Security In-a-Box

March 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Security in-a-box is a project that provides various resources for enhancing your security and privacy both on and offline. The site contains a how-to booklet and a number of hands-on guides for using free software such as TrueCrypt, Tor, Eraser, and more to strengthen your digital security.

Security in-a-box is a collaborative effort of the Tactical Technology Collective and Front Line. It was created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders. Security in-a-box includes a How-to Booklet, which addresses a number of important digital security issues. It also provides a collection of Hands-on Guides, each of which includes a particular freeware or open source software tool, as well as instructions on how you can use that tool to secure your computer, protect your information or maintain the privacy of your Internet communication.

Security In-a-Box: Tools and tactics for your digital security

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The 81 Master Tricks and Tools of Jason Bourne [How To Be Bourne]

March 10th, 2010 § 86 comments § permalink

Jason Bourne. The ultimate man. The trained assassin who has an arsenal of strength, tricks and gadgets to complete his missions. This article aims to dissect the original Jason Bourne film trilogy, and the later two films, so that you can soak up as much information on Jason Bourne as possible.


  • In the Identity, the watch Bourne wears throughout the trilogy is a TAG Heuer’s LINK Chronograph.
  • In the Supremacy, Bourne uses a Rotring 600 pen.
  • When trying to temporary restrain another agent, Bourne hands him a zip tie to use as handcuffs and put them on his wrists in the front and cinch them using his teeth.
  • In the Ultimatum, Bourne uses a monocular, which is basically half of a binocular, and is more compact and subtle.
  • In the Legacy, after emerging from frigid water, Cross uses an emergency survival blanket.
  • In Jason Bourne, Bourne uses a lockpick set to enter an electrical control room.
  • In Jason Bourne, he uses a GPS tracker. We recommend a Tile, which is light and barely noticeable.

The Bourne Identity

The Tools

The Tricks

  • When Bourne is on the ship, recovering from his loss of memory, he continues to work out, doing pull-ups, etc. The lesson here is to always stay in shape.
  • After Bourne assaults two police officers, he ditches his coat to remove potential identifiers.
  • Bourne uses lockers provided by train and bus terminals to stash bags filled with money, weapons and identities he can use. This idea of creating caches was also detailed in Emergency by Neil Strauss.
  • Bourne fights using a type of martial arts that is a combination of Filpino Kali and Jeet Kune Do.
  • Bourne has a tiny laser projector in his hip that contains his bank account number.
  • When going removing items from his safe deposit box, he takes everything except the gun. While some may discount this as a stupid move, I consider it a smart one. Sometimes, carrying a gun with you can draw more attention and/or bring trouble.
  • Updated: When spotted by foreign police, he quickly enters the U.S. embassy, a place where the foreign police have no jurisdiction. If you are in a foreign country and are being chased by police, entering the embassy of your country might fend them off for a couple minutes. (Thanks Mosh!)
  • When attempting to escape from the embassy, he grabs an emergency map from the wall, then knocks out a soldier and removes his communications device, so that he can hear where the soldiers are.

  • Bourne pays a girl $20,000 to drive him to Paris. While I don’t recommend this (most would get suspicious and alert the authorities), the tip here is that you can almost always use large sums of money to get what you need. Simple, right? (We also see this later in the film, when Bourne bribes a morgue worker to see a body.)
  • The re-dial button on the phone is your best friend. You can use this on landlines without call logs, or if the phone does have a call log, you can use that as well. The point here is to retrace steps and discover agendas. (i.e. redials to the airport, taxi service, hotel, etc.) In the film, Bourne uses the re-dial button to discover another lead on his identity.
  • Bourne is an expert of fighting based on his surroundings. In a high action fight in his apartment, he reaches around for a makeshift weapon, settling on a ballpoint pen, which he uses to stab the assassin with. Use your surroundings!

