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Counter Surveillance – The Cleaning Run and Evading Capture

In everyday life on May 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Written by Polynomial for XtremeRoot.net 

I recently underwent some counter surveillance training, and it was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. As such, I thought I’d write up a short tutorial based on what I was taught and what I went through. This is all related to personal counter surveillance – i.e. preventing people following you.

There are 3 major parts to counter surveillance:
1) Planning
2) Identification – Spotting people who may be following you and verfiying their intent.
3) Evasion – Making it difficult to follow you by performing certain maneuvers and following certain rules.

These principles, when put together, form something called a cleaning run. Its objective is to get you to a destination whilst identifying and losing any tail you might have.

Planning
The basic rules of a cleaning run are as follows:

  • Give yourself roughly double to triple the amount of time usually needed to get to the destination. A cleaning run can last up to 3 hours!
  • Plan your journey before heading out.
  • Move across a large geographic area.
  • Act naturally.
  • Try to spend at least 50% of your journey in areas that are not covered by CCTV.
  • Vary your transport method. Travel by bus, tram, train and taxi as well as on foot.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people nearby.
  • Be prepared! You need a pen, paper, envelope, stamps and enough cash for transport and visits to cafes / coffee shops. If you smoke, take some cigarettes and a lighter too.

The first step is to plan your journey. Start in an arbitrary direction, heading nowhere near your destination. You need to visit a variety of locations including quiet suburbs and busy city centres. Try to make the path you take relatively realistic (e.g. don’t walk round a block twice) and make it look like you have a reason to go to certain places along the way. You need at least two locations that will be almost entirely deserted – large open areas like parks are excellent for spotting someone following you. Make sure that your route crosses a few bridges and goes down some small side streets. You need to be able to stop off frequently at shops and other attractions. Look up timetables for buses, trams and trains, and use these services in your journey. You’ll also want to find places with post boxes and phone boxes, as they can provide some useful distractions.

Identification
Before you can shake a tail, you need to identify it. The best way to do this is to spot people you have seen before. A professional team can consist of 10 or more people, of which 2 or 3 at a time will follow you. They do a hand over periodically and try to avoid re-using the same members so that you don’t notice the tail. The “tried and tested” positioning system is to have one person follow directly behind you and another follow on the other side of the road further behind. If a third person is used, they are usually kept further back. If they think you’ve identified an agent, they’ll pull them out and replace them if possible.

The following things about a person can help you identify them as a tail:

  • If there are multiple agents, expect 90% of them to be 30 years old or less.
  • A professional team member usually has a precise watch. You can spot these quite easily if you’re close by.
  • They will change their course when you stop or change your course.
  • They will avoid looking directly at you, or stare.
  • Untrained people in a team might talk into their sleeve or talk to themselves.
  • If there are only one or two agents and they are associated with the police (CID, SOCA, etc), they will usually be wearing a suit (this is true for the UK, at least).
  • When waiting, they will usually loiter aimlessly or appear fascinated by a mundane sign or poster.

When walking down quiet roads it is easy to notice someone following you. However, it is difficult to turn round and get a good look at them without them noticing. One great method to this is to enter a shop and purchase something. As you enter, glance behind you to see if anyone is there. If there is, hold the door for them. When you leave, go back the way you came for a while, then turn off and go another direction. You can usually identify at least one surveillance member this way.

In places with some traffic, cross over at an intersection. If you’re on the left of the street turn right and vice versa. This gives you chance to stop and look around as if you were checking for traffic. If you cross at a pedestrian crossing, pretend to press the button but don’t. This gives you time to stop and look around longer, making anyone following you quite obvious.

Small bridges and alleys can make great choke points. Be aware that isolated areas might be problematic because they might confront you, so try to pick areas with at least a few people around. If you smoke, stop to light up as you walk down a chokepoint. Stand sideways so that you can see both directions. This means that anyone following you will have to walk straight past, so you can easily identify them. You could also stop to write an SMS message – it’s feasible that you can’t walk and text at the same time. If you do this, start writing it and stop after the 4th or 5th letter. Most people will at least try to write and walk before failing!

In larger shops, stand and browse the magazines. You can use the short periods between picking up each magazine to glance in a direction to look for anyone you remember from before, or anyone looking at you. Untrained people will often behave unusually and can easily give themselves away in certain situations. They may stare intently at you, or completely avoid making eye contact. In the case of the ones who are quite obviously attempting to watch you without directly looking, orchestrate your path so that you walk past them, then stop and ask the time. This usually shocks and disorientates them, and they’ll usually get flustered and stutter their reply.

