PURPLE DRAGON The NSA has de-classified a historical document, PURPLE DRAGON: The Origin and Development of the United States OPSEC Program. Although as heavily and annoyingly redacted as are most declassified … Read More

Seek and ye shall find

Seek and ye shall find Recently a journalist friend was asked by a company to look into whether the company had been defrauded in an investment scheme. As it turned out, the question became moot when the company … Read More

406 MHz MicroPLB™ Type GXL Personal Locator Beacon

406 MHz MicroPLB™ Type GXL Personal Locator Beacon Microwave Monolithics Incorporated $698 As readers know, we are big believers in personal locator beacons (see the October 2003, December 2005, January 2007, and … Read More

Perseverance Pays

Perseverance Pays Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously said, “Democracy is messy.” That observation surely applies to the states which emerged from the U.S.S.R. Call them what you will, Russia, … Read More

Giving money to children

Giving money to children   We recently saw an episode of Two and a Half Men in which Jake acquired some money which he promptly wasted, a scenario that should come as no surprise to anyone with young children. … Read More

The new era of IPCI theft

The new era of IPCI theft We were recently on a farm. One of the concerns we heard expressed was that as we slide into the depression (if we believe the economic indicators) racing toward us there will be an … Read More

Avoiding the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC debacle

Avoiding the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC debacle As anyone not locked in a closet is aware, Bernard Madoff was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors something on the order of $50 … Read More

The Unbreakable Umbrella

The Unbreakable Umbrella We have written in the past (see the November and December 2006 issues of ÆGIS) of the virtues of a cane for self-defense. While the cane is an appropriate emergency safety tool for people … Read More

Vopt 9

Vopt 9 Golden Bow $40.00 There are two easy ways to maximize the power of your computer. The first is to have as much memory as possible, and the second is to have your hard drive as defragmented as thoroughly … Read More

Presidential politics: More lies on all sides

Presidential politics: More lies on all sides As the political fight for the Presidency of the United States heats up, the lies have continued to flow in. Our recent favorite said, in essence, that while families … Read More

Illness and guns

Illness and guns Recently this editor became (and still is) seriously ill. The good news was that any illness whose symptoms in any manner suggest a Viral Hemorrhagic Fever tends not to be ignored. The better news … Read More

Sights for concealed-carry guns

Sights for concealed-carry guns As readers know, we do not own, keep, or carry guns for personal protection. On the other hand, we are occasionally forced to carry guns as part of our professional obligations, and … Read More

Sharing the news in China

Sharing the news in China As part of the Olympics, hotels providing Internet access are being required by the Chinese government to install software to capture everything you send and receive. While those who … Read More

AML implementation issues

AML implementation issues Someone we know pointed out that we had been saddled with the rather onerous Sarbanes Oxley not because companies were bad at record keeping, but because companies had been engaging in … Read More

Who Speaks for Islam?

Who Speaks for Islam? John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed GallupPress ISBN: 978-1-59562-017-0 222 pages $22.95 Religion per se clearly does not fall into the bailiwick of this journal. The effect of either religion … Read More

Finders keepers…

Finders keepers… Twice recently one of our editors lost something of value. The first time it was his cell phone – a sort of practice run – and the second time it was his wallet. Both times he was acting … Read More

The Lamperd EMD Safety Bracelet

The Lamperd EMD Safety Bracelet As everyone in the world is aware, on11 September 2001several sets of essentially-unarmed men – they had mat cutters whose blades were shorter than the length allowed by FAA … Read More

District of Columbia v Heller

District of Columbia v Heller The Supreme Court’s decision inDISTRICT OF COLUMBIAv. HELLER (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf) is significant, in that it clarifies the meaning of “the … Read More

Remembering the Trojan horse

Remembering the Trojan horse As readers of this journal know, theUnited Statesis under increasing intelligence attack, with the most obvious being cyber attack. Of late, there has been increasing realization that … Read More

Who’s lying? Follow the money!

