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.

The Three Levels of Preparing – Code Green Prep

It is easy to think of prepping as being one single set of actions, designed to prepare for any and all future challenges as/when/if they occur, and of the differences between types of situations and necessary responses as being on a smooth continuum, from trivial and minor to life changing/threatening and major.

This is only partially true, and masks the very different types of situations and preparations required.  There are very different sets of responses to different types of situations – perhaps best to think of prepping like a plane, which you control very differently while taxiing on the ground compared to when flying through the air.

In fact, rather than just two modes of response (like a plane), we suggest it is most helpful to create three different sets of future challenges, and to identify prepping solutions for each of these, because the three different types of preparations are very different from each other.  These three levels of preparing, and the three levels of future challenges, are :

Level 1 :  Short Term

Short term problems are those which are, obviously enough, of short duration.  They are events that clearly have an expected resolution to them via society’s normal mechanisms, and it is just a case of waiting for the issues to be resolved.

An example of a short term problem would be a major storm, flood, or power outage.  Such events could inconvenience you for anywhere from an hour or two up to perhaps a week or two.  Lesser events can be considered, too – having your car break down on the side of the road late at night, for example.

In such cases your response to such challenges generally does not require evacuating your normal residence – indeed, by definition, any Short Term/Level 1 events are ones which do not require you to leave home.

You may lose power, you may lose other utilities, and you may have transportation challenges, and there may be regional disruptions to normal social support functions.  But the functioning of the country as a whole remains unchallenged, and in some form or another, you know that matters will, in the foreseeable future, return to normal.  Society is not disrupted, you don’t have lawlessness or looting.

How/what do you prepare for and respond to a Level 1/Short Term disruption?  Things like an emergency generator and enough fuel to power it for a couple of weeks.  Extra fuel for at least one of your vehicles.  Food and water for a couple of weeks.  A two-way radio, although there’s a good chance your landline and cell phones will still work, as may also your internet.

You only slightly modify your normal lifestyle, and you are secure in the certainty that life will be back to normal well before you’ve exhausted your emergency supplies.

A person can be well prepared for Level 1 events without needing to outlay more than $10,000, and probably without needing to outlay much more than $1,000.

Level 2 :  Medium Term

These are obviously events which are more major than Level 1 events.  We define Level 2 events by the need to abandon your normal residence and move somewhere else.  Level 2 events disrupt the total fabric of your region, and are more open ended in terms of when and how matters will return to normal.  They might be natural – a solar storm wiping out our power grid, for example.  They might be economic – a collapse in the global economy – something which we seem to be flirting with at present.  They might be the result of military action, or could be any one of many other issues – maybe even something minor which then snowballs and destroys the increasingly fragile and delicate state of today’s modern interdependent society.

Level 2 events may even threaten people’s lives due to interruptions not only to utility services such as water, sewer, power/gas, trash, and communications, but also due to disruptions to the distribution system for food, gasoline, and other essentials – disruptions which appear likely to extend beyond the point at which most non-preppers can cope.

Some lawlessness and looting will develop, as desperate people search for food.

On the other hand, these problems, as severe as they are, have some sort of an eventual happy ending and resolution clearly in sight, such as to see the restoration of normal infrastructure and a return to ‘life as we know it’ (LAWKI) at some reasonable point in the future.

How do you prepare for and respond to a Level 2/Medium Term disruption?  You need a secure location where you can shelter from the lawlessness that may envelope cities and other areas of dense population, and where you can create your own little bubble of comfort, safety, and what passes for civilization.

Possibly your retreat will still have essential services connected to it (power most of all), but you’ll be prepared for an eventuality without power.

You’ll live primarily from stored supplies without worrying too much about replenishing them.  Sure, you’ll try and reduce your reliance on external sources of most things, but you’ll not feel the need to become 100% self-reliant or to adopt a 100% sustainable independent life.  Instead, you’ll happily live off your stockpiles of food, energy sources, and whatever else, because you can see a clear restoration of ‘normalcy’ at some point within a year or so.

You need two way radio communication to supplement any remaining ‘normal’ types of communication, but primarily to communicate among yourselves, and perhaps augmented by a shortwave radio receiver so you can keep updated with news of ‘the rest of the world’ and what is happening to resolve the problems your region has suffered.

