How to Finance the Resistance: Bitcoin Mixing

UPDATE: Bitmixer.io is no more. However, this article outlines some alternative strategies.

The resistance needs money. That’s about as basic a statement as it gets. You need to buy things, and you need those purchases to go unnoticed and untracked by the powers that be. You might like the idea of dealing in cold, hard cash–and that’s almost always a great option–but let’s face it. Some things, you can’t/don’t buy with cash. Enter Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. For beginners, often the first BTC wallet you will set up is somehow linked to your name, whether that be through a bank transfer you made to fund it, or the BTC ATM you had to scan your driver’s license at in order to exchange cash for BTC. (There are other, face to face ways to get BTC but many beginners start with something simple).  I have a Bitcoin wallet attached to my name that I use for all kinds of normal, day to day things.

Let’s say you’ve done this too (try Coinbase or Circle), and you now own Bitcoin. Great! Now you’re ready to jump on Tor Browser and make some purchases, right? No. There’s a wrinkle.

While using bitcoins is an excellent way to make your purchases, donations, and p2p payments, without losing money through inflated transaction fees, transactions are never truly anonymous. Bitcoin activities are recorded and available publicly via the blockchain; a comprehensive database which keeps a record of bitcoin transactions.

All exchanges require the user to scan ID documents, and large transactions must be reported to the proper governmental authority. When you use Bitcoin to pay for goods and services, you will of course need to provide your name and address to the seller for delivery purposes.

This means that a third party with an interest in tracking your activities can use your visible balance and ID information as a basis from which to track your future transactions or to study previous activity. In short, you have compromised your security and privacy.

“Okay,” you’re thinking. “You told me to use Bitcoin and now you’re telling me it’s not anonymous. So, what’s the point?” It just means you have to up your game a bit. There’s always a way, and it’s called Bitcoin mixing. Here’s how it works.security

  • You have your Bitcoin wallet, linked to your name.  You put $100 in it, let’s say, which is about .22 BTC right now. You need to get that BTC unattached from your name.
  • Use proper protocols:
    • Tor Browser, on TAILS operating system, with persistence.
    • Public wifi, not near your home.
    • If possible, use a computer that is not yours or does not ever connect to your home or work internet; a library, internet cafe, etc.
    • Use an anonymous token from a VPN not hosted in the US.
    • Guard your metadata at all costs—or try not to create any.
  • Open another Bitcoin wallet (or 3).
  •  Go to a site like BitMixer, and enter your new addresses. Use the service fee slider to choose an arbitrary amount (if you choose the service fee, then it prevents amount-based analysis.) Choose a time delay as well, as this defeats time-based transaction analysis.
  • Click Continue, and follow the rest of the process to give them the address to your first Bitcoin wallet (the one linked to you) and set an amount to mix.
  • They will take the Bitcoins belonging to you and your name, and give you Bitcoins from somewhere else, that have been mixed with other people’s Bitcoins, to the new addresses you provide.
  • Now you have at least two other Bitcoin accounts, that have no connection to your identity. I’d even consider doing it 2-3 times just to be sure.
  • If you like, make another wallet to transfer all of your mixed Bitcoin to. Just be sure to never access it without setting up the protocols like you did when you created the wallets.
  • You’re ready to make anonymous purchases!

For an few added layers of privacy, make a new Bitcoin wallet to use as a cutout for every purchase you make. When you buy something, use Shapeshift.io to change your Bitcoin into another currency, send it to your one-time use Bitcoin wallet, and then make your purchase.

You might be thinking that this is inconvenient. It’s long and tedious. It’s annoying. It’s too much work, especially when you can use the Amazon app on your phone and buy whatever you need with the credit card they have on file for you. But that’s the situation we’re in. To have any kind of freedom, any kind of privacy, you will have to do inconvenient things. You’ll have to suck up the annoyance and learn how to operate in a world where every word you say and action you take is cataloged by people who have resources at their disposal you could only dream of.

You might be thinking there is nothing you could possibly need to buy that’s so private you need to do all this. Think again, and think very hard. What does money buy? Not just food, clothing, shelter. It buys gear you don’t want to advertise that you have. It buys information, influence. It opens doors that may otherwise be closed to you. If you cannot think of a single instance where those things could be useful to you or your group, then you need to think harder.

You might even be thinking that there’s no point, that the deck is too stacked, the tech is too in their favor, the threat is too much. If that’s the case, if there is absolutely no hope, then why are you involved in the liberty fight at all?

If that’s your belief, so be it. For the rest of you, let’s get to work.

