Crimethinc: Tools and Tactics in the Portland Protests

Ready or not—the war is on.

This article at Crimethinc brings together a lot of other articles and social media thread to show the many tactics used by rioters in Portland, from using shields and umbrellas to lasers, fires, and digital security – Tools and Tactics in the Portland Protests.

Across over two months of protests, demonstrators in Portland have experimented with a variety of tactics and strategies. The clashes in Portland drew international attention starting in mid-June, when footage spread of federal agents in unmarked cars snatching demonstrators off the sidewalks and Donald Trump announced that federal agents would be using this model to intervene in other cities around the United States. After Trump’s announcement, the demonstrations in Portland grew exponentially, drawing thousands each night, until the governor of Oregon declared that federal agents would be withdrawn from the streets. In the following overview, participants in the Portland demonstrations describe some of the tools and tactics they have seen employed there.

Many of these tools work best in combination with each other. As usual, diversity of tactics is key—not just tolerance for different approaches, but thinking about how to combine all of them into a symbiotic whole. Soon, we aim to follow up this cursory review with a more thorough accounting of the full range of street tactics and equipment relevant to today’s demonstrators.

The Portland protests have also produced some new terminology, such as the expression “swoop,” which describes what happens when a reformist with a megaphone makes a power play to hijack a gathering organized by people who want to see the police abolished. As demonstrators expand their notions of what tactics are appropriate in this swiftly polarizing society, we hope they will also expand their visions of what is worth fighting for, adopting horizontal models of organization and learning how to identify and resist power plays.

Table of Contents

Digital Security
Masking and Proper Attire
Riot Ribs, Food Carts, Infrastructure
Leaf Blowers
Umbrellas
Shields
Sports Equipment
Balloons and Bubbles
Lasers
Graffiti
Paint Bombs
Fireworks
Fire
Fence Toppling
De-Arresting
Crowd Movement
Disabling Cameras, Breaking Windows
Legal Support, Jail Support


Digital Security

This thread spells out how to protect your privacy via proper phone safety at demonstrations—before, during, and after the protest. You can find a lot of important information about general security in protest situations here.


Masking and Proper Attire

Wearing a mask is responsible from a medical perspective—in the era of the pandemic—but also for security reasons, to protect your privacy. Nowadays you don’t just have to worry about the police filming and arresting you, but also about far-right internet trolls trying to identify you from video footage.

If demonstrators are dressed appropriately in black bloc fashion, it should be difficult to make out identifying particulars.

Pay attention to detail. Cover your tattoos and other unique traits. Cover your whole face, not just your mouth. There should be no visible logos on your clothes, shoes, or backpack. Read this for more details.


Riot Ribs, Food Carts, Infrastructure

It is really good for morale to have a group of people providing food and other needed resources. Portland protesters have been deeply thankful that Riot Ribs have come out to feed everyone free food. This enables people to stay longer and helps them to feel that it is worth the effort and risk to support the movement that nourishes them.

You can read about Riot Ribs here.

Feds and cops know how important these mutual aid efforts are and intentionally target them in hopes of breaking the will of the demonstrators:

Here you can “before” and “after” shots of the infrastructure one night that federal mercenaries attacked it:

Unfortunately, uniformed officers are not the only danger threatening community infrastructure. In late July, Riot Ribs experienced a coup involving physical violence and intimidation. Wherever money is involved in activism, there is great risk of infighting unless the goals, structures, and expectations have been set very precisely in advance. The original Riot Ribs folks have left town, apparently taking the concept of Riot Ribs on the road to other cities as Revolution Ribs. Someone should write in detail about the rise, fall, and rebirth of Riot Ribs…(continues)

Click here to read the entire story at Crimethinc.

Front Sight Info on Church Shootings

The information below was going to be presented at tonight’s general assembly (which has been cancelled) as part of the presentation on church shootings and security.

From Front Sight:

The first video below is Front Sight’s professional review and sensitive critique of the actions of those involved in the gunfight, as captured on video, at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. Watch this SPECIAL Reality Check and ask yourself, “What can YOU do in 1.5 seconds?”