You may choose to do this independently by yourself, because you have the supplies and resources you need.  Alternatively, and perhaps for optional social reasons rather than for any essential needs, you may choose to band together with other prepared people too.

Level 2 clearly requires a massively greater amount of preparation (and expenditures) than Level 1.  If you have only prepared for Level 1 contingencies, you’ll have a problem surviving a Level 2 event, primarily due to not having a retreat location to move to.  Cities will quickly become lethal environments, and even if you successfully manage to evacuate the city you live in, so what?  Where will you move to?  See our article about the modern day imbalance between city and rural life – there’s no way that small country towns can suddenly accept four times more people than they had before as refugees from the cities.  If you don’t have somewhere to go to, already prepared, you have in effect nowhere to go to.

Preparing for a Level 2 event will cost you anywhere from $100,000 as an absolute bare-bones minimum up to $1 million or more.  These costs will start to encourage you to adopt group/shared solutions.  While two people can never live (or prepare) as cheaply as one, they sure can do so for much less than double the cost.  There’s not only safety in numbers, but economy too.

If you feel it impractical to consider preparing to Level 2 standards yourself, don’t give up.  The reality is that a Level 2 condition is close to essential.  Maybe Code Green can help.  Ask about becoming a member of our cooperative community and how you can benefit from shared investments in Level 2 and Level 3 preparations.

Level 3 :  Long Term

This is the big one.  Society has broken down.  Something has destroyed much of the infrastructure not just of your region, and not just of the United States, but of most of the entire world.  This might be a bio-disaster (a flu pandemic as has several times come very close in the last decade) or a global conflict, or an EMP pulse, or any one of many other events.Y

ou’re not yet reduced to a stone age life-style, but you’ve no idea when you’ll be able to resupply any of the items you’ve stockpiled, and so your focus now is on sustainable ongoing self-contained living.

Whereas in Level 1 events, you happily lived off and even squandered your stored supplies, sure in the knowledge that the event was short term, and in Level 2 events, you were more prudent and glad you had spares for essential items and generous amounts of ‘just in case’ materials, with Level 3 events, you’re not just focused on spares for essential items, but on how to build replacement products from raw materials and how to adjust to a life with massively fewer modern and complex appliances.

You of course have needed to evacuate if you lived in a city, and the lawlessness (or arbitrary capricious unilateral attempts at imposing draconian ‘order’) is pervasive.  It is an ‘every man for himself’ sort of situation, and yes, it may also become a ‘kill or be killed’ situation too.  Starving people, facing certain death for themselves and their families, will have no choice but to fight for food and shelter, and you in turn will have no choice but to defend that which you have.

You need to change your lifestyle so that you can become self-sustaining and self-sufficient.  Sure, you’ll use up your stockpiled supplies as you devolve down to a level of sustainable self-sufficiency, and as you do so, you realize that you might never be able to replace such things.  You need to become both energy and food independent, and your energy independence needs to be not just in the form of PV solar cells (because what do you do as they degrade and fail, in a situation where you have no replacements and where you can’t create the underlying pre-requisite technology to manufacture more) but rather in the form of some type of energy source that you can maintain and operate indefinitely.

Food independence can be slightly modified by trading off surpluses of the types of food you can grow with surpluses of food developed by other nearby families and communities.

You need to become part of a community because you don’t have enough resources, by yourself and with whatever handful of friends and family are with you, to have all the talents, skills, and resources necessary to optimize your life.  You need to be able to communicate, bi-directionally, not just locally and regionally, but nationally and internationally, so as to understand what has happened to and what is happening to the rest of your country and the world, and to coordinate your activities with those of other pockets of survivors.

If you have already prepared for a Level 2 contingency, you’ll have a ‘parachute’ to cushion your crash-landing down into the post-industrial society that you’ll be entering.  The most important thing is you have a place to retreat to, and enough supplies and resources to buy you some time to urgently start adapting to the new future staring you in the face.

It would be better, of course, if you already have some Level 3 planning and preparations in place, but if you’re already at Level 2, you’re way ahead of most other people.

How much does it cost to be prepared for a Level 3 situation?  That’s a question with a huge range of possible answers, and it depends on how much of life’s former comforts you want to try and preserve and for how long, how much you want to have in place to devolve down to less complex forms of technology, and how far you can split such costs with fellow preppers.

This is where Code Green Prep can help.  Ask about becoming a member of our cooperative community and how you can benefit from shared investments in Level 2 and Level 3 preparations.