Use your pen and paper to jot down short descriptions of people that might be following you and anyone that you see twice. You can buy a newspaper and use the crossword to jot things down too. If you see someone twice in two far apart areas, you’re probably being followed. The same applies if you see the same person three times as you’re perfoming your run.

A clever trick is to scan for bluetooth devices nearby when sat around. If you see the same name twice, you have a tail.

Evasion
Once you’ve spotted the people you want to escape, you need to start doing things to divert their attention from you to thin out the crowd. The text-book stuff like dodging down an alley or switching back on yourself is way too obvious and a professional will be able to handle it easily.

Organise your journey so that you arrive at a train station, get your tickets, then have to wait 10 minutes in the coffee shop before boarding a train. If possible, use the automated ticket machine and jump in just before someone else gets in the queue behind you. This helps stop agents from shoulder-surfing to find out where you’re going, or listening in on your conversation with the ticket offict person. Wait until the last minute before moving to the platform, or sit on the wrong platform until your train is announced and then move to the correct one. Sit as close to a door as possible so you can see the entire carriage.

When travelling by bus, pay for a ticket to the furthest destination it goes to, then get off before that stop. This helps divert resources and prevent any surveillance teams from setting up in a target location. If you can sit at the back do so, as you can see where everybody is. On double-decker buses you might want to sit up top to make it more obvious if you’re being followed.

Towards the final quarter of your run, make it look like you’re doing something sinister. Go to a phonebox and call the number of a small computer shop. Ask something like “how much is your cheapest SATA hard drive?” and write down the price and a random postal code that’s near the computer shop. Write a single letter on the bottom of the paper to make it more confusing, then place it on top of the phone unit and leave the box. This will look like you’re trying to perform a dead-drop, so an agent would investigate. This reduces the number of people following you. You can then go into another phone box, fumble around underneath it to make it look like you’re grabbing something that’s taped to the bottom, get out an envelope and pretend to put this non-existant thing inside it, attach a stamp, write an address on there (somewhere around five miles away) and go post it in a postbox. An agent will need to get someone to open the phone box, so this will delay them further.

Strike up a conversation with someone in the street to make it look like that’s who you went to go see. This is best done in a quiet area, so you can watch the people nearby.

You can perform a covert U-turn by walking past a shop and showing some interest in it (stare at it as you walk) and then stopping 20 feet down the road as you very obviously check your watch. Stare at your watch for a second, then turn back and go to that shop. This makes it look like you couldn’t decide if you had time to go to the shop. Some poorly trained agents might just stop still and stare at you gormlessly if you do this.

In extreme circumstances, you can go for certain overt techniques that give away the fact that you know you’re being followed:

  • Do a U-turn whilst walking and check out everyone who looks at you.
  • Do the whole “tying my shoelace” thing. It can mean agents have to be dropped because they have to pass you, but it’s very obvious and you can’t actually identify them easily.
  • Ask someone you think is tailing you for a lighter. Strike up conversation about the weather or contemplate them on their hair, shirt or watch if they have to spend more than 5 seconds fumbling around for it.
  • Dodge down an alleyway quickly or move in a circuitous through a store with multiple exits. These allow you to shake a tail, but make it obvious that you are immediately wary of someone following you.
  • Sit in a coffee shop and wait until you see someone that you know is following you. As you get up to leave, they will look over. Stare directly at them and wave before leaving.
  • Use a payphone to call for three taxis. Book one from your current location (or nearby) to position A, and book the other two from near position A to position B. Take only one of the second taxis, then have them drop you off slightly outside location B. If they’re resourceful enough to be able to pull phone records, they’ll spend resources trying to find out who you called and where you asked to go to. Once they discover you have called 3 taxis, they’ll know something is odd.

Know that you WILL get paranoid if you can’t identify anyone, but also remember that if you do all of this there’s a good chance you couldn’t be followed!

And that’s all folks. Plan, identify, evade. And most importantly, practice! Since my training I went on a two hour cleaning run, which was very enjoyable.

Have fun guys* :]

369 FOX Employees HACKED by LulzSec

In everyday life on May 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

Looks like Glenn Beck isn’t the only thing FOX lost this week.

Late last night I received an email from an unknown source in Norway with the following letter in addition to 369 FOX employee emails and passwords (See Below)

You saw it here first!

