Thursday, February 21, 2013

VIDEO: Top 10 Home/Office Security Camera Considerations

So you're thinking about buying a camera system for your home or office. Great. Buying a camera or an alarm system demands that certain criteria be met before purchase in order for them to meet your security requirements. Many people ask if I like this camera or that camera. I often find myself asking each customer the same things.
  1. What exactly are you protecting and is it worth the hassle?
  2. How credible is the threat?
  3. Where do you want to place the camera?
  4. What kind of security will the camera have?
  5. What kind of video are trying to capture?
  6. Can you monitor it?
  7. Have you considered lighting?
  8. Have you considered distance to the subject? Height?
  9. What are your storage requirements?
  10. Will you be turning over what you capture to a third party? If so, does the device you're contemplating have the ability to transfer your video to another device?
As always, if you're stuck and don't know what to do, find a home security system provider in your area. Our partners at are an AWESOME resource. You can search for providers by zip code to determine who's the best in your area to consider. Well worth a look if you have a moment.

There are a ton of other considerations and things you can ponder on. So I put together the video above explaining my thoughts on what considerations if any you take a look into. As always, feel free to give any feedback particularly if I missed something.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ten of the Craziest Security Awareness Posters (And Yes, I Made a Few Of Them Myself)

Today, on Twitter, I've been linking various security awareness posters. While many of these posters are very creative, they do send very ominous messages regarding the consequences of security violations. Because they tend to be overly dramatic and are seemingly outdated at times, they provide for a good chuckle every now and then.  I've even included some I made when I was a young security manager in the Air Force for good measure.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Top Ten Ways To Protect Your Car and Those Shiny New Rims

So we've talked about how you can protect your home and your office. What haven't gone over and should is how to secure your car. This is perhaps the most frequent place people become victimized by criminals. There are a lot of reasons for this.  So let's go over a few and talk about how we can mitigate those issues and secure your car and the property inside of it.
  1. People leave too many valuables in their cars. I can see my wife reading this and giving me the "Oh really, Einstein" look. Why? Because I'm guilty of this at times. We leave everything ranging from laptops with sensitive information to cash inside our vehicles. Let's be frank. The only thing the lock on your car is good for is keeping amateurs out of your car. If a thief wants in your car, he can break a window and get inside. I tell you this so you will get out of the habit of thinking you've "secured" your belongings by simply locking the doors. This is a good start but irrelevant if the thief can and will choose another entry point. You should always move your belongings to somewhere safer than your vehicle when you can.
  2. If your car has cool gadgets and gizmos, hide it from public view when possible. I can always spot a car that will be broken into and the demographics of its owner. 16 to 24 year old males who drive "suped up" cars with racing stickers are great targets for thieves especially during the summer. Why? Because victims like leaving these cars in public view during the summer so everyone can see them. What's worse is these cars are often parked in public lots overnight with no natural observers which makes them a prime target for criminals. Park your car in a garage or in an area where it is well-lit and can be seen fully from the sidewalk. I don't suggest hiding it in the rear of the lot. That's the area thieves pick first because they feel either these cars are abandoned or the area provides a cover and concealment for their activities.  At home, try not to park your car on the street. Get it as close to your  as house possible and lit by a motion-sensitive light source.
  3. Buy an alarm or security device for your car. These are helpful for a variety of reasons. However, you have to respond when it goes off. Letting the alarm go off and resetting it without visually verifying the nature of the alarm is a recipe for disaster. People realize car alarms are often very temperamental  The problem is so do thieves. If a thief has an interest in your car and its belongings, he may set it off to see what you do. If you don't go outside and just reset from inside, he/she will assume you thought it was a false alarm and treat the alarm as false (which you will). I suggest before buying a car alarm that you do some research. Start by "Googling" the exact title of the alarm system and words like "bypass", "hack", or "review" along with the alarm system's title.  You'll be surprised how many car alarms are advertised in being the "best in the market" yet are cracked by amateurs daily.

