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How To Develop A Security Plan

If you are like most people, the safety of yourself and your family is a high priority for you. Yet, everyday, we see innocent people become hurt and sometimes killed due to senseless violence. What is even sadder is that many of these senseless acts of violence could have been avoided if the person was only more prepared.

So what can an average Joe or Jane do to protect their family from the dangers of every day life? Well today I am going to share with you a little known technique that smart people use to increase the safety of themselves and their family 10 fold.

What is this little known technique that you can use to insure that your family will be safe in any violent situation? Is it a super secret kung fu death grip?

No, the system I am going to tell you about is far simpler than that, and requires no previous experience in self defense whatsoever. In fact, the technique I am going to show you is so simple you will practically kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner

It is called Developing a Security Plan!

What is a security plan?

A security plan is a plan put in motion that provides you and your family with the best possible safety solution for you everyday safety concerns. It looks at everything from kidnappings and car robberies to skirmishes and house break-ins. Then gives you a tool or way to either prevent or defend yourself efficiently in that situation.

How do I develop a security plan?

Well, as stated before, this technique is very simple. Here is a step-by-step method for developing a security plan that is sure to keep your family safe for years to come.

1.Take an inventory list of every person in your house: First you are going to want to take an inventory of everyone in your household. So, for example, if you are living by yourself, then the only person on you inventory will be you. However, if you live with your girlfriend or wife, then the people on your inventory will be you and your girlfriend or wife.

Here is the initial information that you are going to want to write down for your inventory:

a. Persons Name:
b. Age: write down how old they are
c. Sex: Write down if they are male of female

2.Write down the top 3-4 biggest safety concerns that you have for each person in you household: Now that you have you initial information, you should think of the top three safety concerns you have for each person written on you inventory. This could be anything.

Maybe little Johnny is being bothered by a bully at school. Maybe you are afraid for your wifes safety when she comes home on the subway after she gets off of work. Whatever the concerns are, make sure that you write them down at least three or four of them.

The concerns do not have to be unique for each individual either. You may have the same concern for one or more person(s) on your inventory list.

For the moment, you should keep the concerns down to the 3 or 4 most important, and expand on the list later.

3. Write out safety solutions for each one of those problems: Next you should brainstorm possible solutions for the problems each of the people on your list face. The solutions can be anything from getting an alarm system put into your house to buying pepper spray for your girlfriend when she has to come home late at night.

NOTE: Understand that everything on your plan does not have to cost money. A solution can be a simple as coming up with a password when someone pick your children up, to setting controls on your childs computer so that they do not go on the latest myspace page.

4. Create a budget for your Security Plan: Now that you have all the solutions for your family, its time to come up with a budget. Figure out how much each solution will cost you. Again, not every solution is going to cost you money.

5. Label concerns from most important to least important: Now you are going to want to label your concerns from the most important to the least important. This will help you determine which solutions you need to act on first.

6. Put your plan into action: Now that you have a plan, you need to act on it. Begin to putting your plan into action immediately. This may be as simple as setting up a family meeting or sitting down with your loved one to discuss the new plan that will be set in motion.

So, there you have it. Follow these simple steps, and you are sure to increase you and your familys safety 10 fold.


How PCI Security Standards Protect Your Credit Card Transactions

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a security feature that was developed by the major credit card companies to help businesses that process credit cards prevent credit card fraud through various security vulnerabilities that would exist otherwise. All companies that store, transmit, or process credit cards must be PCI DSS compliant in order to process these transactions. If they are not, then they can lose their ability to accept credit cards.

If you are not sure how these actions can protect your credit card transactions, below are the security standards that must be employed in order to make sure these transactions are secure:

Not using password defaults or other security measures that are provided by the credit card machine vendor. They are usually all the same and make the system vulnerable.

Install and maintain a firewall to keep intruders out.

If cardholder data must be transmitted over public networks that are open, the data must be encrypted.

Business need-to-know must be used to restrict access to cardholder data.

Physical access should be restricted to cardholder data.

Each person that has computer access, which means they may be able to access credit card numbers, should be assigned a unique username and password. This is so any accessed data can be traced back to the person who accessed it.

All access to network resources should be monitored, as well as access to cardholder data.

