Finding Power In Retreat {for intelligence field operators in advanced positions}

Battle_at_Dabulin

It is the fallacy of the field operator, especially the intrepid novitiate, to assume the total responsibility for mission success. This imagery spawned of fervent self improvement regiments, Hollywood and Showtime’s Homeland, stresses that the bulk of mission objectives is carried out solely by one single individual. In all actuality, there are inner and outer circles of operators, military or security personnel, and analysts to handle many of these responsibilities. The duty of the field operator lies not only in aggressive and relentless attack, but moreso in the gathering of intelligence and retreat to analyze and further strategize for future sorties in the field.

“The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone.” —Sun Tzu, Art Of War

The benefits of a strong field operator in an advanced position seem obvious. They are welcome into places where they should perhaps not be welcomed. They are knowing of things they perhaps should not be knowing. They are a bridge between enemies on either side of conflict. This is a stressful position under even the most glorious circumstances, and worth a second glance. While it has been noted the fallacy to assume total mission responsibility of the new operator, the internal drive to do so (the quarterback running the touchdown) is strongly ingrained into the psyche of especially Americans. This is potentially dangerous, not only for the operator, but potentially for the mission at large.

Ami Toben of protectioncircle.org is a highly trained countersurveillance professional, often dealing with VIP force protection and covert applications. In his work, he details the “magic circle of protection” which includes an outer circle or perimeter of analysts, and inner circle of operators, and possibly even an elite innermost circle of praetorian guards. When operating in an advanced position, and for extended maneuvers, it does indeed behove the “lone” field operator to remember and heed these layers which are there not only for protection, but to ensure the overall mission success. This is the very definition of mission critical deployment, and the mark of higher strategy.

While it is true that under certain circumstances that no one is in a better or more advantageous position to deliver the mission’s most successful application, or coup de grace if you will, than the field operator in advanced position. Aggressive and relentless attack can have serious deficits which may be overlooked by someone enduring field-stress and the relevant mania associated with operating deep behind the lines. Overexposure leading unto vulnerability is a strong likelihood, but this can be mitigated by the wisdom of these simple and easy to remember maxims:

Accept retreat to avoid defeat.

Quit the fray to fight another day.

 

Go ahead, say them out loud to yourself several times until they are imprinted upon your memory. It is okay to let go, run, and hide. That is a time when you can come up with your best strategy for the next time you are ready to attack. Retreat is just as important as attack in a winning strategy. Remember that the attacker can often become overexposed; by retreating, a field operator can potentially flush the opposition out of their comfortable positions to send them searching, and therefore exposing them to countersurveillance and counterintelligence tactics. This could mean the difference between winning or losing in a particular theatre during a particular operation.

Last but not least, the strategy for defeat is that of the BLUETEAMThey have more resources, more capital, and ultimately more comfort than the REDTEAM in any engagement. Of course it is the tendency for defense to become complacent and soft, but a field operator in advanced position must be reminded to take it easy once in a while. Get some rest, eat some food, hit the gym, watch a movie. Stop overexposing yourself to the opposing force by constantly wearing yourself down with relentless attack.

Find Power In Retreat

 

 

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Challenging Security Limitations: White vs. Black Box Testing & Real Risk

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I awoke in the middle of the night. It was the witching hour, 3am! Rapidly behind my lowered eyelids pie-graphs and charts explaining esoteric security concepts flashed in sequence, but I was too groggy to retain everything I learned. Why I am chosen for this sort of lucidity, I will never understand. This article is an attempt to best re-create the deeper concepts I received in that vision, but a week has elapsed since that night and therefore I have mostly forgotten everything. I’ll just have to wing it.

White Box Vs. Black Box

The article I have linked above describes the difference between the security, and/or software testing procedure in which internal elements are either known or unknown by the testers. The benefits of knowing the internal workings in a test allow for a more thorough and rigorous approach to each and every individual node or aspect of the subject, whereas a Redteam performing an unknown or Black Box test may not strike upon every single nuance built into the system, but may however come up with something heretofore unknown. The Black Box test is conducted exclusively by third-party security or testing professionals, which is requisite due to their specific insights into security penetration and access. For these reasons, it is considered a “low-level” test which is also known as an integration or unit test. It is conducted, in other words, from the outside working inward.

White Box tests are conducted usually by software developers or some part of the internal staff working on the project or overview. White Box tests are considered high-level tests also called system or acceptance testing. These tests are intended to fully air-tight the system after the beta-testing bugs have been detected and eliminated. The benefits of thorough White Box testing are thoroughness, insofar as the team knows the way the program or plan “should” work and can therefore test against this ideal. An internal team conducting this type of test knows the code (or building scheme; what have you), and therefore possesses an eagle-eye’s view of the entirety of the subject’s workings.