  4. Roll up your windows. In the summer months, it is breathtaking how many cars are left with windows wide open. I know it's hot but I'd rather be hot and have a car than to be hot with no car walking to work. 
  5. Fill up your tires. People laugh when I say this but I have a good reason. The broken windows theory in crime prevention says criminals pick buildings to burglarize and commit crimes near with broken windows because they communicate a lack of citizen vigilance in the area. The same can be said of cars that don't work. People leave vehicles in dilapidated conditions with flat tires and are surprised when their car is broken into. Filling your tires with air may communicate to a potential thief the car works when in fact it doesn't. At the very least, it says the car has an owner who still cares and is still in the area. That being said, try to locate the vehicle in a parking space that is well-lit and observable from the sidewalk or close to your home as possible.
  6. If you have a truck, get a cover that secures with the tailgate.
  7. Convertibles should be covered whenever parked. I always find it hilarious when someone parks a convertible with the top down and loads of shopping bags are in the back. Seriously. Put the bags in the trunk and cover the top.
  8. If you have to leave things in your car overnight, use your trunk. Thieves can't steal what they can't see. Lock your stuff in the trunk. You'll thank me later.
  9. Never leave your ID or sensitive information in your car overnight. This includes the REGISTRATION AND TITLE of the car. Nothing like having a car stolen only to have the thief sell it someone else with a title. Worse yet, get a loan on the title of your car as collateral. Ouch. Oh yeah. I forgot - TAKE YOUR KEYS WITH YOU!!  Loads of people forget to do this and get their cars and stuff stolen. Be careful where you leave those keys like in gym lockers where thieves love to search for credit cards and keys to cars they can break into while you work out.
  10. Always remember to take your ticket stub when parking your vehicle in a garage. Also, try to use a garage that is manned. Most people forget to take their stubs with them. If a thief breaks into your car and takes it, he will have to go through a lot of red tape (hopefully) to get out of the garage. This is something he won't want to chance. If you leave the stub in the car, that obstacle is removed. You also want to keep your car in garages and lots that are manned for the length of your stay.
You might also consider buying a mini-van. They were listed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau as the Top 10 vehicle type stolen in only 5 states and D.C. while trucks were number 1 in 23 states. They may not be sexy but they rarely get stolen. Just saying.

Here's an awesome report by the NICB on how to prevent car theft:

Here's a guide from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing on Thefts of and From Cars From Streets and Driveways

This video below is a great place for suggestions on keeping your truck secure:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Five Things You Should Know About Christoper Dorner: Myth Busted

Folks, on Twitter, I have made no qualms about my feelings about Christopher Dorner. He is a murderer plain and simple. I won't be using this as a post to defend him or his actions. This post is mostly to talk about his mortality and the myths that surround him.

