Friday, February 27, 2015

Terrorist or Freedom Fighter? Word use takes center stage in Jordan

Words do matter, but so does the audience hearing them.

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Garda Cares: How to Use Executive Protection Services Overseas

Well done case study turned into a very good overview of overseas gigs

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Exclusive: TSA Issues Secret Warning on ‘Catastrophic’ Threat to Aviation - The Intercept

Thermite can be extremely dangerous, but is fairly directional. While in the Government I have made a thermite device and have set it off. It did eat through an electrical transformer in about 10 minutes, which was about a foot thick so it can easily eat through a plane's skin and anything in the way. It also has a lot very heavy smoke and it is quite caustic, with all that said, it is pretty survivable. If wet towels are used for face mainly eyes and mouth, and the plane heads for the ground, quickly it should be survivable. The thermite would have to hit a large bunch of control rods for the plane's flight to be effected, it would be hard for a terrorist to target those from the cabin of the plane. Lastly TSA screening has a good chance of detecting the device, even the parts of the device. I will write more on this later, but this should give you a start.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spy Masterz | Multifunctional Wireless Camera, WiFi Detector and Spy Camera Lens Detector

Advanced Go Bag gear: I am always on the look out for simple bug detectors, this was found locally in Mission Tx, and at a price of $39 I bought it for testing. So far it exceeds most of the simple bug detectors I have tested, and most at more than three times the price. You can also buy in on line. It is listed as advanced Go Bag gear, since with out training your chances of using it effectively are not all that good. For one you really need to understand the limitations of these devices to better use them. This one has the added advantage of a camera lens detector and that is somewhat tricky it self. I will try and do a post to my blog on the basics of using these over the weekend, But all in all a better than average device at a very good price.

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spymasterz.com

Spy Stores have been around for ever, it is always enjoyable to visit them and see what is new. This store was no exception, it has lots of equipment and fairly reasonable prices. For Police and Security folks in the area it has a number of items that will help them do their jobs a little better, if not from the area they have a web site that can service folks all over the US and world. For businessmen and Executives they have a good supply of security products that could solve problems, like hidden cameras, and hidden camera detectors.

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FATAL FATIGUE and how it effects our capabilites

This is a guest piece from a great Police trainer friend of mine, reprinted with his permission;


His Web site is: http://www.10zero.com/

FATAL FATIGUE.

I wasn’t thinking about writing this article up until I realized that the problem at hand is much larger than it seems.  About two weeks ago a good friend of mine, former student and a fellow police officer called me with an alarming concern. His conversation started with this statement -“Zarzoza, I don’t think I’m Mission Ready anymore”

For those that know me or have trained under me, know that “Mission Ready” is the trademark course I teach on Officer Safety that focuses on Warrior Mindset, Mental Preparation and fundamentals of personal safety.  So, I got seriously concerned for my friend that has taken my course several times to make such statement.

He went on by saying that he does not feel he is ready for the challenges of the job, he said he does not feel he is alert and at times he has caught himself making some terrible mistakes that he knew could have been fatal but for some reason or another, he was able to recover unscathed.
I let him vent knowing that he would (more than likely) provide the very own answers to his very own problems.  So he added that he didn’t understand why.  He said he is “barely 30 years old, works out daily, maintains a healthy nutrition, keeps his mind busy and after 7 years in the field he already feels tired…”

I was about to start a presentation, so I asked him to stop by my office a few hours later to further talk about his concern.  Somewhat undecided he agreed and a few hours later he stopped by my office proudly wearing his sharp looking deputy sheriff’s uniform.

Before I go on, let me tell you all this. I am not a fitness professional, a nutrition specialist or a health advisor, but all it took for me to realize what was the problem behind this warrior’s concern was just a look at his face.  Not his body. He definitely works out and has become an avid crossfit practitioner with very obvious results. However, the problem does not lay on the warrior’s body, but on something else much more complex than that.  SLEEP DEPRIVATION.

I asked him how much he would sleep per night and his answer came back with the common young warrior’s smirk and bravado “Sleep? oh man there is no time for sleep. For me it’s gym, work, family, repeat… I’ll sleep enough when I am dead, SLEEP IS FOR WIMPS!

You see, when it comes to getting “Mission Ready” we all focus on the obvious; strength and conditioning training, cardiovascular endurance, defensive tactics, firearms proficiency, tactical training, etc.  And one thing some warriors tend to neglect is that sacred “system reset button” called sleep.

I believe that sleep and rest are paramount for efficient tactical performance, or just normal performance for God’s sake!
Good cognitive performance is central to successful operations.  Sleep deprivation impairs alertness, cognitive performance, and mood. The ability to “think straight” declines by 25 percent for every successive 24 hours that an individual is awake.  Brief fragmented sleep has little recuperative value and is similar to total sleep deprivation on its effects on performance.  Although sleep deprivation is not unique to law enforcement, its consequences are amplified by the very unique stressors and challenges that come with police work.

