When you hear the term OPSEC, what do you immediately think of? Personally, I think of some secret military operation. Though it is a term coined by the United States Military during the Vietnam War, it’s something that everyone should follow.
Here’s a definition of what OPSEC is:
“Operations security (OPSEC) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by enemy intelligence, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.”Wikipedia
Basically, OPSEC is a way to gather information on someone and determine if they can use that information against them.
We can actually use OPSEC in our everyday lives in order to protect ourselves so that we’re not taken advantage of. OPSEC is for everyone, not just people who have something to hide. In this day and age, we need to make sure that we’re taking every precaution possible to protect ourselves and our families.
Whether you’re a prepper or not, I think everyone needs to practice OPSEC and make sure that we’re not giving away personal information that could end up costing us, especially in today’s digital world.
Here are 5 ways that we should be practicing OPSEC everyday:
Keep It To Yourself
How many times have you overheard a conversation from someone saying how they just won some money from the lottery? Or how they just bought a new big screen TV? I overheard someone talking very loudly on their cell phone one day about how they just got paid $1,000 and they were planning to go down to the club later to spend it all. If I had been someone with evil intentions, I could have easily taken advantage of that person.
Point is, everyone is listening. And with smartphones, everyone could even be potentially recording and taking pictures. When you’re out in public, try to refrain from talking about personal matters, especially anything having to do with personal belongings and money. There’s no reason to have such private conversations in such public places. Wait until you’re in the car or at home to have those conversations.
This goes for the digital world as well. Post about your vacation after you’ve already returned, instead of posting about it during. It may come as a surprise, but people are looking at your public Instagram profile to see if you’re out of town and it doesn’t take a lot of searching online to figure out where you live.
This is especially true when it comes to talking about or showing your preps online; you can talk a little bit and show a little bit, but don’t give it all away and certainly try not to elude to the fact that you have more than you’re letting on. “Loose lips sink ships.”
Shred Personal Documents And Packages
You’d be surprised how many people might go through trash to get valuable information such as your banking or credit statements. Shred any documents with any personal information or account numbers on them and if you can, place those shreds in different trash cans.
You also want to shred or at least cut up and flatten any packages you receive. This is especially true of any package that actually has the picture of whatever it is on the outside, such as a new TV. These are big red flags to thieves who see that you just got yourself a new TV and maybe they should take it off of your hands.
Be Aware Of Suspicious Packages
Speaking of packages, if you’re not expecting a package, be very wary of it. Did you hear about the package bombings that took place in Austin, TX? Packages were sent to completely random addresses across Austin and when they were opened, they were killed on impact. Truly tragic.
It’s important to be aware of what type of mail we should and should not be receiving. If you’re not expecting a package, don’t recognize the return label or just think it looks suspicious; say something. If it’s nothing, that’s okay.
Get Rid Of The Bumper Stickers
I constantly see people with stickers plastered all over their vehicle representing their beliefs, what organizations they’re apart of, etc. This is not the smartest thing to do. This is one of those things that should be kept to yourself. For example, the whole world doesn’t need to know what you support the NRA.
I think it’s great whatever organization you want to support, but some people take extreme offense to certain things and those with nothing but time on their hands will revolt. I heard a story once of a guy who had an NRA sticker on his vehicle and a person decided to follow him home and started berating him about being pro-gun. While that person was totally out of line and basically harmless, it’s still not okay that they knew that little bit of information based off of a sticker.
They followed him home. Let that sink in for a second. I’d recommend keeping stickers off of your vehicle all together, it’s not worth the risk.
Mix It Up
People case houses, buildings and even work places looking for routines that they can take advantage of. Do you come and go at the same time everyday? Many people might have the same routine depending on work schedule, but it might be a good idea to at least try to switch up the routes that you use. Do your best to try to mix up your everyday routine. Even small changes such as leaving a few minutes later or earlier can throw off an adversary. Think about your daily routine and see what could be mixed up to throw the outsider off.
We need to have a good balance of keeping ourselves secure while at the same time enjoying life and getting prepared. I believe a good balance can be achieved with just a little bit of forethought about how we carry ourselves in private, public and online.