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According to Isaac Ashkenazi, Professor of Disaster Medicine, teach everyone:
The biggest asset to every situation is an educated public.  Trust your pubilc enough to train them. Train them to do, teach them to respond, reward helping behavior, teach and share preparedness. 

Teach your staff to: A) Stop and Look, Assess.  B) Do Something.  

Teach First Aid, Teach Psychological First Aid. Teach Respect, Tolerance, and Understanding. 

In the end, it’s a sense of hope and optimism that people acknowledge, and which brings resilience. 

Potential Indicators of Violent Extremism Radicalization or Mobilization

posted Sep 18, 2018, 9:27 AM by Andrew Chadick

  • Communicating with known or suspected foreign-based or US-based violent extremists using e-mail, social media platforms, or through encrypted messaging applications;
  • New or increased advocacy of violence, including providing material support or recruiting others to commit criminal acts;
  • Consumption and sharing of media glorifying violent extremist acts;
  • Reports to law enforcement that a community member has initiated unexplained isolation, including broken contact with friends and family or an unexplained self-initiated exit from school or work, combined with advocacy of violence; and
  • Encouraging visits to violent extremist websites highlighting perceived Western atrocities against minorities to encourage prospective recruits to engage in violence.

Reporting Suspicious Activity in the USA

posted Sep 18, 2018, 9:15 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Sep 18, 2018, 10:58 AM ]

Some observed activities that appear suspicious by themselves, may include a constitutionally protected activity such as being part of a demonstration or protest. 
These protected activities should not be reported without giving any/all facts and circumstances that support your suspicion.  You should report the observed behavior as suspicious, but also include a reasonable indicator of the criminal behavior associated with a crime. Such key indicators may include one or more of these: a Breach/Intrusion Attempt, Misrepresentation, Theft, Sabotage/Tampering/Vandalism, Cyber Attack, Eliciting Information, Testing or Probing of Security, Recruiting attempt, Photography of Security, Financial Support, Observation/Surveillance/notes/maps, Material Acquisition, weapons discovery, providing of material support to a terrorist group, violent extremist radicalization, and/or travel overseas to engage in violence.

Take Away

posted Sep 18, 2018, 7:39 AM by Andrew Chadick

One of the biggest things that I have taken away from all the training I have done, is that the greatest effect SAFE can have, aside from having our Alert network infrastructure, but on the same premise of being a preparedness center, or as a trainer of our community; is to educate everyone that will listen, and wants to learn.  Safety, Security, Resilience, are not just things that leaders need to know and feel; we need to have the public, our agency staff, and leaders all trained across the board.   We need to reinforce the actions of learning, preparing, doing, and helping.  

To actively teach everyone to come to the aid of those in need.

Notes from various safety briefings

posted Sep 18, 2018, 7:27 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Sep 18, 2018, 11:18 AM ]

Explosives are a weapon of choice for all terrorists.  If your organization is prepared for an explosion, you are prepared for 80% of all other mass casualty occurrences that can happen against you.

Social Media is a tool that you should leverage in an emergency; have pre-canned messages ready for all kinds of occurrences, set them out in a file share on the web, and when something comes up, open that on a tab, open Twitter on a tab, Facebook on the next, and so forth. 
Copy and paste the scripted alert messages. Take the time now, and be ready.

We all make mistakes, and learn from them, however, it is far less costly and better to learn from the mistakes of others.

Do not try to control the press, let them control themselves, they are responsible to edit and manage their own content, as they are held responsible for what they share. Don’t waste effort here.

Large play fields, football, soccer, and other large grass areas can be easily turned in to disaster response areas using tent structures which can be put up in a day.  Many responder organizations can make this happen.

When deciding what to do after an incident, look at the prime directive, and make sure that it is in line with this: "Does this task help to restore order?"

There is almost always a secondary blast after a terrorist  incident, and usually from experience the blast occurs 30 – 50 minutes following the first.

Bystanders are both the biggest help and biggest hindrance at any incident scene.  Be prepared for how to handle them.

Terrorist teams are known to pair off in to groups of four(4) to attack different targets at once. Be prepared for multiple groups of threats.

Terrorists always shoot to kill, and generally aim above the hip to shoulder/neck region.  In general; the safest place during a shooting is lying flat on the ground.