  • During a high speed car chase, Bourne instructs his companion to look away from the police. This is most likely to avoid the confirmation of who is in the car. Your instincts are usually to constantly look around, but that’s more likely to burn you.
  • When Bourne ditches Marie’s car, he makes sure to wipe down everything. Later, it is proven a smart move when a police officer says something like, “You’ve been here for 3 hours and you still can’t find a fingerprint!?!”. Create dead ends for your followers, and leave no traces of yourself.
  • The check in, or list of visitors is a great source for information. At a morgue, Bourne rips out several sheets to examine later for links to the person who took a body.
  • In one scene, Bourne is placing duct tape over a car window. While he may be mending the broken window, this may also be just to block the view in, or it might be to prevent gun shots from shattering the windows.
  • Updated: In a fight with another assassin, Bourne uses a shotgun to blow up a gas tank, creating a large smoke screen for cover. If you are in need of a distraction, or a screen, blowing something up (at a distance) might be a good idea. (Thanks Nick!)
  • When instructing a friend to lay low he says, “No friends, nothing familiar.” This basically sums up what you should do if you want to ditch your identity.
  • Bourne attaches a tracking device to a vehicle he suspects after luring agents to his specified location.
  • This mention definitely deserves its own “don’t try this at home”. Several flights up, Bourne needs to get down the stairs fast. Grabbing the nearest dead guy, he jumps, positioning the cadaver below, and landing hard. Using a corpse to cushion your fall may not be the closest thing in your situation, but you could use something similar. (You might be asking what would be similar to a dead body, so here are a few suggestions: mattress, inflatable life raft, etc.)


A video on how to fight like Jason Bourne.

How to Kick Someone’s Ass With Everyday Objects

Watch The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Supremacy

The Tools

  • After overpowering two officials, Bourne copies the SIM card of the agent who received a call from the CIA, using a gadget he can then use to listen in on the calls. Here is some more information on the process: the how-to and the gadget. When doing this, he uses a product from CHIPDRIVE and a GSM plugin SIM adapter. The prop used for this can be found here.
  • Bourne uses a Rotring 600 pen.
  • Bourne uses a Siemens ME45 phone.
  • Bourne uses a Sig Sauer PRO gun in Moscow.
  • In all of the movies, when Bourne uses a cell phone, he uses a hands-free accessory to talk. A Bluetooth headset is much more discrete but its signal can be intercepted more easily.

The Tricks

  • Bourne, when detained and questioned, says nothing, assuming a sort of poker face. Some may say the law is on his side, and this is a smart move for Bourne. Others may think this is stupid. At any rate, Bourne accomplishes what he set out to do.
  • Bourne then steals a car for transportation. This is highly illegal, so please read our legal section before learning more. This and this could help.
  • When trying to temporary restrain another agent, Bourne hands him a zip tie to use as handcuffs and put them on his wrists in the front and cinch them using his teeth.
  • In fighting another agent, Bourne again relies on his surroundings to use a rolled up magazine as a weapon. The type of fighting he uses is called Escrima, an old Philippine martial art. In ancient times, it used sticks, but now you can use everyday objects, such as a rolled up paper or a pen.
  • In order to kill someone Bourne uses an electrical cord to strangle him. When fighting, be sure to stay away from cords that might be used to strangle you.

  • After realizing that backup has been called in, Bourne places a magazine inside a toaster, starts toasting it, then breaks open a gas line to create a makeshift bomb. In minutes, when agents are about to enter the house, it blows up, leaving Bourne a nice exit.
  • Bourne affixes a fake license plate he got from his bag to a car he stole to prevent police from finding him quickly.
  • When setting up a meeting place, Bourne always picks the best possible location. In a particular scene, he chooses a location which is set to be the location of a protest march. This makes it difficult for surveillance, and using the protest as a cover, he manages to carry out his mission. When he then realizes that his target is wearing a wire, he brings her into a room on the subway system to block the wire from broadcasting more. You can use this knowledge to perform similar feats if necessary.
  • Bourne uses a prepaid phone card at a phone booth for security and privacy to prevent tracing.
  • When looking for a target he thinks is staying in the city, he calls the major hotels in the city, looking to speak to her.
  • Bourne asks the front desk to call a room (that he knows is already on the phone) so that he can see the room number displayed on the phone.
  • Bourne uses vodka to disarm one cop in Russia by throwing it in the man’s face. He also uses the same bottle to disinfect a gun shot wound, something I don’t recommend for even a paper cut. Alcohol works as a disinfect in a pinch, but it can also damage your wounds.


