Tag Archives: safety

Another facebook safety tip

Today’s facebook safety tip is simple enough.

 

In order to avoid getting friend requests from strangers and other unwanted individuals, go to your privacy tab in settings, then select “Friends of Friends” in the “Who can send friend requests” option.

 

That’s it. No more pestilence from strangers.
Share it if you think anyone else would find it useful 🙂

Advertisements

How to spot a sociopath

Here’s how you might be able to spot a sociopath.

Hopefully it’ll be useful for someone who’s been a victim or it might save someone from being one. The victims of sociopaths often suffer more from psychological and emotional abuse more than physical, which is what makes this type, the most dangerous for our well-being.

So to begin, one thing to remember is that sociopaths have a tendency to do small insignificant favors for people. Now, these favors are small enough that they don’t have to truly invest anything in them, but they’re big enough for the one they’re doing it for. They won’t ask anything in return. But your brain will register it as something that you “owe” them. Then when the time comes for them to cash in, they will indirectly play the “guilt card” and will get a lot more out of you than they ever invested in you.

So, if you want to spot a sociopath, observe the behaviors of those close to you or of someone whom you suspect to be one.

Focus especially on the ones who are always nice to you and doing little stuff for you, things that you can do yourself, but don’t and so they do it for you without asking anything in return. It might be that they’re doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but let’s face it, not many of those around nowadays, are there…

So, start by seeing what kind of stuff they do for you, then one day, ask them for something big, it should be small enough that it’s doable, but big enough that they’d need to actually invest themselves and their time or money or effort/energy in you. See how they respond.

Most sociopaths in this case, will respond with indirectly saying ‘no’, usually by finding some excuse and try to circumvent around your request. They won’t say ‘no’ directly if you’re still ‘useful’ to them, they don’t want to fall out of your ‘good graces’, so they will create some other way to “help”, a way that won’t involve them investing anything in you, but making you think that they did “help”.

Remember, such individuals are the most cunning when it comes to getting their way. They often hide behind innocence and friendship and kindness, which makes them harder to spot. But if you know where to look and how to see thru the charade, you’ll be able to spot them with relative ease. In which case, the next step would be a bit harder, i.e. cutting such toxic individuals, out of your life.

There’s one other kind as well, btw. The type who will ask you to do small favors for them. This type will twist your mind a different way. Doing favors for someone will mean you investing yourself in them and we always tend to hesitate in breaking off from a relationship that we’ve invested a lot in. This type is the one that people find the most difficult to get away from, as they don’t want to leave a relationship they put their mind, body, soul, money, effort, etc. etc. into. ‘The higher the value of investment, the harder it is to let go’.

The world is a messed up, dangerous place with a lot of different kinds of predators. BUT..if you know what to look out for, it becomes a whole lot safer and you probably will never have to face one throughout your life.

 

This is a facebook post turned blog post. Hopefully you found it useful. Thanks for reading.

Observation on change

An observation.

Instructors who often are unwilling to change their perspectives. Unwilling to adapt to the ever changing environment of our society. Unwilling to evolve their training methods are often the ones who have trained under such instructors themselves.

Their mindsets have been condition to follow tradition no matter what. The longer that instructor has been training with that organization, the more aggressively he/she will defend it. But those who do manage to break free from that organization, will often have their perspectives changed drastically over time with the right exposure to the contrary information.

This applies to people in general as well. Every behavior has a root in something. I think it’s important to reach that root cause. Not many see it that way and straight up start criticizing it without actually going to the beginning of it.

I truly believe that ranting about those problems isn’t going to help anyone. Trying to form solutions to those problems however, just might.

Safety Tip

A danger of valet parking. Or anything similar where you have to give your car to someone to park it. If you have a GPS system in your car and your home address is set in it. Someone can easily look it up, take a snapshot of it and use it as they please. Including for a home invasion. Always program your home address as something else. It can be anything. Just don’t make it too obvious as a fake title. For example, it can be titled as “Joe’s place” or something like that to make it vague. Best thing would be to avoid programming your home address into the GPS just to be safe and type it in every time you need it. It doesn’t take much time to do so. Practicing little safety measures like this one can have long term benefits.

Self-Control

Self control is easier said than achieved. Your brain doesn’t like being in pain, it doesn’t like being angry or sad, so when a stimulus comes along to do just that, the brain responds aggressively and negatively, instinctively without thinking it.

 

Instincts are a powerful thing, everyone has their “breaking point”, and once they take over, it doesn’t matter how much you trained your brain, if enough distress is caused to the brain, I.E. once it “snaps”, there won’t be any control left, you will act as you were programmed to by millions of years of evolution. The ‘thoughts’ that will occur will be as a result of your brain desperately wanting to end the cause of your distress, which will result in you using violent means of doing so if necessary.