Here’s a table showing some of the key differences in these three levels of future event and their implications to us as preppers.

Item Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Duration Short – maybe up to a week or two Medium – perhaps up to a year Longterm
Likelihood of Occuring Varies regionally, but between likely and definite every 5 – 10 years Take your best guess.  A disruptive solar storm = 12% chance every 10 years.  Other risks = you decide. More likely than you’d wish for.  What are the chances of Bird Flu evolving and a global pandemic wiping out a huge slice of the world’s population?  Might Iran or N Korea detonate an EMP over the US?  etc.
Return to Normalcy Assured Very likely Not for a long time, maybe generations
Regional Scope Probably local and limited Extensive, possibly national Definitely national, maybe continental, possibly impacting much/all the world
External Assistance Yes, expected Maybe some, but not much and such resource as there is will be massively over-extended and unable to cope Probably none for extended periods of time
Survivability if Unprepared Yes with some inconvenience and discomfort Marginal to low Very low
Social Disruption Possibly some limited opportunistic rioting and looting, brought under control within a week or so Major, probably new forms of small community government and policing programs will spring up to create pockets of order among much lawlessness Complete.  Organized gangs will dominate
Relocation Can survive in your normal abode Due to breakdown of city services, need to relocate Essential
Food strategy Not a constraint You’ll survive by eating through your stockpiles of food in the hope by the time you’ve eaten it all, order will be restored Your stockpiles of food will give you time to create your own ongoing food sources and to become self sufficient
Energy Some candles, flashlights, warm blankets, open fires, and a generator You’ll reduce your energy needs and rely on a generator and stockpiled fuel, perhaps using some in-place renewable energy sources too. Stockpiled fuel will be used carefully as you transition to energy independence and renewable sources
Defense Stay at home.  Biggest threat will probably be rude/pushy neighbors.  Hopefully no lethal threats or responses needed. Moderately uncoordinated groups of starving people or opportunistic raiders, will probably be able to be repelled by presentation of weapons and maybe occasional skirmishes.  They are looking for easy targets. Organized groups will battle among themselves for regional supremacy, and will ‘fight to the finish’ to take over the assets and resources of others.  Expect stolen military weapons as well as civilian rifles/shotguns/pistols to be used.
Transportation Stay at home Necessary to get to your retreat.  Little need to travel outside your retreat boundaries. Necessary to get to your retreat.  Occasional travel to trade with other groups, roads degraded, few mechanized vehicles.  Pushbikes and horse drawn carts become the norm.  Travel is dangerous due to risks from marauders.
Communication Hopefully some normal forms of comms remain operative – radio, tv, land line, cell phone, internet. Traditional comms largely degraded or disrupted.  Short-range two-way radios to keep in touch with other members of your group.  Shortwave radio receiver for general news. Traditional comms all gone.  Long range two-way radio for comms within your group, and to interact with other groups and to understand the world situation and what the future may bring.
Group Size Small.  You can survive just fine, even if alone. Medium.  Your group/community will essentially be the people who share the retreat with you, providing social interaction, extra skills and additional manpower for some tasks. Large.  You need access to as broad a range of skills as possible, and in a nearby region due to dangers and difficulties of traveling.
Cost of Preparing Low – less than $10,000; probably less than $1,000. High – More than $100,000; potentially as much as $1 million (but possibly shared among a group of people). Maximum :  Everything you can afford and more besides.  Definitely requires group participation to make high-cost items affordable.

When Does Each Level Evolve to the Next Level

Determining the type of event you’re facing depends on three things.  The event itself, the reactions/responses of other people, and the level of preparedness you already have in place.

If you have a realistic 5 year supply of everything you could possibly need, you’re in a Level 2 situation for any event that promises to be resolved within that five year situation.  But if you only have a six month supply, then you’re forced to adopt Level 3 measures even if the event seems likely to be resolved within a year.

And if you’re prepared only for Level 1 events, you’re way short on options for any type of Level 2 or 3 event.