The second video, the Special Supplement to the first video, shows you how the entire situation could have been avoided entirely, or at the least, forced the armed confrontation to occur OUTSIDE the church rather than inside, where innocent people were placed in danger…

Front Sight Video

Special Supplement video…

Front Sight Video

 

 

American Partisan: Using Encryption with Veracrypt

This practical article from American Partisan discusses the use of the program Veracrypt to encrypt data in files and hard drives. While the lead of the title is “Clandestine Communications,” there are many reasons that you might want to use Veracrypt encryption in your day to day life. I have used it in a legal setting in order to encrypt an attorney’s sensitive trial files to take them between the office and the court room. You can use it to safely store a password file. At home, you can use it to securely store photocopies of your credit cards, social security cards, firearm serial numbers, birth certificates, passports, banking information, or any other information that you want to have available, but not just sitting where it can be stolen or hacked. For preppers, you can take that same encrypted file of your important information and put it on a USB drive and toss it in your bug out bag or a vehicle Go-bag so that if you have to leave home because of a fire you’ve got all of that vital information gathered already.

Clandestine Communications Part Four: File and Hard Drive Encryption with Veracrypt is a pretty simple overview of getting started with using Veracrypt software. Veracrypt is a free (free as in no cost), open-source (free as in liberty) software program. Because it is open source, the source programming code is freely available for viewing so that the software can be audited for security holes and backdoors. You can use Veracrypt to encrypt an entire drive, or you can create a volume which looks like a file to your computer which you can then mount as its own drive. There are also other more advanced features.

Today’s article is going to talk a little bit about how to use Veracrypt in order to encrypt both a file volume and a flash drive. Veracrypt can be downloaded from here.

Once you install the program, let’s take a look at what it looks like.

I recommend you spend some time in the Help menu – particularly in the ‘User’s guide” and “Beginner’s Tutorial”.

Veracrypt can encrypt your files in a few different ways. The first way is creating a volume. The volume is almost like a file itself – it can be copied, pasted, etc. It acts, in a way, like a super secure .zip file (without the file compression). The second way you can encrypt your files is by encrypting an entire hard drive or flash drive. This method in particular could be useful if you were using a dead drop system to pass a One Time Pad as you could buy a lot of inexpensive flash drives, encrypt them, and then use them in your drops.

Veracrypt also has a really cool future that I may touch on in a later article called Hidden Volumes. Basically, this creates a volume within a volume, and each volume has a separate password. This could be useful if you are forced to open the volume at gun point. The idea is that in the outer volume you have some sensitive looking documents but not the actual files you want to encrypt. If you were forced at gunpoint to open the volume, your actual files would be safe (since they use a different password). This may be something that many of you are interested in.

Volumes

To create a Volume, click on the “Create Volume” button in the lower left of Veracrypt. Here, a menu gives you some options. For now, we are going to stick with the default option of “Create an encrypted file container”. The second option is used for encrypting flash drives or external hard drives, and the third option is for encrypting the hard drive that runs your Operating System. Click Next.

Here, we have the option of creating a Standard Volume or a Hidden Volume. Since we are just starting out, make sure Standard Veracrypt volume is checked and hit Next. Now it is time to decide where we want the Volume to be. Click “Select File”. To make it easy, navigate to your desktop. In the “File Name” line, name your file. Click Save and then Next.

The next screen is where you can chose what type of encryption you want to use. I will leave it up to all of you to figure out which one is best (to be honest, I don’t really understand the differences so I am not going to give you a recommendation – if you do, throw it in the comments). Once you do, click Next.

The next screen is where you get to decide how big you want the file to be. For this example, I am going to go with 1 GB but you can choose whatever you want (think about what you are wanting to store in it and use that as a guide). Once you decide, click Next.