The system should be tested on a regular basis. This means all processes should be tested as well.

Maintain an information security policy. Enforce compliance with this policy and discipline if it is deviated in any way.

There are also certain pieces of information on a person's credit card that can and cannot be stored. The pieces of information that can be stored are the card number, the cardholder's name, the expiration date, and the service code. Pieces of information that cannot be stored are the magnetic strip, the PIN number, and the CVV code on the back of the card. PCI DSS standards require that information that is permitted to be stored is stored in a secure manner. Auditors will check for compliance in all of these areas. If it is found that the business is in violation in any way, the business could risk losing their privileges of taking credit cards or could face a heavy fine.

A worse scenario is that if a business is found to be in violation of PCS DSS requirements when cardholder information is stolen. This holds the business liable for ensuring that customer information is not compromised and to take measures that are appropriate in case that information is.

Even if you are a hosting provider, you have responsibility such as making sure the connection is secure when accepting credit cards. PCI DSS requirements do not apply to just in-store environments. It is true that it is impossible to verify that the person using the card is indeed that person, but what is possible is to make sure that information is protected so that outside parties do not access it. The internet is crawling with hackers and those looking for insecure connections. Abiding by PCI DSS regulations makes it less likely that such a breach will occur.

So now you can see how PCI DSS protects your credit card transactions. It is very likely that information is stolen when PCI DSS is followed closely. As long is it is followed, you have no security breaches to worry about and no bad audits that could result in trouble for your business.


Safes: To Crack or not to Crack, that is the Question!

Though we don't really have a lot of safes lying around the house, we did once receive a safe from an estate sale. We promptly locked the combination inside (dumb, yes, but lets assume the fault lies with one of our children!). Two possible scenarios came to mind to access the contents of the safe: one was the scene from the The Apple Dumpling Gang (a movie we recently felt compelled to expose our kids to from our own childhood). I don't remember the details of the scene, but it ended with a large explosion, money flying everywhere, and no one injured - only a bit of soot on everyone's face. Though there was no disclaimer, the scene screamed at me "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!" My next thought was of The Italian Job and Charlize Theron. She had quite a touch in opening the most difficult safe under stressful situations successfully and without causing any damage to the safe. Hmmm? Not knowing Charlize personally, I decided to call my local locksmith to get his take on the situation. It turned out that he had seen this problem before and had quite a "sensitive" ear for this type of thing.

So, when needing to access a safe, there is one simple question to ask: Do I need to keep the safe intact? Though it was not a realistic option for me, brute force is one of the methods for opening a safe. The other main safecracking methods involve either lock manipulation or manipulating a weak point on the safe (or as seen in popular media: drilling).

For all intent purposes, lets assume that we are trying to break into a safe illegally. Then we get the added pressure of being caught and have to consider how much time and noise the job will take.

The best method to use is lock manipulation. How sweet would be the satisfaction to leave no sign of having ever been there! The safe owner comes in on Monday morning, opens his safe, and all the gold bars are missing. There are no indications of a break-in. Though you could leave a calling card inside the safe, something that says, "Safe cracked courtesy of the Ghost" (or whatever cool name you come up with).

Surprisingly enough, the first way a safecracker will usually attempt to open a safe is to guess the combination. Manufactured safes often come with a manufacturer-set combination, which many people fail to reset. Most of these try-out combinations are industry standard and are accessible to locksmiths and safecrackers. With time being an issue, you might as well try the easiest thing first. If the try-out combination does not work, then a quick search of the room may reveal the combination. Often people leave their combination written down somewhere close by, sometimes even on the safe itself! Or, the owner uses easy to remember numbers, such as a birth date.

If no number is to be found or guessed correctly, then the safecracker must move on to more difficult options. To have to sit there with patience and your ear pressed up against the safe is probably the most pure form of safecracking among the professionals. It takes a great deal of skill and practice. For us non-safecracking people, it is the romantic and mysterious way to crack a safe. But it is also scientific. Harry C. Miller in 1940, described the following three-step process to discover the combination to a safe:
1. Determine contact points
2. Discover the number of wheels
3. Graph your results
I am not going into detail now on how this works, but lets just say that once the numbers are graphed, you just have to try the different possibilities to discover what order they go in to open the safe.