Watch The Bourne Supremacy

How to Be Jason Bourne: Multiple Passports, Swiss Banking, and Crossing Borders

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Tools

  1. In the film, Bourne uses a monocular, which is basically half of a binocular, and is more compact and subtle. 
  2. Bourne uses a Dual Tone SIG Pro SP2022 in the beginning of the film, and other than the other guns he removes from agents and officers, he uses another SIG Pro.
  3. Bourne buys a pre-paid phone at Waterloo Station, then activates it and drops it in his target’s pocket. This is done to make sure that other agents can’t listen in on the call.

The Tricks

  • In a car, drowning in water, Bourne gets a good breath of air by swimming to the roof where an air pocket formed.
  • Bourne begins to start his new life, grabbing what he had hidden around the house. He hides his passports behind a photo frame and money behind his desk drawer.
  • When calling a journalist who is under agency surveillance, Bourne calls a co-worker who then lets the journalist use her phone. This is done so that the CIA can’t listen to the call (they only have his work and cell lines tapped.)
  • Bourne instructs the journalist to do several things to prevent agents from getting to him. The first is to let the agents target someone else, in this case, a unknown man in a hoodie. Bourne instructs the journalist, Ross, to approach the man, and turn around, to turn suspicion to the man in the hoodie.
  • Next, Bourne instructs him to move into the station as soon as a bus comes, to block the cameras from following him.
  • Bourne has Ross tie his shoe for several minutes, to shake the team of agents trying to track him down.
  • Bourne coaches Ross on how to stay out of the CCTV’s scanning, by keeping on a path that would not be picked up by the camera.

  • When ever usually-moving security cameras stop moving, it usually means that they are off, and when they are suddenly turned off, it usually means that another power is about to do something they don’t want on camera.
  • In order to turn attention towards a specific door, Bourne takes a flashlight, some tape and a fan, and attaches the shining light to the fan, to create the illusion of someone pacing under a door.
  • Knowing that agents on the other side will be arriving shortly, and needing to buy some time, Bourne calls the cops, telling about Americans who are shooting, then fires several times to get others to call in, then leaves. When the agents arrive a minute later, they get detained by police.
  • In Tangiers, Bourne is traveling over roofs, evading police. In order to out run the police, he grabs some clothing off of a clothing line, and wraps it around his hands in order to get over glass covered walls.
  • In order to obtain the voice of a safe’s owner to open a voice activated safe, he calls him, recording him say his name.
  • This, per se, is not so much a Bourne trick as a method used by an ex-agent, who completely dismantles her cellphone so that the agency can not track her down via cellular triangulation. Even when your phone is off, it can still send signals if hacked. In addition, (as FYI in the comments pointed out), she also uses it to indicate to Bourne where she went, like breadcrumbs.
  • Bourne improvises another everyday as a weapon in a fight scene: a hardcover book, which he uses to brutally smash a guy’s head with. In the same part of the film, he also uses a towel as another improvised weapon.


The actor behind Desh shows how they filmed some of the stunts and gives an interview.

James Bond vs Jason Bourne

Watch The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Legacy

The Tools

The Tricks

  • Cross’ wilderness fire is built with logs upright, presumably to protect the fire from being blown out by wind.
  • To keep wolves at bay, Cross uses a lit torch of fire.
  • He splits up with his partner when he has a bad feeling.
  • To prevent tracking signals from being sent, Cross uses a metal and foil tin to act as a sort of faraday cage.
  • Knowing that his tracking device detects body heat, he puts it in a wolf to replicate the heat signature.
  • A fire extinguisher is as a makeshift gun/propulsion device.
  • A saw is used as a sound distraction device.
  • Cross uses a disposable camera to de-magnetize digital passport chips. Normal people shouldn’t need to do this, but you can use an RFID blocking passport envelope.
  • There’s an old con artist lesson that’s used in the film: act confident, act like you belong and people will believe you belong there too.
  • By forcing an emergency shutdown, Cross helps provide cover for his escape.