  1. Dorner was not an operator.  First, let's define "operator". An operator is anyone who is engaged in direct action covert operations. They come from the special operations and intelligence community.  They receive extensive training in things ranging from combat SCUBA to defensive driving, ordnance, small infantry tactics, covert infiltration, and high-altitude low opening (HALO). This training takes YEARS. And it takes even longer before some are considered operational. Many don't even get to go to schools right away before they go operational. Here's what we know about Dorner. He was an aviation school washout. What does that mean? The Navy tried for two years to make Dorner a pilot but couldn't for undisclosed reasons. These reasons could have been weight (he gained weight dramatically over the years), physical disability, ineptitude, or variety of dis-qualifiers  This compounds the myth further because the Navy spent a lot of money trying to train Dorner to be a pilot. So what happened next? They sent him to be a part of a riverine unit. This sounds pretty cool. Here's the problem. Dorner only stayed with that unit for 2 years before he was forced to move on. You will notice a pattern when examining his record. He has a history of bouncing from military unit to military unit.  Most likely, when you see such movements and not rapid promotions or earned recognition, it is indicative of someone who couldn't quite fit in. By the time he finished his deployment in Bahrain where he guarded an oil platform (a job Army cooks were doing for a while), his career in the Navy was nearing its end.  Dorner lacked any of the operational or training requirements to meet any criteria associated with being an operator.
  2. Dorner was a narcisssist. He used scary terms like "asymmetrical warfare" to bolster who he wanted people to think he was. In his manifesto, he was no longer Christopher Dorner, Navy and LAPD washout. No. He became a mythical persona. He was someone out of a Hollywood revenge movie. He became something he couldn't be in real life - special and unique. He believed LAPD had robbed him of that. Count how many times Dorner used the pronoun "I". It's quite extensive. Also notice how he never went to DoJ or any other entity. The slight wasn't against his victims. LAPD had done something far worse. They picked on Christopher Dorner.
  3. He was mortal. There are several signs we have of Dorner's mortality. Let's look at his failed escape attempts. An experienced operator plans his missions with meticulous detail. They don't miss anything. The one thing they never mess up is their extraction. Dorner messed up all of his extraction plans. After he robbed the old man at the marina of his boat, he forgets to secure the tow line. It, as we know, got caught in the propeller and the boat never left its dock. This is seamanship 101. How does a harbor cop like Dorner miss this? Because he's not a pro. He hadn't planned on everything to include his adrenaline overcoming his thinking. It happens to a lot of people in combat. This is why operators are heavily screened to judge how they operate under stressful conditions. Dorner's extraction from Big Bear failed as well. I'm not talking about the fire. I'm speaking of before that. Let's look at what went wrong there. He believes he can drive off-road skillfully which is evidenced in his manifesto. Again, he did not forecast poor weather conditions nor the amount of stress he would be under. So what does he do? He wrecks his transportation, breaks the axle, and is forced to set the truck on fire.

    He also didn't realize the Marshals were on to this extraction. They had marshals and Recon Marines conducting surveillance on his hideaway spot when they saw the fire. Sensing the impending arrival of law enforcement agencies and knowing the roads would soon be blocked, he tried to hold a couple hostage. This planned failed because they got away and told police who made contact and engaged Dorner. He was killed not by police but by the realization that for all his talk, he was just a washout.
  4. Dorner may have had access to information he shouldn't have had but that doesn't mean he had any of the tools or knowledge he claimed. I won't get into how or why or even if Dorner had access to undercover vehicle plates. Here's what I will tell you. Having those plates and recognizing them under stress in real time are totally different. Remember Dorner would have to be trained and skilled in vehicle counter-surveillance. This takes months of training to perfect. This training we know Dorner did not get in the Navy or with LAPD. His Navy time was spent with aviation training units and doing coastal security. I have experience in military law enforcement and security more extensive than Dorner while active duty and I was also in charge of requisitioning training for assets in my unit. No such training exists for anyone in any of Dorner's previous billets. Also, Dorner wouldn't have time to run down every suspicious vehicle following him.

    He also used terminology very familiar to military and law enforcement personnel and most people who have read a Vince Flynn novel. He claimed he had HUMINT (human intelligence or spies) when in fact, he was alluding to social engineering (calling schools and hospitals to obtain information he needed). He claimed he had IMINT (imagery intelligence). There is no way he had access to any discernible IMINT technologies. These require a very involved intelligence tasking and have considerable oversight. Additionally, satellites cost money. What he had was Google Earth and possibly some aerial photos that would be very dated. Having this information and using it are also completely different. He could plan escape routes but no way he could plan target mitigation with dated or unreliable data flawlessly. His signals intelligence came from scanners.

