Self- Defense Options You Might Not Know About

If you are like most people, you probably haven’t done a lot of thinking about what you would do in a situation involving physical assault. Why would you? I mean, it’s unpleasant and scary. Further, depending on your physical makeup, you may think you’d probably lose anyway. However, you don’t have to have an MMA fighter’s body to defend yourself.

Attackers often look for targets who are unsuspecting. One of attackers “tools of the trade” is the element of surprise. So, live like your heads on a swivel which means be aware and do things like park your car or walk only in areas that are well-lit. You should also avoid parking next to a large truck or van where an attacker might pull you in

When you are in a parking lot, keep your largest house or car key poking out between two of your fingers. This makes a good weapon. If a bad guy approaches you and asks for your purse or wallet, give it to them. Your life isn’t worth whatever is in your wallet or purse.

If the attacker grabs you, scream as loud as you can. Tell him to “Get the F— away” as loud and angrily as possible. Profanities are fundamentally offensive and color the way we are viewed by others. This is no time for niceties; you should sound like a thug. This will alert anyone around that you need help.

Running away to a safe place should be your first choice when possible. Otherwise if you are backed into a corner, Do what is necessary to escape. That may mean fight like an alley cat or a junk yard dog.

You should push him, bite, knee, poke, gouge and whatever is necessary to inflict not just pain, but debilitating pain and continue screaming. You should make sure it hurts, so go for the ears, neck, nose, eyes, legs, and of course, his groin.

Don’t move any closer to your attacker unless you have no choice. Try to aim at a place where you can hurt them, but don’t have to get close. For instance, kick him in the knee instead of stepping close to poke him in the eye. If aiming at the upper body, use your hands; the lower body, use your feet.

Here are some specific areas to focus on:

Eyes

  • Gouge, poke, dig, or stab the eyes with your fingers or nails. This is disabling for several moments, especially if you do it several times.

Nose

  • Use your palm, elbow, forearm to push the nose upward, and use all of your body weight.
  • If the attacker is behind you, use your elbows and aim for the nasal bone.

Neck

  • Try to focus on the side of the neck where the body’s major blood vessels are located. If you hit the side of the neck with your hand or elbow, you can even knock someone out.

Throat

  • Blunt force trauma to the larynx or digging into the trachea makes it very difficult for the attacker to breath.

Knee

  • Even the largest, most burley men can be brought down by kicking him in the knees. Try to drive the foot into the side of his knee, which forces him to lose his balance and possibly tear an ACL.

Groin

  • Try to hit the groin with anything you can. Your hands, knees, elbows, feet, or even your head. Do it as hard as you can and do it as often as you can.

Normal people aren’t interested in fighting, for any reason. But in the unlikely event you are confronted by what turns out to be a dangerous person, fight like your life, or the life of a loved one depends on it.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Should You Fight or Take a Flight When Being Attacked?

I am a big believer that people should run away from an attacker. If a bad guy gets into your home and he often wants to cause you pain, RUN as quickly as you can to the nearest door. If you are in a corner or you have to protect a loved one, you might have to fight him.

Most of us are taught to not hurt other people. We teach our children to have manners and to be kind to others. This is a process known as “civilized conditioning,” and it allows us to live in a civilized society.

However, sometimes violence occurs regardless of this civilization. In fact, there are millions of people out there who are uncivilized and fully capable of doing terrible things to other people.

When you think of it, civilized conditioning is a type of double-edged sword. Yes, it helps to prevent us from being violent to each other for no good reason. But, it also prevents us from being violent with another person if we need to. Because of this conditioning, you might panic, stop breathing, or even freeze when someone attacks you.

Do you know what you would do if a bad guy confronts you? Would you freeze? Fight? Run?

If you are a parent and someone attacks your child, you would probably defend your son or daughter with a vengeance. But, what about when it comes to your own safety?