This screen is where you create your password. I have two rules for you to follow: 1) use numbers, letters, and symbols, and 2) use capital letters and, if you want, spaces. A great way to get a strong password is to use a password manager like KeePassXC. I actually don’t have one set up yet, so I will be doing a future article on how to do that as well. You can also use keyfiles, which is like selecting a few different files you already have to use them as the password. It is not my favorite way of doing it, but YMMV. Once you have your password entered, click Next.

The next screen is very important. You are choosing both the filesystem you want and generating the random pool to make your encryption stronger. I generally tend to use an NTFS system because FAT filesystems don’t like files over 4 GB, but again do your research and choose the filesystem you want. Then, move your mouse as random as possible inside the window. You will see tons and tons of characters in the “Random Pool area. Do this for at least 60 seconds, but the longer the better. Once you are done, click Format.

Once the formatting is done, it is time to mount your file. Go back to the first window that appeared when you started Veracrypt. Now, click on Select File on the bottom right. Navigate to your file and select it, and then select Mount. Enter your password, and select OK. Once the file mounts, you can go into Windows Explorer. You will notice in your hard drive list under “Computer” on the left hand side, there will be a new hard drive. In my case, it is Local Disk (J:) as we can see the size is 0.99GB. You can now click on that and copy your files in! In order to dismount the volume, just select it again on the main screen of Veracrypt and click “Dismount”.

Flash Drive / External HDDs

To encrypt a flash drive, begin once again by clicking “Create Volume”. This time, select the middle option of “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive”. Click Next, and you see that once more we have the option of creating a Hidden or Standard volume. For this, I am creating a Standard Veracrypt Volume. Click Next.

Now, instead of creating a file, you are selecting the flash drive or hard drive you want to encrypt. Once you select your drive, click OK. You are given two options for the Volume Creation Mode. The first one is for when you have no files on the drive and want to encrypt it more quickly. If you choose this option AND you have files on the drive, they WILL be overwritten and lost. If you have files on the drive and you cannot or do not want to take them off, chose the second option, “Encrypt partition in place”. I have never used that second option because I am terrified something will go wrong and I will lose my files, but YMMV. Make your selection and click Next.

Just like creating the volume, select your encryption algorithm and click Next. Verify that the size on the screen is really close to the size of the drive you want to encrypt (in this case, my flash drive is 4 GB in theory and in the above picture we see it is 3.7 GB, which matches closely below which says 3.65 GB). If it is really off, go back and make sure you selected the right drive to encrypt – this is really important. Once you verify it is correct, click Next.

Once again, create your password (DIFFERENT FROM YOUR FIRST ONE – NEVER REPEAT) and click Next. The same rules from the Volume section apply to the password. Now choose your file type and click next (again, I personally use NTFS). Move your mouse around in the box again to random the Heading Pool and, once you are done with that, click Format.

In order to Mount the drive, you can select what letter drive you want to mount the volume in and either 1) Click “Auto-Mount Devices”, type in the password, and click OK, or 2) Click “Select Device” and choose the device on the screen. Then, access the drive just like the volume and copy your files in!

References

https://securityinabox.org/en/guide/veracrypt/windows/

https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Beginner%27s%20Tutorial.html

https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Plausible%20Deniability.html

Doom and Bloom: Safety Plans for Places of Worship

Safety Plans for Places of Worship comes from the Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical. In our area, Jon Ladines of Force Dynamics is well known for training security teams for places of worship.

News outlets are reporting another attack on a place of worship, this time at a church in White Settlement, Texas, near Fort Worth. In this instance, two congregants were killed before the threat was abolished by armed volunteer members of the church’s security team.

As time goes on, more heinous acts of violence are occurring in what should be sanctuaries for the faithful. There is no place where crowds gather that is immune to the bad intentions of a disgruntled, deranged, or politically-motivated individual.

In the case of the shooting at White Settlement, Texas, a security detail of volunteers was able to end the incident quickly. This was because the folks in the Texas town of 17,000 realized the importance of instilling a culture of situational awareness in our citizenry.

