Can You Keep a Secret?

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Internet privacy regulations are on the chopping block this week, which means it’s more important than ever to do whatever you possibly can to protect your personal data.

With that being said, some of this week’s articles focus on ways to keep your private information private.

Let’s take a look.

1. Hackers Threaten to Wipe 300M iPhones, ICloud Accounts Unless Apple Pays

Taking over an organization’s computer system and holding it for ransom is becoming one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to make money. Which means that we’re seeing ransomware used more and more these days.

Ransomware is a type of malware hackers employ to disable your computer by restricting access. Once they have control over your computer, they’ll try to extort you for money — in other words, they’re holding the computer or larger network for ransom.

Apple recently received such a threat, which — luckily — turned out to be a hoax. But that doesn’t change the fact that you should be doing everything in your power to protect yourself and your devices.

Be sure to have strong passwords on every account — and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. You should also enable two-factor authentication if possible. While this incident may have proved false, I’m sure it won’t be long before a real attack occurs.

2. What You Can Do if Someone Posts an Explicit Image of You Online

It is never acceptable to violate another person’s privacy, but unfortunately, it’s a despicable tactic that’s become disturbingly common. This article gives some great advice if you or someone you know has been the victim of nonconsensual image sharing.

Fortunately, now more than 30 states — including the District of Columbia — have specific laws against this type of crime. Which is a huge improvement from 2012, when only three states had revenge porn laws on the books.

Of course, you should always be mindful of whom you share sensitive information — of any kind — with. And keep the rules above in mind when it comes to securing your devices. Strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication will go a long way toward protecting your privacy.

3. 101 Gardening Secrets the Experts Never Tell You

According to this piece originally published on, a well-tended 400-square-foot garden will feed a family of four. Not to mention fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden will be a great addition to your emergency food stores in a crisis situation.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to grow produce from seeds as well as how to start a plant from a clipping
  • Four ways to keep deer from eating all your hard work and no less than 13 natural ways to control bugs and insects
  • Why canning is the preferred method of storing your garden veggies — especially if the SHTF
  • Three household items you can use as mulch
  • And how to harvest and make use of rainwater.

It’s not too late to start a garden this year, so check out these expert tips and tricks and get planting!

4. This Could Be the Last Time You’ll Ever Need Your Reading Glasses

Do you remember the Twilight Zone episode where Henry Bemis — played by Burgess Meredith — discovers he’s the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust, leaving him all the time in the world to read? Until his glasses break, that is.

Well, similarly, if you’re a person who wears contacts or eyeglasses, be sure to have extras in your emergency stores — lest you find yourself unable to see in a survival scenario.

Or click on the link above to discover a way to get rid of blurry vision for good.

5. “Get Prepared Now”: Fire Officials Gear up for Busy Fire Season

The title of this article says it all. Wildfires are highly unpredictable and highly dangerous, and this year, fire officials report that the conditions in many regions are ripe for infernos.

If you live in a wildfire-prone area, have bug-out bags for each member of your family (including pets) packed and ready to go. Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car at all times, along with a paper map. Know several different escape routes in case the fire cuts off one or more.

And most importantly, be sure every member of your family knows what to do in case of an evacuation, so you can get the heck out of Dodge in 10 minutes or less.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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