Here are some tools that you can use to overcome civilized conditioning when you need to:

  • Understand that no one has any right to harm you for any reason.
  • Realize that fighting back and resisting is the best way to remove yourself from a situation that is dangerous.
  • Ask yourself “What if” questions, such as “What if, as I walk through this parking lot, there is someone hiding behind that van?” This helps to prepare your body and mind to quickly respond in the face of danger.
  • Practice visualization to try to create potential scenarios in your thoughts, and then think about your response.
  • Take self-defense classes. This helps to give you a different perspective on your situation.
  • Have an awareness of your situation and environment no matter where you are or what you are doing. If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is.
  • If you are attached, run to a safe place, such as to a store, a home, or any other populated area.
  • Install home alarm systems in your home to further protect yourself from the bad guys.

And, when it’s all said and done, don’t worry about any of this. BUT, you need to know your options and you need to do something about it if a bad guy enters your life.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Why You Should Take a Woman’s Self-Defense Class

Many crimes against women are categorized as “crimes of opportunity.” The attacker doesn’t seem to care if the chance to attack comes in a large, busy city or in a small, sleepy town. If he sees a woman and he has intentions of attacking, he’s going to strike…assuming he can get away with it.

Because of this, if you are a woman, you should absolutely not hesitate: take a self-defense class. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how tall, or how much you weigh, big or small or even how prepared you think you are. Just take the class.

There is much more to a good self-defense class than learning how to kick a man in the groin or throw a punch. In fact, sometimes an assailant can be scared and run simply by the tone of a woman’s voice or the look in her eyes. In fact, predators often “interview” a woman before he assaults her. He does this to assess if he can easily overtake her, or not. He usually doesn’t automatically make the assumption that the can have the upper hand because he’s bigger and stronger. Instead, he has to determine if she’s “victim material.”

One way a man does this is by asking his potential victim for directions or for the time. He then pays very close attention to her body language, response, and tone of her voice. Women who take the right self-defense classes know how to hold their bodies in a way that can make a man back away. This doesn’t mean that women who are trained in self-defense don’t get attacked…but, it’s much less likely.

Women must be willing to hurt, harm, and injure their attacker. Good self-defense programs include instruction on how to do this. These programs also give women information about how to get out of an attack, how to fight when pushed to the ground, and even how to deal with a situation when a weapon is involved.

Attackers usually don’t think that a victim will fight back. So, the response of the victim within the first seconds of an attack often determines the outcome. A scratch to the face, for instance, is a step in the right direction, but that won’t scare him or stop him. Instead, punch him in the throat or gouge his eyes.

Seek out programs that include a technique called “adrenal stress self-defense training” which provides a mind body physical and chemical connection. In the real world, if and when a person is attacked, their adrenaline spikes. If you’ve taken an adrenal stress type training, that connection will help to emotionally and physically retain self defense training and automatically react and respond effectively.  

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.

Faulty Tire Repair could break your Neck

Roy Chattelle was on a road trip in 2008 and suffered what seemed like a minor tire leak. So he got the tire repaired. Many people think nothing of pulling into the nearest tire shop and getting that little puncture or tear repaired or “plugged.”

7HA few months after this routine repair, the tire blew, causing the vehicle to flip five times. Chattelle and his kids recovered from their injuries, but wife Gwen had a very different outcome: She was rendered permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

An investigation into what caused this tire to blow out revealed that the tire shop was negligent: faulty repair and installation, leading to a thread belt separation. The Chattelles were awarded over $13 million.

According to an article at boston.cbslocal.com, many tire shops repair leaks from the outside of the tire. Glen Wilder of Wilder Brothers Auto is quoted as follows: “They just jam rubber into it until it stops leaking.”

When you take your slowly leaking tire, or tire that has a little nail in it, to the tire shop, do you really know what the employee there will do to ensure that the repair means a perfectly safe tire to drive on?

Wilder explains that the inside of the tire needs to be inspected. Sometimes tire shops won’t do this, upping the risk of a blowout. Repairs should be made with a plug-patch and also with a rubber sealant—and not all tire shops follow this recommendation, which comes from tire manufacturers.

Not only that, but there is no law making it illegal for tire shops to deliver substandard tire repairs. It’s legal to perform a shoddy repair using superglue, for instance.