(Aside: Originally put forth by a fighter pilot as a strategy in aerial dogfights, situational awareness has real practical significance in staying safe in uncertain times)

Situational awareness is a state of calm, relaxed observation of factors that might indicate a threat or a need to act. These are called “anomalies”; learning to recognize them can identify suspicious individuals and save lives. It certainly did in the recent incident.

(Learn more about situational awareness in this article)

Unlike the church in Texas, not all congregations prioritize church safety at the level needed in this toxic climate. The premise that a ministry is based on peace fails to take into account that there are those who consider places of worship to be “soft”targets. In this era of active shooters and anti-Christian feeling (or anti-religious feeling in general), pastors must make sure their flock is safe, just like any shepherd. In the New Normal, it’s has become part of the job description.

In my role as medical preparedness writer, it’s my mission to help the average citizen promote the well-being of loved ones in disasters. I’ve written about hurricanes and earthquakes, but shooter events like the one in White Settlement are also instances where mass casualties can occur. As in the recent shooting, these casualties could be minimized with a plan of action.

Small churches should establish a "safety ministry"
Small churches should establish a “safety ministry”

Large churches may choose to hire security professionals and install video surveillance technology. Smaller and less affluent churches, however, might benefit by establishing what I call a “safety ministry“. This group should be comprised of parishioners who have some security experience, such as active and former law enforcement, military veterans, and carefully selected others. Members should evaluate the layout of the church and grounds for weak spots and organize a plan of action for calling 911 and other measures when needed…

Click here to continue reading at Doom and Bloom Medical.

City Journal: The Knife Went In

City Journal recently reprinted an article from 1994 in their Spring 2019 issue, The Knife Went In by Theodore Dalrymple.

It is a mistake to suppose that all men, or at least all Englishmen, want to be free. On the contrary, if freedom entails responsibility, many of them want none of it. They would happily exchange their liberty for a modest (if illusory) security. Even those who claim to cherish their freedom are rather less enthusiastic about taking the consequences of their actions. The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.

In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence, and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years. It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaint, and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.

Listening as I do every day to the accounts people give of their lives, I am struck by the very small part in them which they ascribe to their own efforts, choices, and actions. Implicitly, they disagree with Bacon’s famous dictum that “chiefly the mould of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.” Instead, they experience themselves as putty in the hands of fate.

It is instructive to listen to the language they use to describe their lives. The language of prisoners in particular teaches much about the dishonest fatalism with which people seek to explain themselves to others, especially when those others are in a position to help them in some way. As a doctor who sees patients in a prison once or twice a week, I am fascinated by prisoners’ use of the passive mood and other modes of speech that are supposed to indicate their helplessness. They describe themselves as the marionettes of happenstance…

Click here to read the entire article at City Journal.

President Declares Intent to Sign a National Emergency Over Border

From Reuters

“I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said from the Rose Garden of the White House.

“We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” he said.

The president said he would sign the authorizing paperwork later in the day in the Oval Office…

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, swiftly responded to Trump’s declaration.

“The president’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution,” they said in a statement. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

The president acknowledged that his order would face a lengthy legal challenge. “We’ll win in the Supreme Court,” Trump said…

Speaker Pelosi had previously threatened that the next Democrat President could declare gun violence a national emergency while Rep. Cleaver of Missouri said that such a President could declare climate change or income inequality as national emergencies.

“A Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”

…”Let’s talk about today: The one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,” Pelosi said. “That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would.

“But a Democratic president can do that.”

 

Largest List of Hacked Email Addresses and Passwords Exposed – Jan. 2019

I’m reposting this here to make sure people see it. You can see if your email is on the list by going to http://haveibeenpwned.com and putting in your email address. It will tell you if your email is on this list or any others in the past. I went through the emails of a couple dozen friends and family and found a few on the list and let them know, so you probably all interact with someone whose email password may be floating out on the internet. From security researcher Troy Hunt:

Many people will land on this page after learning that their email address has appeared in a data breach I’ve called “Collection #1”. Most of them won’t have a tech background or be familiar with the concept of credential stuffing so I’m going to write this post for the masses and link out to more detailed material for those who want to go deeper.

