Don’t Overlook Basement Security

If you are like most of us, you probably don’t think much about the security of your basement. However, you might want to start doing that. Why? Because burglars love to get into homes by crawling into the basement. They know that most people don’t put a lot of security there, so it gives them easy access. Here are some tips to ensure your basement is locked up tight:

  • If you have a door leading to the basement, make sure there is a good lock on it. Also, get a good, solid door. If the door is hollow, it’s very easy to kick in. Try to install the door so that it opens outwards. This way, it’s very difficult to kick in.
  • Speaking of kicking in, if your door opens inward as most do, you need to reinforce that door and the door frame. Check out the Door Devil door reinforcement kit. It makes kicking in a door extremely difficult.
  • Make sure all windows to the basement are visible from the outside. Windows hidden by shrubbery are perfect windows for burglars to get into since you can’t see them. A dark night paired with dark clothing with the covering of a shrub makes a burglar almost invisible.
  • Speaking of the windows, you should also consider placing bars across basement windows. There are different types of bars on the market, and some are quite beautiful. So, you can improve the look of your home while also securing it.
  • If bars aren’t your thing, you can also install security film onto the windows. This way, if a burglar tries to break the window, the glass will remain in place. You can install this film yourself quite easily.
  • If you have a security system or motion sensors, which you should, make sure that the basement windows and doors are covered by them. Make sure that your basement windows are also monitored for glass breaking, too. Also, consider putting a sticker on those windows to let burglars know that your home has a security system in place.
  • Secure your home from the inside by keeping things like chairs or ladders away from windows. Even if a burglar gets through the glass, they might think twice about jumping several feet down onto the basement floor.
  • Keep valuables out of site. Don’t showcase all of your belongings to just anyone who looks in the window. Burglars often target homes when they can see the valuables inside. If they can’t see anything of value, it’s often not worth the risk. So, put valuables away or move them to an area of the basement where they can’t be seen. Also, consider putting up curtains or frosted glass sheets so burglars can’t see inside.
  • If your basement is the equivalent of a man cave/sports bar equipped with neon lights, know you will be a target. So do everything above.

These are just a few tips to help keep your basement, and ultimately, your home, as safe as possible by simply utilizing the practices above, you can greatly decrease the chances that a burglar could get into your home through the basement.

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to DoorDevil.com discussing Anti-Kick door reinforcement on YouTube. Disclosures.

Personal Security Advice

Personal security in general means deterring a crime on a person. In that context, personal security is preventing violence or theft in the physical world. At its most basic level, personal security is having the necessary tools, abilities and mindset to ward of an attacker. And while there is no such thing as 100% security, there are a number of things you can and should adopt to reduce the chance that you are chosen and are successful in overcoming adversity.

There always has been, there is, and there will always be attackers targeting their next victim. In the post Are You Taking Responsibility for Your Personal Safety? You will begin to formulate an understanding of risk and what you as an individual or family member need to do to protect from harm.

As your understanding of taking responsibility for your personal security evolves, you begin to recognize that we are all essentially on our own that local law enforcement will not protect us from harm. In the post Should You Fight or Take a Flight When Being Attacked? You will clearly see what choices need to be made, how to overcome civilized conditioning and what your options are in the event you are chosen as a potential victim.

We all know there are bad people out there doing harm to others. But why? Why are some people good and others bad? In the blog The Natural Predatory Nature of Humans you will understand the science behind the predatory mindset. It might sound weird, but predators are “normal”. Meaning, it’s just their nature and as long as you are aware of this, you’ll see all people for what they are, most good, and some, predatory.

Having all this knowledge is great, but what to do in the event of a dangerous situation? In the posts Self- Defense Options You Might Not Know About and Why You Should Take a Woman’s Self-Defense Class we’ll get down and dirty and discuss the actual techniques devised to take a bad guy out of the picture if you are backed into a corner.

The post Secret Self-Defense Weapons You Might Not Know About is one of my favorites. Sure you can use a cane for self defense and you probably know bashing someone over the head with a flashlight is an option. But did you know a magazine can be used for self defense? How about an iPhone headset? This post will teach you all about improvised weaponry and what your options are should you need a self defense tool to debilitate someone.