If society ‘gracefully degrades’ without rampant lawlessness, and if support mechanisms remain in place, then what could have become a Level 2 – 3 event may remain as an ‘easy’ Level 2 event.  But if society explodes, then even a survivable Level 1 event assumes Level 2 status due to the need to evacuate the city.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, you need to consider how you can improve your preparedness to be able to respond adequately to Level 2 and Level 3 events.  There’s no real trick to lasting out Level 1 situations, but even a mild Level 2 event will be life threatening to many people in the affected area.  Speak to us about the Code Green Prep cooperative communities, and how it might be possible for you to find strength, safety, security, and financial feasibility as part of a larger group of fellow preppers.

The Three Levels of Preparing – Code Green Prep.

The Significance of Emergency Kit

An emergency kit can contain essential items used in a particular occasion and for emergency purpose. Travelers normally bring an emergency kit that contains money, first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, candles, waterproof matches, can opener, canned and packed food and potable water.

An emergency kit can also be prepared in homes by homeowners. It could contain the basic necessities, tools and equipment that can be used in times of emergency or calamity. An emergency kit can compose of a storage bag containing the basic entities. It may also contain first aid kit, essential equipment that can be used in calamities or during dark periods and communication devices. The size of the kit may vary depending on the number of items that can be stored.

An emergency kit is very important in times of calamities where people are confined in their houses for a few days or staying in an evacuation center. Individuals should prepare the emergency kit that can be used for a minimum of seven days. It should also be stored safely and securely. An emergency kit is significant for the survival of a person, a group of persons or a family in times of disasters.

An emergency kit is similar to a survival kit. Perhaps, the two are interchangeable terms although military operations prefer to call the items packed and stored for emergency uses as survival kits. Meanwhile, campers use the term bug-out bags for emergency kits or survival kits. Homeowners may prefer to name the collection of items for emergency uses as emergency kit.

An emergency kit can be customized according to the needs of the users. It may include more than just the basic necessities. However, the things that can be stored should be essential and usable.

To be prepared in times of disasters is a helpful attitude to have. Preparing the emergency kit is one of the helpful ways to overcome the challenges in a survival situation. Aside from the emergency kit, individuals may also have to make an emergency plan.

An emergency plan can be made for an individual or for the family. It helps a person or a family the proper things to do in case of an emergency. Making an emergency plan may just take less than an hour. The plan may include health information, contact persons and numbers, and list of risks in the region. What is integrated in the plan may differ depending on the person making it. The plan can be best posted on the wall. It could also be placed in an emergency note.

Survival is one of the basic concerns of men. People have to survive different challenges in order to live. The advancement of civilization can provide men the greater chance and opportunities to survive and improve standard of living. However, in a survival situation people

Emergency Planning: Focusing on Preparation

Have you been asked by these questions before? What’s inside your fridge right now? Is your dog food or cat food edible by humans? Do you have an emergency meeting place for your family? Who’s going to get your kids in school, in case, you did not make it? Do you even have dogs at home? Well, these questions could be some what intimidating, privacy intruding, and all the more, unusual for you to answer. But, if you are familiar with emergency planning, you will instantly know that the inquirer may be talking your family’s preparation for emergency situations.

Emergency planning unfortunately is one of the least focused aspects of family safety planning. Your family may have been through all sorts of safety activities such as engaging in seminars about family emergence response, you may have all the books of safety and emergency for homes, you could be installing the most high tech security and alarm system in your house, but if you don’t have an emergency plan when that dreaded day comes, it would all be of no use.

Fortunately, you never have to add worry lines on your face. You can actually do something to prepare your folks of worst case scenarios. Remember, that when you do emergency planning, you consider all the possible threats, calamities and disasters that may come. Home related emergencies may include the most common, electrical or fire accidents, physical accidents such as falling from the stairs, to gas leak explosion, earthquake, typhoons and even burglar.

Your first step in emergency planning is to make a list of contacts to emergency units like the police, 911, fire department, hospital, clinic and technicians, in case of electrical appliance accidents. Make sure that you provide speed dial numbers like 911. It is also best to put this list beside the telephone table or in a place where telephone conversion is commonly held. The purpose of this is for every member of the family to familiarize the numbers every time they pick up the phone.

Emergency exits must also be clearly laid out in case of home invasion. And don’t forget to orient every member of the family of a designed place where you will be meeting in case all members are not present during an emergency. It is also good to recognize a relative leaving nearby as destination of refuge.

Finally, always keep and bring with you a family photo or individual photos of your family members. This is helpful in times when a member is missing. Remember, that emergency planning is not just plain planning; it’s a preparation for emergency situations.