 

Long live freedom!

Offensive Tactics: Infiltrating

The Stop Shouting blog has an EXCELLENT primer on offensive tactics and infiltration that you need to read. We’ve been talking here on the TOWR site about guerrilla tactics, and infiltration is something we haven’t gotten into much yet. It’s a fantastic way to collect intelligence and information, however, and that article has a great argument for why you should be infiltrating.

What I am proposing is for Readers to research, find and then infiltrate any and all organizations that smack of communism, socialism, totalitarianism. In short, the political and economic underbelly of the progressive Borg. You would be right to ask, “to what purpose?”… and I will tell you right here and now that it is to perform the reconnaissance role of the scout, to learn all you can about the goals, aims, structure and individuals that make up these organizations.  Yes, this will entail burying your emotions on the various topics to allow you to get proximity and access.  This will enable you to see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears the workings of the mechanisms..

“Why would I do that?”, you may ask.  Well, somebody has to do it.  People of emotional maturity and a certain outlook… consider it THE opportunity for normal, traditional Americans to DO SOMETHING about the mechanism of the Borg before it is a moment passed.

The next logical question you might be asking is, “What’s the point? What is to be gained?” You’d be surprised. Think of what you could do with a membership list. Think of the intelligence collection potential.

What categories of information are important, and why?  Well, primary importance is assigned to personnel rosters.  It is useful for planning purposes to know WHO you are dealing with.  Plus, if you want to send them gifts or cards or flower arrangements, it makes it easier.  How can you do this without being inside an organization?  Simple… you can compile lists of cars, tags, bearing certain political bumper stickers.  Election season is great for this, as people let their enthusiasms run wild, another example is political yard signs supporting one kleptocrat over another..  So easy to collect, a child can do it!

If the wheels in your brain are turning now, that’s a good thing. But you might have also realized a problem. Let’s say that you like to go to the Moms Demand Action Facebook page for your state and troll them. You use your regular Facebook account, and you have a lot of fun talking smack to them. So, reading this article you’re thinking, wow, I should go infiltrate MDA in my state. Why do you suppose that’s a bad idea?

This is reason #897324 why a gray man persona is something to be maintained. You can’t infiltrate a group if you’ve spent the last 2 years running your mouth loudly and proudly, emblazoning your vehicle with bumper stickers, or showing up at every rally and action you can get your mouse finger to RSVP to. Side note: if your social media profile picture announces your solidarity for gun rights, for instance, you may want to rethink your strategy.

Not everyone can infiltrate groups. Not everyone has the mental capacity for infiltrating, or the mindset. That’s not elitist arrogance talking, that’s fact. Just as not everyone has what it takes to be a rocket engineer, not everyone has what it takes to engage the enemy on a face to face level (and no, I’m not talking about violent encounters. For the record, not only is that not what we’re about, but most of the people running their mouth about that kind of thing don’t have what it takes for that either.) Thankfully, it takes all kinds to make up a resistance, and hopefully you’ve done some brutally honest self-examination to discover what you have the aptitude for, and what you may be simply not cut out for.

So, what is an infiltrator to do once in place and churning out an archive of internal documents, rosters and reports?  That is easy… just refer to the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual (for sanity and legality’s sake, just stick to the organizational behavior parts, mkay?  That is legal to do.)

Go read the rest of the article. And start thinking….perhaps you’ve already rendered yourself useless for face to face infiltration work, but you may know someone else who hasn’t. You may be able to support their operation in terms of collating and organizing their information (in a secure environment, of course). You may even be able to help point them to a group or person to get started.

If you can’t infiltrate in person, you could always sign up for their email lists (with proper security procedures, of course). Make a new identity for yourself (you can get started here). Next, you can sign up for their forums and discussion boards with your new identity. Read their literature and websites; get familiar with their terminology and how to interact with them as a friendly. RESIST the urge to ‘school’ them; you’re there to become one of them, not educate them or convert them. Keep in mind that at this stage, Republican party meetings and groups are to be viewed the same as anything else. They’re all the same now, and those who are faithful to the party above liberty are not much different than your average anti-liberty folk.

There is much to be done, and most of it is done behind the obvious, out of the public eye, without regard for personal credit or accolades. There will be no iconic photos of you in the action, no big Facebook posts announcing your involvement; in fact, you’ll need to keep that part of your activities compartmentalized from everyone you know besides select cell members. Can you accept that?

If you can, then let’s get to work.

Do You Need OPSEC if You Have Nothing to Hide?