    He also had knowledge someone would expect of an LAPD officer so he knew basic tactics and procedures. What he could not have known  is that people he was matching wits with (those analysts he called out) are all experienced intelligence analysts and officers from various operational theaters. Studying threats is what they do for a living. When you get a second, look into where the people who work at fusion centers, JTTF, and VICAP come from. Talking and planning for them is kind of easy. Where it gets tough is whether your plan is superior to anything they've encountered previously. 
  5. Dorner also gave away a lot of information about himself in that manifesto. When you talk to the cops, you always give them more information than you should. Dorner gave them insight into his personality, his intellect, his methodologies, and what tools he could have. I've already talked about his personality and that his intellect was somewhat congruent with someone who is a college graduate. His methodologies and tools were expected. We knew he'd shoot it out with the cops because he said so and did it. His tools were also greatly exaggerated. There is no way he had access to MANPADS. He doesn't have the income or the resources needed to get something al Qaeda couldn't get into the US. Dorner gave an 11-page blueprint that spelled out his demise.
Whatever you think of Dorner, know this - he was very mortal. He made mistakes that no experienced person would have made. He lacked the background and tools to pull off what he claimed he could. Dorner was military-trained but flunked out of every single advanced training he was given. We panicked that he would find a plane but records indicated he had no pilot's license. He couldn't even get a boat out of port. He wrecked a truck and broke its axle because he didn't check the weather for ice and snow. He burned all of his weapons and camping gear which he would need to survive the massive manhunt on Big Bear. Allowing his hostages to escape caused the local cops to be on his trail and corner him in a cabin where he would burned before presumably shooting himself. I say all of this to debunk the myth surrounding this murderer and bring some illumination on the nature of the killer of four people.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Top 7 Questions You Should Be Considering When Improving Home Security

The show above is a clear demonstration as to how security professionals should approach home security planning and risk analysis.

Many times I'm asked by various people how to properly secure their home. Initially, it can be very difficult sometimes to give advice as to how to provide adequate security for your residence. I feel in order for your home to be secure you must first realistically assess your risk tolerance, the nature of the threat and your vulnerabilities, and what you're willing to do to mitigate the threat. I do this by asking several questions:

