Introducing the ‘Rift Recon Beginner Series’ with Aaron Autrand

Posted on July 05, 2015 by Rift Recon

Rift Recon has spent two years assisting and collaborating with some of the most brilliant and innovative minds in the security industry. In doing so, we’ve categorized ourselves as adhering to a certain level of quality and expertise, and have recently intuited that that level may feel inaccessible to folks who are just testing the waters of cyber security, physical security, or both. As a result, we polled a vast number of our beginner and intermediate level trainees and company allies and determined there was a demand for a more elementary approach to certain skills we advertise. Thus the “Rift Recon Beginner Series” was born! 


We asked the newest member of our team, Aaron Autrand, to take control of the series, and he readily agreed. We’ll be publishing Beginner Series posts every week on our website. Look for the first post, “Rift Recon Beginner Series Presents: Picking Locks 101 with Aaron Autrand”, on Tuesday July 7th!


Aaron Autrand is a writer and editor. He was a member of the editorial staff of Anthem Magazine, the co-founder of music website Ground Control, and part of the team at the PBS documentary series Roadtrip Nation. He’s worked in startups, taught all over the world and surfed many waves badly. He believes in breaking things to learn how to fix them and make them better. It doesn’t necessarily always happen in that order.

- Arianna Travaglini

Executive Assistant at Rift Recon

Posted in bypass, education, learn, safety, security, teach, training, tutorial

Introducing: The Rift Recon Under The Door Tool 2.0

Posted on January 15, 2015 by Rift Recon

The Under The Door Tool has one use, and its execution is swift and faultless: It goes underneath a door and pulls open a door handle from the inside.

The Under The Door Tool is a pentest professional industry standard that utilizes the implementation of United States requirements that door hardware be compliant to regulations for user-safety and universal accessibility. To meet building codes, lever handles are added to, or put or in place of, a round door knob.

As many physical penetration specialists know, most buildings keep the inside door lever unlocked from the inside in case of emergencies, or for convenience - even when the outside door lever is locked. 

The UTDT has been a classic Rift product, offered in our very first Red Team Kit. Now we are innovating on this very iconic product. =

Introducing: The Under The Door Tool 2.0

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The UTDT2.0 is comprised of two primary parts calibrated precisely to meet and engage door hardware regulation lengths: a sturdy, specifically angled rod, and its attached stainless steel cable (wire rope).

The 2.0 is the upgraded version of the beloved original UTDT at the same affordable price. It’s lighter and more malleable, with a piano wire rod that’s 20% thinner than the classic.

Unlike the original, the cable can be disconnected from the rod, thereby allowing you to separate the pieces and pack it easily for more covert action.

While the original UTDT had a chrome-plated rod that was prone to flaking and fracturing, the new nickel-plated rod runs no such risk. The wire is easy to fix and can be smoothly interchanged with nylon, and the tool’s overall flexibility means it can be carried more creatively. It still fits handily inside our premium Red Team Kit bag and stays coiled and ready for use with its included quick release strap (Under The Door Tool is part of the Red Team Kit toolset). 

  • Rift Recon Exclusive
  • 43" extended, 19.5" coiled
  • Rolls into discreet, flat coil
  • The choice of hotel professionals
  • Durable, easy to use

The Under The Door Tool 2.0 is only $49.95 with a 10% discount for Rift Recon newsletter subscribers!

Want to review The Under The Door Tool 2.0? Email Arianna Travaglini at [email protected]

Posted in bypass, entry, underthedoortool

Introducing: The Rift Recon Shove Knife

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Rift Recon

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This classic bypass tool, previously only sold as part of our exclusive Red Team Kit, is now available separately! Widely used by firefighters to gain entry to indoor residential and office lock key ways, it acts by reaching through to act on elements beyond the pins. It’s excellent for opening commonly used filing cabinets as well. It’s durable, lightweight, discreet, and made of high quality materials. It allows the handler to gain fast, damage-free access, and works from either side of the door it’s applied to.

This should be the last shove knife you’ll ever need!

Only $14.95 - 10% off if you’re a Rift Recon newsletter subscriber!