The point is that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Research has revealed that being awake for 19 hours produces impairments that are comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 percent. Being awake for 24 hours is comparable to having a BAC of roughly .10 percent. This means that in just five hours — the difference between going without sleep for 19 hours versus 24 hours — the impact essentially doubles.  If you work a 10-hour shift, then stop by the gym, then take care of some mundane chores, drive home (hoping you do not fall asleep at the wheel), catch a couple hours of sleep, then get up and go back to work — and you do this for a week — you may be driving your patrol unit while just as impaired as the last person you arrested for DWI!  (Log down one 95)…

Anyone who has had a few nights of poor sleep can tell you that insomnia is associated with depression. Insufficient sleep shuts down the pre-frontal cortex and can cause or exacerbate a number of psychological conditions, ranging from anxiety to PTSD to depression.

This impact on mood and mental health impacts our ability to do our jobs well, certainly impacts relationships and most definitely affects the way we perceive our own performance, just like my good friend stated “I don’t think I’m Mission Ready anymore”.

Most of us can recognize when we fell less “sharp” due to the cognitive decline from lack of sleep.  A very important finding presented by the Force Science Institute revealed that many of the egregious errors committed in law enforcement occur when officers are fatigued. Like I mentioned before, some of our officers are going to work with as little as 4 hours of sleep and with the level of impaired performance as those who have reached the legal blood alcohol limit!

If we really consider ourselves true warriors, we must understand the value of proper sleep and rest. We must start prioritizing sleep and ensure our bodies and brains are getting sufficient rest. We need to accept the fact that by failing to get sufficient sleep and rest, we are setting ourselves up for failure, poor tactical performance, unsafe reaction times and overall getting hurt.  Assuming we don’t end up hurt on the job, chronic sleep deprivation can result in a shorter life as well as chronic illness in the retirement years.  We are still on time to make some adjustments.

In our line of work, it’s natural to focus on the obvious things that help keep us and the public safe. Tactics, procedures, equipment and case law are all important training topics to help protect us. I’d like to see our culture appreciate the importance that sleep has on keeping us alive. Whether it’s being sharp in a split-second decision making situation, problem solving, or simply avoiding chronic disease, sleep is a critical piece of officer safety that is too often overlooked.

In conclusion, we live in a culture where functioning on little sleep seems to be a matter of honor, even bravado, “sleep is for wimps”.

As a country, we are getting 20 percent less sleep per night on average than we were 40 years ago, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which does sleep polls every few years. Average sleep times in the 1960s were about 8-1/2 hours per night. There has been a steady decline in sleep amounts, and now the average is 6-1/2 hours per night for working adults, and about 7 hours and 20 minutes on weekends. Those numbers decrease significantly if we narrow it down per occupation, and folks, us law enforcement officers commonly end up short changed in this department!

Again, I am not a health guru, a sports/fitness professional or a nutrition specialist, but I do not have to be any of that to value the contribution of a good old shut eye.  One thing I consider myself to be and with lots of pride is a modern day warrior and a warrior’s trainer, I am concerned not just with my own safety and performance, but with that one of my brothers and sisters in this profession. For that reason I do my research, maintain myself up to date and I am very passionate about sharing the little knowledge I have with others (warriors or not).  So if you ever think you are not performing up to par or feel that your performance (tactical or otherwise) seems to have decreased, ask yourself how much you sleep and make the necessary adjustments.  Then take a nap. 

After all, sleep is not for wimps, and as good warriors, we owe it to ourselves…

Sleep much my friends!

Antonio Zarzoza
FORCE OPTIONS CONSULTING.

Department of Public Safety again warns against Mexico trips

This spring break warning should not be taken lightly. Yes it is possible to go to Mexico and get back safely, but the chances are 50 50 that something will happen to you. This starts with ATM kidnappings, where you are just taken to an ATM and forced to remove money, to being killed for nothing more than being in the area where a gun fight erupts between rival cartels or cartels and the police. If you stay super careful, use everything CTI can teach you, it still could go all wrong. You have to understand that unlike the US, where we can set up safe places for you to go, or have the safety of being near police or military personnel, none of this is true in Mexico at this point. Figure corruption is to the point, that it is possible that a segment of the cartel actually runs many of the border towns in Mexico.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Back from the Brink: Saving Ciudad Juárez - International Crisis Group

Could this be a scalable solution for both larger and smaller cities? It should at least be tested, anything that can help Mexico recover from the Cartels is a big plus.