  1. What's security mean to you? Most people look bedazzled when I ask this. I firmly believe security is a mindset and not a result. If you live in a really nice neighborhood with no crime, you might feel secure with your door unlocked. However, in a bad neighborhood, that may not be ideal. So what makes you secure?
  2. What can't you lose? Some people naturally reply "nothing". I have had some be very specific. This is an important question to ask because most people may not need to spend hundreds of dollars on elaborate security if the only thing they're afraid of losing is fairly replaceable if lost. That also depends on personal perspective. Losing my father's watch would be a terrible loss for me but not someone else. In sales, they call these first two questions "What's your pain?"
  3. What's your terrain like? In other words, what's the nature of the environment you're securing? Is this a high crime area? Do people routinely talk to their neighbors? Are you visible during the day? Is your neighborhood well-patrolled by police? If not, why? Most people don't have a good answer for this last question, though, it may be the most important one. Does your property allow visitors inside without credentialing them? This question is especially important for those who live in housing developments with rental units. Are there ways your neighbors and others can naturally see your home unobstructed? You should see some recurring themes from previous articles.
  4. What's the threat? In other words, who wants your stuff? How do they know your stuff or could know it? The threat identity question is the most important question you can ask yourself and anyone who asks for your advice. Figure out who is likely to attack the home and for what reasons (home invasions, stalker, burglars, etc.). You may have to get an accounting of the client or yourself (if it's your home). That means asking about prior domestic violence, violent crime in the area or the home, any overt threats made, attacks on homes nearby, shady people seen in the neighborhood. From there, use the third question about terrain to determine likelihood of an attack.
  5. Just how vulnerable are you? Many people have two ways of assessing vulnerabilities and neither of them work - being overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Homeowners think the way normal, law-abiding citizens do when they think of burglars. They assume burglars look for the same things they do. Often, they get these faulty ideas from television or vivid imaginations. Just because you might be able to climb a ledge and walk to your window two stories up with perfect agility doesn't mean a drug-addicted burglar will even care. So how does someone think like a criminal and find vulnerabilities? First, be realistic. Next, check for yourself. Crooks have experience so they already know what does and does not work. I'm not telling you to break a window but there's no harm trying to drive a wedge in a door or walking on the other side of your fence to see what a burglar would see. Walk around your neighborhood and ask yourself what house looks the easiest to hit. Then ask yourself why. Ask yourself what would the burglar do with your stuff. Will he pawn it? If so, then an inventory of all of your high risk items is necessary with serial numbers.
  6. Next, what can you do to protect yourself? Most people's natural security reflex is to buy a safe and then an alarm. Good? Nope. Actually both are terrible in some cases though not all. I like safes and alarms. However, what good are both if you don't understand why they were made? An alarm cannot stop all burglars. Many bad guys will already plan for this and hit your house any way. Alarms are great for getting the cops there as soon as possible. Picking a reputable company to install and monitor it is absolutely key. Safes are designed to slow thieves down. No safe is impenetrable. Every safe has a weakness. Most consumer safes have the same vulnerability - you can transport them. You can pick them up and take them somewhere to be cracked later. So what should a homeowner with one do? Bolt it to the floor and buy a safe that doesn't have electrical locks. Trust me. Don't buy a big threatening dog either. Some dogs work but some don't. Don't gamble your property or your life hoping a canine will stop an attack. Guns are great against home invasions and other intruders. However, don't advertise them. Remember what I said about gun buy-back programs.
  7. Finally, what are you willing to sacrifice to feel secure? The number one complaint about security always revolves around convenience. I don't care what you're protecting. Someone will complain about the inconvenience on their time, energy and money to have it. The toughest part of consulting anyone on home and personal protection is this part. People can't wrap their heads around giving up something to protect against a threat they may never see. Remind them (and yourself) threats don't engage us on our calendars. They may not come now or anytime soon. However, it is better to be prepared and be able to live your life securely and worry-free than to not prepare and lose things you hold most dear.
These questions are tough but necessary before you can advise anyone on how to properly secure their homes. I recommend giving them (and yourself) a few days to think about the first two questions as these will surely be the hardest. As you're asking these questions, don't be afraid to ask if you missed something. Finally and most importantly, give the client a chance to contribute - it's their security after all. If it's your house, get your entire household involved. The more stake everyone has in this process the easier it is to have a comprehensive security plan.

Do you have any suggestions on what other questions homeowners should be asking? Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Visualizing Mass Shootings in America (1982 - 2012)

Visualizing mass shootings in USA
Click on the map to enlarge

Here's what I like about this infographic. It not only let's you see data by location but also by mental illness, weapons legally acquired, venue, weapon type, race, gender, and year. Be sure to click on the map to enlarge it so you can see the graph.

Take a look at the actual data:

15 Things To Remember To Do When An Adult Goes Missing

A perfect example of what missing person's poster should look like.

When you proclaim to be a "security expert", people can ask you a litany of questions about a variety of security-related topics. They range from the mundane ("Can you tell me what the best lock to buy is for my backyard?") to the more serious. The other day a dear friend asked me about the latter. It's the toughest one to give a lot of good advice on.  However, he was a friend and so I gave him what little advice I thought was helpful. His question was "How can I find a missing adult?". This question is tough for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is when looking for missing adults, you're doing what I call "chasing a ghost". Sometimes, when adults go missing, they hide better than my preschooler when I say it's time for a nap. Many do this for numerous reasons like drugs, domestic violence, stalkers, divorce, debt, etc. So what happens when you're a legitimate party concerned for their well-being and you need to find them?