45 Home Security Tips That Help to Keep Burglars Away

If you have a home, you should be worried about burglars. Here are 44 home security tips that you can use to keep the burglars away: 

  1. Keep your doors locked all of the time.
  2. Use a deadbolt on every door.
  3. Don’t leave ladders outside.
  4. Teach young kids NOT to answer the door.
  5. Make sure there are no valuables sitting out that someone could see from the window.
  6. Keep curtains and shades drawn tight at night.
  7. Install a peephole.
  8. Don’t answer the door unless you expect someone.
  9. Cover all windows with an anti-penetration film known as shatter proof window film.
  10. Put a “beware of dog” sign in the front and back of your property.
  11. If you don’t have a dog, make it look like you do. Drape a large leash over your outdoor furniture, place a large food bowl with water outside, and even throw some dog toys in the yard.
  12. Don’t leave the garage door open or unlocked, ever.
  13. Put your valuables in a sock and hide them under your bathroom vanity. Burglars don’t often check bathrooms.
  14. Even better, put it in a fireproof safe.
  15. Make sure all of your window locks work, and make sure to lock all windows at night.
  16. Don’t allow bushes to grow too high near the home. These offer hiding places for burglars.
  17. Plant thorny bushes around the windows and doors.
  18. Teach your family about fire escape, and then conduct “home invasion drills”
  19. If there are no men in the house, create the illusion of one. Place old, worn men’s work boots by the door along with a tool box.
  20. Make sure all of your window screens are in excellent condition, not torn.
  21. Use stoppers or Charlie bars in all window tracks.
  22. Get a new security system, and make sure it includes motion sensors and cameras.
  23. Place a video surveillance camera, or even a fake one, above the front and back door where it is always visible.
  24. If you are planning a vacation, talk to a neighbor about parking their car in your driveway. Also, ask someone to mow your lawn.
  25. When away, put a hold on your newspaper and mail delivery.
  26. Set up a system that turns on lights inside and out when you are home or away. This way, it looks like you are home.
  27. Don’t post about your vacation on social media until you get home. Burglars look for those posts.
  28. Put decals from a security company on your windows and front door.
  29. Put a security system sign in both the front and the back yard.
  30. Don’t talk about your travel plans with preachers, service people, survey takers, or salespeople. They may not have bad intentions, but people talk too much.
  31. Install a lockbox for spare keys.
  32. Consider building a “safe room.”
  33. Make sure your home’s address is large and very visible from the street.
  34. Put your name inside opposed to outside the mailbox. No need to broadcast it to buglers
  35. Don’t say “We aren’t home right now” on your voice mail recording.
  36. Check all windows after you have a service person in your home. Sometimes, they leave windows open so that they can get in later.
  37. Consider keyless smart locks.
  38. Get a protection dog.
  39. Take a self defense course.
  40. Don’t leave any packages sitting outside of your house. Instead, schedule packages when you can sign for them or use a sign-for service.
  41. Have a phone on your night stand.
  42. Install a good door reinforcement system. Door Devil is a good one.
  43. If you leave the house, turn off the ringer of your home phone. This way, burglars won’t hear it ring without anyone picking it up.
  44. Give a key to your home to a trusted neighbor. Don’t ever leave it under a plastic rock, welcome mat, or a flower pot.
  45. Assume that the guy who knocks at the door representing your alarm company who just shows up wants to rob you.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Anti-Phishing & Scam Protection

Unless you have been living in a cave in Montana, then you definitely know that information security in our government agencies and Corporations across the world is failing. With data breaches at epidemic proportions it’s no wonder why officers of companies are being fired left and right because of poor security practices. Phishing often tops the list of why companies get hacked.

PT Barnum once said that ‘there is a sucker born every minute’, but I’m not sure if he is correct. I think there is a sucker in all of us (you and me, no offense!), meaning we are all susceptible to being scammed. This post “Confidence Crimes: Be Aware and Stay Safe” is the best way for you to recognize your vulnerabilities and how to maintain a higher level of scam awareness.

On that note, you definitely want to determine is your employees are the problem and this post “Are Your Employees Putting Your Company at Risk?” will set them straight.

While hardware and software are designed to protect a network, an axiom in the security industry is “corporate networks are like candy bars, they are hard on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside”. That means your employees are the path of least resistance for criminals to access your data. These two posts “10 Surefire Staff Security Awareness Techniques” and “Is Your Small Business Staff Trained in Security Awareness?” will help your organization jumpstart its security awareness initiatives.