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Officials: Crisis on the Border a Threat to Valley Residents

This is a great story by KRGV Erica Proffer, that brings in a lot of history and what is happening today. If you want to start to understand the problem this is a good foundational piece to. build from. I am not sure Texas should be footing the bill, but it at least shows that the State if not the Federal Government understands there is a problem. I look forward to more reporting on this issue.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FEMA - Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Course | IS-907: Active Shooter: What You Can Do

As the threats to American Mall's increase it is a good time to take this course. It is set for Security Personal at Malls as well as the Employees of the Malls. When something happens the Police will respond, but it will be up to you in those first few seconds to help lead others to safety. Police will rely on you to help shelter in place people, find ways out of the Mall, and to keep people calm. In these situations the Police are the response force, you know your area, we all will rely on you.

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The Philosophy of Security: Basics of Defensive Driving for Carjacking or kidnapping attacks:

As Kidnapping and Carjacking rise in the RGV, it is a good time to review one of our older blog spots, here are some basics on what you can do to keep yourself and your family safer

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Metal Detectors are often a must for a Go Bag, here are two found recently at local shops, both tested well

For that go bag it is always good to have a metal detector, for years in the US Secret Service I used a very small metal detector/stud finder,it fit in my inner suit coat pocket. I keep my eyes open all the time for replacements. New stud finders are not always simple metal detectors, and as such can be hard to use as a metal detector.

I found this one today at Harbor Freight tools, it is an Cen Tech Model 97245 and cost 17$.. I have tested it and it will get the job done as well as work as weapons and evidence search tool. I will try and get a you tube up of how to use this metal detector as a mail bomb search device before the weekend.


They also had a hand wand search tool shown in the second picture was going for 39$ that is the lowest price I have seen for a weapons search system like this. If you are a guard force, corporate security, or Body Guard, this is a good tool to have one or two around.

Monday, February 23, 2015

360 Security Operations

This is a firm I just was introduced to, which looks like it will be a great support to EP teams. When protection teams have to support 2 to 10 day events like vacations, it is almost necessary to incorporate some form of technical security systems. This firm may have a solution you can use.

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The Philosophy of Security: webcamXP - Webcam and Network Camera Surveillance Software

This is an old go bag tip that is still valid. One weekend I received two calls with in an hour from EP teams on the road, with the same request. How to setup a cheap single cctv system to watch and record the hall and door of the Protectee's room. I sent this out an hour later. When at the Dollar Tree store, look for 6 foot usb cable extenders, at 1 dollar each. I normally find that I can only use two extender cables, plus the usb camera cable, for a distance of about 16 feet. So the PC will have to be close to the door of your room. The webcam allows for recording as well as motion detection for free. You may want to give it a try. It is another force multiplier.

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Go Bag Tip: Using blind spot mirrors to expand your vision and awareness of what is going on around you.

Go Bag Tip: I am always looking for things to help me out as I travel, this is about the 2000th mirror like this I have picked up.  Either I leave them in places as I leave in a hurry, or team members even clients ask for them as the gig ends.

Blind Spot mirrors are used normally to attach to your side view mirrors in your cars to reduce blind spots.  I use them to reduce blind spots during EP assignments, although I have taught a lot of Security Guards on how to use them to reduce their blind spots.


I bought this one at an HEB store over the weekend, for $1.19, normally I will not spend more than a dollar for them, and pick some up when ever I see them at a low price.  Their quality actually can make them more effective, but the cheap ones work fine.

If you spend anytime in a class room with me, or watch my you tube videos on expanding your vision, this really is a working part of that.  You are not trying to recognize someone by using the mirror, you are just trying to detect the movement and presence of bad guys.

Once again the uses are endless.  Have you ever looked out the peep hole in your hotel room door?  If so you quickly realize the limitations of what you can see.  Now using the peel off sticky back of the mirror, stick it to the wall across from your door.  Now look out the peep hole, you could not recognize the guys waiting for you outside the door, but you will know they are there.

If you are holding a post in a hallway, but can not see what is around the corner, affix the mirror so you can see down the hall corner, or the elevator lobby area.  REMEMBER the bad guy can use the same mirror to see you, but normally does not even notice it.  By the time they can, you have already seen them.

Remember you are not trying to recognize them, just detect them.  Like when you widen your view, your just expanding your conscious and subconscious awareness.  It does take practice, but quickly you will notice you detect movement registering in the mirror view  while keeping your eyes on the rest of the hallway or what ever you are holding post over.

By the way it also works well in restaurants and other locations where you are sitting with your back to some activity in the room.  Just lean the mirror up on the salt or pepper shaker, and with practice you will recognize movement to your 6, let your conscious and subconscious determine if you need to worry about it.