Who’s lying? Follow the money! We recently were looking at a public policy debate, whose adherents on both sides kept sending us compelling information. When looking at these kinds of issues it is difficult to … Read More

Acronis True Image 11 Home

Acronis True Image 11 Home Acronis $49.99 http://www.acronis.com/ We had a problem shared by many. We would get a computer installed and running, and eventually it would get really slow as we installed new … Read More

Cigar Story

Cigar Story While hunting down a fraudster in the Dominican Republic, the editors had a chance to visit a cigar factory. Our host was Jose Tomas Dominguez, the Master Blender and Director General of Tabacalera … Read More

The Explanator™

The Explanator™ Some time ago we had dinner with a chief of police and a journalist. In discussions of events and why people behaved as they did, it was clear that a re-occuring theme was becoming visible. It was … Read More

Flying and strokes

Flying and strokes Last week a friend of ours went to Europe for a meeting, which meant he flew out Monday night, had a meeting Tuesday, and was to return on Tuesday night or Wednesday. On Thursday we tried calling … Read More

Smartphone hacking

Smartphone hacking We recently got an e-mail from Mayer Nudel, publisher of the monthly Traveler’s World Threat Map and the daily Travel Advisories Subscription Service that we discussed previously in the March … Read More

Virtue is its own reward…

Virtue is its own reward… The other day we went to see some screenings of student films at the New York Film Academy in New York City. One was a particularly disgusting short film of a girl being beaten, which … Read More

Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston

Free Lunch David Cay Johnston Portfolio ISBN: 1-978-1-59184-191-3 352 pages $24.95 https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/300246/free-lunch-by-david-cay-johnston/ The editors of AEGIS journal are died in the wool … Read More

Outside the box

Outside the box Recently, Financial Examinations and Evaluations (FE&E), which does a lot of collections work, got a call from a chain of bookstores wanting help in collecting on a lot of money owed by people … Read More

Security and the traffic light. And the smart bomb.

Security and the traffic light. And the smart bomb. 1. What problem is the policy or measure trying to solve? 2. How can it fail in practice? 3. Given the failure modes, how well does it solve the problem? 4. What … Read More

On shootings

On shootings Shootings are traumatic for all involved, and it is important that they be analyzed after the fact. Of course, when judging this kind of event after the fact, we spend hours or days analyzing a … Read More


Disinformation When this editor was in graduate school, a friend left a deck of computer punch cards in the computer room one evening. Assuming this was an oversight, I mentioned this to him. He explained that he … Read More

What’s the rush, pal?

What’s the rush, pal? While we generally think of exercise of due diligence in financial terms, it is really more of an approach to doing business and, indeed to leading our lives. We were reminded of this the … Read More

MicroPLB™, Type GX

MicroPLB™, Type GX Microwave Monolithics $898 http://www.micro-mono.com/ After a long wait, Microwave Monolithics’ personal locator beacons (PLBs) are being offered for sale to the general public. We bought … Read More

Charmin Ultra Soft Mega

Charmin Ultra Soft Mega We travel abroad a lot, often to places quite different from home. We tend to take a lot of specialized equipment with us, including first aid supplies, personal locator beacons, satellite … Read More

TSA and the implant

TSA and the implant As has been widely noted, airport security theater has caused an upsweep in theft. While largely this has been theft from unlocked suitcases, it has also been at security checkpoints. As an … Read More

Where there’s a will…

Where there’s a will… Recently someone we knew died, leaving a friend as executor of his estate, or so it seemed. However, the will that was on file was notarized and had a second signature, but no names or … Read More

OPSEC and the downfall of New York’s governor

OPSEC and the downfall of New York’s governor We recently got back from Argentina. One of the delightful things about being there is that a lot of things that seem important in Gringolandia simply don’t make it … Read More

Interpreting resumes

Interpreting resumes The presidential campaign has brought to mind the importance of interpreting resumes. Resumes require interpretation because words can be somewhat unclear: As Bill Clinton noted during his 1998 … Read More

How Doctors Think – Jerome Groopman, MD

How Doctors Think  Jerome Groopman, MD Publisher ISBN-13: 9780618610037 336 pages $15.95 https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/how-doctors-think/9780547053646 When we were in graduate school, we took a class with a … Read More

Interpreting the news

Interpreting the news Recently we had to go to Nevis, and discovered that American Airlines had cancelled the flight because of what appeared to be a crash and fire on the runway. So we flew to St. Kitts and took … Read More

Decryption through memory theft

Decryption through memory theft Of late we have seen a number of articles on a new way to get decryption keys, in this case, by pulling out the DRAM and reading it. You can see this demonstrated at … Read More

Concealed carry

Concealed carry We are not folks who habitually carry guns either personally or professionally. On the other hand, there are times when we need to carry guns, and to have them concealed. Ease of concealed carry … Read More

Demystifying OPSEC assessments: A “how to” primer.