Often the most successful way criminals penetrate an organization is through the scam called Phishing. A phishing email may look like it’s coming from a government agency, business, or any organization that you know, like and trust. The most successful scam is when it seems like it’s coming from a co-worker. This post “The Phishing Trip You Should Probably Skip” will enlighten you to how phishing works.

Security awareness training goes beyond knowing what to click and what not to click, and being aware of phishing emails. But there’s also a huge problem with employees bringing their own devices to work. This post “Mobile Phone Numbers Are as Sensitive as Your Social Security Number” might scare the heck out of you, but sometimes being a little freaked out is a good thing.

Home Security Advice

It is my firm belief that if you don’t have a home security system then you are basically in denial that these things can’t happen to you. The fact of the matter is at 3 a.m. if somebody breaks into your house, it’s not going to matter if you have a gun or even a dog, because that bad guy has a significant advantage over your sleeping self.

We’ve created a number of blog posts to prepare you and your home from creditors. I would definitely start off with “10 Huge Home Security Mistakes” To get you into the right mindset and so you can see what you might be doing wrong.

Once you recognize what you are doing wrong then you can determine best practices and what you should be doing right. This post “Take the Extra Step: 12 Ways to Protect Your Home from Burglars” also discusses door reinforcement which is one of the most underappreciated aspects of Home Security.

Home security is more than just keeping the bad guys out, it’s also making sure that your family is safe in and around the house from household hazards. This post “15 Tips to Ensure the Safety and Security of Your Home” accomplishes that.

Heck, while we are at it lets just add up another 40 home security tips including tips on “door reinforcement” technology with the post 40 Practical Tips to Keep Your Home Safe and Secure.

And it seems every year around the holidays we hear about homes being burglarized, Christmas presents being stolen, and packages swiped by criminals. “15 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays” will help you protect your family and your home from criminals.

And finally, probably the most comprehensive post on this site in regards to home security is “45 Home Security Tips That Help to Keep Burglars Away”. I’ll be you didn’t even know there were 45 anything you could do in regards to Home Security so make sure you have all of these systems in place.

How to Protect Your Digital Identity Now and Save $10000s

In this world nothing can be said to be certain except for death, taxes, and now your information being stolen in a data breach. With more than 6 billion records compromised in the past two years your identity or company data is probably in the hands of a criminal. But there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your organization.

To begin, start with the basics so you understand the fundamentals. I suggest reading “5 Digital Security Tips That You Should Always Beware Of” to get up to speed and make sure you have systems in place to protect your data.

The worst thing consumers and employees do to make themselves and their companies vulnerable is they use the same weak password across multiple accounts. To protect the data in which you are entrusted with, it is best to use strong passwords and never use the same password twice. But the only effective way to accomplish this is by using a Password Manager. Read “Use a Password Manager Or You WILL Get Hacked” and your password woes will be over.

But even if you use a password manager you still need stronger login credentials and that’s where two factor authentication or two step verification comes in. This comprehensive post “Protecting Yourself from a Data Breach Requires Two Step Authentication” is everything you need to know to lock down access credentials on the top critical sites.

But that’s not all! There may be signs your device is infected and this post “Top 10 Signs of a Malware Infection on Your Computer” will help you protect yourself and help clean up any malware mess.

If you are a small business, or just like cool reads then “10 Internet Security Myths that Small Businesses Should Be Aware Of” will help you focus on what’s most important in network security.

If you have a mobile phone, and I know you do, whether you’re in business or not, the “Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data” is an essential read to protect that little dangerous computer you carry around that may get hacked, lost or stolen.

And finally the most significant overlooked aspects of social media are online reputation management concerns and malicious security vulnerabilities on social sites. This must read “Protect Your Company with This Social Media Security Advice” should be shared with everyone in your organization.

Survival Training and Advice

The saying goes if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Most people think they will never need to scrape for food or water and that everything they need or want for basic sustenance is at our fingertips. For the most part, because we live in a civilized society, they are right. But what happens if things go wrong? With the world going crazy, things going wrong is becoming likelier by the minute.