There are also autodialing machines to open safes. Auto-dialers try all the different numerical possibilities until the combination is discovered. This can be very time consuming, and are best used if the combination only has 3 digits.

Another method is to compromise a weak point on a safe by drilling. Drilling can be used to give the safecracker visual access to the locking mechanism. If they can see the mechanism, they can open the safe. Most manufactured safes have an ideal drill point and these are published by the manufacturer, though it is closely guarded information by manufacturers and locksmiths. More secure safes have relockers that are triggered by drilling. It is a piece of glass mounted between the safe door and the lock. When the drill hits the glass, spring-loaded bolts are released that block the retraction of the main locking bolt. Sometimes this can be avoided if it is possible to drill in from the side or back of the safe. Instead of trying to visually access the combination, two holes are drilled, one for a borescope to see what you are doing, the other for an extra-long screwdriver to remove the back plate and gain accesses to the lock. The screwdriver can then be used position the wheels of the lock so that the safe door can be opened.

Obviously, manufacturers try to combat safe manipulation methods. Besides relockers, different materials are used (such as cobalt) that are almost impossible to drill through. Special drill bits are needed and a lot of time.

Now, if noise is not an issue (you have been able to physically remove the safe to a remote location), then sometimes more physical methods can be used. This can include plasma cutters to cut through the safe, or explosives such as jam shots using nitroglycerin or C-4 to blow the door off the safe.

If you are a homeowner like me, I would suggest messing around with your ear pressed against the safe, just for the fun of it, and then calling a locksmith. Then you can watch the magic at work and wonder if you could ever do it!


The Benefits of Installing Outdoor Motion Sensors

What are outdoor motion sensors? Motion sensors are devices that monitor a certain area, whether this is outside your home, business, or any other area that needs monitoring. When someone or some thing passes within their range, they automatically come on. Most of these sensors are also cameras. When they are activated, they see what is in front of them, and these images can be transmitted to a video monitor, DVD or DVR player, so you are able to watch them in real time, or at some later date when it is convenient.

There are numerous benefits of installing outdoor motion sensors around your home. In many cases, just installing these motion sensors can deter thieves, but they do so much more than that. With several of these mounted in strategic locations around your property, you can effectively see what is going on, in the comfort of your own home.

Unfortunately, in today's world of economic crisis, many people have resorted to crime to get by and make ends meet. While outdoor sensors won't deter burglars from coming into your home, they certainly will be able to record pictures and video of these people, and crimes that commit. In addition, sometimes you may have other problems, such as vandalism on your property, whether it is some random person with nothing better to do, or a neighbor that has a grudge against you, etc. Having outdoor motions sensors installed can pick up these activities, and you can use them in court. Motion sensors can be placed strategically, so these vandals won't see them.

Now you may be wondering about which kind of outdoor motion sensors systems to buy. Many feel that wireless motion sensors are the way to go, because they can transmit video information directly to your monitor. They also have internal power systems, no cables to deal with, so they are hard to tamper with. Most of these systems come complete with the motion sensor, with cameras built in, and even the home base to pick up the wireless signals. Some of them even have their own DVRs to record activities that are picked up. Other systems have the ability to be connected from the recorder to a monitor, with each video being displayed on one monitor.

There are a number of online retailers that offer these outdoor sensors. You can find a variety of motion sensors products. One of the biggest concerns that people may have is cost. Some of these products can be somewhat expensive, so you have to really check around and get the most for you money. A lot has to do with how many features the package has, the amount of cameras that are included, and whether or not it includes the DVR and Monitor. Another factor that has to do with the cost is what brand the system is.

Here is an example of what kinds of outdoor sensors you can find on the market these days. The motion sensors and cameras are housed in high impact casing, and these cameras have super clear resolution. The DVR itself has is a medium compression MJPEG format, with better frame rate, but at a lower compression. This unit also includes a 250GB hard drive, and an USB port for backing up video files.


Are Security Bars A Good Idea?

There are many things that families and businesses do in order to safeguard their property. One technique that is often taken in the name of security is the addition of security bars to doors and windows. In spite of the inherent benefits of securing property, these bars often present risks of endangering the people inside.

