Spy Tips on Vulnerabilities, Recycling, Electric Fences, and more…
For a spy, the first step after identifying your enemy and finding his base of operations is listening in on his communications. This can be as simple as planting a bug in his phone or as complex as breaking into a military-grade encrypted radio. Higher security makes the job harder, but it comes with a silver lining – the tougher the security, the more valuable the information it’s protecting. If you can break in, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be worth it.
In any secure facility, the biggest vulnerabilities tend to be at the lowest salary levels. A company that will spend tens of thousands of dollars checking out senior staff will often hire janitors and window washers for 9 bucks an hour after a 20-minute interview. Getting hired is usually not too difficult, and it’s even easier to pay someone a couple grand to hand over a uniform and leave town.
One of the few businesses that still make house calls is black-market technology vendors. When someone’s paying a lot of cash for illegal weapons-systems components, they expect full service. And when your customer will settle any issues with a bullet to the head, it’s a good idea to show up in person.
Spies are surprisingly good recyclers. The ability to repurpose items in the field can often mean the difference between life and death. A broken eyepiece from a microscope can make the perfect disguise for a rifle sight. And a computer with a fried motherboard can house the magazine of an M-4 rifle. It’s not exactly separating your bottles and cans, but it’ll keep trash out of the landfill and possibly keep you out of the morgue.
Whether you’re smuggling drugs to sell or weapons to save a friend, you can’t just hide contraband and pray. You have to be able to talk your way through an inspection. The key is to keep cool and keep talking. The more they’re listening to you, the less they’re looking at whatever it is you’re carrying.
There is a fine art to making an electrical malfunction look spectacular and yet not do any real damage, especially when you’re dealing with a deadly missile. The trick is to overload a non-explosive component, like the motherboard. Replacing resistors with plain copper wire will amplify the current, overload the circuit, and result in some impressive but relatively harmless fireworks.
There’s nothing quite like searching the home of someone you care about for evidence they’ve betrayed you. It’s something spies have to do regularly, even with the people they love the most. It’s never easy searching for something as hard as you can and praying you find nothing at all.
An electrified fence can’t protect against someone who has no need to breach it. When you have a network of gas pipes that run across property lines, a well-placed block of C-4 on a gas main outside the fence can cause an explosive chain reaction inside whatever compound that fence is protecting.
It’s always difficult eavesdropping on someone you know well or, worse, someone you care about. The closer you are to them, the worse it feels to listen in on their private moments. Harder still is spying on someone you love who’s blatantly betraying you.