What most people don’t realize is that the electric grid is only around 100 years old. That means 100 years ago we were living in the dark, or by lights powered by whale oil. It also means that we were responsible for growing our own food and there wasn’t such a thing as gas powered cars or trucks to deliver that food either.

Today, we are painfully dependent on the electrical grid to deliver food and clean. If a disaster strikes, whether man-made or Mother Nature, and the grid goes down for any period of time, do you have a backup plan? In this post “Creating a “Plan B” for Survival” you will get your head right on what you need to do to prepare.

But there is much more to know. In the post “The Top 7 Things You Need in Your Survival Kit” and “Is Your Bugout Bag Ready to Go?” You’ll begin to understand what the basic necessities are for off the grid survival.

And then there is water. Clean fresh water is taken for granted in most parts of the world. Some, don’t have running water at their disposal. But the reality of it is without electricity, clean water is not an option unless you are prepared. Again, if disaster strikes, do you have clean water? Make sure you read the post “Storing Water for Survival” so you are not literally left high and dry.

There is so much more to be discussed on topic. But knowing how to use a weapon for self-defense and equally as important for survival, is how to use a knife to survive off the grid. Do you carry a knife? We call this EDC or “every day carry” In this post “Do You Know How to Use a Knife for Survival?” you will begin to understand the value of having a blade on you at all times.

Identity Theft Advice

Everything you need to know about Identity Theft Protection and prevention.

Protecting your identity really isn’t all that difficult. It begins with understanding how criminals utilize our personal identifying information and how we make our own information useless to a thief. Let’s start by discussing Identity Theft Protection and prevention services. One question I’m always asked and a blog you should read is “Do You Really Need Identity Theft Protection or is it a Waste of Money”?

It’s also very important to determine if the service you’re looking at is in fact Identity Theft Protection or is it just some BS service that maybe your bank is offering you that wont protect you, so I compiled a Blog that you should read that clears up any confusion called “The Term Identity Theft Protection is Often a Lie“. Read it.

A lot of people end up on this site as a resource to protect their identity often because they determine their data, especially their Social Security number was stolen in a data breach, so in order to assist those people I’ve compiled a Blog titled “Your Social Security Card Gets Stolen, Now What” is a good read with a ton of hits.

Many of you are the Chief Information Officers in your family and are responsible for protecting both your parents and your children from Identity Theft so I’ve compiled two very comprehensive blogs one titled “Freezing Your Child’s Credit, What You Need to Know” which is a great resource to protect your kids identities and another that is clicked on quite a bit called “Protecting Your Parents From Identity Theft. These are both great checklist I suggest you forward and share them on social with all of your friends and family.

Don’t forget about your parents too. You may have, and still might go to your parents for advice. But, depending on their age, identity theft is one of those issues where you need to advise and even take control.  The post Protecting Your Parents from Identity Theft hits the nail on the head, especially if they are on social media.

Speaking of social, too many of you are making a ton of mistakes on social media and getting yourself, your families, your businesses, and your employer in trouble. If you don’t read this blog chances are you’re going to get yourself or someone else in trouble. I suggest reading “The 14 Social Media Disasters Ready to Strike”and posting that to your timeline.

And finally, this post following is a big deal. In the security industry we discussed “layers of protection”, the more layers you have, the more secure you’re going to be. As far as protecting your identity, identity theft protection services are a must, but in addition to that I strongly suggest enabling a credit freeze for you, your kids, your parents, and anyone else you are responsible for.  The post I recommend you read is titled “Get a Credit Freeze Now Before It’s Too Late”, will tighten your identity up nice,  it’s easy just do it!

Use a Password Manager Or You WILL Get Hacked

Do you ever use the same password over and over again for different accounts? If so, you are not alone. However, this is quite dangerous. It’s best to use a different, unique password for each account, and to make it easier, you should use a password manager.

According to surveys, people understand that they should use unique passwords, and more than half of people get stressed out due to passwords. Furthermore, about 2/3rds of people said that they had forgotten a password or that a password issue had cause problems at work.

However, a password manager can easily solve the issues associated with passwords. A password manager is a type of software that can store login info for any and all websites that you use. Then, when you go to those websites, the password manager logs you in. These are safe, too. The information is stored on a secure database, which is controlled by a master password.

