How to Expose a Tail

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

In a recent Spy & Survival Briefing alert, I outlined three steps to securing your wireless network from any unauthorized use.

There are several good reasons to do this. First, insecure networks are inconvenient, because the more devices there are hooked up to a particular network, the slower the internet will run.

Second, and much more importantly, an unsecured Wi-Fi network puts you at a greater risk of being targeted by hackers trying to steal your personal information.

But there’s another justification — pointed out by one of my readers — for following the precautions I laid out to beef up your wireless security.

Take it away, James.

Any browsing done by unauthorized users is tied to your IP address. You don’t want a pedophile hijacking your signal, because it can be traced back to you. Explain that to the local prosecutor…

— James W.

You bring up a great point, James. You have no idea what illegal behavior people could be engaging in when they’re piggybacking on your Wi-Fi signal. The last thing you want is law enforcement knocking on your door and questioning you about your browsing history.

How do you spot a tail or a tag-team tail, and how do you evade it without looking like you are?

— Warren W.

If only one person is following you, eventually, it will be pretty easy to figure it out. If you keep seeing the same person or the same vehicle while you are out and about in public, after a few stops, it will become clear that you are being followed.

However, when there are multiple people involved in a tail, it’s much more difficult to spot. Professionals will often trade off being the “eye” — the one who has a visual of the person they are following. For example, if you stop to get gas, your pursuers will probably switch off so it doesn’t look like someone is following you into the gas station.

With that being said, there are a few simple things you can do to see if someone is following you without being obvious. First, it’s important to act as natural as possible. Don’t constantly stop to look around or glance behind you.

If you are on foot, one way to look around is to be social with others. For instance, if you pass someone walking their dog, you could ask to pet it. This gives you a chance to stop and look around while you are saying hello to man’s best friend. It’s a more natural stop that won’t make you look paranoid.

If you are being followed in your car, one trick to expose a tail is to go down a one-way street. This forces the people following you down the one-way street as well, which will be pretty noticeable.

Now, I’ve just given you a 30,000-foot overview. Spies spend weeks upon weeks training on this stuff. But if the person following you is just your average criminal, it shouldn’t be too difficult to give them the slip.

So which do you think will come first: the financial collapse or the EMP attack? Or perhaps both will occur simultaneously?

— A.W.

Well, A.W., I’m no fortune-teller, but my guess is that we will see another financial collapse before we see a large-scale EMP attack.

The truth is many people believe that the U.S. economy is headed for a cliff and that we could see some major setbacks in the next few years. Any number of factors — both at home and abroad — could send our economy into a free fall. For example, the fact that our national debt is out of control — and still climbing — doesn’t bode well for the future.

I’m seeing widespread use of silencers on the hunting channels lately (e.g., outdoor and sportsman). What are the steps necessary in owning them? Thanks.

— Keith T.

Gun suppressors are becoming increasingly common among hunters. Obviously, it’s a huge advantage if you can take a shot without scaring off the game. However, currently, it’s a lengthy process to buy one.

First, you need to find a local approval,  (FFL) Class 3 dealer, so you can fill out the paperwork for the suppressor you want to purchase. You will need to provide passport photos and fingerprint cards, so be sure you have everything ready before you go.

Once you fill out the application, you have to send it to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) along with a $200 check. Then you have to sit back and wait for approval. Once your request is granted, you can go back to the FFL dealer and pick up your suppressor. Fair warning, the approval process can take a few months at least, so don’t expect a quick turnaround.

I am interested in learning self-defense skills that are appropriate for a 71-year-old woman who is mobile and in good health except for some soreness and stiffness. What do you recommend?

— Ann M.

I suggest sticking with simple techniques. What I mean is try to find a local self-defense instructor that teaches basic self-defense moves. I don’t recommend trying to learn a specific type of martial arts, because it can take years to master enough skills to be effective.

Also, if you’re a subscriber to my Spy & Survival Briefing, take a look through past issues. I’ve covered several simple self-defense moves that will work for people of all ages, highlighting exactly where to strike an attacker for maximum damage with minimal effort.

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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