The big news for the past few weeks has been the story of former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden who told the UK's Guardian newspaper that the US government is accessing the web servers of some of the biggest internet services for the purpose of data mining.
The former NSA contractor has sure made a name for himself. It all seems to be over the top cloak and dagger the way things have worked out. First he leaked the information to a UK newspaper. Then his identity was revealed to the world a few days later. Now he gives exclusive interviews to the South China Morning Post. Conveniently he seeks asylum in China, tells his story only to a Chinese newspaper, and then starts dribbling out tidbits of information such as the U.S. government has been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and China for years.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has given Snowden his support. Maybe Assange is a bit jealous the way Snowden has milked the spotlight and made himself a cult hero.
Snowden revealed a few specifics about PRISM, a surveillance data mining program which allegedly taps directly into the central servers of leading internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube, to obtain audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and other information that enable analysts to track foreign targets.
Does that fact that the NSA may gathering intelligence from the conversations and interactions of average Americans on the internet and airwaves come as a surprise to you? It shouldn't!
While discussing the television show Doomsday Preppers on twitter the topic of OPSEC came up. OPSEC, a military term for operations security, is the process of protecting smaller bits of information that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture.
Here is simple analogy to explain the concept of OPSEC. When we would go on vacation I would often tell family members, don't act like a tourist, it makes you a target for pick pockets and other criminals. Don't stare and point at objects and buildings. Do your best to blend in with the natives.