Dear Fox.com,

We don’t like you very much. As such, we cordially invite you to kiss our hand-crafted crescent fresh asses.
Remember that time we leaked all your X-Factor contestants? http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6372763/…s_Database

Well now we’re leaking some more of your junk. We invite the Internet to ravage the following list of emails and passwords (from a database within Fox.com) – Facebook, MySpace,

PayPal, whatever you can get your hands on. Take from them everything. Remember to proxy up, or tunnel like a pro!

Follow us on twitter; we’re owning more things next week. Kisses!

All the best,
LulzSec
twitter.com/LulzSec

LulzSec also published profiles of some of Foxes top employees on linkedin, but linkedin was quick, and the profiles were removed from the site within 8 hours.

You can see all the emails and passwords HERE 

My experience with online retailer AJRichard.com | Score = A+

In everyday life on April 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm

My friends are going on this wild Eurotrip this summer and I figured I’ll make a trip to Norway, its supposed to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world! Being the blogger that I am, let me share my recent shopping experience with you.

Afters hours of research, I decided to go for the Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a nice lens but had no idea where to look, so I started checking out some of the more popular price comparison sites like Nextag.com, ibcart.com, and shopping.com because they dont allow those scam sites. AJRichard.com offered the best price, a bunch of free stuff, and a 30 minute introductory class on how to use the camera with their pro team. (Quick Tip- when buying a camera, try using a Trusted Seller, or someone with good ratings)

A few hours after placing an order, someone from ajrichard.com called me to verify my billing information and asked me if I had any questions about the camera and gave me free shipping!

Well, I’m happy to say that this morning my camera arrived with my free tripod, cleaning kit, warranty, and uv filter kit.

Thank You AJRichard.com!

Ciao for now

Yankee

Silk Demand and the Change of Culture in Mount Lebanon

In everyday life on April 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I was having an interesting conversation recently about how the demand of a product which was abundant in an area affected the economy, but more importantly the culture of a region! Silk was a great influencer on late nineteenth century Mount Lebanon.  The peasantry of Mount Lebanon supplied the demand that the sericulture of Europe could not provide.  In turn silk made a major impact on gender roles, class and the politics of this area and time.

Mount Lebanon was a desirable supplier of silk due to their inexpensive steamboat routes and cheap tariffs.  The French had considerable influence on the government at the time and in turn enjoyed reduced tariff rates and exploited the cheap labor to build the silk factories. The appearance of this success for the French as well as the Lebanese who owned and managed many of the factories led to many cultural changes within Mount Lebanon. The silk factories employed young girls as their primary workforce.  Factory jobs were seen as desirable positions for men during this period.  However, these young girls encountered many stereotypes and social taboos that came with having a factory job.  They spent all day with strange men and brought shame to their family. Yet, the money the girls brought home was of more value at this time then the family honor.Socially a factory girl encountered the stigma of certain expected behaviors.  Certain sectors of society, churches, made allegation that the working girls were disrupting the social order and bring dishonor to their families. Some expressed that women in the workforce was ruining the gender roles; but that one could seek redemption through marriage. Marriage could be a girl’s way to regain a respectable role in society.

Silk was the driving force that brought about these changes to the economy and gender roles of the time.  The common peoples experienced drastic changes to their everyday lives to accommodate the new demanded good.  The luxuries that came from silk can be seen as great influences and advancements to their lives. With this new way of earning a living it gave them a chance to advance socially that they would not have had otherwise.  But, some argue at the expense of the social norm.

Have a great day!

Gentleman’s Club Advertising ( Strip Club Marketing ) How?

In everyday life on November 20, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for commenting and reading my posts. 3 days after my first post I have dozens of views and many comments. Thanks and keep commenting.

 

I’m headed off to Montreal, Canada in a couple of weeks and I am very interested to see how these gentleman’s clubs aka strip bars, market themselves. There are many legalities involved as well as internet advertising, but locally I’m not sure.

I highly doubt I’d actually go inside but it must be really hard advertising to their market share.

The Spokesman Review (Link) recently posted a comment:

“Area strip clubs provide a legal service. You and others may not like that service. It certainly violates your personal values. But society, through its laws, has determined that such businesses may operate. If the newspaper says it will not allow advertising from businesses or organizations that are “offensive,” then we proceed down the slippery slope of trying to determine exactly what is offensive and to whom.”

Interesting, I’ll have to look more into this.

Yankee

How Can a Marketer Help Reduce Financial Risk? – Buyers Remorse

In everyday life on October 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Hey guys,

With whats going on in the economy I figured I’d write an article on how to reduce financial risk in a small in a product, for any type of bsiness for that matter. Please read my other posts to understand some of the things I talk about.

How can a marketer reduce financial risk in a product?