Let’s start with the raw numbers because that’s the headline, then I’ll drill down into where it’s from and what it’s composed of. Collection #1 is a set of email addresses and passwords totalling 2,692,818,238 rows. It’s made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources. (And yes, fellow techies, that’s a sizeable amount more than a 32-bit integer can hold.)

In total, there are 1,160,253,228 unique combinations of email addresses and passwords. This is when treating the password as case sensitive but the email address as not case sensitive. This also includes some junk because hackers being hackers, they don’t always neatly format their data dumps into an easily consumable fashion. (I found a combination of different delimiter types including colons, semicolons, spaces and indeed a combination of different file types such as delimited text files, files containing SQL statements and other compressed archives.)

The unique email addresses totalled 772,904,991. This is the headline you’re seeing as this is the volume of data that has now been loaded into Have I Been Pwned (HIBP). It’s after as much clean-up as I could reasonably do and per the previous paragraph, the source data was presented in a variety of different formats and levels of “cleanliness”. This number makes it the single largest breach ever to be loaded into HIBP…

Read the entire article at Troy Hunt.

Forward Observer: Community Security eBook

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has written a short (sixteen pages) ebook on Intelligence and Community Security. It’s a ‘quick start’ guide to understanding intelligence for community security and emergency preparedness.

The writing is on the wall. It couldn’t be more clear.

Our power grids are critically vulnerable.

“As an almost 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force with leadership experience in intelligence and cyber warfare, and as a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, I know we are highly vulnerable to a cyber-attack on our electric grid.

Such an attack could have devastating, long-term consequences for our economy, our national security – for our very way of life.”

Those are the recent words of Don Bacon (R-NE), a retired Air Force Brigadier General who was in charge of the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) strategy program.

This “news” about the power grid shouldn’t be news to anyone, but it drives home a very good point…

If you care about your wife, children, family, and neighborhood, you should spend some time preparing for the effects of a cyber attack like the one Rep. Bacon describes.

The emergency preparedness community is so quick to focus on “bullets, beans, and band-aids” that they often overlook the value of local intelligence gathering.

Intelligence is probably the single-most overlooked aspect of preparedness, yet it should be a central part of your preparedness plans.

I’ll state the case:

If you’re concerned about a cyber attack or a grid-down event, you’re not actually preparing for those events. You’re preparing for the effects of those events.

But how do you know what the specific local effects will be, and how can you be sure?

Only intelligence can inform you of the second- and third-order effects of an event of this magnitude.

Only intelligence can inform you of very specific threats you may experience in the area.

Only intelligence can inform you of the likelihood that your neighborhood will suffer from looters, even worse criminals, and further systems disruption.

Bullets, beans, and band-aids will get you through periods of emergency, but they can’t inform your expectations of what will happen in the future.

That’s the value of intelligence…

Sam Culper says to share the ebook far and wide.  Click here to download Forward Observer’s Intelligence & Community Security ebook. It may only be freely available for a limited time.

So here’s what I want you to do…

PRINT IT.

Forward this email to your friends.

Give the book away.

Read it this weekend.

Have your friends read it this weekend.

And then act on it.

For the rest of this weekend, you can access the book here.

FO: Building an Intelligence Section for Community Security

Continuing with our recent intelligence theme, here is an article posted by Sam Culper today at Forward ObserverBuilding an Intelligence Section for Community Security. In it, he discusses why an intelligence team is necessary and how to get an intelligence team setup for your community.

First, we need to stress the importance of Intelligence as it relates to community security. The people in your preparedness group, security team — or just members of the community, for that matter — don’t know what they don’t know, and it’s not likely that they understand the value of Intelligence in the first place. The more our leadership, commander, and/or team members understand about Intelligence, the more likely they will see the extreme value of making it a priority. Illustrating the OODA Loop and how Intelligence plays a critical role in making informed, time-sensitive decisions is probably a very good first step. There are those communities which will implement intelligence and be more prepared, and there will be communities who don’t use intelligence. I believe the difference between the two will be visible.

