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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!


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