Thursday, February 22, 2024

Nigeria: Muslim Terrorists Kill 23 in 3-Day String of Attacks

02/22/2024 Nigeria – From February 16 to February 19, suspected Islamic terrorists killed 23 people, injured 10, kidnapped five, and set ablaze 28 houses across multiple villages in Nigeria, according to reports by International Christian Concern (ICC). It is unknown if these are coordinated attacks or if the same terrorists are committing each attack in the area. 
On Friday, February 16, suspected Islamic terrorists invaded the Kwassam community in Kauru County of Benue State, burned six people alive, and kidnapped five others, including a well-known banker. 
Then, in the early morning of February 18, suspected Islamic terrorists killed 11 Christians and burned down 28 houses in Adama Dutse Village in Kaduna State. According to residents from the village who confirmed the attack, “The attackers were on many motorcycles, shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ [God is Greatest].” The villagers were said to be sleeping when the terrorists launched the attack in the early morning hours.
“Police came seven hours after the attack to take photos and ask questions,” said Audu Tanko from Kajuru county. “There is tension now in my village. We are killed because of our faith in Jesus,” said Tanko.
A day later, in the late hours of February 19, suspected terrorists attacked a Christian community in Katsina, the home state of former president Mahamadu Buhari. The Nigeria Police confirmed six people were killed and 10 were injured during the attack. The terrorist stormed the village of Nasarawa in the Faskari county of Katsina State late Monday with heavy arms, including AK-47 rifles, said Abubakar Aliyu, the spokesperson for the Nigeria police in Katsina State, in a press statement.
The police spokesman said, “In total, six people were shot dead and about 10 injured. The gunmen also set ablaze three houses and about 10 vehicles.”
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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

5 Warnings About Bank Safe Deposit Boxes

By Tim Gamble
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Bank safe deposit boxes may seem like the perfect place to store important documents, plans, and even valuables. And in many cases this may be true. However, here are five considerations to think through carefully before deciding to do so.

First, you won't have 24/7 access to the documents and other items in your box, as banks are generally closed at night, and on weekends and holidays. Also, in some circumstances, banks may not open during normal business hours due to inclement weather, natural disasters, or "bank holidays" during financial disasters. It is generally recommended that items that may need to be quickly accessed NOT be stored in a safe deposit box, such as passports, medical directives, living wills, etc. 

Second, if you are forced to suddenly bug-out for whatever reason, it is highly doubtful you'll have time to swing by the bank to collect your documents and valuables on your way out of town, even if the bank is open. 

Third, your documents and other items in safe deposit boxes are NOT insured by the government (FDIC does NOT cover the contents of safe deposit boxes). The contents may or may not be insured privately by the bank. You'll have to read your agreement closely to find out if your bank maintains private insurance on the contents, and what exclusions and limitations may apply. It is also worth noting that "The bank cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen to your safety deposit box, nor the items contained within the box," according to legalmatch.com. In other words, the bank cannot be held legally liable if the contents of your safe deposit box are somehow stolen, lost, or damaged. 

Fourth, law enforcement and government officials will have access to your safe deposit box. According to legalmatch.com, "Government regulatory or enforcement agencies may obtain a court order to access your safe deposit box in some circumstances. An example of this would be if they have “reasonable cause” to believe your box contains illegal or illegally-obtained items. Safe deposit boxes may be frozen, similar to a bank account, until the matter has been resolved.

Fifth, be aware of what happened in Argentina during their financial crisis. Banks were closed by the government for an extend period of time. When they reopened, bank customers found that their safe deposit boxes had been emptied out, either by corrupt bank employees or corrupt government officials (or both, working together). In most cases, those bank customers had no recourse and never recovered their stolen items. 
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Encryption 101 - Part 2 (An Easy and Free Encryption Method)

By Tim Gamble
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Part 1 was posted yesterday, and is a general introduction to encryption for the non-techie.

--The following information is specifically for Windows systems--

Encryption Software

There is a lot of encryption software out there, much of it you have to buy. For years, I used Rohos software, which has both a paid and free version. The free version has less bells and whistles and you are limited, last time I checked, to two gigabytes of encryption (which actually should be plenty for most folks). Rohos worked very well for me, and it does let you create a hidden partition to hide your encrypted data (but that is not really necessary, in my opinion). I haven't used Rohos in years, so things may have changed. 