Intelligence is critical in our ability to stay a step ahead of threats. The principles outlined on this blog are the same principles used by intelligence agencies and the military. Those two organizations happen to have roles in fighting terrorism; a mission of which community security is a microcosm. While we aren’t involved in fighting terrorists, what we may face in a worst-case scenario is a modified form of terrorism in our communities: in other words, violence against society. And we know that “no other single policy effort [other than intelligence] is more important for preventing, preempting, and responding to attacks.”

The second thing we can do is to develop some criteria we can include when scouting out potential ACE members; we need to find those mental giants capable of heavy lifting. There are probably individuals in your community who may not be able to physically contribute to security, but can certainly contribute mentally. These are the people we want…

Click here to read the whole article at Forward Observer.

RELATED:

FO: Four Bases of Intelligence and Community Security

FO: Four Type of Intelligence Collection for Community Security

FO: Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Survival, Preparedness, and Community Security

FO: Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Community Security

Forward Observer has a nice article up titled Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Survival, Preparedness, and Community Security.  Sam Culper, the author, explains the difference between intelligence and information and why it is important to you. Between the writings of Kit Perez at American Partisan and Sam Culper at Forward Observer, you can get a pretty good grounding in intelligence matters. Sam Culper has also a written a book, SHTF Intelligence, if you want to delve even farther into these topics.

If the lights went out tomorrow – if some catastrophic event occurred, perhaps the event for which you are preparing – then then my number one concern is the ability to anticipate the effects on our community. For instance, a cyber attack that disables portions of the power grid for 12 hours is going to produce much different conditions than the persistent effects of a viral epidemic.

No matter the cause of the event, one thing that Intelligence does for us is that it allows us to reduce uncertainty about the future. It makes little sense to prepare for a highly unlikely event, when we can establish scenarios that are more likely to occur based on an examination of the facts instead of on the fear mongering that surrounds the highly unlikely scenarios.

One of the largest problems facing our preparedness community is the condition of being the “least-most prepared”. You probably know someone who falls in that category. These folks have the most preparations – the most stored food and water, the most medicine, the most firearms and ammunition – but are actually among the least prepared for the future. They may have have tons of gear but they have no clue how to use it. Or they may be a small island of preparedness in a bottomless sea of needy people. Either way, all their preparations are less likely to sustain their family and more likely to sustain whoever capitalizes on their lack of intelligence and misfortune.

The people who fall into the category of the “least-most prepared” may have all the gear and storage, but they still have lots of uncertainty. They haven’t started to answer some basic questions about what types of threats they’ll face in any given scenario, or what the local effects would be of a national, regional, or local emergency. They don’t know when an event is going to happen. They don’t what it’s going to look like. They don’t know how it will affect their home and community. And they don’t know what specific threats will be posed to them.

Having all the stuff does us little good if we haven’t identified and don’t understand the threat we’re facing. And when we don’t understand the threat, we make ourselves extremely vulnerable to strategic shock; that is, being exploited by a threat we didn’t know existed or for which we weren’t prepared. In one sentence: your stuff is useless to you if you aren’t prepared to defend it, and you aren’t prepared to defend it unless you understand the threats. And that’s where intelligence collection and analysis come in.

I think the proverbial “nine meals from anarchy” is an adequate initial description of any SHTF event. That idiom describes the length of time between a disruption in public services and logistical systems, and empty grocery stores being the least of your worries. The higher the population density, the shorter that window becomes. The more people, the greater the need. How your living conditions are affected may vary greatly in any scenario, but the critical need for threat intelligence will stay the same. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Star Valley, Wyoming or on Staten Island, New York; you will need threat intelligence as part of your day to day survival.

One thing that separates those who are least-most prepared and those who are best prepared is access to early warning information and threat reporting — in other words, access to timely information in order to produce Intelligence. Regardless of the trigger event and your community environment, you’re going to find yourself in one of two situations:

Click here to read the whole article at Forward Observer.