So Which Is Better For Your Company?

Before I answer this question for you, ask yourself:

  1. Do I have an internal team already providing White Box testing?
  2. Are they specifically hired for testing, or did we just divert Sheila and Burt from engineering over there to do another bug-sweep? (Remember what happened in the 1986 film Aliens.)
  3. If you have a specific internal team for testing, are they getting on well with engineering? Do they have a working rapport and are able to comprehend each other effectively leading up to the testing phase?
  4. Did you seek professional consulting from a specialized security Redteam?
  5. If you did not answer YES’ to each of the above questions, you and your company are not necessarily ready for what I am about to reveal to you in the next section.

Attrition Theory

I am not a mathematician however I think you can get behind me on this.

x/a – y/b = (+, – = successful, unsuccessful)

Attrition Theory basically asserts that given company with resources (personnel, training level, security architecture, security equipment, surveillance, etc.) when attacked by competitor (or OpFor) with resources y, a simple subtraction is necessary to determine who is successful in the attack. If the OpFor is willing to invest enough time and resources into their raid on company a, their success will be indicated by the result being a negative number, having taken the amount of invested resources from company into the red.

Is your company ready for your competitor or OpFor to outbid you on your willingness to invest in preventative security measures? Following a breach, it may be too late to save face so insurance, or the ability to clean up after the fact, is just not going to be enough.

Now to answer the question I asked before: Which sort of test is better?

Chew On This

So your internal team designated another internal team to do the testing. Ok. So the engineers got with the testers and did a Power Point powwow. Sure. So then after that you decided you still thought it would be wise to get an outside team to consult. Good. They do their scans and don’t really provide any insight beyond the scope of the White Box team, but good on you for checking. So you’re awesome, right? Invulnerable!

BRIQ | HAUS LTD. SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE has the guts to ask you these hard questions:

  1. How secure is your facility/program in case of a fire drill? Do you have protocols in place to handle securing end-user’s data BEFORE they flee the scene?
  2. What about in case of a REAL FIRE. And are you willing to test this in a non-drill scenario to absolutely ensure your security protocols work?
  3. Is your staff alerted to the higher danger of active shooters, like the scenario recently at YouTube? If so, do you again have a plan in place to protect end-user data from a potential shooter or *gasp* terrorist attack?
  4. What about acts of God like locusts, plague, or you know, floods? Are you guys going to not only get out of the building safe, but will you be able to stop Boris & Natasha from killing Moose’n’Squirrel during the disaster? For the OpFor, luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.
  5. If you didn’t answer ‘YES’ to each of the above questions, you need to contact us at BRIQ | HAUS LTD. SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE and immediately schedule consultation. Our information technology and intelligence community professionals know things that can protect your bottom line, so you can stop worrying about all the hard realisms I just threw at you.

My name is Robert Brooks Authement, owner and operator of Briq Haus Ltd. I think like the bad guys so you and your team don’t have to. If you think these insights can be of assistance to you and your company, please consider me and my team at your service.

kinopoisk.ru

 

FOOTHILLS FASHION MALL UNREQUESTED REDTEAM SECURITY ANALYSIS by Briq|Haus Ltd.

Purpose & Intent

BRIQ | HAUS LTD. SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE intends to interface and contract with other professionals and services to create customized logistical and analytical solutions for our clients while developing innovation at a physical headquarters.

This is the mission statement of my company, whose design is security-centric with the purpose of providing private sector security analysis on contractual basis. On October 10th, 2017, the owner/operator, myself, Robert Brooks Authement, went to the mall to try out the new city gym. In approaching the mall I was astounded at the countless abundance of security vulnerabilities I witnessed, so I pulled out my camera and began with great intentions a meager and cursory security analysis of the structure, personnel, and network integration present.

As a disclaimer, I am a rather unconventional thinker, which may be viewed from the narrow concept that would label such perspective a danger, or from the considerate standpoint that perhaps unconventional methodology such as I present here may in fact be an advantageous asset with which to ally oneself and one’s company.

Entry Into Building

I was chagrined to have entered the complex on foot from the south, coming up from Horsetooth road passing between the construction area near the sleep store to the west, and the facade of the Marriot Hotel to the east. As I entered the complex on foot, my path took me directly to an abutment and not a single sign nor portal within the mall could be located. I found this to be incredibly poor design, as I should have been met with an entrance to at least some retail business and perhaps signs with advertisements. Check 1; poor user experience based on un-mindful design.