 

Self control is something that should be exercised 24/7. It’s not something that’s done selectively. The best way to be in control is to stop a situation before it begins, and the best way to do that is to not engage in the first place. When you haven’t been pushed to your breaking point, when you still have coherent thought process, that’s when you stop and disengage rather than let your emotions or ego take over. Stop. Think. Walk.

 

The fact remains, once you get involved, you won’t be in control anymore, your instincts, your emotions, your biases, your natural responses and your neurotransmitters will be. You won’t think clearly, coherently, calmly or even at all, you will be without a rational thought process, which often leads to individuals either ending up in jail, hospital or morgue.

 

Having self-control is generally a part of your everyday life. It’s not something that’s incident or situation specific. It’s just having good enough sense to not act in a way that needlessly harms you or others around you.

Analyzing a video

Another facebook post/comment tuned blog post, I thought many might benefit from this.

This is in a context of analyzing a video that shows some sort of violence, to study the incident and then later modify our training to adapt to similar situations. This also helps you perceive violence differently than others and your previous self.

When I analyze these videos, I first prefer to know the full story or at least as much as possible about the incident that took place because any analysis without the full story will be filled with my own biases and experiences which will affect the outcome of the analysis.

After I’ve known the story, I usually have the data, the blanks that are filled in the categories of;
1- What instigated the incident?
2- What happened before the actual incident?
3- Who was involved?
4- Why did it escalate to this point?
5- What was the location?
6- What time? (This is often not mentioned though)
7- Which country did it take place in? (Cultural aspect)
8- Ages of the individuals.
9- Backgrounds of the involved (It’s not always full, but enough to make a ballpark estimation).
10- What kind of violence was it?
11- What means were used to accomplish the job?
12- What were the legal and other repercussions of this for both?

After I’ve got the above data, I then look at the incident itself, first from the assailant’s perspective;
1- Pre-contact cues.
2- Verbal cues (If audio is available).
3- Means of violence utilized.
4- Levels of violence utilized
5- Body language of the assailant.

Then I see it from the victim’s perspective;
1- What were they paying attention to before the assault?
2- How long did it take for them to spot the threat?
3- What was their reaction?
4- How quick and efficiently did they react?
5- What were the external factors that would/did hinder them?

Then I finally look for the bystander’s reactions.
1- When did they arrive at the scene?
2- What did they see?
3- How did they react?
4- Did anyone help?
5- What did they say after?

Finally, I put it altogether in my notes and add the previously received full incident data and see where I would fit, what I would be capable of doing and whether it would work for me. Of course, I do this from both perspectives, strange I know, but I first see if I would be successful if I were the predator, then if I were the survivor/victim. Then I add in some additional external factors, remove some factors that don’t pertain to my situation depending on my own location and I come up with possible solutions to these kinds of problems.

Luckily, since I’ve adopted this approach, I’ve been able to, on a certain level, know and avoid certain violence prone areas, so, now I don’t have to use it a lot. Which I think might affect my training, because there is no more testing to what I do. A cruel paradox.

This was specific to me analyzing videos of violence. The principle of getting the core information first then, looking at the presented information, can be utilized for analysis of any video or anything that you analyze and study.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Cyber Safety – Part 2

Continuing…

 

Being safe from Identity and personal data theft.

 

 

1- The most important thing and the most common sense thing to do is to not put up any private info, including your full name, date of birth, or even address on any public forum.

 

2- Never give any of your bank information or credit card/debit card information to anyone who claims to be calling from the bank or from the credit card company. This can also happen if you get a call from one of your currently subscribed magazines, etc. If you want to renew the subscription, do it from the website itself, by typing the address in the address bar, never do it over the phone.

 

3- Never post any of your private pictures or family photos, photos of your home online or in a cloud storage, they can and have been easily hacked. (Example is the leaked celebrity pics scandal). Store them offline and off computer.

 

4- If you have any passwords written down, always store that file offline and off computer, store it in a usb drive and connect the usb only when you’re offline and encrypt the usb storage with  strong password. There are softwares available that help you create strong passwords.

 

5- Never give out your primary email. Always use a secondary email with not much information in it (like your name, address, location, etc, while signing up), to sign up to websites, etc. It’s called a dummy account. This can also help with avoiding spam emails in your main email inbox.

 

6- Always make sure to check the validity of the secure encryption certificate on websites, while making any transactions online. Usually if you have an anti-virus installed, it warns you of fake pages.

 

7- Always password protect your data with a strong password that contains letters, numbers and symbols.

