Detention Abroad – Recognizing a Critical Risk

American citizen Paul Whelan sits in prison in Russia accused of espionage.  Although Whelan fits an unlikely profile for a spy, some of his behavior such as possessing US, UK, Canadian and Irish passports and having made multiple contacts within the Russian defense and security services may have contributed to his downfall.  Whelan’s arrest on…

Study Abroad: Cultural Aspects & Security Risks

One of the greatest benefits of a study abroad program is the immersion in a foreign culture and the exposure to attitudes, perspectives and norms that may be very different from what we are accustomed to at home.   It’s important to recognize that sometimes these cultural differences and result in misunderstandings, misinterpretation and even lead…

The Nexus Between the Cyber World & Real World: OSINT as a Targeting Method

How much personal information should you share online?  How much information is available about you online that you can’t control?  What happens when online risk transfers to the physical world?  Its exceedingly difficult to answer these questions.  Situations and individual threat profiles will vary greatly.   I can say with certainty that the intersection of cyber…

Threat Awareness & Violence Dynamics

To understand personal security you need to understand what types of threats exist and the different types of violence.  It’s difficult to know how to protect yourself when you don’t know what you are protecting yourself against. Threats can come in different shapes and sizes and can vary quite a bit in terms of severity. …

3 Key Individual Protective Measures

Personal security is scalable and the level of individual protective measures that a person chooses to take should largely be based on the results of their Personal Security Risk Assessment.  It should also be recognized that these measures can depend on changing circumstances and may change depending on the location, function, etc. of a person…

Personal Security Risk Assessment

Its difficult to develop and implement effective security measures without first understanding your level of risk.  Context is everything when it comes to assessing security risk.  You need to be able to look at how you interact with your environment and the particular security threats in that environment to develop an accurate picture of your…

Behavioral Analysis

In an earlier article we discussed a number of key skills for personal security, including behavioral analysis.  We mentioned that while criminal culture may vary from location to location, many (not necessarily all) principles of behavioral analysis are universal to human beings regardless of location and culture.  The key factor when assessing behavior is to…

Criminal Culture & Methodology

Criminal culture and methods of operation vary from place to place.  While there are some aspects which are somewhat universal, there is also a great deal of specificity based on location.  Understanding these aspects for location where you are living and operating is a key component of personal security.  This knowledge allows you to better…

Situational Awareness & Effective Decision Making

Situation awareness is a key component of personal protection.  In fact it may well be the key component of personal protection around which everything else is built.  Interest and appreciation for the importance of situational awareness is growing.  One aspect that is sometimes overlooked though is the importance of tying it to effective decision making.  …