Overseas; Most Bullet proof vests are useless against the terrorists preferred weapon the AK-47.  Though vests are Effective against the .38, and 9mm hand weapons. If purchasing a vest, look for Level III+ or Level IV protection.

Be careful in any transmission/tweet/post – the public can be afraid of various word choices, be careful in your word choices and usage.

Watch for actions; “It’s a behavioral thing, not a religious thing”; what you are looking for. It doesn’t matter where the person is from, their look, or their religion, it is what they do and how they do it that matters.

Do not describe any suspect with terms like "red neck", or “middle eastern” or "asian", as you will lose all credibility in your description of someone, use words/descriptors  like "of  light complexion”, or “olive complexion” or “dark complexion”. 
Unless you know for a fact, based on your personal experience from your time in the the deep south of the US, someplace in the Middle East,  or somewhere in Asia that you are identifying the person because of their specific dialect, their characteristic accent, or actual attributes that make them from some place specific based on your judgment, and can pin point that place to someone.  If you do use such a term, back it up with where, what, and why you know.     

Have a Multi-Discipline Assessment Plan. Review it, train on it.  Don't just put it in a binder, and place it on the shelf.  

Have an Emergency Plan - Know What, Where and When

posted Sep 7, 2018, 10:23 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Sep 17, 2018, 10:57 AM ]


Traveler Toolkit: Cybersecurity Basics

posted Apr 28, 2018, 11:39 AM by Andrew Chadick

As technical and physical cyber defenses become more robust and effective, individuals have become the increasingly weak link in the security chain. This weakness is exploited by malicious actors through threats like phishing. No matter the technology that a company installs, a data breach or ransomware attack is only one click away. The following tips describe and offer advice regarding common cyber security issues that are non-technical in nature, and are particularly relevant to individuals traveling abroad. These actionable steps can help individuals mitigate risks from a number of online threats. While individuals may suffer from cyber fatigue, cyber threats are only going to increase and a single mistake can lead to a security incident. Therefore, repetition of these precautionary measures is essential to maintaining your security. Keep privacy settings on: Use privacy settings to maximize your online privacy, especially on social media platforms. In addition, you should disable unnecessary location services. Malicious actors can exploit any personal information they find online. Use strong passwords: Use long passwords with a mix of characters, as weak passwords undermine other security measures. Do not write down passwords, share them, or repeat them across multiple sites, and be sure to update passwords periodically. A password management system can help you generate strong passwords and store them securely. Avoid using password recovery questions with answers that are easy to guess or could be found in a social media profile. Encrypt your data: Use encryption to protect data stored on your devices and for communication. Consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN), which can protect online activity by shielding information on public networks from malicious activity. Only use secure Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi may be convenient, but it is not secure. You have no control over the legitimacy or security of public Wi-Fi; therefore, limit connections to public internet, including at hotels, cafes, and airports, and use a VPN if possible. Disable any internet autoconnect features on your devices and delete old Wi-Fi networks. Never leave devices unattended: The physical security of your devices is as important as the technical security. If you are away from your devices, even for a moment, whether a computer, phone, or external drive, use lock screens and passwords to protect them. Be vigilant in maintaining the physical integrity and security of your devices. Don’t plug in to your computer: Malware is easily spread through USBs, smartphones, and external drives when plugged into a device. Avoid plugging unknown external devices into your computer, and run a virus scan when you do plug something in. As external devices can carry malware, do not accept any electronic devices as gifts.

Careful with what you click: Scams can be carried out by phone, text, social media message, or email. To mitigate phishing risks, limit the amount of personal information you share. The information you share publicly can potentially help malicious actors access more valuable data. Scrutinize incoming messages, including using anti-virus software to scan attachments, and hover over links with the cursor to verify the URLs. Do not click on anything that you don’t recognize or that looks suspicious in any way. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi: Malefactors can see what networks you connect to, spoof them, and trick you into connecting to a compromised network later. Therefore, keep your devices “hidden” so they are not discoverable to nearby Bluetooth users, and do not access or transmit sensitive data from a public network. Enable 2-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an additional layer of security to your password, which should not be considered 100% reliable as a lone security measure. Passwords can be compromised in data breaches or guessed using powerful computers. 2FA requires an extra step whenever you log in from a new device, which reduces the ability to hack into a system using a password alone. Use the right software: Ensure that all individuals in your network are using legitimate software with the latest security updates. Install a trusted anti-virus program and keep software, mobile operating systems, and apps up to date to maximize cyber defense effectiveness. Routinely back up data, as you may need to erase and reinstall your system if you are the victim of a security breach. 