  • Aaron Cross, just like Jason Bourne, speaks a ton of languages. Duolingo can help you master many.

Watch The Bourne Legacy

Jason Bourne

The Tools

The Tricks

  • Meeting in the middle of a protest, seeking out the chaos, makes it more difficult to be tracked.
  • A bandaid kit tin is used to contain a USB drive.
  • Catching an attacker off guard, Bourne slams the door open.
  • Bourne uses the train system to avoid being tracked through plane travel.
  • Setting off multiple fire alarms to cause a distraction is straight out of the Bourne playbook.
  • When finding an assassin, Bourne points a spotlight to temporarily blind him.

Watch Jason Bourne

What tricks and tools do remember? What did you like about the Bourne trilogy? Let us know in the comments!

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Sources for this article included Wikipedia, IMDB, this article, and watching the films more times than I care to say.


Intrepid Eddie: Survival Preparation [Guest Post]

February 5th, 2010 § 8 comments § permalink

This post was written by Intrepid Eddie

A short time ago, the Lone Iguana contacted me and asked if I was willing to write a guest article on Lone Iguana about what I have done in preparation for possible survival situations.  This was sparked by a Lifehacker article and the ensuing comments it generated. Let me tell you up front that I have no special expertise that makes me any more qualified to write this article than anyone else (though, I have been through Air Force SERE training).  Thus, we have a disclaimer:  Everything I write here is based on my experiences and opinions. Preparing for a survival situation will be different for everyone; if you ask ten people what they do to prepare, you will get ten different answers.  And they will all be valid.  So, to keep from continuously writing out “in my opinion”, just assume that phrase applies to everything I write here.

The most important thing for survival in any situation is knowledge. You can have a truck load of tools and supplies, but if you don’t know some survival basics you won’t last long (unless you’re really freaking lucky).  Fortunately, there is a lot you can do:  take courses, read, watch shows like “Man vs Wild”, “Survivorman”, and “Burn Notice”. Then go out and practice.  Trekking, camping, hunting, and fishing are perfect opportunities.

Now we come to the meat of the article – the survival kit.  This is typically what everyone wants to know about when looking up survival information.  And that’s fine… as long you keep in mind the previous paragraph.

There are basically two types of survival kits: the tiny take-anywhere kits and the big the-world-is-going-to-hell kits.  Both types of kits serve a purpose and are worth the time to consider.  Again, everyone will have different things they consider important and different thoughts on this subject.  This is what I do, and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Also note that these kits are different from other, more specific kits I have, like the winter kits I keep in my cars.

I personally don’t keep micro survival kits.  The only thing I make sure I have on me at all times is a good pocket knife with serrations. On a daily basis, that’s all the survival reassurance I need.  (And I feel a bit naked when I have to pack it away for air travel.)  However, I have seen some really clever micro survival kits – usually packed into something like an Altoids tin or old ammo pouch – and these can be great for backpacking trips when you have to pack light.  Here are a few examples: Altoids Survival kit, another Altoids Survival kit, and Bennett’s Expedient Survival Tin.

And now, the big quick-grab survival kit.  This is a list of all the items I have ready to go should the need arise.  Paranoid?  No, not really.  It’s not about getting nuked by Cuba, or “Red Dawn” actually happening, or something like the Y2K bug coming to pass.  There are natural disasters.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes… this stuff does happen.  How many Katrina survivors or, more recently, Haiti earthquake survivors would have been in much better shape if they had a survival kit at the ready?

My survival kit is packed in a big plastic tub and sits next to my camping tubs.  That way, I can grab them all and have the added benefit of all the camping supplies.  Here, I’ll break down the contents of my survival kit into categories and give a brief explanation of each item.


· SAS Survival Handbook – I consider this the short-term/emergency survival bible.  It covers the basics of what you need to survive in extreme situations.

· Foxfire Book – If the SAS Survival Handbook is the short-term survival bible, then the Foxfire Book is the long-term survival bible.  This covers a multitude of topics on “plain living”. Note that there are several versions and volumes of this book.

· A book on edible plants for your region – This will save you a lot of time (and possibly your life).  I also have one on edible and poisonous fungi.