In fact, bad tire repairs are common, says an article at newyork.cbslocal.com. “This is a dirty little secret,” says Robert Sinclair, AAA spokesman. Anything goes, he says, because there’s just no law that requires a minimum standard of tire repair. He points out that some tires are repaired with spit and tape, sawdust or “whatever is laying around.”

A punctured tire should be removed from the rim and inspected. Al Eisenberg, a tire repair expert for 30 years in Long Island, notes that shoddy repairs are a ticking time bomb. “It’s not a matter of if, but when that tire will blow.”

So what should you do?

Just buy a new tire. Forget worrying about whether or not the punctured or gashed tire was repaired effectively. If your circumstances leave you with no choice but to have the new tire installed at a shop other than the one at your vehicle’s dealership, then as soon as possible after the repair, take your vehicle into its dealership to have the new tire installation inspected to make sure it was done properly.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, 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.

Don’t mess with this Pint Sized Woman

April Marchessault got attacked just after midnight inside her bathroom. At 5-1, she wasn’t intimidated by the 5-7, 200 pound man. Edgardo Montes, 47, got his clock thoroughly cleaned.

1SDHe was charged with breaking and entering and intent to rape, plus other charges. It all began when April took out the trash, reports eagletribune.com. She left the back door open. What are the odds that this formerly convicted rapist just happened to be out there? Well, it happened. Never leave doors unlocked!

She went into the bathroom to clean the sink. Edgardo crept up from behind and wrapped his arms around her chest so hard she couldn’t turn around. But when he tried to force her face into the sink, she kind of hulked out.

April turned around and pushed him back, but somehow he struck her in the jaw. She pushed him again and pulled his shirt off (which was already partially pulled up to conceal his face). He headed for the back door but April got there first, pushing him out. Then she started beating him, making him fall down some steps.

“I ran down the stairs and I kept hitting him in the face and head with my fist,” says the Massachusetts woman. “I was stomping on his knee.” She “kept hitting him” as he was trying to get up. April then began hitting him in the head repeatedly with a trash can.

Edgardo was so beaten he couldn’t get up, and by then, April’s father stood guard over him while waiting for the police. Amazingly, April’s three young sons slept through everything.

Points of Interest

  • April has no martial arts training; what enabled her was anger and wit.
  • Martial arts training, however, can reprogram a woman’s way of thinking so that if she’s ever assaulted, she could maintain her wits and think tactically rather than in a panicked state.
  • Never leave your doors unlocked even for a moment, especially at night. It takes just seconds to lock the door right behind you after you re-enter your home!

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures

Back to school Tech Security Tips for College Students

Some of us remember college dorm days, when students were envied if they had their own typewriter. These days, college students must have a personal laptop computer, and a smartphone, and their lives revolve around these connected devices.  Such dependency should be proactively protected from loss or theft.  Campus security now means more than just being beware of who might be hiding in the bushes at night.

1SWhen you send your college kid off into the world, you want them to be prepared for life’s curveballs, and unfortunately, the occasional criminal too. How prepared are they? How prepared are you? Do you or they know that if they leave their GPS service on, some creep could be “following” them? Are they aware of how to lock down their devices to prevent identity theft?

For cybersecurity and personal security, college students should:

How might students get hacked and how can they prevent it?

  • They can fall for a scam via a campus job board, the institution’s e-mail system, off-campus public Wi-Fi or on social media. Be aware of what you click on.
  • It’s easy for devices to be stolen; never leave devices alone whether it’s in the library or a café.
  • Shoulder surfing: Someone peers over their shoulder in the study lounge or outside on a bench to see what’s on their computer screen. A privacy filter will make shoulder surfing difficult.
  • Be careful when buying a used device (which can be infected) and simply taking it as is. Wipe it clean and start fresh with the installation of a new operating systems.
  • If you’re not using your devices, consider keeping them in a lockbox or a hidden place instead of exposed in a shared living space like a dorm.
  • All devices should have a password protected screen lock.
  • Data should be backed up every day. Imagine how you’d feel if you lost that term paper you’ve been slaving over!
  • Get a password manager, which will create strong, complex passwords unique to every account. And you won’t have to remember them.
  • Avoid jailbreaking your smartphone, as this increases its hackability.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi for transactions involving money or sensitive information, since hackers could easily snoop on the data transmissions. A virtual private network (VPN) will prevent snooping by encrypting transactions.

