The Leaks Continue…

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

How can you protect your data once internet privacy regulations have gone the way of the dodo? Especially when even the CIA can’t stop information leaks?

This week’s must-read articles cover three steps you can take to protect your privacy and what the latest WikiLeaks release means for the Intelligence Community, as well as how to prepare for landslides and how to foster good situational awareness in young minds.

Let’s dive in.

1. CIA Operations May Be Disrupted by New WikiLeaks’ Data Release

The latest WikiLeaks release includes actual code that could disrupt current CIA spying campaigns. And for an agency already embattled with the current White House administration, this is just the latest wrench to be thrown into their operations.

Not only does this release — which Jake Williams, founder of security firm Rendition InfoSec, calls “significant” — put the lives of spies currently operating out in the field in danger, it also puts our national security at risk.

I’m not sure what the justification is for these releases. It seems to me that the potential damage from publicizing this information outweighs the value of the knowledge itself. In any case, it remains to be seen what will be the ultimate result of these leaks.

What are your thoughts? Has Julian Assange gone too far? Send me an email at and keep the conversation going.

2. Scores Killed as Landslides Devastate Colombia’s Mocoa

Over the weekend, heavy rain caused mudslides and severe flooding in Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo, in southwest Colombia. The death toll is over 200, with hundreds more still missing. Blocked roads and a lack of power are hindering rescue efforts.

According to one resident, people didn’t know what to do. There weren’t any preparations for such a disaster. But you know better. You know that there are things you can — and should — do before an emergency of any type occurs. You’ve got your go bags, your portable food and water rations, gas in your car, planned escape routes, etc.

For information specific to surviving a landslide, check out Sheepdog Man’s “The Big List of Nasty Disasters: Part Four — How to Survive Landslides.” As he points out, landslides can happen anywhere, including in every U.S. state and territory, so make the appropriate preparations now.

3. Words to Live by to Get Anything You Want

All of us sell, in one way or the other, every day of our lives. Even if it’s not in your job, you are “selling” every time you try to convince someone of something.

Well, what if you knew the magic words to make someone give you what you wanted without any convincing at all? Or what if you knew the secret phrase to get a better job… get a date… get to the front of the line… or get away with murder?

Click on the link above to discover these powerful secret phrases — and many more.

4. Teaching Situational Awareness to Kids

I’m often asked for tips on teaching survival techniques to children. This article from Preparedness Mama outlines an idea to help your kids develop situational awareness — by making it into a game.

The game is broken down into three levels: places, people and things. As your kids master each level, they’ll expand their situational awareness without even realizing it.

This is a great way to encourage your children to develop a lifelong lifesaving habit. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Situational awareness is the No. 1 thing I learned in the CIA. Many other survival skills are built on good situational awareness, so it’s wise to start ’em young.

5. What Really Happens When the FCC’s Online Privacy Rules Are Cancelled

President Trump has signed the bill eliminating internet privacy regulations. The piece above gives a quick rundown of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this legislative change — from what rules are changing to why companies opposed these rules in the first place.

But the most important question is: What does this mean for you?

First and foremost, be mindful about what information you share online. Create strong, unique passwords for each online account you can’t bear to part with. And if you haven’t already, start using a VPN. A VPN — which stands for virtual private network — is a program that encrypts your data over the internet so that hackers (and marketers) can’t access it.

The VPN that I personally use is called TunnelBear. It costs about $50 a year, which is dirt-cheap. But there are several other VPNs you can use. So do some research and find the one you like best.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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