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e talk a lot about OPSEC and PERSEC, as well as how you should be communicating with and protecting your group—or yourself.

One of the biggest objections we hear about OPSEC or see posted by people on social media is that OPSEC is unnecessary because “we have nothing to hide.” This article will answer that, and is the first in a series where we’ll explore those objections in detail.

OPSEC and Chess

The Cryptosphere has a fantastic explanation of why you do have something to hide. All of you. And you very well SHOULD. To paraphrase for the folks who don’t spend their days dealing with game theory:

Imagine you’re playing chess. You see the whole board, you see all the pieces, and every possible move and rule is available to you.  People involved with game theory call that “perfect information,” or “the same information to determine all of the possible games (all combinations of legal moves) as would be available at the end of the game.” When you’re playing chess, all possible moves are right there. The other player isn’t hiding the board, they’re not hiding their pieces, they’re not suddenly changing the rules (hence the phrase “above board.”).  Chess is chess. Now, this would be a situation of “perfect information” except for one problem.

Most humans don’t possess the cognitive processing paths allowing them to treat chess as a game of perfect information. We’re simply not primed or trained to see all those possible moves from all sides.

Why do you think it was such a big deal when Garry Kasparov beat Big Blue the supercomputer at chess in 1996? Because computers have perfect information. Your brain usually doesn’t have the capacity to gain it, even if it’s available to you.

Tic-tac-toe is another game he mentions, to break it down further. If you put a 9-square TTT board, you could use a decision tree to plan out every possible move by both players throughout the game. You could literally have a blueprint for how to win because in any given board configuration you would know all possible moves by your opponent. That is called having perfect information.

How does this apply to you? Now imagine playing chess when your opponent decides midway through the game that the rules changed. He hid his pieces, and then suddenly has extra. Then you realize you don’t even know how many pieces he’s playing with. He’s hiding half the board, and changes which half he’s hiding at any given time. How well could you play?

Guess what? That’s exactly the kind of chess game you’re playing right now, whether you like it or not.

The Game is Stacked Against You

Before saying “I have nothing to hide” I’d have to say that I possessed perfect information in the context of making that decision. That’s perfect information not only about every past move leading up to this decision but every future move after it. It assumes that all “pieces” are above the board and that I know all the rules to this game. And that’s demonstrably incorrect.

Let’s take the assets and programs of the National Security Agency as some of our game pieces. For them to be above the board we’d need the government to be both honest and accountable about them. Instead, NSA Director Keith Alexander has repeatedly lied to the public about every aspect possible. So has Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. They’ve lied to us as individual players and Congress as what we might call a Superplayer; about buildings, assets, programs, collected materials. Everything we’d need to get a good idea, no less a complete idea, about the pieces on the playing board.

Now, that’s just the pieces. Let’s look at the board you’re playing on.

In order to play chess you’ve got to abide by certain rules, but there’s a trade-off: the rules are all made plain beforehand. You’re not going to get midway through the game and then be challenged about the legality of your opening move, either due to a rule that was hidden from you or due to a new interpretation of an old rule. But in the game model we’re dealing with here, government in general and intelligence agencies in particular have established exactly this possibility. As one example: the very court opinions and administration interpretations of the Patriot Act allowing the government to order telecommunications companies to collect and provide massive amounts of data on US citizens are secret.

…once you seemingly violate a rule that you’re not aware of, or once the administration alters its interpretation of the rule to make you a violator, they can now go back through every communication within their grasp and piece it together in any way they desire in order to make you appear guilty as sin. [emphasis added]

Without you knowing, at any step of the process.

What’s It All Mean?

This all adds up to a very simple bottom line. By saying “I have nothing to hide,” you are making very dangerous and false assumptions.

Both players in the chess game (you and the government) are in agreement as to the rules of the game, and those rules won’t change. We have seen plenty to know that we are all most definitely NOT in agreement about the rules, and those rules change at the opponent’s whim–or even after the fact.

Both players know how many pieces are on the table. We also know this is false; your opponent has pieces you aren’t aware of, many of which are deployed against you and others like you. They swap those pieces out at will, upgrade them when possible, and even stack their pieces in ways that violate whatever rules it previously agreed to.

Both players are playing openly. Obviously this is false as well. While you’re playing “openly” and claiming you’re pure as the driven snow, your opponent is playing the game at a whole other level—a level you don’t see. When it moves pieces, you don’t know. When it changes the rules, you don’t know. When it decides to add a host more pieces or even have one of its pieces pretend to be one of yours, you don’t know.

