Further to “Own the night”.

My attention has been drawn to an article in the military times headed:- How much longer will US and partner forces ‘own the night’ in combat?

Scribed in 2018,  I’m not going into ‘modern advances and super tooled out soldiers’ in the near future as I do think the modern armed forces have lost the knack of doing anything without high tech.

Skills like moving at night making good use of cover has been replaced by a heavy reliance on NGV’s to spot the other guy before they spot you. Add the use of IR target illuminators and an enemy equipped with NGV can not only see what you are pointing at but WHO IS POINTING.

As the article rightly says, the whole dynamic of night-work has changed if the enemy is similarly equipped to you.

Moving away from combat zones, regulars will know I’m very much into foraging. So how do I cope with low light, no light, CCTV.

I used to carry my own Gen 1 scope to spot any IR illuminators BUT technology has moved on so far, camera sensitivity is well into night vision without illumination. Add PIR systems and things aren’t as easy as they were say 20 years ago.

Now I did play with lasers to flood any cameras but after a close call found out that lasers, be they visible or IR beam, only work on a camera that is unfiltered with respect to what light they will react to. Add any flare out is an automatic trigger for a response if the monitoring center has a switched on crew on duty. Mag or colored flares also don’t work well as iris adjustment (think F-stop on an old version 33mm camera) and inbuilt IR filters, are so fast (if not instant) , unless you can set off a flare within a few feet from a lens, you’re largely wasting your time trying.

So what does work?
How much money has your target got?
If they are equipped with digital thermal imaging, not only can they see in total darkness, over a limited distance they can cope with light fog, light rain, and snow. They can virtually undress you no matter what you are wearing. Scary? You bet!

What’s left?
Caution, nothing I’m going to discuss is legal and is listed as things you should be aware of if fitting your own CCTV for home security or buying a NGV.

  • Blind Cameras and NGV.
    This is possible if the bad guy can generate enough power and include a fast switching spectrum of LASER color from old school red, green, blue, white, plus IR.  Torches can work but at night, but is that sensible? Somehow I think not.
    Note: Fitting a simple ‘flare out’ or camera not working detector is sufficient to raise the alarm if that happens.
  • Disable with Jammers —
    Wireless systems transmit their video in the UHF-SHF frequencies typically 900 Mhz, 1.2Ghz, 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz.
    Advanced ones use ‘jitter’ transmission where their frequency changes on the fly. To jam ANY of these needs you to carry a RF sniffer or CCTV HH test monitor to work out what they are using and the system of encryption.**As for how much power you need? LOTS, and VERY DIRECTIONAL.
    Note: **That in itself means you are unlikely to be able to blanket jam a multiple camera site.
  • What can you do about IP (computer networked) camera’s.
    I’m talking hacking here and it’s doable especially with the smart phones of today BUT AGAIN, once you know the IP, you still need to  blast over the signal the camera is sending in the vague hope you can ‘freeze out’ it’s signals.
    Note: See above **.
  • Cutting Cables –
    Yep, doable. Only be warned, some are powered by mains electricity. In the rain cutting live cables is not a pastime I recommend and besides that, you need access to the cabling.
    Note: Don’t forget, most high security ones are battery and/or solar backed.
  • Spray Paint
    And the advent of the drone.
    Doable but it will trigger off any motion detectors.
    Noisy too as in my experience there is nothing as distinctive as the sound of a drone.
  • Stick a bag over it-
    Doable, as I have seen that done by a drone.
    See above for my thoughts on drones.
    Note: Thermal will still work without the correct type of bag.
  • Encourage pigeons.
    No, I’m not being flippant here as nothing ‘mucks’ up a camera like a coating if bird shit on the lens.
    Note: Which is why most CCTV have anti bird spikes.
  • Shoot the damn thing!
    Doable if you have the power and accuracy as most ‘security rated lenses’ have toughened glass and cases. Having said that, paintball is effective if someone has mixed a gelling agent to the paint.
    Note: Only most commercial ones have ‘windscreen wipers’ and some really expensive systems (I was pretty stunned by the first one I fitted) have a ‘washer’ system.

All italic notes may help in your assessment of what to fit and why.

What’s left? In the 2011 London riots those caught on CCTV were identified because they didn’t bother to take the minor protection of covering their faces and some wore VERY distinctive clothing. So, cover up and go gray!

Is that 100% Effective? NO and hell no nowadays!
As thermal imaging is so good now your facial shape and hair style, or if you are wearing glasses, is clear enough to use for a basic identification.  The description I heard used in a training seminar was that in operation a good camera virtually undresses a heat source. Um. they proved it too. So, if you are facing a mixed system i.e. IR, thermal digital, and optical, I’d simply go home before you are caught.

Whoops too late, it saw you.

How to move forward.
Covert surveillance. If they have CCTV, move on.
There will be other places.
HOWEVER, in a long term ‘grid down’ scenario, batteries will fail after a time, even if they are solar backed, the control room may or may not already be offline.
Note: 72 hours is a pretty useful guide if not fitted with solar.

So, how lucky do you feel?
I did a post a long time ago called “Looter”.
Some kind person described it as a good write up about infiltration. Personally, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was written from experience gained in another life and as a commercial security engineer.

It is biased towards a grid down scenario, but has a few pointers to aid foragers and survivors who would like to get in, re-supply, get out, unscathed, and live to see another day.

If you would like a copy, email me.

As always, the content of this post is for education and entertainment. DO NOT BREAK THE LAW.

All scenarios end and eventually you will have to stand before the man and explain why you did what you did. Worse case? You end up in a marshal law scenario stood up against a wall.

Think I’m kidding there? I mean at all??