  1. Call the hospital emergency room. Some hospitals are cool. Others will make life difficult. Actually, that's an understatement. Since the inception of HIPAA, hospitals have treated medical information with higher security protocols than at Area 51. So how do you circumvent the inevitable "I can't tell you that"? Easy. You reply "Can you at least tell me if you have a John/Jane Doe fitting this description?" Be specific and be prepared to go there. You'll need to do this every day until you find your target.
  2. Call the morgue. I know it's crappy to do. However, people die without identification sometimes. Our national health records are still woefully behind. So you'll have to call the morgue periodically. Ask them if they had any John/Jane Does fitting the description of your target with clothes you last saw them in. Be specific and be prepared for the worst.
  3. Call the jail. It's crappy but it's necessary and realistic. Seriously, you and your spouse fight. They leave and have a beer or more. Cop pulls them over for DUI and he sits in a cell sobering up. Calling you is the last thing on his mind. It happens more than many people will admit. You want the numbers for the county jail and the police department's "lock-up". 
  4. Compile a list of email addresses, social media account information, and cell phones used by the missing persons. Law enforcement will ask for this at some point and it's good for your own personal investigation as well. Just remember to forward whatever leads you have to the cops.
  5. You need pictures. Find photos from social media, cell phones, cameras, USBs laying around, etc. What you want are FULL FRONTAL (not that frontal) face shots. You want people to see a face and a body as well. The picture should be clear and easily transferable to various media like newsletters, posters, cards, etc.
  6. You need these picture ASAP. These are the first things the cops ask for. So have them ready.
  7. Make your poster and distribute to places within a 10 mile radius. The poster is easy. Go to an office print shop and tell them what you need. Come back in an hour and you have a missing person poster.  What you want on the poster? Easy. It should resemble a "Wanted" poster. Full face shot with name, nickname, vehicle last seen in, medications needed (people are more prone to look if they know a person could be sick), contact info for you, and any sizable reward money you may have. Distribute this poster at gas stations, convenience stores, drug stores, and fast food places. You'll need to talk to management. That's great because now you can make face-time with the staff who may have seen him as well. Go to bars only if you're comfortable. Here's a link to a really cool template I use on occasion:
  8. Call their friends and family. Don't just call siblings and parents. Call extended family. Someone may have information but not be able to communicate that to siblings and parents. Treat these people like informants. Vet them and ponder their motivations. Never "burn" them. If they tell you something in confidence, it should remain there. You may need them later.
  9. File a stolen vehicle report immediately. Why? Anyone who has ever worked as a police officer will tell you why. It's simple. Cops get briefed at the beginning of their shifts on newly reported stolen vehicles. They love looking for these because they are a guaranteed arrest. So they will be actively looking for our missing person's car. DO THIS ONLY IF YOU OWN THE VEHICLE AS WELL!
  10. Physically walk your missing person's steps from the day they went missing back 24 hours. Sounds crazy but investigators do this at crime scenes. This is how the discover new clues they never saw before. Note where they could have gone, what could have caused them to go missing, and who would have saw them.
  11. Go through their social media life for the past week and note new acquaintances, stressors, topics and areas of interest, and any place they would have gone before under similar circumstances. You should be looking at check-ins, reviews on favorite eating establishments, sentimental locations, any significant dates (death, divorce, birth), increased communication with certain people, and noted change in tone or attitude.
  12. Create a checklist and do this again until you find them. This takes time. A lot of time. Be prepared to revisit these items daily. Annotate any leads in a notepad and revolve your day around following new leads and the checklist. You want to be systematic and thorough. Consider expanding your search on a weekly basis in 5 to 10 mile increments. Pick something that is manageable. Above all, remain calm and be patient.
  13. Don't be afraid of the media. Seriously, call the press ASAP. Make your significant other matter to them. Mention veteran status, children, career aspirations, contributions to society, suspicious circumstances as long as they don't sound like a Univision soap opera, etc. Tell the truth. Never lie or embellish. You lie now and when you need them to believe you they won't.
  14. Stay on the police and forward any significant leads to them. Let me be clear: "Leads are not significant if you're just calling the cops to tell them they suck". Remember what I said about being patient? You're not the only person who is missing someone. However, call them periodically and get to know who is working the case. Ascertain when you can expect contact from them. Ask them what steps they're taking. You don't want to double your efforts but you do want to close any gaps. If you're not making headway with them, remember everyone has a supervisor.
  15. The keys to success in this game are persistence, patience, and diligence.

