First let me imbark some common sense advice that was giving to me by one of the most skilled tactical trainers on this planet! he said ” code talking is a useful thing but when the shit is hitting the fan and chaos is the rule of the day HELP works just fine!” so with that in mind take what you need from the article and see if there is something you could use in your Preparadness efforts. Enjoy the article.
Useful Tips for using codes and passwords I found when prepareing for a presentation on Operation Security.
OPSEC, Prepping Strategies & Skills by PJ
The practice of speaking in code has been around for ages and is a useful way of passing information when two people (or entities) do not wish to have the real meaning of the information compromised. Code can be complex or simple and you probably already do this without even realizing it. For example I bet you might spell out the words “V-E-T” or “O-U-T” when around your dog. Or maybe while at dinner with your family you mention “folding clothes” to your spouse, but what that really means is: put the kids to bed early so we can spend some “quality time” together.
In addition to speaking in code passwords are a great way of protecting individuals or information. Of course you realize the usefulness of passwords as much as I do, no doubt you use several passwords every single day (ATM machine, work computer login, voicemail). Just to type this post I am writing right now, three passwords were involved. My laptop has a password on it which allowed me to access my wireless Internet, but that was only after I typed in the password which allowed me access to my laptop after opening the lid. From there I had to log on to wordpress and type in my password which allowed me to get to the dashboard.
So how can we take all of these useful tools and utilize them in our prepping strategy? Obviously we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, as well as all of the information associated with our preps. Additionally if the SHTF does occur there are ways (some pioneered by the military) to ensure safety and security through the use of code and passwords. What follows is a list which outlines some of those methods, feel free to add to or take away at your discretion in order to tweak your strategy.
Challenge / Password: Useful when posting guards on the edge of your retreat location or campsite, especially when being approached in the dark by someone you cannot easily identify. Let’s say it’s your turn to pull watch and during your shift briefing you were told that the challenge is “baker” and the password is “airplane.” It’s dark and foggy outside and you hear someone approaching up the path to the main entrance of your retreat. You tell them to stop, warning not to advance any further, but now what? By using the challenge and password you will be able to quickly identify if this is someone who is part of your community or an outsider who requires extra precaution. You call out: ” Are you the baker who brought cakes and cookies for tomorrow’s dinner?” You get a response: ” Yes, I’m late because my airplane just landed.” It’s important to note that the challenge and password were both used in a sentence.
Number combinations: Very similar to the challenge and password, and much quicker too. If the number combo for the day is 7, one person would simply challenge with 4 and the validating response would be 3. Never pick even number combinations (e.g. 8) as someone could simply repeat your challenge and still be correct.
Running Passwords: Used when there is simply no time at all for the above two methods. For example a few of your scouts have run into trouble while out looking for water, it could be a much larger force of evil doers or a very upset momma bear. They are in serious danger and have run back to your location with no time to go through the challenge / password ritual. Obviously they don’t want to be mistaken for intruders so they will call out the previously established running password (loudly) while high tailing it to your location. If the running password is “thunder” they will be yelling THUNDER! THUNDER! THUNDER! when in earshot of your location so that they can be recognized as friendlies. Additionally the fact that they are using the running password should alert you (the person on guard duty) to some sort of problem, which should raise your level of alertness. One final (and important) tip, the last person in the group has to yell LAST MAN to alert those on duty that they are the last person and anyone else who follows (whether they are yelling out the running password or not) should not be allowed in.
Duress words: You see this in the movies quite a bit when someone is being forced to do something against their will. Maybe they have to make a phone call to their superiors with the bad guy standing over them, there has to be a way to tip off the superiors that not all is well while appearing to follow through with all of the bad guy’s demands. That is when the duress word comes into play. You could also establish a duress word to be used this for 2 way radio or cell phone conversations which would allow your family member to alert someone else to the fact that they are in danger. Pick a word and change it every week or two, NEVER use the duress word unless it is an actual emergency.
Develop SHTF code words/phrases: You should have a few phrases which are only known to those in your family or community which correspond to certain actions which will take place if T-SHTF. Codes for dropping everything at work and linking up at home, or meeting at home and preparing to bugout, or getting into a car and driving to a pre-determined linkup location 20 miles outside of the city limits. Let’s say your spouse has a cell phone but no access to news throughout the day while at their job. While at your job you see on the news some major catastrophe has just started to unfold and you know you need to get everyone home ASAP. You text your spouse the following: “could you pick up some food for the bird on the way home from work?” Only you have no bird, that’s just your code which tells him/her to drop everything and walk away.
Never use names over the radio / phone: Especially useful after SHTF when other individuals might be eaves dropping in order to gain information on your community. Think about it, someone sets up a 1/2 a mile from your location and picks up your 2 way radio frequency. They hear names being used over this frequency and they write them down. They could use this information to attempt to gain access to your community at a later date by pretending to know someone on the inside. Instead of names use call signs (e.g. Maverick) when referring to individuals.
Changing frequency if compromised: Speaking of two way radios, always have one or two pre-determined alternate frequencies/channels which you can switch to if you believe your current one is compromised. Have a code set up for doing this, or simply say something like “switch to zulu” over the radio. This will let the person on the other end know that they need to drop down to the other specified frequency in order to re-establish contact.
The use of codes and passwords in order to protect individuals and information has been around for a long time and will continue to be relevant into the foreseeable future. By using a few simple techniques like the ones outlined above individuals or communities can easily add an additional layer of security to an already robust prepping strategy while streamlining some essential SHTF related processes.
Remember, “At the end of the day remember this sometimes English works just fine! Sometimes Help means help and at times that is good enough.”