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Humans have always been preoccupied with security in one form or another. Primitive Man was in need for survival so he focused on physical security.  He would make weapons, live in caves where he could keep an eye out for what could be lurking at the entrance.  We have come a long way from those times.  We now have doors and windows to keep people out.  Some may have alarm systems, dogs and or guns.   Don’t be fooled into thinking physical security is not as important as it used to be.  If someone has physical access to your checkbook, credit card or social security card, you can get potentially find yourself in a bad situation.  In fact, today many companies spend millions on physical security for security guards,  data center security to make sure they keep unauthorized people out and they send their valuable data across to other sites to protect it from natural disasters. If someone has physical access to your computer they may be able to get into your bank accounts, if they have the right skills. It really all begins with Physical Security.  Just because we have methods to keep us secure, it does not mean we can relax.  It is easy to think your house is secure because you have doors and windows but what if you do not lock your door?  Lets take a look at what happens when we are not diligent.

The first human beings need for subsisting their lives and those they cared for, carried primitive weapons made from bones or sticks, and lived in caves in the hopes that no one would notice them inside. (This is known as security by obscurity, if you can’t be found you can’t be attacked).  Later, castles and fortresses were built and security guards or soldiers used horses for an advantage when dealing with adversaries.  This concept is not new to you and I am sure you do a fair job of protecting your home, your possessions and your love ones that live with you.  When someone rings the doorbell or knocks on your door, you are cautious. Chances are you’ll yell through a close door to find out what they want. If you open the door, its slowly and just enough for you to put your head out there.  What if it was a person wearing a uniform?  The mailman, police officer or the girl scouts with those incredible cookies?  It is easy to trust what you recognize but be careful.  I am sure you have heard the story of the Trojan horse. Troy had impeccable defenses as they mastered physical security but once they let their guard down, it was easy to overtake them.  Once they let the Trojan horse in, it was over.  For thousands of years, bad people have looked for a weakness to overthrow cities, kingdoms and seal from those they believed had something of value.  It is not uncommon to read about mistakes that lead to the fall of great cities.   The city of Babylon was overtaken when their army left the protection of their fortified walls to fight their enemy.  Rome built a large network of roads which provided an open commerce which was effect at helping them prosper but it lead to their down fall.  Looking back it is easy to see what went wrong.

As humans progressed the need for physical security continues to grow and evolve.There are 3 main advantages to having a strong physical security plan;

It strengthens the overall security of your family. If your family feels they are physically safe that has obvious benefits. Less stress, more happiness and better harmony in the family.

It’s a deterrent for cybercriminals or others who wish to harm you. Criminals or hackers are opportunists, they want to grab the low-lying fruit. If you make yourself a hard target to acquire they will not be interested they will pick another person that’s an easy prey.

It will save you money.  It is less expensive to protect your valuables and your love one’s sensitive information than having to deal with the financial impact.  It will require a lot of time and attorneys to cleanup your credit and try to patch your identity.

These individuals or organizations are not hacking for fun but for profit and they want volume business. It’s much better for them to hack 1000 easy targets than to spend months after someone who is very security conscious and has multiple controls in place. Thirdly, having a strong physical security plan is a type of control that will impact your other controls. If you have weak physical security, you have weak cybersecurity period.  A strong physical security plan, strengthens the overall security of your home. Physical security is often the entry point into a home or office. By locking down the physical access of your house, belongings, documents, you can be more proactive in preventing threats.

A robust physical security plan can deter cyber criminals.  Just knowing that you have guards, cameras, controlled access to your home, will make the job of a would be criminal, hacker more difficult. Many times, these folks will look for that mango that is lying near the floor or the one on a low branch of the tree, rather than trying to climb it.  It is harder to break into a heavily fortified fortress. If they notice that you have high security locks on your door, it doesn’t have to be an industrial lock or a high-end smart lock, it could be just a $40 or $50-dollar lock from the local hardware shop that is made to be ANTIPICK.  A strong lock that can’t be picked is a good start, as well as having all exterior doors open out to prevent someone from kicking the door in.  The hinges on the doors must have a locking mechanism that prevents the door from easily being open by removing hinge pin.  If you doors do not have them, do not worry, they are easy to find at your local hardware store and they are not expensive.  I have replaced them easily with a drill.  Make sure you replacing one at a time or it will turn into a big project.  If you are not handy, your local handyman or locksmith can do it for you.  The last thing your door will need is a cover guard which covers the lock between the door and the frame. This will go a long way in keeping your doors locked.  It also make it hard to see if the door is locked on unlocked because it covers the deadbolt. 

