Doug Bedell — June 18, 2018, 10:49 am

Apple Updating 911 Emergency Calls With HELO System

We’re not huckstering for Apple, but the tech giant will be including a feature in its new iOS 12 software to be released later this year that “will automatically share your location with emergency responders, so they know exactly where to find you,” if, of course, you need them. This according to Tom’s Guide, a tech blog we’ve started following.

911 calls are apparently become less than fully dependable.

“According to Apple, its HELO system is able to identify your location using cell towers and a variety of other data sources from your phone, including GPS and Wi-Fi access points. The company has also partnered with a company called RapidSOS, which will securely transmit the data to 911 centers.

“Given that 80 percent of 911 calls are now being placed on mobile devices, providing responders with as much information possible about a person’s location is critical.

“In its statement, Apple said that the the 911 response system is using “outdated, landline-era infrastructure.” And in many cases, 911 responders cannot quickly determine a person’s location when they’re mobile.”

Doug Bedell — June 15, 2018, 1:38 pm

DHS Offers New Training – On Countering Internet Terrorists

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is giving its anti-terrorist training a digital turn with a new online training course, “Countering Terrorists Exploitation of Social Media and the Internet.”

DHS advises that the “online 90-minute training is designed to educate startup companies and social media companies about how terrorists may seek to exploit their platforms. This narrated course includes videos and images of official and unofficial terrorist media products, quizzes to test knowledge, as well as supplementary notes pages to explore select topics in greater detail.”

Companies interested in gaining access to the training, DHS adds, can request it on Tech Against Terrorism’s Knowledge Sharing Platform (Sign up at: or reach out to with the subject line “Training”.

If your business is active on the Internet, as more and more are, get to know what you could encounter there.

Doug Bedell — June 13, 2018, 3:28 pm

Living Safely and Securely Takes 10 Steps to Everything

If you want to live and work securely, and are serious about those aims, we invite you to Johnathan Bancroft’s Security magazine post on “10 Hotel Safety Tips from a Former Intelligence Officer”.

Bancroft is truly security conscious, just follow behind him as he checks into a hotel. He requests “a room between the second and fourth floors (never the top floor), furthest away from the side of the lobby. The ground floor is too easy to access…Also, most fire truck ladders can reach up to the second, third and even fourth floors.”

“Never stay on the top floor…; before you leave the desk, ask for a local street map and ask them to mark where the hotel is for you…” and “As soon as I walk into my room, I put the TV on low, usually on CNN and leave it on. I put the do-not-disturb sign on the door, and then I leave the room. I walk the floor. I find the fire escape plan, and I follow it…”

All this before Bancroft takes his shoes off and simply relaxes. And all I ever want of a hotel room is a soft chair, a freshly made bed, and a star to steer them by. Be careful out there.

Doug Bedell — June 11, 2018, 10:34 am

U.S. DHS Develops a Plan for Soft Targets and Crowded Places

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is getting personal in its approach to protecting people. DHS has released a “Soft Target and Crowded Places Security Plan Overview” that “describes how the Department is working to enhance and organize its efforts around the security and resilience of soft targets and crowded places across the United States.”

In conjunction with the plan, the Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has also developed the “Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places Resource Security Guide”. “The guide”, DHS explains, “is a catalog of soft target resources, many of which were created in collaboration with our partners to ensure they are useful and reflective of the dynamic environment we live in. This guide is being further expanded to include resources from across the Department.”

Doug Bedell — June 8, 2018, 7:26 am

National Guard’s Presence at the Mexican Border Not Unique to Trump

Homeland 411
provides a snapshot of the National Guard’s deployment to the U.S.–Mexican border, which isn’t unique to President Donald Trump.

“In recent years,” writes Chrisopher Pawdzik, “Guard border deployment hasn’t necessarily become commonplace, but it’s also not unusual. From mid-2006 to mid-2008, President George W. Bush deployed about 6,000 National Guard troops to secure the southern border in Operation Jump Start. President Barack Obama initially ordered 1,200 troops to the border in 2010 to support CBP in Operation Phalanx. Though scaled back in subsequent years, the mission lasted until 2016.

