April 24, 2021
I had an interesting experience when I tried to log on to my personal network at my house this week. My computer refused to recognize the house network and instead attempted to connect to one of the recognized networks in my area. This did not surprise me because it has happened before. It tends to do this after I have been asked to take one of the mandatory updates to my operating system. After the update, I am usually required to go back and reset my defaults to the changes I had previously made. One of the options is always to connect to the house system we had abandoned when we moved in three years ago. The network no longer exists, but I am still given the option of connection.
What made this time different was that one of the network options was “FBI Surveillance”. Being a bit of a wag, I decided to try and connect to the FBI network. I located the network with no problem, but I was then asked the killer question, “enter the network security key.” I not only did not have the FBI security key, but I am also smart enough to realize that trying to hack the FBI would result in one of two things. I would either be frustrated and not be able to get in, or I would get in. Either way, that probably meant a knock at the door to see what I was doing. I decided to leave the FBI alone.
Even though I did not try and hack the FBI network, I wondered why it was operating surveillance within the range of my laptop. When I tried to go online and see why the FBI was doing surveillance in my town, I opened one of the suggested pages. The request came back with only one word on a gray screen, “Forbidden”. Now if I were a conspiracy theorist, things would have been heating up. Since I am not, I let it pass. As my house network still refused to be identified, I turned off and reset the modem. This time it came up and I was back online.
Thoughts: When I looked up the FBI online, I found that they have an entire army of people whose sole job is to do surveillance (not a surprise). Whether they are tracking a terrorist suspect, a mobster, or potential spy, the secret is not about being a master of disguise, it is about blending in. Todd Letcher is Special Agent-in-Charge of the Special Operations Division of the FBI in New York. He says if his team is doing the job right, you will not even know they are there. “When a target comes out of the bodega with a cup of coffee, they don’t see where we are, or they don’t see our people.” Most people spend their lives trying to get noticed. We do odd things to get our “15 minutes of fame”. Being ordinary is not a bad thing. You just need to learn to do it well. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.