Spy Tips on Tuxedos, Security, Hacking, and more…
It’s a cliché that spies wear tuxedos in the field. While there’s some truth to it, you don’t usually wear them to baccarat tables in Monte Carlo. Most of the time you’re in black tie, it’s at rubber-chicken dinners, political fundraisers, or charity auctions.
Pretending to be a belligerent drunk lets you get close to a target long enough to plant a tracker without them getting suspicious. Of course, if you plan on making a scene at a fancy hotel, you’d better be ready to pay the price.
Seeing a project through to completion requires a certain level of obsessiveness. The problem is you can’t turn it on and off. So you end up doing things no one else can understand, like sticking with an operation long after it’s over.
Intelligence-agency field offices have to find a delicate balance between blending in and providing adequate security. Which is why, whenever possible, they piggyback onto the facilities of fellow government agencies.
In many ways, the more sophisticated a thief is, the easier they are to find. Anyone who gets a job under a fake name and uses stolen high-security access codes leaves a fat paper trail, which means, if they’re smart, they have no intention of hanging around.
Criminals who specialize in hacking are a special breed. They have the skills to find legitimate work, but they choose to steal instead. They’re all about using their brains to dominate and control.
That’s why crafting a cover I.D. that will succeed with them is a challenge. They’re not looking for an equal partner. They’re looking for another loser to sneer at, so that’s just so that’s just what you give them.
Vehicle counter surveillance is very difficult if you’re trying to be inconspicuous. If you’re willing to be a little more obvious, on the other hand, it gets a lot easier. You can drive in circles, go the wrong direction on a one-way street, or just stop in the middle of the road.
Even the most security-conscious firms rarely check their A.C. units for tampering. Access the ventilation system, and with the right hardware, you can spoil an enemy’s food supply, sweat out entrenched combatants, or just warm an office enough to make intruders invisible to heat sensors.
One way to break into a secure building is to commit a decoy crime first. Create an obvious situation that explains why an alarm was tripped, and people won’t discover the real reason you stopped by.
When you don’t have time for a thorough search, the next best option is to take what you can on your way out. But if you don’t want anyone to know you were there, you’re limited to things they won’t miss. Like trash.
People tend to think shredding documents is the same as destroying them. Actually, it’s more like taking the pieces from a hundred different Jigsaw puzzles and mixing them up. Putting them back together is just a matter of time and perseverance or having access to the right software.
When in the field, it’s the little things that kill you a getaway car that won’t start, a jammed gun that won’t fire, or a maintenance man who won’t leave. When setbacks happen, you improvise.
It’s important to keep your guard up at the end of an operation. Once you’ve found your target, won their trust, and made a deal, it’s natural to want to relax a bit. But the fact is, that’s exactly the time to be most careful. When money’s on the line and things go wrong, they tend to go very, very wrong.
When someone’s in a killing mood, it doesn’t help appealing to their sympathy. You’re better off taking their rage and redirecting it at someone else.
When you operate in the field, you expect your cover to be tested. To stay alive, you keep your facts straight, your lies simple, and try not to come face to face with someone you’ve never met. But are already supposed to know. But when that’s unavoidable, you stare the stranger in the eyes. We’re all here. And sell your relationship with everything you’ve got.
Once the bullets have stopped flying and the mission is over, the least-glamorous part of a spy’s work begins the debriefings. They’re lengthy sessions to analyze mission strategy and discuss operational facts that will go into the field reports. Not the most exciting way to spend a Sunday afternoon, unless something unexpected happens to spice things up.
To secure a location, police clear rooms one by one from the ground up. It’s a thorough procedure but slow. It gives you the opportunity to cover your tracks, wipe down fingerprints, pick up any shell casings, and steal the office access logs. But it only leaves one option for escaping. So when your back’s against the wall and time is running out, there’s nothing like seeing an old friend.
Rescue line launchers are standard gear for most Coast Guard, mountain rescue, and tactical-assault teams. They use compressed air to throw a line up to 400 feet. Not the type of equipment you use very often, but when you need it, you really need it. Anyone who’s ever climbed rope in gym class knows you can’t just slide down if you want any skin on your hands by the time you get to the bottom.