All devices should have security software that should be updated automatically. Virus scans should be done every day, or at least no less frequently than once a week.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.

Street Fights can result in Death

People who don’t believe they have been brainwashed by the film industry, which repeatedly shows men in a brawl who are still standing after each have received a dozen punches to the head and face.

Sometimes it takes five full minutes to just daze a man, after he’s been hit in the face over and over, and struck in the back with a chair so hard the chair breaks. Men get slammed, even tossed, into walls, into cars, but bounce right back with their dukes up.

An article on gawker.com points out that just one punch could be lethal. And that hitting your head on the ground can be fatal. Bare hands can be deadly. The article also explains that because of this, you should do whatever it takes to stop the attacker—knowing that it might kill him—but at the same time, you shouldn’t deliberately try to kill him.

If your only way out is the nearby 2 x 4, and he’s a bull, then whack him. But geez, no need to impale him with the nearby pitchfork when instead you can just swing the other end into his knees.

How can one punch or a hard fall to concrete kill? The force could jar the brain, tearing a blood vessel, causing rapid bleeding—an acute subdural hematoma or subarachnoid hemorrhage. These don’t exist in Hollywood scripts.

Street Fight Smarts

  • Consider pepper spray, but your brain is your best defense weapon.
  • Park only in well-lit areas and never next to a van.
  • Avoid walking in the dark when possible.
  • If someone demands your car, money or jewelry, give it up.
  • Micro-seconds count. You can always say, “I’m sorry for permanently damaging your eye,” later at the courthouse.
  • Don’t scratch or slap; punch with a closed fist.
  • Gouge at the eyes.
  • Go for the nose.
  • Slam fists into the sides of the neck.
  • Kick at the knees.
  • Ram a hand up between his legs—you know what the destination is.

If he’s “dragging” you to his car, drop to the ground and wrap your arms around his leg to become dead weight. If you think he’ll hit your head at that point, then make a break for it, because at that point, he doesn’t have his arms around you.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Chip and PIN or Chip and Signature?

OK, there’s lots going on here. Read slowly and wrap your brain around this. So which offers more security? Chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature for your card payments? Chip-and-PIN wins. This is due to two authentication forms: the card and the PIN, which is stored in your head (or should be, anyways, rather than on some small piece of paper crinkled inside your purse).

1CBut chip-and-signature has its virtues for all involved. One reason is that most people don’t know their credit card PIN, something like 5-10 percent knowing it. If credit card payments were only via chip-and-PIN, consumers would memorize their PINs very quickly.

Another issue is that only one-fourth of U.S. POS terminals have a PIN pad. This means a lot of money spent by merchants to accommodate a chip-and-PIN-only environment with updated POS terminals.

On the other hand, this investment can pay off because, says a 2013 Fed Payments Study Summary, PIN debit transactions come with a much lower fraud loss rate than do signature transactions.

A PIN based transaction brings unwanted issues to some merchants, e.g., car rental companies requiring preauthorization transactions prior to the final transaction amount. Car rental and lodging companies, however, better like the signature based transaction because it has a separate authorization and settlement process.

Other merchants, too, must make some big decisions, such as the restaurant industry: To accommodate customers who want to use their mobiles for payments at their table, restaurants will have to pay a pretty penny for terminals.

The chip-and-PIN comes with a human based flaw: If a buyer forgets their PIN, the transaction will be incomplete. The signature based transaction has the signature to complete the transaction.

All of these pros and cons must be carefully considered among consumers, merchants and the card payment industry. But what bankers and merchants seem to agree on is that the magnetic strip is getting very old and needs to be replaced by a more secure technology: the chip.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He 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. Disclosures.

What Security Issues Should You Worry About?