Using a Password Manager

Most people have more than one online account, and again, it’s so important to have a different password for each account. However, it’s very difficult to remember every password for every account. So, it’s not surprising that people use the same one for all of their accounts. But, if using a password manager, you can make it a lot easier.

  • When using a password manager, you can create a password that is safe and secure, and all of your passwords are protected by your master password.
  • This master password allows you to access all websites you have accounts on by using that master password.
  • When you use a password manager, and you update a password on a site, that password automatically is updated on all the computers that use your password manager.

Password Managers Can Ease Your Stress

When you first start using a password manager, it’s likely that you’ll notice you have fewer worries about your internet accounts. There are other things you will notice, too, including the following:

  • When you first visit a website, you won’t put your password in. Instead, you can open the password manager, and then there, you can put your master password.
  • The password manager you use fills in your username and password, which then allows you to log into the website with no worries.

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Use a Password Manager

Password managers available on the internet from many reputable security companies. However, before you pay for them, there are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • All of the major internet browsers have a password manager. However, they just can’t compete with the independent software that is out there. For instance, a browser-based password manager can store your info on your personal computer, but it may not be encrypted. So, a hacker can might that information anyway.
  • Internet browser-based password managers do not generate custom passwords. They also might not sync from platform to platform.
  • Software based password managers work across most browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Password Managers are Easy to Use

If you are thinking about using a password manager, the first step is to create your master password.

  • The master password has to be extremely strong, but easy to remember. This is the password you will use to access all of your accounts.
  • You should go to all of your accounts and change your passwords using the password manager as an assistant. This ensures that they are as strong as possible, too.
  • The strongest passwords contain a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. Password managers often create passwords using this formula.

Managing your accounts online is really important, especially when you are dealing with passwords. Yes, it’s easy to use the same password for every account, but this also makes it easy for hackers to access those accounts.

Don’t Reuse Your Passwords

You might think it would be easy to reuse your passwords, but this could be dangerous:

  • If your password is leaked, hackers can get access to all of your sensitive information like passwords, names, and email addresses, which means they have enough information to access other sites.
  • When a website is hacked, and all of your passwords and usernames are discovered, the scammer can then plug in those passwords and usernames into all of your accounts to see what works. These could even give them access to your bank account or websites like PayPal.

Ensuring Your Passwords are Secure and Strong

There are a number of ways to ensure your passwords are secure and strong. Here are some more ways to create the best passwords:

  • Make your passwords a minimum of eight characters long.
  • Mix up letters, numbers, and symbols in the password, making sure they don’t spell out any words.
  • Have a different password for every account that you have. This is extra important for accounts containing financial information, like bank accounts.
  • Consider changing your password often. This ensures your safety and security.

If you have a weak password, you are much more susceptible to hacks and scams. So, protect your online existence, and start utilizing these tips.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Is Your Bugout Bag Ready to Go?

It seems like there have been a number of natural disasters hitting the US over the past couple of years…hurricanes, wild fires, floods…the list goes on. If you are caught in the face of a survival emergency, do you have supplies? Consider a bugout bag. These are sacks that you can take with you in the outdoors to help you survive. Here’s what you need for a three-day bugout bag: 

  • Water – At least a liter per person each day.
  • Food – Pack backpack meals or energy bars.
  • Large cup or small pot – This is for boiling water, but if you have iodine tablets, you might not need this.
  • Clothes – Pack pants, two shirts, sturdy footwear, two pairs of non-cotton socks, long underwear, a wide-brimmed hat, and rainwear jacket and pants.
  • Tent or tarp with a sleeping bag.
  • First aid kit – you can build one, you don’t have to buy one. That way, you know what’s in it.
  • Fire starters
  • Poncho
  • Survival knife
  • Two flashlights with extra batteries
  • Small mirror – you can use this to get the attention of airplanes
  • Weapon – pepper spray is a good thing. If you want to carry a gun, make sure you have the right training.
  • Sunscreen and sun glasses
  • GPS or similar in case you get lost
  • Baby wipes to clean yourself
  • Paracord

That should be enough to get you through three days. There are obviously other things that you can put into your bugout bag, too. Depending on where you live and your skills, you might want to put in a compass or a snake-bite kit. Small plastic bags and shoelaces are also important, as you can use them to trap water from non-poisonous plants. If you want to create a seven-day bugout bag, make sure to add enough to survive.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.