The Gang of Blondes – Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Looks can be deceiving and more than one person has fallen victim to becoming complacent because a person they were dealing with turned out to be more dangerous than they initially appeared. A great example of this is the “Gang of Blondes” (Gangue das Loiras) a female kidnapping ring that was believed to be responsible…

Cultural Awareness – the Security Dimension

Being culturally aware is important for anyone traveling abroad or conducting international business.  It’s important to recognize that not everyone around the world sees things the way we do and understanding others’ perspectives and customs will allow us to better relate and avoid inadvertently offending someone. Noted cultural trainer Dean Foster recently wrote a piece…

3 Neglected Skillsets for Security

Today we are going to venture a little bit into the realm of corporate security.  I realize that many readers may not be as interested in this area and are focused more on individual protection.  No need to worry as two of the skillsets we are going to discuss are also very applicable to personal…

Situational Awareness and Being Present

We have frequently emphasized the importance of situational awareness as the key component of personal security whether at home or overseas.  We have discussed various levels of awareness and discussed when to raise our level of awareness such as during arrivals and departures, when entering known danger areas and so forth.  It’s also important to…

To Resist or Not Resist: That is the Question

One question that often comes up is whether or when to resist a criminal.  There is no clear-cut answer as it depends a lot on the situation and the individual involved.  Generally though, most people agree that pure property or economically motivated crimes should not be resisted.  If the criminal just wants your money or…

The Criminal Interview

While we are discussing unsolicited approaches it’s a good time to mention the criminal “interview” that is often the precursor to a robbery or assault.  The interview occurs when the criminal engages the potential victim in conversation prior to initiating a crime.  This usually serves two purposes: (1) it gives the criminal or criminals and…

Loose Lips: Recognizing and Avoiding Elicitation

In discussing social engineering and threats to your personal security we mentioned elicitation.  Elicitation is a technique that is used by an adversary to get a person to unintentionally divulge more information about a particular subject than they normally would.  Its used to gather confidential or proprietary information and in the realm of personal security…

Social Engineering: Personal Security Implications

Social engineering – the calculated manipulation and exploitation of people has historically been associated with cyber security issues.  Computer hackers found they could best get access to secure networks by targeting the weakest link – the human factor. The same techniques used to get an employee to give up their password or provide other information…

Social Networks & the Threat to Personal Security

Recent open source reporting indicates that the Colombian National Police just arrested a group of criminals that were using Facebook to identify, profile and target victims for kidnapping.  Initial reports the gang were using false Facebook profiles with pictures of beautiful women to target wealthy men as victims.  They would use information in the victim’s…