Demystifying OPSEC assessments: A “how to” primer. While we, in this journal, deal with OPSEC in the commercial environment, it is always instructive to see how OPSEC is approached in the military environment, … Read More

More unintended consequences

More unintended consequences In the January issue article Guns or butter Gasoline or eggs we discussed the fact that the current enthusiasm for ethanol from low biomass sources like corn (the Brazilians use higher … Read More

Who should guard the hen house?

Who should guard the hen house? While we don’t deal professionally with the world of security, it is certainly an area of interest. One of the people to whom we look for an appropriate philosophy of security is … Read More


Corpocracy Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World’s Greatest Wealth Machine — And How to Get It Back Robert A. G. Monks Publisher ISBN: 978-0-470-14509-8 272 pages $29.95 … Read More

Losing data safely

Losing data safely In October 2007 Iron Mountain told GE Money that a backup tape was missing. GE shared the information this month. The good news is that the tape is most likely misfiled somewhere in Iron … Read More

Travel nutrition

Travel nutrition Because we travel so much, health is a constant preoccupation of ours. Some parts of this equation become fairly obvious fairly quickly: It only takes one bout of cholera to learn the importance of … Read More

Credit rating agencies

Credit rating agencies We have never been fans of credit rating agencies. They have been a poor substitute for due diligence of debt and investment alike. We can see where they may be a valuable service for retail … Read More


VC While loss of intellectual property and critical information (IPCI) is costly to the country as a whole – $300 billion a year – it affects different size companies differently. For small companies, who have … Read More


iPhone Apple / AT&T Wireless $399.00 http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/specials/iPhoneCenter.html 1-866-MOBILITY As international travelers, we are always interested in new quad-band terminals, so … Read More

Funny thefts

Funny thefts Most thefts are not fun, but occasionally we come across some that are. We have two favorites. The first involved the fiancé of a friend, who was dog sitting for the weekend. On Sunday morning she … Read More

Guns or butter Gasoline or Eggs

 Guns or butter Gasoline or eggs The other morning we went to the store to buy eggs, and discovered that the cost of eggs had more than doubled since last year. This is largely related to two factors. The first is … Read More

Dancing down the hill to Hell

Dancing down the hill to Hell We generally think of due diligence as something to be exercised in financial dealings. But it also applies in the world of dance. If you are a dancer, if you know any dancers, or if … Read More

How does loss of IPCI manifest itself?

How does loss of IPCI manifest itself? If someone hijacks a truckload of a product you made, the product is gone. You will be aware that it is gone, and will be able to make a bookkeeping entry to account for its … Read More

October 2002 – 30 September 2004

October 2002 – 30 September 2004 It is not our wont to discuss politics in these pages, firstly because this is an inappropriate place for political discussion, and secondly because the political views of the … Read More

Dyalog APL, Version 11

Dyalog APL, Version 11 Dylog Limited http://www.dyalog.com/ +44(0)1256 338461 In his wayward youth this editor was an APL programmer. At that time, before even large companies could afford their own computers, APL … Read More

Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM

Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM We are particularly good at finding concealed assets: In an average year we are usually looking for somewhere in the $600-$800 million range of stolen or hidden assets. And two … Read More

Interviewing, Interrogation, and Torture

Interviewing, Interrogation, and Torture Earlier this year someone we knew was concerned when they found out we were going to a place where a local opposition politician was reputedly boiled in oil by the powers … Read More

Globalstar Spot Messenger

Spot Messenger Spot Inc $149.94, Service $99/year http://www.findmespot.com/ 1-408-933-4518 As readers know, we are big fans of personal locator beacons for anyone who may need emergency help to stay alive (see the … Read More

2007 Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

2007 Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission We have been talking for quite some time about the losses of IPCI associated with China. We thought some readers might be interested … Read More

Check fraud: When are you responsible?