There are a few ways a marketing expert or even a business owner can do that. Anyone who’s looking to make their business do better and feel more secure abut expanding can follow these simple ideas.

We’re aiming on reducing what I like to call ‘Buyers Remorse’. It’s when the consumer is very ‘ify’ or unsure on buying a product, or service, because after he will feel that the’s wasted his money and time, which in turn makes him not want to buy the product in the first place.

1. Warranty→ Guarantee. set up a satisfaction guarantee or a 90 day warranty. Herr’s potato chips has a statement on the back that says if you are dissatisfied with our product send it back and we will refund your price. Now, no one usually sends it back, but because they introduce the fact that they know there product is satisfactory then the consumer feels good and reduces ‘Buyer Remorse’
2. Brand Loyalty – A very key importance. Especially when dealing with a service for a concentration local community. Sometimes new business will partner with existing business who do something similar, but not exactly, so they can use their name or branding.
3. Testimonials – Also very important for a service.
4. Definition of Buyers Remorse – Post purchase dissonance.
5. Purchase decision process. Follow these steps, as if you were buying your own product.
– Stage 1- Problem recognition
– Stage 2- Information Research
– Stage 3- Alternative Evaluation
– Stage 4- Purchase Decision.
– Stage 5- Post Purchase Behavior

Would you buy your product?

If yes, how can you make it better, stay ahead, maximize profits.

If no, find out which step caused the problem and fix it. Remember that the first step in solving a problem is knowing the problem.

Enjoy 🙂 and comment,

See ya.

Marketing Plan for a New Small Business

In everyday life on September 24, 2010 at 3:17 am

Hello all,

I recived a great comment today “how would someone create one (SWOT) with a start-up company? How can we be sure that what we put down is correct? Who can we go to, to discuss are SWOT with?”

Let me answer a question with the basics.

First, create a mission statement about your company or service.

Mission Statement about myself: Young, hardworking entrepreneur with experience in marketing, advertising, design, website administration, programming and human resources.

Then the company should set strategies: Do a deep analysis of company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Which is the SWOT Analysis.

4 Ps of Marketing

Everyone should know the the 4 P’s of business.

Product,

Price,

Promotion,

Place.

These revolve around the consumer needs.

So now you have your prduct and youre ready to market it to the world (or local community)

Marketing Research, we have 2 kinds

Primary Data – Usually more expensive.
– Focus group, questionnaire.
– Survey, test the product
– Observation
– Research Objective.
– Bradley Effect
Secondary Data- existing sources of info. US Census, property records, birth records.

Also, Segmentation
Sorting potential buyers into groups that have common needs and will respond similarly to marketing actions.
– Categories- age, gender, ethnic groups, married-single, economic, social status, religious groups, lifestyle,
– Local Advertising- example, Brooklyn College- commercials, subway, bus, school fairs, HS recruitment, advertise abroad and internet, build dorms, college counselors, open different branches.

Its also very important to know who you are marketing to.

Cultural and Social Environment.
– Core Values- beliefs.
– Family Values, pro life, anti abortion. Typical family, sexual, abstinence, religion.

Overall a marketing plan should consist of the follwing:

Marketing Plan
1.    Executive Summary- usually written last.
2.    Environmental analysis.
–    External Factors- MARKETING.
–    Internal Factors- ENVIRONMENT
3.    SWOT Analysis- Strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats.
–    Strengths- what does the business do well.
–    Weakness- what your weaknesses is.
4.    Marketing Objectives. Sales Volume.

Have a great day!

SWOT Analysis- How to write one.

In everyday life on December 23, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Hey everyone.

A SWOT Analysis is one of the basics of marketing. A quick summary if a company’s current position. It

stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunity’s, and threats.

Ex. New York Times

Strengths: Prestigious, brand recognition, many sections. Magazine, delivery, archives.
Weaknesses: Lack of portability, confusing, too intellectual, expensive, rising costs

Opportunity: Internet improves, distribute to far areas, and strategize advertisements, American English speakers. Translations.
Threats: NY Post, Daily News, Free newspapers, Internet, TV, radio coverage.

Here’s one for VixBlast, my company.

Strengths: The Internet, branding name, low overhead, communication, experience, affordable, it works, fast efficient
Weaknesses: small office, new, competition, complex, a lot of work,
Opportunity: Internet, outsource, grow, hire.
Threats: Competition, SyMall, Image, Sef-Events.

Marketing Strategies:

What’s your target marketing? What are points of differences between your companies? How do we position the product?

Thats all for now,

Yankee