First thing I tell my seminar attendees is “The chances of anything bad ever happening to you is very slim. So don’t worry about. However you should still put these systems in place.”

Are you a helicopter parent? An “alarmist”? Or Chicken Little: The sky is falling, the sky is falling! I heard somewhere along the line that 90% of what we worry about never happens. It might be even closer to 99%. But there is still that one percent that concerns.

Deciding what to worry about may be a conscious or unconscious (or sub-conscious) decision.

Often what we worry about comes from what we see and are fed in the media. It is well known that the nightly news is built on the premise “If it bleeds it leads”. Blood and guts is what sells airtime and newspapers.

These worries when confronted are often dumbed down by statisticians, researchers, some security professionals, social psychologists and are called “baseless paranoid fears”. Books written in this regard are designed to give perspective. My feeling is they are written simply to sell a contrarian idea to stimulate conversation (and sell books) and in reality the author is no less of a “worrier” than anyone else.

Perspective is good. Too much “worry” can have ill health affects and significantly detract from quality of life.

My gripe with the “Don’t worry, it’s a 1 in 10 million chance” mentality is that it fosters the “It can’t happen to me” syndrome which prevents people from taking responsibility for their security in the first place.

If you knew the statistical probability of the chances of your kid being shot at school or your child being kidnapped or even being struck by lightning and all were “slim”, would you take any less precaution to protect yourself or your family?

Would you stand next to a metal pole in a lightning storm? Would you drive without a seatbelt? Would you allow your 7 year old who is perfectly capable of navigating their way to school go by themselves even though the chance of them being kidnapped is extremely slim?

For many of the issues we worry about the chances of them happening might be 1 in a 100,000 or 1 in 10 million. Your chances of something bad happening may equate to the same statistics as winning the lottery, which is very slim, but you still might play the number.

Does it really matter what the odds are?

Every day someone somewhere wins the lottery. Every day someone somewhere is a victim of a heinous crime.

Knowing what I know I’m concerned about it all and I take the necessary steps to prevent what’s in my control. Do I worry?  Well, a part of my life’s energy goes into putting measures in place to prevent “bad”. If being proactive and taking responsibility is “worry” then yes. And I feel safe, secure and grounded without any nagging “paranoid” angst that detracts from the quality of life.

What’s so wrong with that?

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover.

Leaked Social Security Numbers Put “Personal Security and Safety at Risk”

Allen West, a Republican Congressional candidate, is speaking out after a mailing from the Florida Democratic Party releases his Social Security number and his wife’s federal employee number. “It’s an attack against me and I think it shows the weakness of the character of Ron Klein and definitely the Florida Democratic party, to put a person’s personal security and safety at risk,” said West, “And also affects my family as well.”

The Florida Democratic Party responded by stating, “We apologize for the oversight of not redacting this information from the public record included in the mailer,” and by offering West two years of identity theft monitoring, but West says he will not accept their money.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, a judge has ruled it is legal to post Social Security numbers on websites. Every city, state, and town has its own set of regulations determining the collection and management of public records, including birth, death, marriage, court, property, and business filings. Many of these documents include Social Security numbers. And many are posted on the Internet.

The Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that establishes a code of fair information practices governing the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information in federal record systems.

Back in 1974, identity theft wasn’t an issue, so having your Social Security number on your driver’s license, school ID, and most other documents wasn’t a big deal. Then someone figured out how to use a Social Security number to pose as someone else, and from there, identity theft became big business.

When a judge rules that it’s okay to post Social Security numbers online, and a politician states that a similar act “puts a person’s personal security and safety at risk,” it’s clear that we have a systemic problem, one which the government is unlikely to solve.

It is important to observe basic security precautions to protect your identity. But you have no control over the security of your personal information when it is stored in government and corporate databases.

Consumers should consider an identity theft protection product that offers daily credit monitoring, proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee Identity Protection includes all these features as well as live help from fraud resolution agents if your identity is ever compromised. For more tips on protecting yourself, please visithttp://www.counteridentitytheft.com.

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss Social Security numbers as national IDs on Fox News. (Disclosures)