The deployment will include up to 4,000 National Guard troops to provide support to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Guard personnel are activated under Title 32 status, which means Guard personnel are full time and remain under command of the state, but federal dollars fund the activation.”

Doug Bedell — June 4, 2018, 3:13 pm

Shoplifting a Huge Security Problem at Retail Stores

Here’s a security problem that you don’t hear much about but is a bane for retailers – shoplifting. Security InfoWatch reports that “According to the 30th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, more than 432,000 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2017 by just 21 large retailers who recovered over $188 million from these thieves.”

Yet, “for every $1 recovered, $11.54 is lost to retail theft; meaning only 8.7 percent of total retail theft losses result in a recovery. That is a huge chunk of dollars scurrying out the door in an already margin-stressed industry.”

Even so, “Survey participants apprehended a total of 432,046 dishonest individuals (shoplifters and employees) in 2017, an increase of 1.7 percent from the prior year. In addition, dollars recovered from those apprehended thieves totaled over $188 million, which was an 8.1 percent increase from 2016.”

And shoplifters are getting more vocal and prone to assault when they’re spotted. It’s truly an unhappy scene at your favorite department, or other retail, store. Read about some of the “remedies” being applied to deter shoplifting.

Doug Bedell — June 1, 2018, 10:47 am

Locksmiths Are Good Security Writers, Too

Where better to find a treatise on the basics of site security than the United Locksmith blog, Lock Blog?

Here Lock Blog offers, “10 Things You Need to Consider About Perimeter Security.”

Get the basics, from Locks to Access Control, in nicely condensed descriptions with Key Takeaways for each of the 10 items. Locksmiths need to be tidy professionals, and this post is certainly that, from “Locks” to “Access Control”.

“Once you are protected,” the post closes, “you can rest easy knowing that the things that could harm you, your possessions, and the people in your life are being held at bay.”

A tidy piece of security writing and presentation indeed!

Doug Bedell — May 30, 2018, 11:39 am

Social Media’s Links to Violence: Read Your Screens Warily

Risk seems to be closing in around us in security terms: Now the Security magazine blog is warning of “6 Links Between Social Media and Violence You Haven’t Thought About”.

On its perverse side, social media posting is being linked to mental health, righteous indignation, long -term relationships, fixation and even attack planning.

Says Security: “The use of social media by school and workplace shooters as well as terrorist groups is well-established, as is the idea that online content can desensitize individuals to violence. Yet threat assessment research suggests that social media can also create inclinations and tendencies toward such violence, some unseen and unheard…

“Researchers need to continue studying the long-term impact of social media use, and the tech giants should re-orient their philosophy to be far more preventive than it currently is. Taking down posts within an hour may be one of the easier battles they have to wage.”

So read warily.

Doug Bedell — May 29, 2018, 1:01 pm

U.S. Homeland Security Updates Internet Safety Tips

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has updated its guidance from 2015 on home network security via the internet.

“Home network security,” DHS explains, “refers to the protection of a network that connects devices to each other and to the internet within a home. Whether it’s staying in touch with friends and family, paying your bills electronically, or teleworking, the internet enables us to accomplish tasks more efficiently and conveniently from the comfort of our own homes.

“However, as we increasingly embed technology into our daily lives, the risk of security issues also increases. As a result, it’s imperative that home users understand and remain vigilant about the risks of being connected to the internet and the importance of properly securing home networks and systems.”
Read on. This sort of guidance is important to heed in traveling the internet whether from home or office.

Doug Bedell — May 25, 2018, 10:26 am

Answers For Memorial Day: Not Just Barbecues

From In Homeland Security comes a reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

“Why we should remember Memorial Day may be a strange question to contemplate. But as we approach this most solemn of all American holidays, far too many of us will think only of barbecues and the kickoff to summer. How many of us will think of those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we are free to do all the things we want this Memorial Day?

“How many of us have a personal connection to a member of the armed forces? Do we even understand why someone joins the armed forces today?”

Good questions, with solemn answers.