Anarchists Publish SecOps Guidelines

According to info sharing and analysis centers, anarchists published a new handbook focused on developing secure communications infrastructure on 6 October 2022.

According to Welund, anarchists produced a new handbook focused on developing secure communications infrastructure in early October 2022 [1]. In this publication, called The P.E.T. Guide: New Communication Infrastructure for Anarchists [2], fundamental methods and structures for protecting digital communications are established:

  1. Peer-to-peer: messages are not routed through a centralized server as with Signal and other common communication interfaces, effectively discarding the ability to collect most relevant metadata.
  2. Encrypted: intercepting messages become useless because it is data is only readable by sender and receiver.
  3. Tor: uses anonymous networks with multiple hubs to communicate data, thereby anonymizing the sender.

Given that digital communication is essential for “coordinating, collaborating, and staying connected” [2], anarchists are calling for continuous scrutiny and review of existing digital communication platforms and practices in an aim to strengthen group resilience, security, and enhance effectiveness. This text identifies “adversarial capabilities” [2]—i.e. capabilities of local and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies–related to monitoring and/or intercepting digital communications, dissects vulnerabilities in Signal (app) security, and proposes the use of two alternative digital communication applications; Briar and Cwtch, which mostly mitigate the vulnerabilities addressed.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “anarchists remain a persistent problem in the United States, though they pose a low-level threat—both in terms of lethality and rate of attacks—in comparison to other extremist movements” [3]. However, 92% percent of U.S. militant anarchist attacks and plots recorded since 1994 have been directed at property and infrastructure [3]. As such, for security operators and analysts concerned with detecting and analyzing threats to the bulk electric power system, changes in the communications infrastructure used by domestic extremist groups provide relevant inputs and may help define strategic changes to the intelligence collection process moving forward.

The handbook was posted on October 6, 2022, by the site It’s Going Down,[1] and later shared by sites such as the EarthFirst! Journal,[2] and Anarchist News[3].


[1]Welund, “New anarchist secure communications handbook,” 9 October 2022.
[2]Anonymous, “The P.E.T. Guide: New Communication Infrastructure for Anarchists,” [online], 2022.
[3]G. Hwang, “Examining Extremism: U.S. Militant Anarchists,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., 2021.

[1] hxxps://itsgoingdown[.]org/the-guide-to-peer-to-peer-encryption-and-tor-new-communication-infrastructure-for-anarchists/ (defanged)

[2] hxxps://earthfirstjournal[.]news/2022/10/08/the-guide-to-peer-to-peer-encryption-and-tor-new-communication-infrastructure-for-anarchists/ (defanged)

[3] hxxps://anarchistnews[.]org/content/new-communication-infrastructure-anarchists (defanged)