Spartan9 Dispatch for June 2023

This month - Hanoi assignment, new quick reference guides, and links to our latest articles.


What we’ve been doing, where we’ve been travelling to, and what’s next.


I had a short assignment in Hanoi earlier this month. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and was great to be back. It’s been interesting seeing the smaller cities in Asia re-emerging from the pandemic. It’s been a tough time and it shows.

New Quick Reference Guides

Last month, I mentioned I was working on a few ‘Field Operator’s Guides’. I’ve changed the name of these to ‘Quick Reference Guides’.

I released the ‘Quick Reference Guide to Packing for Higher-Risk Destinations’ on Monday. It’s available here.

I’ll be releasing the ‘Quick Reference Guide to Planning for Higher-Risk Destinations’ this coming Monday, but you can get an advance copy here.

More details below.


I’ve started building something. More to follow…


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

Managing Traveller Emergencies

Develop the skills to effectively respond to incidents impacting travellers with our interactive and engaging workshop. Learn essential crisis management and incident response techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of your travellers during emergencies.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Respond to first calls from travellers in distress
  • Gather and process information during a crisis
  • Manage tasks during a crisis
  • Identify and manage resources during a crisis
  • Identify with and communicate to stakeholders during a crisis
  • The workshop culminates with a short exercise, providing the opportunity for participants to put theory into practice in a simulated crisis environment.

Learn more about this workshop here.


Updates on our in-house gear, sharing a behind-the-scene look at our design and manufacturing processes.

After the lengthy update last month, there’s very little to report this month. I think there’s been progress on sampling, but it’s hard to tell due to communications challenges. Let’s just say I have my finger’s crossed and I’m working on contingencies in case the current arrangements fall through.

Aside from stressing over production, I’ve been evaluating different types of materials for shoulder straps, including a pack of UHMWPE webbing samples I received just this afternoon.


Our latest articles and updates on selected publications.

Dangerous Travels

Dangerous Travels is our weekly article series for 2023, focused on travel safety and security. Here’s the Dangerous Travels articles for this month:

Information Security at Airports

An examination of the various risks to your information at airports, along with practical actions you can take to mitigate those risks.

Avoiding Unwanted Attention

How threat groups may target you while travelling in higher-risk environments and why people notice things.

Keeping a Low Profile

Exploring three attributes of your profile that may increase the likelihood of you being targeted while travelling, and how you can mitigate this risk.

Packing for Travel to Higher-Risk Destinations

A few useful tips to help you prepare for travel to higher-risk locations.

The Business of Security

In addition to Dangerous Travels, I’m also writing a weekly article for The Business of Security. These articles focus on the practical aspects of setting up and running a company as an independent security professional.

This month, the Business of Security continued to focus on different aspects of business design:

What problems do you want to solve?

Your capacity to solve meaningful problems for your clients will be key to your success as an independent security professional. How can you identify these problems?

Defining Success On Your Terms.

What does success mean to you as an independent security professional?

Addressing the Issue of Availability

How to approach the issue of availability as you design your business as an independent security professional.

Designing for Simplicity

Reducing complexity to increase your effectiveness.


We’ve published a number of books on crisis management, travel security and security evacuations. These books have been purchased by travellers, security professionals, several global companies, and one prestigeous university.

New publications

I published two new books this month:

  • The Quick Reference Guide to Packing for Higher-Risk Destinations
  • The Quick Reference Guide to Planning for Higher-Risk Destinations

These are no-nonsense guides that cover the essentials. They assume you’ve been around the traps a bit and know what you’re doing. They’re designed to help prevent you from making unforced errors when preparing for travel.

I plan to be making occasional updates to these guides to ensure their ongoing utility. Happy as always to receive feedback and suggestions.

I’m working on a few related guides as well. Anything to distract me from completing my book on information security for travellers. I’m a hard-working procrastinator.

Bulk Orders

If your organisation or team would benefit from the knowledge and experience contained in our books, please reach out. We can provide discounts for bulk sales.


Links to interesting articles worth your time. This month: Chinese disinformation and domestic surveillance, Russian hackers, risks on the road in India, and other articles worth your time.

Fake Signals and American Insurance. How a Dark Fleet Moves Russian Oil.

Emulating Russia, China Is Improving Its Ability to Operate in the Gray Zone. Chinese disinformation efforts have advanced far beyond mere troll farms and online bot armies recycling conspiracy theories on social media.

Australian intelligence’s secret hand in bringing down the Bali bombers. Australia’s spies played a crucial part in catching the Bali bombers — but that story has remained mostly a secret.

Inside the operation to rescue Ukraine’s abducted children. More than 19,000 kids have been deported to Russia. Their parents are trying to bring them back, one child at a time.

How to Read Xi Jinping. Is China Really Preparing for War?

Strava heatmap feature can be abused to find home addresses. Researchers at the North Carolina State University Raleigh have discovered a privacy risk in the Strava app’s heatmap feature that could lead to identifying users’ home addresses.

Kazakhstan Has Become a Pathway for the Supply of Russia’s War Machine. Here’s How It Works. Western sanctions are meant to prevent Russia from supplying its military from abroad, but sensitive electronics are still getting through. Reporters traced several of these supply chains through Kazakhstan — and found that they run through companies newly established by Russians.

SMS delivery reports can be used to infer recipient’s location. A team of university researchers has devised a new side-channel attack named ‘Freaky Leaky SMS,’ which relies on the timing of SMS delivery reports to deduce a recipient’s location.

Inside China’s underground market for high-end Nvidia AI chips. Psst! Where can a Chinese buyer purchase top-end Nvidia (NVDA.O) AI chips in the wake of U.S. sanctions?

Russia᾽s War Against Ukraine and the West: The First Year. A comprehensive report written by the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

Over 100,000 ChatGPT accounts stolen via info-stealing malware. More than 101,000 ChatGPT user accounts have been stolen by information-stealing malware over the past year, according to dark web marketplace data.

Chinese investment in U.S. startups under scrutiny for espionage.

Beyond the Horizon. Traveling the World on Camaro Dragon’s USB flash drives.

Dictators’ dark secret: They’re learning from each other. WSJ opinion piece.

Putin’s Not-So-Secret Mercenaries. Patronage, Geopolitics, and the Wagner Group.

Inside the World of Russian ‘War Reporters’ Demanding More Blood Than the Kremlin Can Deliver. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has bred a peculiar ecosystem of Telegram channels even more militant than the Moscow leadership itself. After the Wagner insurrection, they will only intensify.

Prigozhin’s putsch: Putin won’t forget, or forgive. Good analysis by Peter Tesch from ASPI.

That’s it for this month folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner


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