An intelligence war is waged in the shadows, not just between different State agencies but also between State agencies and non-State actors, and between two or more non-State actors.
The tools available to national agencies, particularly powerful agencies like GCHQ or the NSA, make attempts at remaining anonymous online largely impossible or require a level of sophistication far beyond the average person.
In the case of State-surveillance, your greatest (and most casual) defence (assuming you don’t intend on going luddite-mode and living in the woods) is in making yourself blend in with the background cyber-noise and not putting your head above the parapet or becoming a target worth focusing on.
However there is a second type of intelligence war in which we are all playing a role, as activists and as partisans. This is a field in which the decisions you make will have great effect not only on your own future, but also on the futures of your compatriots.
There is and always will be an asymmetry of information available to parties in conflict – the goal is to find out what you can about your opponent, and stop your opponent finding out stuff about you (or failing that, finding out what they found out about you).
There are two areas of concern: operational security (op-sec) and personal security (persec). Opsec is in keeping the details of things you are doing secret, persec is in keeping information about yourself secret.
Opsec is important in keeping things you are planning secret so that they have the greatest possible effect: the old adage of “keep your mouth shut and say nothing to nobody” holds truest here.The best advice for maintaining opsec is quite simple: keep your mouth shut no matter where you are.
It is the second area of concern that this article will be addressing: personal security.
Some of our readers will be aware of the threat of “doxing” (the revealing of personal information to compromise someone) online, with various leftist agitators involved in this.
Most of these above names feed their information into a collective dox account on Twitter: antifa_drone, and while not particularly innovative (posting pictures and asking for information is not the creme de la creme of intelligence gathering), they have had some success in doxing individuals (and also made some pretty embarrassing errors). However, the targets of their doxxing have largely been people uninterested in per-sec in the first place, or who have made an inadvertent breach of the fundamental principles.
To make their job harder, there are a number of steps which individuals can and should take.
I will preface the following with the statement that hiding for the sake of hiding is not something to pursue. We should all be frank and public with our beliefs because there is nothing wrong with our beliefs. This guide is solely for activities online.
Firstly, anonymity is your friend. This means total anonymity. Whatever you post on one account, do not talk about on another. Change your anonymous accounts regularly but don’t do so on a consistent pattern: simply closing one account and opening another makes you traceable, and so does changing an account every month or every second Tuesday. Give a few days between accounts and don’t cover the same topics or be in the same social circles in public forums. Don’t use the same speech patterns or idioms. If you use the same phrase all the time, you become easily identifiable. Change how you type: misspell words, don’t use commas or punctuation, use “..” do whatever you have to in order to make each account look different to the last one.
Don’t cross-post, scrub anything you post of its metadata, crop your screenshots to just what is strictly relevant: they don’t need to know whether you’re using windows 7 or android or iOS, they don’t need to know the date you took the screenshot or what your browser tabs are. Scrutinise everything twice before you post it. Once it’s posted, it’s up for good.
Secondly, cash is king. If you are purchasing services, use burner accounts and different details for each: don’t use the same password, don’t use the same phone numbers, don’t use the same email addresses. If you need to, buy a sim with cash and use throwaway emails. If you need to purchase a service online, look for alternatives that will let you pay via crypto. It will cost you a little extra, but being just another step removed makes it safer.
Thirdly, don’t doxx yourself: no matter who you’re talking to online or whether you have mutuals, no matter whether you think a group is safe, keep yourself protected. All it took for a reporter from this publication to get in with leftist antifa activists in colleges and in the media was for one of them to vouch for us: and then the dominoes fell.
Unless you have met someone in person and know who they are, don’t compromise yourself. No voice notes, no pictures. Even pictures of you holding something can incriminate you and be used to identify you these days. Don’t open any links you aren’t entirely sure about – IP grabbers are a real thing and the last thing you want to do is give some anorexic anarchist your IP address or mac address.
Finally, use decoys and fake information – make the information public but not very easily found, because then they will think it genuine when they find it. Use fake pictures and create a persona: it might sound like a shitty thing to do, but this is the most effective way to keep people from knowing who you are. Impersonate a leftist, impersonate a randomer, just don’t create a persona that can be connected with you.
Doing these things will make their jobs of trying to figure out who you are just that little bit harder. And always remember that whatever you say online could be traced back to you if things go sour, so be careful what you speak. Keep information compartmentalised online.
Every time someone gets doxxed or an op-sec failure happens, it separates the wheat from the chaff – which is true on our side and also true on their side. If you find something out, don’t let the other side know you know it, because once you do, they’ll start becoming that little more security-conscious.