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Opsec: Do You Have Any?

Okay here’s a topic I’ve never really discussed but only hinted at or whatever over the last several years. I was once for like 2 full weeks, part of a group called Anonymous and I learned some things, some of it because I was there when it happened, and other stuff because I looked it up, but here are a few terms you should know going forward into this post-pandemic post everyone’s protesting every fucking thing under the sun and moon lifestyle that we’re all experiencing. Mostly because some of you are stupid, and the other half of you are completely uninformed.

Hack: To break into a digital space that is not yours. Fairly easy to understand right?

Brute Force: To try one password after another until you actually learn the right password, it’s a fucking guessing game and if you know your target pretty well it’s SUPER easy to figure out their passwords. So don’t use love, birthdays, hate, or anything that identifies you. Change your passwords often, and keep them safe.

Operational security is something I actually learned about when I was about 13 and my mom kept trying to make my brother lock me out of the computer. At first, I wanted to get online, there was a whole world outside my house that I could access through a computer, but eventually trying to guess the password wasn’t difficult and every time they changed it, it became a challenge for me to figure out how to brute force or guess, the right one.

I learned to code HTML when I was thirteen and I really enjoyed it, by the time that MySQL came out I was bored and decided to go outside so I stopped coding, I hate that about myself because I wish that I had kept it up. There’s an art form to coding, and it’s beautiful when it’s used for chaotic good. Artists become coders and I really appreciate the ones that I had the chance to learn from. But here’s the thing, and it’s an important thing.

STOP BEING STUPID.

This is Hector Xavier Monsegur, in and around seven years ago it was released to the press that not only was he a part of LULZSEC but that he was a “leader” in Anonymous, shortly after that the VPN services industry was made famous because suddenly everyone knew how these guys were hiding their identity.

But here’s the thing…they only knew how hackers around the world were hiding their identity, because of the fact that they had gained access to supposedly unhackable services, that allegedly allowed people to hide their digital footprint.

Basically, a VPN works like a spiderweb. One computer connects to another, to another, to another, and so on and so forth until there are so many connections that it’s seemingly impossible to dissect which point the links all started from, but much like a spiderweb, it’s difficult, but not impossible.

If my computer connects to your computer, and then your computer connects to 10,000 other computers, that’s called a botnet, and botnets are things that a lot of people, hackers, advertisers, and even pedophiles, use to hide their identity and to cause all kinds of digital drama.

The problem is, however, not the machines. It’s the people behind the machines. Because of course, you find people you vibe with online, and you tell them little things about you. Your favorite color, your place of birth, your favorite comic book, etc. That’s called OpSec, operational security, it’s a tactic used by mind readers to tell you what you want to hear.

It’s used by alphabet organizations to get information out of you, now for me? I’m super easy to hack, I’ve left my shit wide open, people know everything there is to know about me, I have nothing to hide, and no money so I’m of no interest to anyone, but for those of you with homes, businesses, bank accounts filled with cash, these things are super important to know.

This slid across my deck today and I can’t tell you how fucking angry I am about it.

If you are using WHATSAPP, or Signal, to hide your identity, you’re an idiot unless you’re using a burner phone, because both these programs show your phone number in the messages, and it’s why I stopped using it with my family.

I love my fam don’t get me wrong, but I also know that the FBI is watching everything I do because I’m on record as associating with Anonymous and so sharing my family secrets with them just feels icky. “But they’re already watching,” yeah and? That doesn’t mean I need to give them more reasons or more information about me and my family.

This next part is less for hackers because they already know and more for those who are trying to escape abusive situations because OPSEC can come in real handy when you need it the most. In my case telling the world, everything saved my life, but that won’t work for everyone and not everyone is safer online than they are off. I’m lucky? And well protected and loved, but not many know the people I know, SO here goes!

If you want to stay safe online here’s what you do:

Delete everything and pray.

Then build from scratch a brand new identity: Use cash, use disposable pre-paid credit cards, and use burner phones so that you can’t be tracked. You can buy cheap burner phones at most convenience stores, and SIM cards as well. When you’re done, drop the phone in one place, and the sim card in another because both can be tracked now.

Dye or cut your hair, change your makeup style and watch Youtube Videos for ideas on how to transform your face, it’s not all cosplay makeup. If you’re in danger, using apps like whatsapp or signal is not going to help you, and if you’re protesting as is your right to do, they are tracking you. How the fuck do you think they caught so many of the January 6th rioters? Or the Vancouver rioters before that? They track every single thing you do. From your bank card to your credit cards.

They can only track you if they can’t see you, and if you’ve read this post you either don’t care, need to be tracked, or need to disappear, whatever it is I hope you learned something.

Sending all my love

Devon J Hall

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