-Product of the Research & Information Support Center (RISC)


posted Aug 3, 2017, 7:40 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated May 30, 2018, 8:16 AM ]

Creating a safe working environment requires a lot of work through thoughtful planning up-front and diligent maintenance over time.  Those of us who monitor and protect use our systems and tools daily in our work. So, keeping our hardware, installations, and security platforms in good shape must be a high priority.


The thought and planning that went into your installation will show as your systems age.  However, once you have installed your safeguards, they will start to degrade no matter how well your system was designed.  Whether those safeguards are physical measures like gates and fencing, or electronic systems like access controls or security cameras, you must keep them maintained.  You should include maintenance and replacement costs in your security budget, and build maintenance activities into your work schedule.


Maintenance issues will differ depending on the safeguard type.  For outdoor products, such as fencing and gates, and anything else with metal parts, there is wear and tear and rust to contend with, even if parts are galvanized.  There is also abuse and vandalism to deal with on occasion. 


Even for bullet-resistant polymers, you should take great care in keeping them in top shape. You must clean them with specific products, and when necessary coat the sides that are exposed to sunlight with UV protection or have the outer windows coated with a special film.  Polymers tend to show signs of degradation through hair line cracks first appearing on the surface of the material.  Please check with your vendor for specific care instructions.


Electronics, in general, require a different approach to maintenance.  With fences and gates, you can walk around, look for signs of wear, add oil to chain links, and generally do maintenance through completely physical means.  For electronics, you can replace dead parts, check to make sure camera lenses are clean, and remove any signs of abuse or neglect from the outside of the various housings, but there are additional maintenance issues that aren’t apparent from an initial observation.  Indoor products may experience heat damage from being on continuously, which is usually the result of insufficient airflow.  You should make sure that dust hasn’t built up inside the cases and that the cooling fans can spin freely. For outdoor electronics, there is not only moisture to contend with, but camera heaters can fail, and there can be abuse from both vandals and the elements.  


Computerized systems and devices experience additional wear and tear that can’t be seen – the result of network attacks, scans, exploits, and tools barraging your systems in an attempt to take them over and add them to a global botnet.  Your online systems are being scanned and tested for vulnerability constantly.  There are entire websites dedicated to exposing and exploiting your systems.  Even if your systems aren’t online per se, an attacker can walk by your site, latch on to your wireless network, and attack from within, or if they are lucky they can get to a CAT connection, jack in, and have direct access without much effort.


Questions to Consider:

After the installation of your various systems, have you ever gone back and checked over everything? Have you looked to make sure holes have been mended in fences, hinges and chains are oiled, light bulbs are replaced, and latches are tight and hold when pulled upon?


What about your electronics?  Did you know that the cameras, video recorders and computers in our networks must be checked regularly as well? Heat damage is an issue, so make sure your devices and electronics are getting air. Be sure to keep the insides dust free.  Are you keeping the software secure?  Did you know that you need to apply firmware updates to help keep them secure?


Exploits are discovered daily, malware and other tools designed to take over your computer systems and devices are released into the wild all the time, and are out there right now. Criminals armed with these tools are awaiting the right circumstances to infiltrate your systems.  When was the last time you went back through your installation and made sure your passwords were still set and the devices were still working and configured the way you left them?  Are your passwords considered “strong”?  Are your devices and computers fully patched and up to date? Is remote access expressly limited or closed completely?


Checking and maintaining all the components of your security systems – physical, hardware, and software – are crucial to ensuring that they protect you and the people who work and visit your organization. Maintenance must be an integral part of your security workflow, not an afterthought.


 - -- -

Concluding Thoughts

Everything in the security world evolves - the ways surveillance occurs, the ways attacks are carried out, the tools and even the weapons that are used change over time.  For instance, drones were a thing of science fiction not long ago.  Look at how they are shaping the security landscape now as a tool for everything from mapping landscapes to carrying out surveillance   Look how they are also being used to smuggle in products that can be used for an attack. We must change with the times, we should keep up with new developments, evaluate new products, and prepare accordingly so that our security systems can keep our organizations and the people who depend on them protected and secure.

