Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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During a disaster, my biggest concern is clean drinking water. I have water filters. But what about tablets that claim to clean water? Are these a good idea?

-From Lance L.

Answer: The question of filtering water vs. treating water depends on what your situation is. If you are drinking water from a high mountain river then the water is likely clean and you could use iodine tablets.

Yet, there are a few reasons why I prefer using a water filter to get me fresh drinking water. First and most importantly, in a survival situation, chances are that I would be drinking from a dirty water source that may have floating bugs or other nasty things.

If I treat the water with tablets, I’m still going to have the floating bugs and other dirt.

Second, tablets take about 30 minutes to treat the water before it’s safe to drink. In a survival situation, I want to be able to stop and drink water immediately at the source because I may need to keep moving.

Overall, a filter provides the best way to provide clean drinking water, which is why I own several of them.


My wife and I have decided to buy a shotgun for home defense. Since I’m in the market for my first gun I figured I would ask you. What shotgun should I buy?

-From Derrick Q.

Answer: The shotgun I own and recommend is the Remington 870. This is one of the most popular shotguns and is commonly used by law enforcement, which is why Remington has sold over 10 million of them.

Another thing about the 870 is that they can be purchased for around $400, which is a good price for a quality shotgun.


I read an article you wrote about passwords. I like your advice but a lot of websites are still requiring passwords that consist of at least 8 digits consisting of uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and special characters. So how do I use a passphrase?

-From Heath T.

Answer: While each website can be different, you will still be required to follow the guidelines of the specific website you are creating a password for.

So, as you mentioned, if a website requires you to use letters, numbers, and special characters then you will still need to do so.

With that in mind, I would imagine as more companies update their website security they will begin to allow more options when creating passwords, especially since we know that the old standards aren’t the most secure ways to create passwords. In the meantime, you can still create a password like GreenDogsRunFast14%.


Over the last year, my family and I have been building up food storage based on your recommendations. Now that we have plenty of food stocked up, I’m wondering exactly what to do with it? What recipes should I use?

-From Ruthie C.

Answer: If you own the pouches, that’s already a meal, so don’t you don’t have to worry about recipes. But for other food storage, I would search online for food storage recipes. One cookbook on Amazon is called I Can’t Believe it’s Food Storage.

I would keep it simple with recipes. You won’t be making a bunch of fancy meals, but at least your family will have something to eat.


How do I find out if a virtual private network will store any customer information? I want to know what data they have or keep about me before I start using the service.

-From Jake M.

Answer: The best thing to do is to contact the specific VPN you may want to use and ask them for their customer privacy policy.

For example, most VPNs store a minimal amount of personal information.

They only have information to identify me as a user. I can even make my payment in Bitcoin if I don’t want them to have any of my financial information.

The other important thing is to make sure they don’t store your browsing history.


My family has a remote cabin a few hours away from my home. I have plenty of supplies but I’m worried about people breaking in while I’m gone. For this reason, I want to bury some supplies near the cabin. What is the best way to bury a weapon?

-From Thomas R.

Answer: When it comes to survival situations, I believe caching is a great way to store items away from your home.

If you are going to bury something I recommend making a PVC tube cache. PVC pipe is incredibly strong but allows flexibility in case the dirt shifts.

Plus, you can build PVC pipe caches that are completely watertight, even if they are submerged in water.

Also, before you put items in a PVC cache (such as a gun) I put them inside a rust-proof bag. If you do an internet search for “gun storage rust proof bag,” you will see plenty of options.

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