CSG: New Items Coming to Store

Combat Studies Group has announced some new items coming soon.

We have been hard at work over the last several months developing new tools to help secure your digital life. We continue to refine the Sepio Secure OS and expect to release the Sepio 2 this summer. Other items that are coming soon:

Sepio-Offgrid Rugged Laptop

– Offers the same level of rugged MILSPEC protection as the famous Toughbooks
– 14 inch HD screen
– 8-32GB RAM
– 128GB -1TB SSD or HDD
– i3 CPU (non vPro)
– Sepio Secure OS
– Optional packable solar panel/battery combo for field use
– Estimated Price: $1600-2000

The Libertas XL

– A 9 inch rugged tablet with:
– Dual-core 64bit CPU
– 2GB RAM
– 16 or 32GB storage
– Estimated price: $650

Sepio-Micro Desktop

– A full featured Sepio desktop not much larger than your hand.
– Plug in your own keyboard, mouse and monitor
– Estimated price: $750

Graybox Secure Router

– Router, Access Point, Bridge, Firewall, Intrusion detection and VPN all in a small package.
– Estimated price: TBA

Home Theater System

– This would replace your Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, AmazonFire, etc media devices. It will have the same functionality – streaming of your favorite shows, music, etc, but without the spying.
– Estimated Price: TBA

GrayMatter VPN Service

– We have been testing the beta of our very own VPN service. What will it offer?

– Servers in jurisdictions that are respectful of privacy rights
– Servers setup with same security you would find in the Sepio
– No logging of customers
– Anonymous account creation and payment support
– Wireguard, TOR, OpenVPN and Shadowsocks
– Multihop support
– Secure, non-logging DNS

– Estimated Price: $6-10 monthly


I should mention that all of our products are fully patched against the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. 

CSG is also holding a GroundRod Primer course in Boise, ID on March 24-25, 2018. The GroundRod Primer is an intensive digital security course of instruction.

K of Combat Studies Group to Speak at March 8th LVA Meeting

K of Combat Studies Group will be the featured speaker at the March 8th, 2018 Lower Valley Assembly of the Whole in Prosser, WA. His topic will be digital security.

K is a combat veteran, owner/instructor of CSG Inc, overseas government contractor, and a wilderness medic. He has trained thousands of personnel from all four branches of the military, special operations forces, federal agencies, police and responsible citizens, in firearms, tactics, survival and trade-craft. Combat Studies Group teaches classes in firearms tactics, kidnap defense, austere medicine, vehicle and home defense and most recently has been teaching many classes around the country about digital security dubbed “Groundrod” courses.  Combat Studies Group also creates and sells secure phones, tablets and laptops.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Brushbeater: Questions Concerning Church Security Details (Comms)

NC Scout of the Brushbeater blog has written a short article concerning communication protocols for a church security detail.

It’s a sad reality that I have to write this, but I am heartened by the fact that people are asking these questions. We live in an age of Christian persecution, whether some wish to admit it or not, and that persecution has led to our Churches and gatherings becoming easy targets. The paradigm shift from simple castigation and stigma to legal discrimination has slid, predictably, to violence amid a society where nothing is deemed Holy…

That said, I was presented with the following question:

I’m on my Church’s security detail and comms are pretty relaxed and there is no real protocol in place. Can you give me some pointers, etc?

This is a much deeper topic than it appears…

Click here to read the full article at Brushbeater

RELATED:

Force Dynamics: Church Training

Sheepdog Seminars – Church Safety Seminars

Principle Defense Systems: Security Team Tactics training

Carl Chinn – Church Security

Combat Studies Group: Full Spectrum Training

From K over at Combat Studies Group, Full Spectrum Training…Does It Matter?

So I know the question is out there….why is this website supposedly devoted to the study of warfare always talking about computer security and cryptocurrency? Shouldn’t I just be posting articles about “improving your shot group” or the latest in “tactical accoutrements”? It essentially boils down to this:

1. As anyone who has attended my courses knows, I believe in what I call “The Heinlein Doctrine” (or the Competent Man principal). In essence, a warrior (or just a human being for that matter) must be good at everything…not just shooting, or grappling, or navigating.