 

8- Install a strong anti-virus that gives you protection from the latest threats and protects your offline data as well.

 

9- Never check your emails in a cyber café.

 

10- If you use Wi-Fi, make sure the connection is secure and password protected.

 

These are some simple tips to protect your data and online identity.

 

Moving  on to Facebook safety tips.

 

 

There are many things you can do to keep yourself safe from potential threats and cyber criminals on facebook.

 

1- The most important thing to do is to never make any personal photos public, especially of your kids wearing any swimming clothes. Your photos be used by predators to sell them to certain kinds of websites and are also sold to highest bidders. They can also use these photos to estimate and track your location, if you don‘t already have it mentioned on the profile.

 

2- Don’t make your day-to-day activities public and avoid posting updates about when and where you are traveling. If you do want to post them, make it private or for friends only, but that may not work, as if you add someone, they can now view your activities and jobs, etc. getting all they wanted from your profile.

 

3- Which brings me to my third point, never accept friend requests from individuals who you don’t know or haven’t spoken to. Especially avoid individuals with no profile pics or only a handful of friends when they’ve been members for years. Some of the fake profiles usually just spam search. It’s done by typing in the most common names, when the results show up, they send friend requests to all. Then when their request gets accepted by target, they get to their friends list as well and most accept requests due to them being mutual friends with someone they know and trust. Plus, there’s also a possibility of a sex offender or a PI creating a fake profile to see your ‘friends only’ posts.

 

4- Never post personal likes and dislikes as this can be used against you. Once an individual knows what you like and don’t like, whether it’s food or a movie or anything, they can use that data to either direct you to a phishing website if they’re a cyber predator or if they’re a predator who searches their victims online, they can strike up a conversation with you basing it on common grounds.

 

5- Don’t use the same password you did for you email and other accounts, for your face book account. In fact, never have the same password for all accounts as a general rule.

 

6- If you access facebook on your phone, log out of the facebook app you use, after each visit.

 

7- Post nothing on facebook that you wouldn’t want anyone to know about. Nothing, once it gets on the internet, is safe or private, especially on a social networking site like facebook.

 

8- Be sure to have a good anti-virus installed. There is a possibility of a virus infecting your email list, the virus then sends friend requests to everyone in your email contacts, infecting them with the same virus as well. IIRC, this is done to gain access to not only your personal email, but other email addresses as well, it also leads you to a fake site to get your personal information that you may enter in the form.

 

9- Report suspicious profiles.

 

10- Be careful of external and third-party applications and websites asking permission to access your facebook account information. Once you have given the permission to access your facebook account, the website or application now has access to all of your personal information, including email, number, posts, address, job and location. Never accept it, unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you trust the application and it is reputed as safe to use.

 

11- Visit the help center for more information on facebook safety.

 

12-  Some good tips are mentioned here in this info graphic; http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/pdf/facebook_safety_tips.pdf

 

Next Part is Safety on Twitter

 

The following are some simple tips to stay safe on twitter.

 

1- Whenever you tweet, never add your location to it. Turn off the ‘add location to tweet’ option from the settings. You can also remove all location information by clicking ‘delete all location information’.

 

2- Strip geo-tag information from your photos before tweeting them. When a photo is tweeted, the location information that many camera phones add to the metadata of the photo file would be provided to anyone viewing the photo, any EXIF viewer software/application that can read the location information embedded in the photo would be able to determine the location of the picture. There are apps available that strip the geo-tag from the pictures; deGeo, metapho and pixelgarde are some of them.

 

3- Enable security and privacy options. The ‘HTTPS Only’ option ‘Settings’ menu will allow you to use Twitter over an encrypted connection which will help protect your login information from being hijacked by hackers using packet sniffers and hacking tools.

 

4- Twitter is actually more public than facebook, which means that you have to keep your personal information very minimal to virtually none. I.e. No phone numbers, no emails and no address in the location section.

 

5- Avoid using any third party apps on twitter. If you have any unrecognized app or an app you don’t remember installing, remove it by revoking its access to your account information from the app tab in your ‘settings’ menu.

 

6- Turn on the ‘protect my tweets’ option. This is a helpful tool when it comes to preventing unwanted individuals from following you on twitter. Once turned on, it will only show the tweets to people that are approved by you. This will not stop the current followers, it’s only for the future ones.

 

7- Remove unwanted or unknown followers. Delete the follower from your Followers list by blocking their account. The user is not notified when you block them, but your tweets no longer show up in their searches or timeline.

 

Here are some good sites with much more information about safety on twitter.