Executive Protection Go Bag Tip, Throw away alarms can be force multipliers for that next Gig.

Go Bag Tip: Before your next Gig go to your nearest Dollar Tree store, in the electronics section is almost always the pictured door and window alarm.  They use different vendors so do not get hung up on the model.  I usually buy 4, they have many uses, and it's the dollar store so at times you get one that does not work.  Before you bother to check them, read the whole post.


These are great force multipliers.while in the store buy some thread, I usually just pick up a thread and needle repair kit they sell, it comes with multiple thread colors, not a big issue, but may help if you have to repair a button on something.  Also pick up a package of clear tape, lots of usages for this, perhaps another post.

Now you are set. The alarm package contains two pieces, the alarm and contact.  Both have peel and stick backs, so in the right situation will work right out of the package.  But they do have problems with metal doors and door frames, so that is where the thread  and tape come in.

By the way do your testing with one alarm, leave the other packages sealed. I find this the best way to insure I have the battery life for a 1 maybe 2 day gig, is to use ones I open just before using.  I have reused with new batteries but normally for training folks.

Ok if you have it working right out of the package great, you are in play.  For others, no problem, mount the alarm on the wall use some of your tape if you have to.  Now tie a piece of thread to the contact, set it on top of the alarm, now tape the other end of the thread to the door, as the door is opened the thread  will pull the contact off the alarm, and the alarm will sound.

Now I use these for fire stairs or other doors that I want to know if someone is coming through.  But I also used them as room alarms for my hotel room to insure I wake up if someone tries to enter.  But the uses are endless.  If I want to cover a hall way leading to a room, late late at night, when no one should be walking around.  I mount my alarm on one wall set the contact with the thread attached on top of it, and run the thread across the hallway and tape the thread to the other wall. Now anyone coming down the hall will set off the alarm.

But I use the thread and tape routine in many ways, to my briefcase in my room as I go out to dinner, I have used it to secure my briefcase while on long layovers in airports, when I am tired and may fall asleep.  It is just a tool, and the bad guy can defeat it if they are aware of it. but it often gives you that edge you need when understaffed.

For a few bucks, everything is a dollar at the dollar tree, you have options to McGyver your security.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to Test Your PC for the New "Superfish" Security Vulnerability

Another adware exploit. If you have a Lenovo computer, please read. -TH

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Surveillance camera shop spies opening in Mission

Even Washington DC does not have two stores dedicated to spying, now McAllen/Mission has two of them, the one in this article and the RGV SpyTek on 23rd. I have visited SpyTek, and was rather impressed, it has a lot of gear, I look forward to visiting Spy Masterz. On Tuesday this week. Surveillance and Counter Surveillance, 2n and 3rd oldest professions in the world. State of the art gear has come down in price in the last years and the sales of spy gear has tripled in the last few years. I hope everyone visits them, if nothing else you will learn a lot about the availability and capability of spy and protection gear.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Infected Web Ads Now Spreading Malware

I've been following this story for a while now, and I’m starting to receive reports of malware infections from people using Google Chrome. The idea of using “malvertising” like Fessleak to exploit flaws in software like Adobe Flash doesn't just apply to ransomware either. Here are some ways to protect yourself:

First, I’m recommending using an ad-blocking extension to their browser such as Ad Block Plus (visit: https://adblockplus.org) or uBlock (uses less memory, see: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock).

Second, your anti-virus software may not protect you from this type of attack. You need another layer of security like Malwarebytes (free, see http://malwarebytes.org) or a premium product like Norton Security ($50/year, http://us.norton.com/norton-security-antivirus) to help notify you of ads trying to insert malicious software onto your computer. This is not 100% protection, but it will catch more than anti-virus alone.

The bad guys are exploiting extensions like Adobe Flash Player, so make sure they are updated (see: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ for more information). Your browser might keep it updated automatically, but better check to be sure.  You might also consider either disabling Flash entirely, or at least enabling “click-to-run” in your browser (see instructions here: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/flash-click-to-run-how-to,news-20422.html). Yes, it’s a pain especially when trying to view videos on news sites – Apple device users will know what I’m talking about. Proceed at your own risk.

Lastly, consider dumping Google Chrome for another browser such as Firefox or Safari. It’s a memory hog anyways, and the last malware problem I encountered only affected Chrome (for now anyways). Google may get around to closing the security hole at some point, but in the meantime I’m switching to something else. This is of course, a band-aid on the real problem, which is getting people to avoid suspicious websites and not click on email links.

This is intended to show how you can protect your personal and small business computers from this kind of attack. For larger organizations, consult your IT department. - TH

(Original article: Infected Web Ads Use Flash Flaws to Spread Ransomware, via TomsGuide)