Lessons Learned By a Security Blogger Whose Office Had Been Burglarized

My office at 9:00 AM. I arrived to hear my office had been broken into over Super Bowl weekend.

There is a certain amount of irony one must acknowledge when his own office has been burglarized soon after posting articles talking about burglaries. Some would call it foreshadowing. I'll call it a great streak of luck. What? Yup. Good luck. Why? Mostly because of the lessons I learned. This wasn't my home office. It was the office where I work. Many times we prepare ourselves for the eventuality of being burglarized at home, but seldom do we think of our work. With that, we'll inherently learn lessons about issues we never considered.  So what did I learn?

  1. You need an inventory of all the equipment they issued you at work. This inventory will be much like the inventory for your home but this should also encompass day when you were issued the equipment, number of items, serial numbers, and office responsible for accounting for the gear. Go through this list when you look for missing items.
  2. Keep an inventory of personal belongings. Let me be clear: "Personal does not mean your lunch bowl". I'm talking about sentimental and expensive items like your iPad, laptop, DVD player, etc. See the lesson from above to consider what to annotate. You may want to keep this list at home or online. 
  3. People will undoubtedly start to go crazy. Most people have never been the victim of a crime, so they often experience shock, sadness, and anger about being a victim. It happens and you could feel the same way. When you feel these emotions, remember people rob businesses and government agencies all the time. Sometimes, there is little you can do to prevent it except pay attention to what countermeasures failed you and which things worked. Then get to work and fix what's broken.
  4. People will be tempted to play detective. Listen, it's great that you watched all of Perry Mason and Law and Order. However, you probably won't be able to solve this caper. Becoming distracted with how and why you were victimized, keeps you away from fixing what's broke with your security measures. Remember, the best thing you can do is give law enforcement exactly what they need (any video, scene protection, etc.) and think about what went wrong (did someone not lock a door, did someone not set the alarm, is this an inside job).
  5. Protect the crime scene. The first thing people want to do when they hear they've been burglarized is find out what was taken. Sounds great. So you let them walk around and look inside drawers, open filing cabinets,turn on computers, etc.. You see no problem with this. Do me a favor - STOP your coworkers from entering the crime scene until law enforcement says they can. It'll impede operations but save the cops a lot of time in processing the scene.
  6. Have a procedure in place. We have mechanisms for setting alarms and responding to false calls but no one ever has a procedure for an actual break-in. It's really simple. Write it out. Who needs to be notified? Who needs to know what? When do you need to call? Where should co-workers report for work? What's the impact on operations if the cops need inside? Who should have alarm codes? Who has a master key? What are your lost key procedures? Where are the list of emergency contacts for employees? The list could go infinitely. You get the idea, though. Make it simple, yet comprehensive.
  7. Never assume it was anyone's fault other than the burglars? Seriously, don't be stupid and start blaming people for not setting the alarm. People forget things. The alarm code could be one thing. Let it go and work on who should be able to open and close your office. Opening and closing is a big responsibility. Ensure you're entrusting the code to someone who can deal with this added duty. Ensure the people you authorize are the only people allowed 24 hour access. Trust me. You'll thank me later.
  8. After the burglary is not the best time to learn your security system sucks. Be intimately familiar with your system and monitoring station protocols. Don't assume anything with a monitoring station. Their procedures for validating the current security status of your facility could be incompatible to your facility. If your monitoring station calls the second floor about the security status of the third floor for which they have no discernible access, then this could very well be counterproductive.
  9. If you share an office building with several other tenants, find out what the existing procedures are for lobby security after-hours. You may want to know why they leave the lobby unlocked during the weekend when no one is there. Just saying.
  10. Cameras are WORTHLESS if you don't have someone monitoring them. The American population is in the neighborhood of 300 MILLION people give or take. You can catch these guys on tape and get them put in jail if the cops get them. Go ahead - pat yourself on the back. You did a great deed. Ask your security company what it costs to monitor your cameras. Now you have a 24 hour surveillance system that can track and notify authorities of a threat. If not, then you're giving cops video so they can maybe arrest the perpetrator who will more than likely sell what he took. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE cameras. But I HATE when people claim they "feel safer" because of the new cameras they got put in AFTER a burglary. 
  11. Your window adjacent the door will get smashed. Remember what I said about concentrating on fixing crappy security measures? Get that fixed.
That's it for now. I would love to hear your war stories about being burglarized. Please post some of the comment section below.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Facebook Security