· A book on first aid – the SAS Survival Handbook touches on the topic, but you’re better off having a book fully dedicated to the subject.

· Topographic maps for your region – Not only good to know where you are and where you’re going, but for planning hunting and fishing excursions.


· Knife – at least one, sharp, full-tang knife with a 6-inch blade (at least).  This is probably the single most important tool to have, so go for quality.  Be warned that knives of this length are illegal to carry in public in many states.

· Whetstone – and know how to properly use it.

· Multi-tool – like a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife.

· Compass – not a critical necessity, but makes navigation a lot easier.

· Basic tools – I have a hammer, a saw, and a pry bar.

· Shovel – to save space, I have a folding camp shovel.

· Hatchet or axe – a long-handled axe is probably better, but I have a hatchet to save space.

· Lockpicks – yes, lockpicks. Think about it. And know how to use them, otherwise they’re worthless. [Disclaimer]

· Fire starter – I have a couple keychain-sized flint and magnesium blocks.  Great for starting fires and they last a long time.

· Fishing gear – in case you get bored eating twigs and berries.

· Small LED flashlights – the kind you typically see on keychains.  These provide good “emergency” light and they last a long time.

· Amateur radio equipment – If you’re a licensed amateur radio operator, this is a no-brainer.  What equipment to take is a whole other article that would be better addressed by someone more qualified.


· Cooking pot – the most versatile item to have is a big, cast-iron dutch oven.  You can use these for just about anything.

· Basic cooking/eating utensils – just the basics.

· Food – MREs are the go-to food for survival kits.  They have a long shelf life and are usually fairly nutritious.  I also have some canned food for variety.

· Water – I always have a few cases of bottled water sitting near the camping tubs.  I also have a few bottles of water purification tablets – these are a lot cheaper than other purification/filtration systems and gadgets.


· Watch – especially one that does not require batteries (I have an old Timex that has to be wound daily). And prefer an analog watch to a digital one.

· Spool of parachute cord – also called 550 cord.  This stuff is incredibly versatile.

· Box of long-burning candles – another “nice to have” item.

· Water-proof matches – even with the fire starter mentioned above, it’s good to be able to start a fire quickly when you really need to.

· Tent – I have two, compact, two-person tents.

· First aid kit – I have a large, fully-stocked first aid kit; the kind with everything you need to perform minor surgery.

· Plastic tarp – not strictly necessary, but it has a lot of uses and doesn’t take up much space.

· Space blanket – even though I have one, I’m not convinced of their value.  If you have to choose, wool blankets are better.

· Wool blanket – I have a few in the kit.  Wool is great because it will keep you warm even if it gets wet.

· Games – something to keep your sanity.  I have a deck of cards and a travel game kit with chess, checkers, and backgammon.

· Notebook, pens, pencils – I like to keep journals, and it’s a good idea for keeping track of good hunting/fishing locations, edible plants, and medical issues. And if you’re desperate, you can always use the paper as kindling for a fire.  Or – If you’re really desperate – for toilet paper.


Guns will always be a controversial topic, and while not a critical survival item, there’s no denying their value in a survival situation.  I won’t go into the pros and cons of gun ownership or any other political BS.  However, for survival, here are my thoughts on guns.  Prefer a hunting rifle or shotgun over a pistol.  Personally, I prefer a hunting rifle – better for hunting food, and if you’re really concerned about self-defense, it will work just as well as a pistol.  Regardless of what type of gun you have (if you have one), know how to handle and use it properly.  That includes cleaning and maintaining it.  Hunter safety classes are a good idea.  Finally, if you don’t know how to properly handle, use, and clean a gun, then you don’t have any business owning one – it won’t do you any good and you’ll probably shoot your eye out.

That, in a rather wordy nutshell, is my personal survival prep.  I’ll leave you with a few touchy-feely things you’ve no doubt already heard:  surviving is largely mental.  First and foremost, don’t panic.  Having a positive attitude is essential. Include others in your plans because community is good and you can do a lot more as a group. And practice, practice, practice (in other words, go and enjoy the outdoors).

Editor’s note: Many thanks, Eddie! Have feedback? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments!

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