Saturday, October 12, 2013

Non Essential

I try to avoid being a "news" type blog, as there plenty of them out there already...but I had to post up this excellent video by the always astute Bill Whittle.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

OTP Practical Encryption Exercise

DanMorgan76 and Mosby had an excellent post up recently regarding One Time Pad encryption.  DM76-OTP

I wanted to add to that discussion by presenting another OTP method and a practical exercise for everyone to complete.....consider it a challenge. Dan explained the use of an alphabetic OTP (similar to a Vigenere square). I would like to present another method to consider in case you are struggling with the concept...

In this method, you first make a key of sufficient length for your messages (receiving party needs to have a copy of the same key) using a true random number generator, or some ten-sided dice. Next we are going to convert the text of our message into numbers. The common way to achieve this is with the use of a checkerboard template. There are many to choose from if you don't want to create your own....and I should point out that the strength of our encryption does not rely upon the use of one checkerboard over another, so don't feel squeamish about using an established one. Today we are going to use the CT-46 checkerboard. (Other charts can be found HERE)

A   E   I   N   O  R
1   2   3   4   5   6

B   C   D   F   G   H   J   K   L   M
70  71 72  73 74 75  76 77  78 79

P   Q  S   T   U   V   W  X   Y   Z
80 81 82 83  84 85 86  87 88 89

sp   .    ,    :   ?    /    (    )    "   code
90 91 92  93 94 95  96 97  98  99

0    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 
00  01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

You would write out your message (plaintext), then using the CT-46, convert the letters, spaces, etc into numbers (90 is used for spaces and 99 will always proceed any prearranged brevity codes). For example:

My message is "need more supplies". Using the chart, I convert it to:


I then break it into 5 digit groups (for manageability),

42272 90795 62908 28480 80783 28200

I add zeros to round out my five digit group if needed. I would now write my key underneath (remember that the first five digit block is only used to identify the proper key/sheet to be used and is not used for coding) my converted message and subtract (without borrowing)...

           42272 90795 62908 28480 80783 28200      (unencrypted message)  
 84722 12345 54321 67890 09876 42791 03759      (one time key)
           30937 46474 05118 29614 48092 25551      (resulting cyphertext)

Your message at this point, having been successfully encrypted, is ready for transmittal via whatever media you find appropriate.

Once the receiving party is in possession of the encrypted message, they would:

1) Write it out....

30937 46474 05118 29614 48092 25551

2) Write their copy of the one time key (OTP) underneath...

30937 46474 05118 29614 48092 25551
12345 54321 67890 09876 42791 03759

3) Add to decrypt (no carrying)...

           30937 46474 05118 29614 48092 25551    (received cyphertext)
 84722 12345 54321 67890 09876 42791 03759    (one time key)
           42272 90795 62908 28480 80783 28200    (resulting decrypted message)

4) Use the agreed upon CT-46 chart to transfer back to letters...

4=N, 2=E, 2=E, 72=D, etc....

"need more supplies"

That is it in it's most basic form. Now for an exercise.....

Here is your encoded message:

63298 08898 54185 74545 28036 90438 94601 15438 01595 61992 14806 35390 75859 32537 54814 64357 58071 78754 84143 24420 53207

As you can see, it consists of 21 five digit groups, which should be written out on your paper on one line, if possible.

Here is your OTP/Key:

65098 20564 92039 47602 18383 11047 66384 06748 93947 28596 23489 63486 58618 68943 68656 46023 98650 83612 07538 09865 83497 69803 24730 96913 75348 (don't forget, the first block is not used to decrypt)

Once you have decrypted the message, feel free to comment with the author's name. (I kept it pretty straight forward; no unnecessary punctuation or end of message indicator such as BTAR or NOFO. You should develop your own SOP's regarding such things.)

The time to get these skills solidified is now folks......while we have the luxury of having internet and the free time to read blogs such as this. Trying to learn this stuff when the world has gone sideways could be a nonstarter.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Update On The INTEL Backdoor Scandal

Just an FYI for everyone regarding Intel Corporation's newer CPU's with built in hardware backdoor.

Go to this link...INTEL , and look for your CPU on the list. If you find it, you have one of the "backdoor-ed" models. They claim you can disable the feature in the BIOS under the Intel ME advice - get rid of it and go with something older or with an AMD cpu.

News release here.....CPU Spying

** To find out your CPU version:

- Windows = Control Panel -> System -> General  , or install CPU-Z

- Linux = open a terminal, type -  cat /proc/cpuinfo , or install CPU-G

- Mac = open a terminal, type - sysctl -a machdep.cpu.brand_string

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Timely Quote It Would Seem

"Before a revolution can take place, the population must lose faith in both the police and the courts.

High taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that's old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way - even though there are always endless attempts to wish it away by legislation. But I started looking for little signs and what some call silly-season symptoms.

I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking way at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.

I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. It is too late to save this culture - this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper."