I found this infographic on  Some of this may be old news.  In light of what we know about Twitter's latest data breach, I wonder how Facebook has fared under similar attacks.  If you have any knowledge or even a broad understanding, we would welcome any commentary you might have.

Source: via Return on Pinterest

HOW-TO: Make Your Own Faraday Cage

Unbeknownst to many outside the security arena, mobile devices are nothing more than really cool listening devices. In my first few blog posts, many moons ago, we covered how hackers could exploit vulnerabilities inherent with Bluetooth to take control of your phone's microphone.  There is also speculation and evidence that it is now possible to turn both the camera (front and rear) and the microphone to get full video. With GPS, if a hacker gains electronic access to your phone, you have a device even the KGB would envy.  As a security professional, there are times when you need to have conversations without having to worry about eavesdropping.  Standard procedure in most high-security areas is to immediately surrender your phone, in order to prevent electronic eavesdropping.  Devices are then placed in a container to ensure no data is transmitted received to or from the device.  This container is known as a faraday cage.  It blocks the transmission and reception of all electronic devices as well as acts as a shield against electromagnetic pulse attacks.  There are several places you can go online that have faraday bags.  However, I found an article that walks you through constructing your own faraday cage for $15.
Here’s How to Build Your Own with About $15


This is probably my most simple DIY project to date. All you need is an aluminum garbage can with a nice and snug lid along with a cardboard box.

Step One: Cut the Cardboard

From the bottom flaps to about the middle of the box you’re going to want to cut some slots about 8 inches wide. This just makes it so that the cardboard can conform easier to the shape of your can.

Step Two: Insulate Can with Box

You’re going to make a tube with your cardboard and slide it into the can. Go ahead and press against the edges of the can to make sure it’s right up against it. That way you have more room inside.

Step Three: Make & Place the Base Insulation

By tracing the bottom of the can on some extra cardboard, you’re going to cut out a circle that will fit in the bottom of your insulation. Then just push it down inside your can. You want this to be a tight fit.

Step Four: Tape the Insulation 

Tape in the creases where the base meets the sides of the insulation. Also tape along the cuts you made in the cardboard. Whatever you put inside of this cannot be touching the metal can – only the cardboard insulation. Taping these weak spots just ensures nothing gets past the cardboard to touch the metal.

Step Five: Trim the Excess

Just go around the edge of your can with a box cutter to cut off the excess cardboard insulation sticking out of the top.

Step Six: Put On Your Lid

Once you’ve put in all of your radios and other gadgets, you’ll just fit on your lid nice and tight.

There are many, many different designs and concepts for homemade faraday cages. This is just one of them. If you happen to find a design that calls for the use of wire mesh instead of solid metal, be sure to get some with the smallest holes you can find. Remember, you want the openings smaller than the electronic waves that will damage your stuff.

Read more:

Friday, February 1, 2013

FUNDRAISER: Officer Down Memorial Page

You may notice a new widget at the bottom right. As a former military police officer for over a decade, I have long wanted to give back to those who serve us. So, I thought the best way for me to do that would be to use our large readership base and make a contribution to a site that honors fallen law enforcement heroes, the Officer Down Memorial Page. You can donate as little as $1. All I ask is that you give a little something back to those who serve us. Your donations will go directly to the charity. You can get more information regarding ODMP at

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