An Easy, Free Alternative 

I eventually discovered that 7-Zip archive software allows for password-protected full AES-256 encryption. That is one of the encryption standards that I mentioned in Part 1. All that you really need to know is that it is considered one of the absolute best. 

Archive software, such as 7-Zip, is used to compress, or zip-up, files (and extract them later) in order to save memory space. Using 7-Zip to create and password protect encrypted files is easy, even for non-techies. Simply follow these steps:

1- If you don't already have 7-Zip, you can download and install it on your computer. You can get it at Major Geeks (a software site that I have used for years and trust). Go to https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/7_zip.html to get it. Again, it is free.

2- Once it is installed, navigate to the folder containing the files and folders that you want to encrypt. Select the files and folders that you want to encrypt, perform a right-click on them, click 7-Zip from the menu, and then click the "Add to archive" option. This works on your Windows-based desktop, laptop, or any USB key (memory stick). 7-Zip compresses and encrypts all files within any folder you select. I simply keep most of my sensitive files in the same folder, using sub-folders to organize the files, and encrypt/decrypt that folder as needed. 

3- At the Add to Archive dialog box, you can either choose the default name in the top box, or type in a new name for the folder or file, and choose the destination for the encrypted file (the ... button to the right of the top line). Make sure the Archive format (next box down) is set to 7z or zip.

Note: Your "Add to Archive" box may look slightly different depending on your particular version.
4- In the same dialog box, you add a password in the Encryption dialog in the right-column about halfway down, where it says Password and Re-enter Password. You need to remember this password! Just below that, make sure the Encryption method is set to AES-256. Then click Okay. 7-Zip will then zip-up the encrypted file and place it wherever you choose in step 3. Depending on the size of the files and your computer's speed, this way take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

5- You have now created an encrypted file. At this point, you may want to delete/shred the original folder and start using the encrypted folder exclusively (make sure the password for the encrypted folder works first, of course). You may move this encrypted file around, place it on a USB key, make back-up copies of it, or whatever you want to do.

6- To open and use the encrypted files, just right click the encrypted file, select 7-Zip, select Open archive, and the 7-Zip file manager will pop up, and use it to open the encrypted file with your password by choosing the file/folder you want, clicking on Extract (green dash), clicking Okay, then entering your password.

Note: Your box may look slightly different depending on your particular version
A final note: It is still possible to accidentally delete files encrypted by this method the same way you may accidentally delete your non-encrypted files, so pay attention to what you're doing! Remember, if you accidentally delete something from your computer, you can usually recover it from your recycle bin.

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Monday, February 19, 2024

Encryption 101 - Part 1 (A Beginner's Guide)

By Tim Gamble
   
--The following information is specifically for Windows systems-- 

You know, or at least have heard, that you should protect your information. You may have even heard the word "encryption." But, what exactly is encryption? And how do you do it? Do you need awesome tech skills or expensive software? This article will quickly give you a basic understanding of encryption and what you may need to encrypt, as well as reveal (in part 2) an easy and free way even non-techies can use encryption. 

What is encryption? Very simply, encryption is a way to "scramble" information stored on your computer, laptop, USB key (memory stick), or other electronic device so that no one without the encryption password can read it.  So, if someone steals your laptop or you lose your USB key, no one can read the sensitive files that are encrypted on it, even if they otherwise can get into your device. There are several different methods and standards for encryption, but there is no need to understand the technical specifications in order to use encryption.

What needs to be encrypted?  How much of your information you decide to encrypt is up to you. I personally only encrypt personal information of a sensitive nature - tax and financial records, business records, insurance information, medical information, my master list of passwords and pin numbers, contact lists, back-up copies of important documents such as birth certificates, CC permits, deeds, titles, driver's licenses and passports. I also encrypt certain "prepper" information that might reveal aspects of my prepping that I don't want to be public knowledge, such as planned bug-out locations, or guns and ammo, food storage and medical supply lists, among others. 

