications should also be included in a first aid kit. These medications may range from antibiotics or antiseptics to painkillers. Alcohol, povidone iodine, benzalkonium chloride and antibiotic ointment are antiseptic substances to be applied on wounds and cuts. Ointments and lotions used to relieve skin itchiness can also be put in a first aid kit. Painkillers and antihistamine drugs can be included in a kit to relieve various ailments. Medications to treat skin disorders and problems such as aloe vera gel, burn gel, and petroleum jelly can also be stored in a kit.

Some items can be added in a first aid kit if it is used in outdoor activities. One can add items that are used to treat snakebites and motion sickness in a kit. Activated charcoal and syrup of ipecac are medications that can be used to treat poisons. They can be used as directed by poison control center and can be included in the kit.

Instruments and medical equipment can also be integrated in a first aid kit. Splint, personal protective equipment such as gloves and CPR mask, space blanket, thermometer, BP instrument, hand sanitizer, tweezers, irrigation syringe, rubber suction bulb and trauma shears are items that can be put in a first aid kit.

A first aid kit can help a lot when it is brought with in an outdoor activity. It can be integrated in a survival kit.