I walked around the exterior of the building, and lo and behold, the first and only way inside I found was a backdoor which was PROPPED OPEN. Surely this was an “employee only” portal, but a gentleman within pointed through the hallway to how I may actually reach the mall, and my destination, the new city gym.

Further Exploration

I made it through my workout and put on my secret normal person costume. Here I perform a couple of feats of social engineering to be enjoyed by you and your affiliates. What am I doing? I’m demonstrating the effortless ease with which I can interpenetrate the supposed ‘boundaries’ of the establishment and even seamlessly bypass the scrutiny of onsite employees. Later I will demonstrate major defunct operability of the mall security team.

What Security???

Advantage Security Inc. was the chosen contractor to protect the people and assets of this multi-business establishment. Surely bigger does not mean better, as this under-equipped but highly versatile security analyst will demonstrate. My initial contact with security was brief and on the up and up, but what followed was demonstrably laughable in the confusion that ensued. Check 2; poor choice and lack of training/oversight for so-called ‘security staff.’

The Byzantine Attack, Bust, and Near-Meltdown

Your team will kindly forgive my resulting to use the vernacular during this video. I was followed outside by the security staff whom had taken to their neat-o rent-a-cop-mobiles. Despite walking away on friendly terms and having literally explained my intention and purpose for being there in clear and concise language, the team decided that since there was absolutely nothing to do, that I must be the lowest hanging fruit and therefore a legitimate threat. I entered the building at another side and then the team had positioned themselves in the center where I approached.

I pulled out my phone and told Blueteam Leader Captain Andrew, “Check this out.” With a $30 phone purchased off eBay I performed in less than 60 seconds time an effective cybersecurity audit of the pubic wifi network. Without going into the boring details of how I did that, the story continues by Andrew informing me that I would have to leave for the day because I was not “allowed to do ‘that’ or record at the mall.” Not allowed to record at the mall??? Oh I think he meant that I would not be allowed to record their lackadaisical and in my humble opinion totally insufficient security protocols and behavior. I acquiesced to the demand, but I put the personnel to a stress test by escalating the situation with language. No harm, no foul, they did perform professionally under the stress however my main analysis is that their aim was wrongfully directed at me as a danger.

I feel I should have been brought in and interviewed regarding my tradecraft and security expertise, however their behavior was key in encouraging me to follow through with due diligence and present my case to your team.

And as a disclaimer, my adrenaline was up from the quasi-confrontation so you will kindly allow for the little f-bomb I drop in here. This is what I mean by unconventional. Effective; but unconventional.

Last But Not Least. . .

One more little accident waiting to happen here.

Conclusive Analysis

Bigger is not always better! I remember the previous incarnation of our lovely town mall, and the present structure reminds me so much of a jail. Surely it was built to “trap” the tourists between the retail and restaurants/entertainment venues like some sort of citadel. Clearly the design was made by person’s whose main attention is to profitability and raising the bottom line. From the standpoint of this plucky and intrepid security analyst, wealth without security is only a target.

Check 3; total assessment = vulnerable. This facility is open season for petty thieves, grand larceny, social engineering and confidence schemes, network infiltration and identity theft, and would-be attackers with malicious intent. From my standpoint the Fort Collins Foothills Fashion Mall totally fails the BRIQ | HAUS LTD. SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE unrequested redteam security audit. Judging from my insider sources of DC employers, a great deal of people coming to Fort Collins for its charm and quiet appeal are either members of the United States Intelligence Community or War Veterans and Ex-Military or Government personnel. These people are extremely security conscious, and will see the flaws present in the design and systems integration of the mall. They may not pay much heed to the thought, but subconsciously, they will know that it is not a safe place.

The infrastructural vulnerabilities and risk exposure are just too numerous to count. Take a walk with me and I’ll show you, for a small consultation fee.

The network vulnerability is typical of public networks, however an astute system administrator can patch these vulnerabilities and make them go away.

With the 2017 holiday season incoming it is highly advisable to protect not only your property and investment, but the families of customers who go to the mall hoping for a peaceful and safe shopping experience. Thank you for reading my report, I can be reached at the following e-mail:

mailto:briqhausltd@gmail.com

Respectfully submitted this 10th day of October, 2017,

Sir Robert Brooks Authement; Owner/Operator

BRIQ | HAUS LTD. SECURITY & INTELLIGENCE