Most of the time, an intruder will look to see if someone is home and then try the door.  If they see the plate from the road, they are less likely to check the door.  This does not mean they will not but if I was walking around looking for a place to try my luck, I would try a house that did not have a cover guard because I would expect additional security measures I would have to overcome.  It is better to look for an easy jackpot than having to sweat for hours trying to be getting into a home.  I neighbor could stop by, drive by or there could be a camera.  The next step is to have security film on your windows and doors.  Not all security film is the same and you should do your research on what the best option available to you on the market but one thing is for sure, it does work.  A few years ago during the Christmas session, my street had a few houses that were broken into.  Its not hard to see a Christmas tree from the road or walking the back common area of my community.  If you see a Christmas tree, you know that the closer it is to that special day, there will be gifts under the tree.  The standard sliding door glass will shatter quickly.  The noise is not as load as one would expect and if everyone is at work, off running errands or visiting family, its like a tree that falls in the forest with no one around. (No one will hear it)  out of the eight houses on my street, all of the houses were hit expect for two.  Myself and a neighbor a few house down were skipped.  Why?  You should have guessed it, we had tint on our windows.  It could be security film but I do not know.  I did not install it but it was enough to get them to think it was not worth it.  Another option is to install hurricane impact or high impact windows and doors.  In the Summer and winter months you will save on cooling and heating costs. It will reduce the exterior noise level of your home, and can give you a substantial savings on your home insurance policy.  Sometimes you could see savings of up to 25 or 30%. From a pure security point of view, these strong physical protections make the entry into your home much more difficult.  It does come higher cost than film.

Most alarm companies offer basic video cameras at an affordable price. You would do well to consider installing an alarm in your house. It’s becoming a basic control that is fundamental to improving your overall security.  You could go out and buy yourself cameras and install them yourself but then you are the one having to handle any problems that might come up.  It could also have a higher upfront cost.  Alarm companies will lease or sometimes give you cameras depending on your contract and the promotion they are running.  I like having it connected to the alarm system because I my wife can call up and get help if one of the cameras is not working.  It gives me peace of mind knowing my family is safe when  I am not around.

 

Physical Security Controls help prevent other types of cybercriminal activity from occurring. Why is that? It’s much easier to “Own” a person’s bank account or identity (we’ll talk more about identity theft later) when access to their computer is possible rather than over the wire/internet. With physical access the intruder can quickly look at your search history and you’re your bank account without having to guess the password because it is more than likely saved on your computer.  With physical access, the intruder can disable other security features, disable monitoring, reconfigure the home firewalls, install software for which will allow them to access your computer remotely or cause the computer to crash (your information is now unavailable) if you have a home business or website it could go down causing you to lose income. With physical access to a computer, the intruder can eavesdrop or enable wire sniffing, once it’s setup you can monitor it remotely. Insert USB Drives on a computer and copy the data on the hard drive and steal your information.

 

When it comes to data, it’s important to consider buying a small safe for your home, to keep your passports, social security cards, Last will and or testament, investment or any other

sensitive documents you may have.  If you work at home, you should also look into buying filing cabinets with keys for your paper documents.  You need to store important information that is less sensitive than what you would place in a safe but that still must be secured because if it’s in the wrong hands will lead to a financial or other loss.  This could be a contract for a new client or last years tax returns.  Overtime you should be destroying the documents you no longer need.  Do not simply throw then away. Shred them because the could be important information like names addresses, phone numbers, credit card number and or social security number as well as other critical information that could come back to hurt you if you do not get rid of it properly.