One thing remains accurate, most burglars will keep moving rather than attempt entering into a home that has security bars on doors and windows. Home protection is the only security that these bars supply however for many, the risks involved in having these bars on windows is not worth the small measure of security that is provided. In other words, the good of these bars is really outweighed by the negatives.

A lot of people do not buy new security bars but rather rely on the same bars that have covered the windows of the home or business for many years. Some of these are rusted and nearly impossible to take away. In emergency situations, every second counts and these bars can be the very things that trap people inside a burning or flooding structure.

Security bars are no longer the cheap alternative to traditional alarm systems and monitoring services that they were touted to be in the past. In fact, more often than not the present a greater risk than they are a benefit to business and homeowners. Many larger companies offer free installation of alarm systems and alarms as well as monthly monitoring services at reasonable rates. More significantly not only are these monitoring services presented for breaks-in, but also for fire and smoke as well as panic button services.

Security bars may have had a time and place, but they have been replaced by something that is much more effectual at deterring criminals as well as something that provides a greater degree of security for the most precious assets of any home or business - the people inside. The costs concerned in monthly monitoring seem great but most will find that the value this service provides if and when it is ever called upon is well worth every penny.

Options to burglar bars that are not terribly expensive include planting thorny bushes below windows and keeping them trimmed back just enough that they do not block a view of the windows. Most burglars do not want a difficult entry point and they certainly do not want to be wounded during the process by prickly plants. Lighting is another option that is essentially less expensive than it would be to install burglar bars. Intruders do not want to be seen. If the area surrounding your home and business is well lit, it will serve as a deterrent. Investigate options such as this before resorting to security bars.

To answer the question of whether or not security bars are worth the risks for home or business protection the answer would be a loud "No!". There are other preventative measures that can be taken in order to deter intruders that present far less risk to family members and employees. These alternatives should be implemented rather than those that pose further risks to those you are trying to look after.


Distinctive Qualities to Look for When Buying a Home Fire Safe

If you are interested in purchasing a home fire safe, it is imperative that you understand that there are many distinctive qualities that you should look for to ensure that you make the most appropriate purchase for your individual needs and preferences. Fire safes are specially designed containers that are designed with highly durable materials. These materials have the capability of protecting all of the contents contained therein from fire, water, and other environmental substances for a specified amount of time. Many individuals agree that purchasing fire safes is considered one of the best investments that an individual may indulge in. Throughout this consumer guide, you will be introduced to the distinctive qualities to look for when purchasing a home fire safe.

Fire safes are designed to properly protect possessions that are considered to be highly valuable as well as documents that are considered to be irreplaceable or difficult to replace. In the United States alone, statistics indicate that a fire occurs at least one time every fifty seconds of each day. There are several types of critical files, documents and other essentials that are highly susceptible to damage should one of these fires affect your home. Examples of these files may include bank records, birth certificates, immunization records, passports, child custody documentation, medical records, insurance documentation, special contracts, various types of deeds and titles, tax records and even warranties on products that you own. A home fire safe that is designed with the highest quality has the capability of protecting these items for several hours during a fire and from temperatures that may reach up to two thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

When shopping for a home fire safe, it is important to consider the type of metal that the product is composed of. The metal must be considered "Heavy". In addition to this, the product must contain materials that are considered to be insulating in nature. The insulation provides your important documents with additional protection during the event of a fire. The materials used in the construction of fire safes are considered to be non-flammable. While it is true that every substance may burn in a fire if the exposure to high levels of heat is long enough, it is important to understand that the safes that are identified as "fireproof" are designed with the capability of withstanding the hottest temperatures that may be reached during a residential fire. The most common substances used to create these beneficial containers are called "Vermiculite" and "Perlite". When mixed together, they are highly fire-resistant.

When shopping for a home fire safe, it is also important to pay special attention to the anti-theft features and the overall size of the unit. You should carefully consider what type of items that you want to protect from emergencies such as fires as well as the amount of objects that will be placed in the device. By doing so, you will be able to appropriately select a size that is appropriate for your home's needs. It is also important to determine how solid the unit is as far as the locking mechanism is concerned as well as how many locking features are associated with the device. While being fireproof is important, it is also important that fire safes are people proof as well. By considering the factors outlined in this guide, you will be able to discover a home fire safe that is perfect for you and your home.


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