Check fraud: When are you responsible? Reprinted from the Leahy Newsletter with permission from Bob Leahy ([email protected]). Contributed articles do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of ÆGIS. Newsletter … Read More

TreeAge Pro

TreeAge Pro TreeAge Software, Inc. $100 – $500, depending on version http://www.treeage.com/ 1-413-458-0104 How do you decide what to do? Often, decisions are made based on gut feel, rather than careful analysis, … Read More

The End of America, by Naomi Wolf

The End of America, by Naomi Wolf In The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot Chelsea Green Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-933392-79-0, 168 pages, $13.95, http://chelseagreen.com/2007/items/endofamerica … Read More

Rediscover Your Native Fitness (PACE), by Al Sears, M.D.

Rediscover Your Native Fitness (PACE), by Al Sears, M.D. ÆGIS is a strong proponent of being as healthy as possible. This includes doing appropriate exercise. The problem is that the state of the art in exercise … Read More

Sensitive Information For Protective Details

Sensitive Information For Protective Details In the performance of protective services, information is as valuable as gold. Indeed, information is often even more valuable than gold. To help us avoid or deal with a … Read More

Missing The Train

Missing The Train Transportation is big business, and the manufacture of trains, planes, and automobiles is rife with opportunities for loss of intellectual property and critical information (IPCI). An interesting … Read More

ACH phone in fraud

ACH phone in fraud As readers know, ACH (Automated Clearing House) is a goldmine for those who deal with fraud. We were recently reminded of this when a friend recently started bouncing checks. He couldn’t figure … Read More


SpamArrest Spam Arrest LLC $5.95/month or $24.95/6 months or 44.95/12 months or 74.95/24 months http://www.spamarrest.com/ In the February 2007 issue of ÆGIS we discussed ChoiceMail, a PC based e-mail challenge … Read More

Move it and lose it

Move it and lose it We have seen two cases of late where people were acting stupid in the smart zone while moving from one residence to another. In the first case someone who was moving left a gun unattended in an … Read More

Global warming and the little ice age

Global warming and the little ice age  By any standard global warming is a serious issue, particularly if you are a polar bear – the harbinger of things to come – whose habitat is rapidly disappearing. There … Read More

Jack of all trades?

Jack of all trades? In the world of protective services there are a wide variety of skill sets available. Some operators are really good at advance work, but you probably don’t want to hand them an MP5 and drop … Read More

Watching TJX

Watching TJX  The interesting thing about the TJX caper is not that TJX lost the credit card data of 96 million consumers (about 29 million MasterCard victims and 65 million Visa victims). The cost, after all, … Read More

The economic impact of implementing an OPSEC program

The economic impact of implementing an OPSEC program It is a mistake to look at OPSEC as reducing losses. Rather, OPSEC should be looked at as increasing revenues. How does this work? Due to the magnitude of the … Read More

Spies for sport

Spies for sport  NFL security confiscated a video camera and its tape from a New England Patriots employee on the team’s sideline during a game against the Jets in a suspected spying incident (videotaping of an … Read More

Laptop protection

Laptop protection  We have seen a recent rash of reports of problems caused by stolen computers. In some cases the computers were laptops, and in others they were desktops. In all cases, the confidential … Read More

When the melting pot stops boiling

When the melting pot stops boiling  When everything works right, a startling transformation takes place between first generation Americans and second generation Americans. First generation Americans speak with … Read More

Which weighs more: A pound of feathers or a pound of gold?