Your moves only affect your own game. If you truly believe this, then you are the worst kind of security risk: the person who thinks he can act how he wants and it doesn’t affect anyone else. Your moves affect every game being played around you; your opponent is able to play many, many games simultaneously, and has no problem taking strategy or information from your game and using it to beat another player. Your arrogance, lack of understanding, and refusal to comprehend the “game” can and will get someone else killed or arrested.

“I have nothing to hide” means you’re playing an asymmetric information game like other players would want you to: poorly. Out of some mythical principle you’ve chosen to tie both hands behind your back in order to play a game that the intelligence agencies won’t even tell you the rules to. This is a game you will lose every time. Because not only do other players have more information than you, they also have just about all the power in the situation. And remember what I said above: strategy in asymmetric games is dictated by power imbalance between the players. Relinquishing both your power and your information is not a strategy, it’s a suicide.

The thing about suicide is, it affects everyone around them. It’s not a solo activity. So next time you shrug your shoulders on Facebook and turn your nose up at protecting your own information and that of your group, remember this: You don’t have perfect information and this game isn’t being played fairly. If you want to play that way anyhow, then others will pay the price for your actions.

6 Things You Should Never Do With a Burner Phone

I get a lot of questions about burner phones. What kind to buy, how to buy, where to buy. The problem is, people go buy them and then use them improperly—completely defeating the purpose.

There is most definitely a right and a wrong way to use a burner phone. We’ll talk about 6 things that you should never, ever, under any circumstances do with your burner. In fact, if you have one and you have EVER done any of these things, you can assume that anything you talked about or did while it was in your possession is already known by your adversary.

1. Buy your burner phone anywhere you normally are.

This one doesn’t necessarily deal with usage, but it’s necessary to mention. If your idea of tradecraft is going to the Wal-Mart 5 miles from your house instead of the Target that’s 2 miles from your house, then please slap yourself for me. Don’t buy it near your work, your home, don’t buy it at the gas station you normally go to, the quickie mart where you get your smokes at 10pm, or anywhere else you ever go to. In fact, it’s also a good idea to not go in your own car. Don’t do anything you normally do, don’t stop anywhere you normally stop, and whatever you do, don’t take your regular phone with you. Have a cover story just in case. Always have a cover.

2. Put all your contacts in your burner.

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people go out of their way to purchase one “correctly,” and then immediately put their new phone side by side with their old one so they can put all their contacts in it. Or even worse, they simply log into their cloud account and download their contacts backup. I should not have to explain how beyond moronic this is. Burner phones are not for chatting people up. They’re for coordination, passing short bursts of time-sensitive information, etc. In other words, you use them if you have to, and only to speak to another burner phone.

3. Install all your regular apps.

Pay very close attention to these words from Grugq:

Just 4 apps are enough to reidentify users 95% of the time. A complete list of installed apps is unique for 99%.

Your burner phone is not your personal phone. Say that out loud to yourself until you understand it. Your burner has one purpose, and one purpose only. Don’t install Wickr on it and sign in with your regular username. Don’t install Candy Crush on it because that’s how you kill time with your regular phone. Don’t install that one app you can’t do without. Your burner is not your personal phone.

Read the rest at Patrick Henry Society. When you’re done, take a look at the Groundrod Primer class coming up. You need it.

The Paranoid PC – Part 4 – Hardware and Firmware Updates

Greetings patriots and privacy nuts:

I was going to have this be the final article, but I’m having a little trouble with the tail end, so we’re going to break it into two.

Before we begin today’s piece, just a word about common sense and OPSEC/PERSEC.  We all have our own tolerance for personal risk.  Those of us writing for TOWR accept the risk of writing with our real names and speaking out for our guiding principles and against tyrrany.  We run classes that almost certainly have been infiltrated and work hard to protect the identities of our students.

That said, please have respect for those around you.  If you’re a member of your group and stick your head up, all of those affiliated with you are at risk when the metaphorical (or literal) bombs start to drop.  There is a place for bold, principled stands, and there is a time to break out the rifles and say, “no more”.  However, Facebook is not the place to telegraph your punches or reveal your capabilities.  Answering a survey of, “How does your patriot group keep in contact outside of Facebook?” is the height of foolishness.  Our adversaries, whoever you see them as, now have an area to focus on.  An article from Kit goes into this in more detail, but for now, “Know your role and shut your hole!”

On to the PC article after the jump.

Continue reading “The Paranoid PC – Part 4 – Hardware and Firmware Updates”