Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Family Communications Code

Communication during a crisis is extremely important. During a disaster you are most concerned about your loved ones, people, more than things. Survival becomes job 1. We do not have little children anymore. We have married and younger kids. We no longer need a code word so that our kids will know that they can go with someone. If you have small children, devise a word where only your family knows that it is your security word. When someone other than you is sent to pick your child up, the child will only go with them if they know the security word. This a safe way to care for your children.
For our family we have code words to let each other know if there is trouble at home or all is well. We have code words to leave on our front door if we have to bug out telling who, where, and when we left.
I work on a federal installation. We often have exercises and sometimes “real world” crisis that happen. I want to be able to tell my wife what is happening without compromising any security measures. So we have a code that only the two of us know so I can communicate quickly to her what is going on. Even it’s a real world event, I want her to be able to know and act accordingly to protect my family.
We have also devised a code for all communication. It is called a book cipher. It goes like this:
A book cipher is a cipher in which the key is some aspect of a book or other text. Books are common and widely available. Coders use books because the details of the key are hidden from anyone even if they had a copy of the key. This is an example of security by obscurity. It’s essential that both coders not only have the same book, but the same edition.
Traditionally book ciphers work by replacing words in the text of a message with the location of words from the book key being used.
Use common books and make sure they are the same edition. Bibles and other scripture would work. We use a dictionary. You can find duplicate books at dollar stores.
Most of these codes we use occasionally for fun and practice. I use the code for what is happening at work all the time with my wife.
When you develop a family code make it as simple as possible. But remember, the less elaborate the code, the easier it is to break it. The use of keys like the book cipher will ensure a level of difficulty that would require more than just intelligence to crack. The problem with key codes is that if the key is obtained by your enemy, they will have your code.
Be creative when you choose code words or develop a key. Guard your key. Also don’t lose it because you never use it. Put it with your preparedness gear.
Communication security is important if you want to keep operations (what you do) private. A family code is like many other parts of preparation, something you may never need, but it’s good to have it in place.
Semper Paratus
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