  • 300 Full Hard Stainless metal body
  • Never Rusts
  • Black PVC handle non-slip handle
  • 1 inch wide by 10 inches long
  • No rough edges (no need to re-sheath)
  • Made in the USA

    Want to review the Shove Knife? Email Arianna Travaglini at [email protected]

Posted in bypass, entry, shove knife, tools

After Action Report: The Art Of Escape San Francisco

Posted on December 11, 2014 by Rift Recon

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It seems like just yesterday that Rift Recon ran its first Art of Escape training in San Francisco, and yet last weekend marked the fourth Bay Area urban escape and evasion course. An entirely new group of enthusiastic, determined students embarked on three days of growth and development, with a healthy dose of apprehension mixed in! Executive Assistant Arianna Travaglini sat down with Art of Escape trainers Eric Michaud and Brian O'Shea to talk about the latest installment of Rift Recon’s most popular class.

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A: Eric, this is your sixth Art of Escape training, and Brian’s fourth. You both have seen a lot of faces come and go. What stood out about this round?

E: The students’ backgrounds, for one. We had engineers in this class, a lawyer, someone in sales for a major corporation, and many more. Usually we’ve been seeing a majority of tech and security industry folks with a sprinkling of outliers. This group was more diverse.

B: It was also the most gender-balanced class we’ve taught thus far, and I feel like that worked to everyone’s advantage. The skills that we teach are applicable to anybody regardless of gender, but unfortunately there’s a unique vulnerability to being a woman in our world. We were thrilled to be able to address the needs and bolster the overall competency of more than a few female students.

A. Did either of you have any concerns when the class began, or throughout the weekend? Anything you saw this particular group struggling with?

E: This class was definitely the most initially truculent group we’ve had thus far. They were wary, and they didn’t make it easy to win them over. Usually you have one or two individuals like that, not the class as an entity. Brian and I figured that we would need to get more hands-on with them to earn their trust, so we cut back on the rote lecturing and increased the demonstrative exercises. It opened them right up.

B: I noticed that the few engineers we had in class had some difficulty wrapping their heads around the concept of “social engineering”. It’s a non-quantifiable skill, being more in the nebulous realm of manipulation, so there are no easily-identifiable “steps” to it. For people who think in a very linear, categorical way, this can prove challenging. In mastering it, you have to apply your own personality, which then becomes the lens you look at it through.

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A. What do you feel this class excelled at?

E: Because they were all from such diverse backgrounds, once they acted as a cohesive group they were able to leverage each other to pick up the lessons we were teaching with ease. One person’s strength fed another’s weakness.

B: I feel that they excelled at overall situational awareness. In past classes, people really jumped on mastering the individual skillsets: the lockpicking, escaping restraints, etc. But this class was constantly looking for danger and people manipulating them around every corner, thinking strategy first and tactical later instead of the other way around. This disposition definitely helped them excel during Saturday’s Field Training Exercise.

A. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Saturday’s Field Training Exercise - that’s the best part! What surprised and/or delighted you about that day?

E: I was really impressed with the students’ intuition. For example, we lied to them at the onset: we told them we’d be conducting entry interviews and de-briefing them at a hotel, and that the abduction would take place afterwards on the street. In reality, we had interrogators ready to subdue them at the hotel. A few students were genuinely taken aback, but many were prepared for such a trick, even citing ahead of time that they “felt something was off”. These instincts were especially encouraging, and many students evaded capture by pursuers throughout the day while relying on said intuition.

B: Earlier Eric mentioned how the students were already leveraging each others’ strengths and weaknesses in the classroom; well, one of our teams was able to do that in the field in an extraordinary way. They assessed each others’ abilities up front - the woman was the faster runner, and the man was better at hiding - and they made a plan for how they would respond under duress. If pursued by a chaser, they decided to split up - he would draw pursuers away from her so that she could succeed, effectively sacrificing himself. This kind of difficult decision making directly mirrored real-life hostage responses. To them, the exercise was unequivocally authentic.

- Arianna Travaglini

Executive Assistant at Rift Recon

Photo Credit: Eddie Codel

Posted in art of escape, bypass, defense, evasion, kidnapped, lockpicking, restraints, training