Operational Security (opsec) Anchor Points

I first learned about “anchor points” from Bruce Schneier. In this article I am going to establish some different types of anchor points since not all anchor points are the same when thinking about security or privacy risks.

Anchor Point (operational security)

A basis for operation.

Anchor Point, Type 1: Static Locations

Any physical or digital space that you regularly frequent, wether or not you are using digital communications. Your home, office, vehicle, coffee shops, grocery stores, retail malls, and restaurants are all examples of static location anchor points.

Anchor Point, Type 2: Static Paths

A route or path that you commonly use to travel. Examples include a road to your home or office. Static paths also include mobility services that you commonly use for transportation. Examples include airports, specific airlines that you repeatedly use, or car-sharing services.

Anchor Point, Type 3: Static Relationships

A person or group of people whom you regularly visit, no matter where you are. Consider the NSA’s Co-Traveler Analytics program, or any technologically sophisticated government program that uses cell phone location data to unethically track relationships. A group of people does not necessarily need to be static, it could be different people from the same organization.

Anchor Point Type Combinations

Anchor Point types can be combined and carry compounding risks. Sitting in your car is a Type 1 Anchor Point. Driving your car between home and work is both Type 1 and 2. If you are driving your parent, sibling, or friend to a place where you regularly spend time together, this combines all three types of anchor points.

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