Preparedness has traditionally been a physical endeavor, highly focused on concrete tangibles: food, water, ammunition, medical supplies, and so on. But the information age is here to stay, and we feel there still exists a large dead space in current discussions about preparedness, and media representation of it.
Communications security, known in military parlance as COMSEC, is a critical part of your individual, family, or organizational preparedness infrastructure. It’s a nebulous concept that can encompass a wide array of different skillsets and best practices — most of which go well beyond the technological savvy of the average person. So, we felt it was important to dedicate some serious effort to the topic and try to help you add some electronic tools to your preparedness tool belt.
As part of that effort, we’re happy to bring some new contributors into the fold who possess “a particular set of skills” in this arena. Dean Freeman penned two articles for us — one on Software Defined Radio, which allows you to turn a computer or tablet into a radio receiver/transmitter, and another on steganography, a method of embedding text messages in digital images for discreet communications. Our cover model is an electrical contractor and Instagram content creator who goes by the handle @socal_offgrid; he outlined his tech-oriented EDC in our Bag Drop column for this issue. RECOIL OFFGRID veterans Katheryn Basso and Dennis Santiago return for this issue’s What If… about doxing, a social-media-era phenomenon defined as “searching for and publishing private or identifying information about a particular individual on the internet, typically with malicious intent.” We’ve seen self-proclaimed activists from all angles of the sociopolitical spectrum use this tactic to devastating effect. Occasionally, it nets a positive result for the greater good, but it has also destroyed lives, careers, and reputations on account of a benign misquote or case of mistaken identity. Patrick McCarthy gives us a thorough review of the little black disc known as an NFC tag, an easily concealable data storage device that relies on near field communications, which he explains in lay terms.
As I said earlier, digital security is only one facet of survival in the modern world. So, we brought back combatives expert Chad McBroom to review his process for making a functional knife from scratch using items you can source from the local junkyard and techniques you can perform in your garage. We also sent Steven Kuo on a weeklong training excursion designed by former CIA
officer and Shark Tank competitor Jason Hanson.
Changing your passwords and maxing out your privacy settings isn’t enough to keep your personal information safe anymore. As always, we hope to educate and inform you on not just what threats are out there, but what you can do about it.