-- Robert Heinlein (Friday, 1982)

......which segues nicely into.....

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation. ”

-- George Washington

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wilder Tactical Review

Arctic Pilgrim has an ongoing review of Wilder Tactical's IWB holster. Check it out here..


Josh has been doing some great work with OWB holsters and grip texturing as well. (Full disclosure - Josh is a personal friend...but don't hold it against him)

(His new "Swiss Cheese" holster)

Wilder Tactical

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Regarding Living Off The Land Delusions...

Interesting debate over at WRSA in the comments following "Living off the land delusions..."


Wanted to add to that topic since I have some experience on the subject.

Specifically, I want to address -

- Stated requirement of 3000 calories a day
- Switching from a modern diet to a more agrarian/paleo diet
- Real-world calorie deprivation effects on performance

As opinions on the subject are plentiful and often not based on reality I will limit my commentary to what I have experienced firsthand.

I spent a ~90 day rotation in an operational setting living on a very carefully measured 1200 calories a day. I slept 7-8 hours a night, worked out ~3 hours a day, conducted range/tactical training everyday and conducted my assigned duties as well. This was in a very high altitude mountain environment. I began at a fit 210 pounds. The first two weeks were a bit difficult to adjust to, but after that it was smooth sailing. Regarding workouts, I managed to not lose any strength, but made no appreciable gains in strength. At the end of that 90 day period I was VERY lean as I had lost about 25+ pounds. While I lost a lot of fat, I also lost some muscle, but was able to perform all my duties without any real difficulty.

On an earlier deployment, we spent a few months conducting reconnaissance patrols which meant living of of stripped down MRE's. While MRE's are designed to be calorie dense, they create a special kind of havoc in your GI tract. I recall augmenting our diet with local fruits whenever we could, which was a real morale boost if nothing else. I remember a colleague of mine talking about his time in Recondo school "back in the day". He had gone days without eating when he was able to kill a tiny snake and roast it up for chow. He described the energizing and moralizing effects of the hors d'oeuvre size meal as "incredible".

I would also note that when I am conducting my classes I rarely eat during the course of the day. It's not necessarily intentional, it just happens as I am so busy with the COI. Usually wrapping up at the 12th hour of an 8 hour training day, my stomach will make it's demands known.
Lesson learned: I can effectively operate for at least 90 days on a calorie deficient diet. (It should be noted that environmental conditions were moderate to poor. Extreme conditions would have made an impact on the outcome.)

Another time I decided to check the effects of sustained zero caloric intake. I went 7 days with no calories, just water. I still worked and worked out (for the first few days).
Day 1 and 2, I felt fine physically and was able to workout normally. Mentally, I found myself thinking of food more and more. Day 3 was awful. My energy levels crashed substantially, my morale plummeted and my workout was fairly pathetic. Day 4 I kind of levelled out a bit. I found I had to sleep more and my workouts ceased as I simply did not have the energy to both workout and do my job. Days 5-7 I seemed to reach some equilibrium. My energy levels were low, but I was functional. I had increased my sleep to around 10 hours. I thought about food constantly, but it wasn't as distracting as it was earlier in the week. I lost close to 15 pounds over the week, but gained it back quickly when normal eating resumed.
Lesson learned: I know I can go a full week with no eating and still perform at an acceptable (but miserable) level. Bear in mind, I was not dealing with particularly harsh weather or sleeping in the wild, as these factors would also contribute unfavourably to your situation and would need to be accounted for.
Another factor to bring up is our bodies' ability to make the shift from the modern western diet to the agrarian/paleo style diet. This will of course vary wildly based on your current eating habits. I'm sorry to say, but if you eat a rather typical American diet, you are going to have a rather uncomfortable, if not crippling transition to make. The smart move is to begin that transition slowly right now. Start by cutting down on "boxed", processed and sugar laden foods. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables instead of cooked to help adjust enzyme production. Eat less canned products and baked goods. Try to remove white, processed sugar from your diet entirely. Instead satiate your sweet tooth with fruits. Branch out and try eating less common and more organic meats, like bison, rabbit, quail, lamb, local fish and organic pork. This will help "adjust" your system as well as condition your palette to more "gamey" flavors. I remember eating goat for the first time overseas, it was difficult to get down due to the overpowering gamey taste. Another trip I had horse ka-bobs and I have to say, not too bad at all.....just say'in.

The last point I would bring up, which is a touch off topic but bears mentioning is, oral hygiene. How many of you have made provisions for the future care of your teeth? Some people are blessed with a higher oral pH and a genetic disposition towards an oral environment unfriendly to destructive bacteria and acids, but they are in the minority. Having tooth care products such as brushes, floss, xylitol and an emergency filling kit + extraction tools can have a significant impact on your future quality of life.

Might look into the book "The Great Starvation Experiment" for some interesting data. It covers Ancel Keys' experiments on 36 volunteers near the end of WWII.