1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
  1. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard  last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
  1. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
  1. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might  leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it..
  1. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot  tracks into the house.. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
  1. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too  easy.
  1. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on  the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
  1. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your  door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of  bad weather.
  1. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)
  1. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
  1. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
  1. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.
  1. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system.


Bulletproof Apparel

In previous posts I’ve layout my travel security recommendations. They have basically been focused on influencing behavior and modifying habits to gain a more secure posture.  I try not to recommend other self defense tactics because other sources offer plenty of marketing for a variety of gear. Quite frankly 90% of them are not worth your money. Looking at the bazaar of violence going on in some areas of Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the globe got me thinking about one set of gear that at face value may offer real benefits to keep you secure while you visit certain hotspots.

I’m talking about bulletproof apparel. These are innovative products first developed in Colombia, which have gained popularity in Latin America as the level of violence has been reaching unprecedented levels.  When violent shootouts can break out anywhere and anytime, defense against collateral damage may be a worthy investment.

Security Risk Management On-Demand

By Francisco Mateo

It appears to be prime time for corporate security units across Europe. During the last few months Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and England have seen a resurgence of labor protest as austerity measures are enacted to contain the onslaught of a worsening global economy.  With that in mind it is important for security managers to prioritize strike and violent protest protocols and have their teams at the different facilities ready for any collateral or spillover risk from violent confrontation between protesters and police.

When strike action involves countrywide protest, road and critical infrastructure blockades, it is necessary that you assist your supply chain team prevent disruptions by protecting in-route cargo and seeking alternatives for continued operations.   It is important that contingency plans be drawn in advance and that duties for carrying out specific actions under the plan are top of mind for each member of the team. Although many of the security decisions that need to be made at this time are situation-driven, your knowledge of internal business operation; clients, routes, labor and police leadership, as well as open-source intel can give you the most leverage.  In short know the terrain and know the stakeholders, so that you can intelligently steer your contingency team and navigate clear of any risks your company may face. 

Do not underestimate how much demand for third party service (cargo security escort) would peak during these times. My experience has been that, in anticipation of such events, the security departments must secured agreements with key vendors way in advance of such events to ensure preferential treatment when it is must critical. You don’t need to be psychic to know these protest have been brewing for a while and as a result of the burden the sustained economic recession has put on government’s purses.  It is also very likely that these protest will continue to spread other European Union member countries.

Another thing I want to share with you is that the protesters have shown signs of sophistication and a high degree of organization. If you take into the account the way protesters in France have aimed to provoke systematic disruption of critical supplies by blocking fuel depots and creating choke points against delivery, where it is most needed.  If you are responsible for risk management in the affected industry don’t forget to bring your A-game when crafting your response. If your organization lacks the leadership to tackle these risk management efforts than now may be a good time to consider hiring a knowledgeable and experienced security practitioner that can set a roadmap to protect your PARB.

Additional Recommendations:

  • Increase your operation’s alertness level; encourage staff to provide status updates of risk conditions, in and around the facilities and main routes, to your command center
  • Update  your key contact list, and test communication systems
  • Keep a detailed activity log
  • Advise staff to be aware of localized bouts of unrest with the potential to result in violent confrontations
  • Also advise staff to avoid all demonstrations and if caught in the middle of a violent confrontation seek immediate safe haven in a predetermined location where assistance can be summoned
  • Have additional security staff on stand-by in case you need to ramp up your protective presence at any facility

Privacy Matters

“But even the most stringent security precautions suffered from a fatal weakness: the human factor.”—Freedom

I sat down recently to analyze the issue of personal protection and safety. I write about various issues that impact our ability to defend our assets and reputation through this forum, but in light of my lack of subject-matter-expertise I tend to neglect writing about information protection matters. Yet very few things in our modern society of hyper-connectivity are as important as protecting our data, identity, only transactions—you pick the term that best suits this important task.  That is the reason I’ve decided to share with you links to privacy articles that in my view, have a high level of significance to our personal asset protection and security awareness. I will continue posting on this topic every month or so; therefore, visit this blog from time to time to see the latest “privacy matters”.  

Disabling cars by remote control: who didn’t see this coming?

E-waste: Criminals comb hard drives looking for personal data to use in scams  

Game Consoles at Work Threaten Corporate Security  

Privacy in a mobile world: The Massachusetts data privacy law     

“Storing documents on the cloud. Is Security a priority? Is it a secure proposition? Loosing connectivity can send documents flying into Cyber-space…” BBC’s Click — My own two cents: Is it cloud computing or fog computing? It all sounds nebulous to me…

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi.  Wi-Fi makes it easier for you to work on the go–and easier for other people to sneak a peek at your data. We’ll show you how to remain secure on public wireless networks.  

Legal spying via the cell phone system

CBS Investigation Finds Personal Info on Copiers, Including Buffalo Police Copiers (Whose information gets copied on police precincts machines…that’s right yours, John Doe Public)

Google And Facebook’s Privacy Illusion –By Bruce Schneier  

Hancock Breach Reveals New Trend

Former Con Man Helps Feds Thwart Alleged ATM Hacking Spree

Into the Wild!! An economist Does Security

I found this post from Miguel angel Ferrer, Mexican writer, economist and self-taught security thinker (he should know a thing or two about the subject matter with all of Mexico’s ills in this respect) remarkable for its simplicity. In a few lines it takes us on a brief historical journey of how the fraud mindset has evolved, with some tips on improving your security posture. Read more below to learn from his insights:

Learn the thieves’ tricks of the trade

Meet Bob and Bambi, real life guardian angels. They’re risking life and limb to bring their blog readers the best security awareness advice from often hostile environments.  In this dispatch they’re on location from the gritty streets of Colon City, Panama getting muggers 101 instructions from real pros. Remember that the more you know about the criminal’s M.O. the best prepared you’ll be to thwart their schemes at the planning stages.

Read More:

Happy New Year!

May this 2010 be the year of happiness, prosperity and good health for you and all the members of your tribe.  It’s time to look deep inside and reach for that optimism that has laid just beneath the surface throughout the most trying year in quite some time.
I want to take this opportunity to remind regular and new visitors to this blog of the information resources available through links and subject-matter-expert researched article, published throughout 2009.  The blog is dedicated to advancing knowledge in the global protection of People, Assets, Reputation, and Brands (PARB), by applying the right Strategies and Tactics.  Both security practitioners and a lay persons would find a wealth of information here to make their protection situation more resilient. The site is broken into five rubrics: Risk Management; Security Awareness; Travel Security; Crisis Management and Global Security Glossary.  The aim is to organize the information logically into areas of expertise that would make a significant impact to those who choose to apply it.  I encourage you look around and more importantly contribute with your comments and suggestions for improvement.  Expect great things from the site throughout 2010.
Francisco Mateo
Security Practitioner, Editor