Facebook. Instagram. Doomsday Preppers. Webcams. Photos. Most everywhere you look, you can find images of proud preppers and their well, preps. Got a new bunker in your backyard? Post pictures on the internet for all to see. Are you a fan of a certain brand of firearm? Put a bumper sticker of that gun manufacturer’s logo on your car. All of these things may seem like minor issues, but at the end of the day, they are anything but minor.
Operational security is a military term that essentially means the security necessary to deny the enemy any useful information about what you are doing, and it’s not just a term for military folks, either. It has lots of ramifications into the civilian prepper world – guidelines that most people who term themselves preppers ought to be following.
Consider that little good can come from revealing your plans to anyone outside your family unit. The information you inadvertently reveal about your preparations and plans is almost certain to arouse suspicion with authorities at various levels, not to mention opportunistic criminals. It’s not that preppers are engaged in any illegal activities – to whit, the overwhelming majority of those that take on the moniker of prepper or survivalist are overwhelmingly law abiding – it’s just that certain activities are twisted by some people into something they are not. A certain person might enjoy shooting, and acquire a perfectly legal gun collection only to be branded as “having an arsenal.” Another person might have a huge food stockpile and be termed a “hoarder” or even implicated of being insane.
The reasons for these perceptions mainly have to do with America’s shift to more leftist political leanings and general moral decay. There isn’t much that can be done about that problem, but there is much you can do about remaining operationally secure in your preps and not arouse attention. Here are some tips:
- Keep your mouth shut: It’s important to not volunteer more information than people need to know in any given conversation. Be wary about revealing too much information to strangers – if you’re thinking right now that you don’t talk to strangers, consider your average store purchase. If you buy a cart full of canned goods and the cashier asks if you’re planning for World War III, don’t take the bait. Oftentimes, store clerks and low level store employees act as tipsters to higher level people.
- Watch what you say in texts and email: Assume that nothing is secure with these forms of communication. Never write anything that would even be perceived as incriminating or reveal a clue as to what your preparations are. Best to not write it down for any reason, since as soon as you hit send, the communication is forever gone and no longer your property.
- Be wary of posting photos on the Internet: Besides vain bragging, what is to be gained by posting a photo of that new rifle or that pantry full of canned goods stacked from floor to ceiling? Even if you think the photo reveals little in terms of location, consider that many smartphones will attach a GPS coordinate to the metadata in the photo. This invisible geotag is by default on unless you disable it, and many people unwittingly send photos all over cyberspace with their full GPS coordinates embedded within. It’s an elementary process to see the geotag as well – anyone can do it within 30 seconds. Now that distant retreat cabin is no longer in a secure, undisclosed location – it is at precisely X GPS coordinates!
- Keep your ride anonymous: Don’t put little stickers on your car that show how many are in your family, where your son or daughter is an honor student at, or anything else that reveals where you live. Even car dealer license plate frames that show were you bought the car can even be used against you. Make sure your car has nothing on the outside that easily identifies you, and leave the interior devoid of items that would do the same.
- Keep your home anonymous: Do you often leave your garage door open so that passersby can see what’s inside? Consider that they can not only see the contents, but get a visual on where the interior door is that leads to the home and even what kind of lock is on it. At night, all drapes should be closed, making it harder for people to see in your home. All it takes is a clear night, open drapes, and a dime store telescope for someone to completely map out the layout of your home.
Operational security is essentially a big fancy word that means common sense. The less you tell others – not only by your spoken word but by your printed word, photographs or any other revealing information – the better off you will be.