Which weighs more: A pound of feathers or a pound of gold? This trick question, much beloved by grade school children, is straightforward. A pound of feathers weighs more. This is because feathers are measured in … Read More

Backing Up Data

Backing Up Data Recently a friend who has a one-man business realized that his computer’s hard drive was full. He purchased an external hard drive, moved all the data to it, and erased all the original data. Now, … Read More

Better and Reinventing the CFO, A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Better and Reinventing the CFO, A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance In a rare move, we are today discussing two books, Better and Reinventing the CFO, each of which falls into our must-read category. Past must-read … Read More


Bribery The 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) bans any company, domestic or foreign, that does business in the U.S. from bribing government officials anywhere in the world. A number of U.S. and E.U. … Read More


On-shoring It has been our experience that a wage difference of 50% or greater is a benchmark for moving jobs from the developed nations to the developing nations. As the wage difference disappears – a result of … Read More

Travel alternatives

Travel alternatives Recently a friend had to take a business trip to Minneapolis, but couldn’t get there because the weather had grounded all incoming flights. They ended up going the next day, and arrived barely … Read More

What bankers can learn from public health

What bankers can learn from public health When we speak at conferences about protecting intellectual property and critical information – IPCI – there are two groups that we expect to have no interest in the … Read More

Information Examination

Information Examination Financial shenanigans are, well, financial in nature, and can be fairly subtle. Think back to Superman III, where a low paid junior programmer (Richard Pryor) has stolen money from a bank by … Read More

Knives for Carry

Knives for Carry As mentioned in the previous article, we had two knives stolen from our luggage on a recent trip. We considered this to be the perfect opportunity to see if there were any better choices available … Read More

Preventing theft from checked baggage

Preventing theft from checked baggage It is widely rumored that theft in checked baggage has skyrocketed now that air travelers can no longer lock bags. While our request to airlines for statistics on this have … Read More

Satcom on the train

Satcom on the train For us, communications is a constant preoccupation. When we travel we tend to have local-country and U.S. mobile phones with us, as well as variety of satellite phones, including both … Read More

Where are the lawsuits?

Where are the lawsuits? The other day someone asked us where the lawsuits were over loss of intellectual property. After all, we (among others) have been saying that at $300 billion a year, the preventable loss of … Read More

Electronic voting machines redeux

Electronic voting machines redeux  It is important to make every effort to assure that the electoral process is above suspicion, and try to at least try to reach the 1 to 1.5 percent error figure believed to be … Read More

What level vest do you need?

What level vest do you need? When looking at ballistic vests, there are more possibilities than may seem immediately obvious to those who don’t wear them. As we discussed in the May issue of ÆGIS, you start with … Read More

Surefire U2 Ultra

Surefire U2 Ultra Surefire $279.00 http://www.surefire.com/maxexp/main/co_disp/displ/prrfnbr/24187/sesent/00 1-714-545-9444 In terms of frequency of use, we find that a good flashlight is among the most useful … Read More

A new ACH scheme

A new ACH scheme We have frequently used a variety of languages (ancient Hebrew, Arabic, German, French, Latin, Spanish, and Urdu, to pick a few of we recall), with some confidence that our readers will understand. … Read More


Translation Recently, one of our clients asked us to translate a legal document from Spanish to English. The document was the articles of incorporation of a Mexican company. The client was performing their due … Read More

Putting yourself in God’s hands

Putting yourself in God’s hands During hurricane Katrina, a police car was dispatched in New Orleans to pick up a minister and take him to safety. The minister said thank you, but that he put himself in God’s … Read More


Surprise! We were trying to explain the concept of OPSEC to someone foreign to most of the professional worlds in which we live. We finally came up with a comprehensible analogy in the surprise birthday party. • … Read More

Fostering corruption. Or not.

Fostering corruption. Or not. People tend to make use of opportunities presented to them, often with little regard for ethics. In some cases this is done within the constraints of the law (which does not concern us … Read More

First Choice Millennium Flex MF 8 Body Armor

First Choice Millennium Flex MF 8 Body Armor (We paid a show price of $656.25 at TREXPO, but cannot find a retail price) http://www.firstchoicearmor.com/ 1-508-559-0777 We ourselves have traditionally worn level II … Read More

The romance of travel….

The romance of travel…. Last month we were standing in the Airport Security Theater line for a purposeless inspection, and the person behind us plaintively asked, “What ever happened to the romance of … Read More

Shooting under stress

Shooting under stress On Tuesday, 17 April 2007, we were attending the SureFire anti-terrorism symposium in New York City. During lunch, when attendees had their mobile phones briefly turned on, we got a call from … Read More

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