Security for Mafiosos and Freedom Fighters

Tim May timcmay at
Wed Jul 16 08:49:25 PDT 2003

Several good suggestions in this thread about securing machines and 
keyboards against FBI black bag jobs and the like.

(By the way, the USB flashdrive (a 256 MB FlashHopper) I have on my 
keychain--my physical keychain!--is probably waterproof. The USB port 
has a little plastic cover which slides on snugly. Until I eventually 
misplace it, I am using it. I expect the thing is showerproof, though I 
don't intend to test it. Water resistance can be tested 
nondestructively with things like Fluorinert, of course. Also, surfers 
and kayakers often have O-ring sealed gizmos they wear under their wet 
suits, coming in different sizes. It would be trivial to find one to 
hold either a USB flashdrive or a Compact Flash card.)

The larger issue is a business/consulting opportunity:

The collection of "lore" on resisting bugs and intercepts and bad 
security measures is not something the average Mafioso or freedom 
fighter is much interested in learning himself. Just as specialists are 
used to sweep rooms for bugs, the same should apply to helping Vito 
Corleone beef up his computer system.


"Have LAN, will Travel." Security Consultants, Inc. will provide you, 
your family, and your associates with a computer and communications 
package which is resistant to FBI or CIA wiretaps, black bag jobs, Van 
Eyck interception, and remote surveillance. We will evaluate your 
current system, your needs, and design a system for you. This will 
included throwaway cellphones, easy to use but robust encryption, 
steganography, access to offshore accounts, physical security for the 
computers, digital dead drops, use of untraceable remailers, personal 
security devices (such as USB flash drives storing sensitive material), 
and set up of t.v. cameras under your control for monitoring snooping, 
intrusion, and even dishonest associates and family. Security 
Consultants does not currently handle weapons issues, but all your 
other bases are belong to us.


I mean this somewhat whimsically, but the fact is that this kind of 
security consulting will become more and more important as even 
mobsters move into the information age. (When I was developing some of 
the ideas prior to the formation of Cypherpunks, one of the interesting 
news items was about how a guy on the run from the Feds was using an 
early bulletin board system--I think it was GEnie, but it may have been 
Prodigy--to communicate with his wife in chat rooms.)

In a free society, those who provide services like roofing or plumbing 
or security needs are of course not implicated in the  possible crimes 
or other activities of their customers. A guy who builds a security 
fence for Don Corleone is not guilty of aiding and abetting.

But we have not had a free society for many decades, and it is more 
than possible that RICO and Espionage statutes would be interpreted by 
government to say that assisting someone like Aldrich Ames in improving 
his tradecraft is ipso facto part of a conspiracy.

Or the spooks could demand that Security Consultants, Inc. place 
"special" networks and cameras...

Issues of trust and fear. (When the Mob finds out this has been done 
and snatches one of the children of the company and returns the child 
as a "turkey," with both arms, both legs, the nose, the ears, and the 
tongue precisely and surgically removed, others in the industry may 
realize the dangers of crossing the Mob.)

--Tim May, Occupied America
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary 
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759. 

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