 

 

Safety Tips on Instagram

 

1- When you fill out your profile in instagram, there is a personal information section in the form. Avoid putting in as less information as possible. Avoid especially using your phone number. According to Instagram’s Privacy Policy, even though the phone number is marked as ‘private‘, it’s used by the service that gets you ‘found’ on the network, so anyone with your number can find your instagram account.

 

2- Just like twitter’s geo-tagging, do not tag the location in the images you post on instagram. Especially if you’re on a vacation or something and wanna share the moments.

 

3- Which brings me to my next point, if you post regularly while going to your regular places, and you add locations to those pics, you are basically putting up your schedule on the net for everyone to see. Now anyone can see where you are at what time, especially if your profile is public.

 

4- If you are linking your instagram account to facebook or twitter, make sure the privacy settings on the linked account is private as well, otherwise all your private photos will be posted to facebook and twitter as public.

 

5- This point relates to the above, make your instagram account private, I.e. only visible to those who you give permission to.

 

6- Be careful of the spam links on your account.

 

7- Review the privacy policy of instagram before you begin. https://www.instagram.com/about/legal/privacy/

 

I do not have an instagram account, so I don’t have much knowledge besides what I wrote, here’s a link to help you understand it better. http://sociallyactive.com/instagram-and-kids-a-parents-guide/

 

 

Safety Tips for emailing

 

These are very simple tips. Most of them you might be aware of already.

 

1- Most common one is to never open an email from someone you don’t know/recognize.

 

2- Never open spam emails or reply to them. Use a spam filter.

 

3- Never download or open an attachment, if it is from someone you know, do not open it without scanning it first. For me, Norton is useful for that. Auto-protect does the job.

 

4- Never send any sensitive information or confidential information over email.

 

5- Always log out from the account and delete the form data and history.

 

6- Avoid clicking on the ‘remember me’ option when you log in.

 

7- Change your password fairly regularly and make it a long and strong password with letters, numbers and symbols.

 

8- Never give your emails to suspicious sites or shopping sites. Use an alternate disposable email address for that.

 

9- Avoid using your main email for social media accounts. They store it, if it’s hacked, the hacker now not only has your social media account information, but your email and all of the contacts in it as well.

 

10- Use different emails for different social media accounts.

 

11- Never use the same or similar passwords for any two accounts. Password should be unique to each account.

 

12- Be careful of the phishing scams. Never give your password if asked for, never click on a link that leads to a website directly from your email message, type the main address of the site in the address bar instead, but only after checking its safety rating, there are sites that provide that information.

 

13- Never check email on a public connection.

 

14- Never check email on a public computer and if you do, don‘t forget to log out, clear the form data and cookies. Be in a habit of clearing your history, cookies and form information.

 

Some additional good tips here. http://itservices.tri-c.edu/announcements/email-safety.html

 

Safety tips to secure your wireless connection

 

Without going into too much technical details, I’ll make this category simple and direct to the point as if I did go into details, you‘ll have to spend a whole day on the internet googling the terms. So to begin;

 

1- Turn on WPA2 Encryption on Your Wireless Router. If you have an older router, it will have an older encryption which is easily hackable. You’ll need to upgrade your firmware to WPA2.

 

2- Use the most unique and uncommon name for your network. If it’s one of the common names, you will be on the list with the most common names and will be more susceptible to your password being cracked. According to some sources, even WPA2 may be vulnerable to this kind of hacking.

 

3- This connects to the above point. Use a long and unusual password for your wireless network. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack using the rainbow tables. The max password limit is 64 characters, so go crazy. Wi-fi devices usually store the password as cache, you will have to do this only once, when you connect a new device.

 

4- Turn off the admin via wireless option. What this will do is restrict the hacker’s access to your wireless router’s administrative settings.

 

5- Enable firewall (If your router has it built-in, most do).

 

6- If you are in a smaller house, but the range of the wireless connection is high, reduce it. Decrease the signal range or hide it in a box or in any enclosure that could restrict the signal direction.

 

7- Be careful of something called piggybacking. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piggybacking_(Internet_access)

 

Remember, nothing is ever truly private once it’s on the internet, despite the profiles being private, they have been hacked and private photos have been leaked. Especially the data on cloud servers. Having a strong password helps, but only so much. Avoid storing any personal information or photos, videos, etc. or anything else you wouldn’t want a stranger to see, offline on a secure usb, scan it every time you plug it in and never plug it in while you‘re connected to the internet.

 

 

A little note – If this article sounded too robotic, it’s due to the detailed subject matter. I had to limit the use of words to make it short, yet informative as possible. This subject is often over-looked when it comes to safety and I had to make sure things weren‘t missed. So I hope you found it useful.

 

That’s it. Thanks for reading.