I see no need to encrypt my music and video files, photos, or even most of the prepper-type videos, articles, and eBooks I've downloaded over the years. In fact, less than 15% of my computer files are encrypted. I only bother encrypting truly sensitive information. 

Why encrypt important information? Privacy is important. ID theft has become a $20 billion a year industry in the United States. Then there is the government, public schools, Big Tech, large corporations, political and social activists, snooping employers, and even nosy neighbors that want to know everything about you, even (especially) the stuff that is absolutely none of their business. Preppers and survivalists also should be concerned about operational security. There are lots of legitimate reason to protect your data. The idea that only "bad people" need to worry about privacy is a stunningly ignorant opinion. 

Are there drawbacks to encryption? There is one, and its potentially a huge drawback. If you forget or lose your password, there is no way to recover it. No one will be able to send you a link to change your password. Even the encryption software company or your favorite IT guy will not be able to recover or change it for you. If you cannot figure out your password, you will be locked out of your encrypted data forever.

Also, its worth noting that the encryption is only as strong as your password. Don't use an obvious or easy-to-guess password, such as your mother's or wife's maiden name, your dog's name, your social security number, or even "password." Many security experts now suggest using a random sentence as your password, such as "IhatepurpleeggssaidSam" (that one is "I hate purple eggs said Sam" without the spaces) - make it something that you'll remember but no one else is likely to ever guess.

Does the Government (FBI, NSA, etc) have the ability to break encryption? This is a controversial question, and opinions vary widely. At the very least, it is not quick or easy for the government to break into encrypted data. Even at the highest levels, it would take considerable time and resources, and even then it may not be possible. However, I personally assume that with their technical expertise, access to supercomputers, and other resources, the government would be able to eventually break any encryption if they were determined enough to do so. 

"Determined enough" means willing to devote a considerable amount of time, manpower, and other resources. They do not care enough about your list of prepper supplies or bug-out locations to devote such effort to your data. They would need a real reason to go after your data to such an extent.     

Does the Government (FBI, NSA, etc) the legal right break into my encrypted data? Can they force me to reveal my password? Constitutionally, no. In the USA, they would need a warrant, obtained only after showing just cause, to go after your data. And even then, they would not be able to force you to cooperate (5th amendment means they cannot force you to incriminate yourself). However, in recent years, we have seen the government and even the Court system itself ignore the Constitution when it is convenient for them to do so. Most other countries do not even have similar 5th amendment protections, and folks in those countries may be jailed for refusing to reveal a password. 
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.
AD: I use and highly recommend GorillaDrive USB Flash Drives. They are designed to be pressure / impact resistant (up to 250 psi), heat resistant (up to 225 degrees F), and water resistant (up to 65 feet). Although they list freeze resistance at 32 degrees F, one of mine did survive outside overnight in below freezing weather (mid 20s), when I accidentally left it on top of my vehicle. I've been using Gorilla Drives for 10 years and have never had one fail.


Sunday, February 18, 2024

UK: Nearly a Quarter of 18 to 34 Year Olds Believe the Bible Should Be Banned

By Tim Gamble

02/18/2024 UK – Last week, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported on a study in the United Kingdom showing that nearly a quarter of young Brits are open to banning the Bible, because it contains perceived hate speech.

Whitestone Insights, a UK-based polling group, surveyed over 2,000 adults, asking if they agreed with the following statement: “Unless the offending parts can be edited out, books containing what some perceive as hate speech should be banned from general sale, including if necessary religious texts such as the Bible.

Whitestone found that young Brits, ages 18 to 34, were most likely to agree with this statement, amounting to 23% of participants. Middle-aged Brits, ages 35 to 54, were the second highest group at 17%, followed by Brits over age 55 at 13%.

The results tell of a deeper social belief in the UK that Christian views should be censored – and it is a belief that has plagued all of Europe.

Last year, an American street preacher was arrested in England for preaching the Bible. A woman was also arrested for silently praying outside of an abortion clinic – and in neighboring Finland, Paivi Räsänen, a member of the Finish parliament, faced charges of hate speech after sharing her religious beliefs on social media.

These cases, along with the recent poll, are a concerning reminder of the declining state of religious freedom occurring in Western democracies around the world.


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