Email Threats / Online Threats

posted Mar 28, 2017, 8:04 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated May 30, 2018, 8:24 AM ]

Cyber Attacks almost always start with a single email.  Inside that email are links, disguised to get you to click on it.  They are camouflaged in such a way that they peak your curiosity, you ignore the fact that you aren't sure you should do it or not, you just do it.  Right at that single moment, your click, the malicious hacker has you.  It doesn't matter if you were expecting cute puppies or to update your bank information.  Your personal computer reaches across the Internet and connects to a malicious server. That server does what it's designed to do - it attacks your computer and it takes everything that it can. You will be tricked, asked to click further, enter personal identifiable information (PII), enter in a password, you will execute triggers to install software in the background, you will unknowingly add files to your PC, you will lower your firewall, and during all of this - you won't even realize it is happening, you will be looking at cute puppies.  

In other words; 'Email Phishing' is getting better and better every day, or worse and worse depending on your perspective; the people crafting phishing email have made it to a point in their craft, where it is very difficult to tell whether or not an email inbound to your box is genuinely from  or an attempt to get you to click a link and have it take over your computer. Even up to date anti-virus is no match for the dreaded "zero day" exploit.  
So, as users of email services, we always have to be on top of our game and always watching out for phishing attempts. Some are pretty easy to spot, some not so much.

So; Please, if you receive an email, and it asks you to click a link, and you are not expecting such an email from this source, please simply delete the email.  It does not matter if its from your bank, or your insurance company, or any other vendor you deal with on a daily basis. It is 100% better to delete the email and remove the risk of infection, then it is to take a chance with curiosity to see where something goes or leads to on the Internet.

If you feel that you need to find out more, you have 2 options.  1, old school, pick up the phone and call.  2, open a web browser and in the address bar, type in the URL of that institution or use an existing bookmark.  Don't use the links from that email.  

To report online crime:

Cyber Safety - Be Aware

posted Feb 21, 2017, 10:34 AM by Andrew Chadick   [ updated Sep 7, 2018, 10:46 AM ]


Criminals need 2 things to perpetrate cyber crime: Your Personal Identifying Information, and access to a Point of Compromise.

Examples of Personal Identifying Information (PII):
  1. Names/Usernames
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Mother's Maiden Name
  4. Address(es)
  5. Phone Number(s)
  6. Email Account(s)
  7. Passwords
  8. Social Security Number
  9. Account Number(s)

Examples of Points of Compromise:
  •    Physical Items -
  •       Dumpster diving, mail theft, check fraud, burglaries, purse/wallet snatching

  •    Technology -
  •       Skimming, Shoulder Surfing, Gas Pumps, Point of Sale (POS) devices, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

  •    Computer and Internet -
  •       Social Media, Email, Unsecure Websites, Online Shopping, Classifieds, Unsecure Wifi, Filesharing, Bot Nets, Data Breach

  •    Mobile Devices -
  •       SMS Phishing, GeoTagging, Spyware, Malware, Bluejacking, Near Field Communication (NFC), Quick Response Codes


Secure Points of Compromise- Balance convenience versus safety/security
  •    Physical Items
  •       Use physical locks, purge, shred, secure mail

  •    Technology
  •       Credit versus Debit versus Cash (Pin number versus Zip Code)

  •    Computer and Internet
  •       Strong Passwords - A password as a lock (15 digits or more, Caps, lowercase, Number, Symbol!)
  •       Two Factor - If a dual authentication method is available USE IT

  •    Mobile devices
  •       Limit access, use passcodes/application locks/pin access to applications


Practice responsible sharing!

      WHY do you need my PII?
      WHAT are you going to do with it?
      HOW will you protect my data?
      HOW can I monitor my data?
      WHAT will you do when you are done with the data?

Plan for Safety -
        It costs more NOT to pay attention 
               Use technology to monitor and protect your data
               Educate yourself on emerging technologies
               Be mindful of safety versus convenience when accessing technology

Resources for Remediation:

Federal Trade Commission:  File a complaint: 1-877-FTC-HELP or  1-877-382-4357

Identity Theft Resource Center: 888-400-5530

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

These tips provided by NOVA - National Organization for Victim Assistance 1-800-879-6682.

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