2. Right now, technology is at the forefront of not just battle, but our everyday lives….like it or not.

3. Many believe that war lies in the not too far future of the western world. I believe that this war has already begun. Perhaps not the shooting part, but the IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace) has begun in earnest in the technical space. We ignore this aspect of the battlefield at our greatest peril.

4. And finally, there are hundreds of sources these days for sound tactical training, but very few sources for full spectrum training exist.

***

 “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

— Robert Heinlein (From Time Enough For Love)

 

Continue reading over at CSG by clicking here

CSG Groundrod I & II, July 6-9, 2017 in Prosser, WA

Combat Studies Group will bring their Groundrod Primer/I and Groundrod II classes to Prosser, WA in July.  Groundrod I (Primer) will be held July 6th and 7th. Groundrod II will be held on July 8th and 9th.

GroundRod Primer  –  Internet and digital tradecraft

GroundRod Primer is designed to address the fundamental concerns of journalists, concerned citizens, activists, whistle blowers, missionaries and liberty lovers in general, with regard to digital security. Whether hackers, governments, criminals or acts of espionage; our privacy is in serious jeopardy.

You will learn to secure your devices and communications in the following ways:

Properly employ symmetric and asymmetric encryption
Create and safely store powerful passwords
Guard against common criminal and state level intrusion techniques
Recognize unsafe software you are using now and explore safe replacements
Surf the web anonymously
Explore the deep web
Transfer files safely
Communicate securely and privately
Understand and deal with malicious firmware

GroundRod Primer is meant to take the uncertainty and guesswork out of digital security, give you a fundamental base of knowledge to grow from and get you up and running with the highest levels of security available TODAY.

Follow on courses will delve deeper into these subjects and address escape and evasion techniques and other tradecraft.

Gear Requirments

* Laptop
* Three USB thumbdrives (4-8 GB)
* Note taking materials
* extension cord

Cost
$ 350

GroundRod 2  covers the following:

– Review of GroundRod Primer skills

– Discussion of current events as they relate to privacy, security and liberty

– In depth study of the Invisible Internet Project / I2P

– Setting up anonymous mail service via I2P

– Exploration of Zeronet and other distributed networking systems

– Setting up and using Retroshare with extra anonymity

– The latest in encryption techniques, including ECC

– Setting up open source router firmware

– Metadata analysis

– Testing secure alternatives to Skype and other mainstream teleconferencing software

– The latest in crypto-currency trends, techniques and software

– Real-world tradecraft application

– Setting up resilient, “Ministry of Truth” proof websites

– Hands on training for SEPIO laptop owners

– and tons more………

You can find a review of Groundrod I (Primer) on Forward Observer through this link.

If this course is centered on two things, it’s problems and solutions.  In a more technical sense:  vulnerabilities and countermeasures.  What is an adversary’s “attack surface”and how do we harden ourselves against that attack?  Utilizing electronic means to communicate — whether that’s via the internet, a cellular network, or radio signals — opens us up to electronic surveillance (at a minimum) and possibly direct targeting to exploit our communications.  As was discussed in the class, Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.), who was the director at both CIA and NSA, famously quipped, “We [the US] kill people based on metadata.”  Your cell phone number, its IMEI number, call times and duration (what’s referred to as “exposure”), and geolocation of those calls are all examples of metadata.  Furthermore, your email address, IP address, and MAC address are metadata easily found via the internet.  This metadata is associated to the caller or emailer, which is another data point in your pattern of life.  With sufficient data points, analysts like myself  can map out your pattern of life and begin to anticipate future activity.  That’s a vulnerability, and it’s one that deserves a hard look.

To register for the classes, go to the Combat Studies Group website and then the Store page and scroll down to Class Deposit with the Buy Now button. You will need to then email them after making the $100 deposit to specify the class date and location for which you are registering.