Posts

Safety is a foregrounded concern when travelling to South Africa. Especially with the additional travel ban that has been implemented against high-risk countries due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

For those who are still able to and need to travel— it is important to be aware of the potential threats one may be exposed to and what preventative measures can be taken to ensure your overall safety and security. In light of the Coronavirus worldwide outbreak, some extra safety measures may need to be taken into account. 

1. High-Risk Crime Zones 

Crime in certain regions of South Africa is exponentially higher than others. Underdeveloped and deprived areas are more likely to be exposed to violent criminal acts. It’s advised that you research the area you’re visiting in order to prevent travellers from unknowingly entering into these areas. Therefore, confirm with your travel agent that your trip or itinerary does not include these locations. If it is necessary to travel in or through these parts, be sure to leave extreme valuables and travel documents at your accommodation. Do not expose large amounts of cash and preferably do not travel alone. 

2. Transport Safety Measures

Transportation to Avoid:

  • Do not accept transport from independent cab or taxi services.  They may be innocent but there are those who are waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting international tourists. Use a taxi service that is accredited and recognised with major airports, shopping centres, and hotels.
  •  Transportation systems such as minibuses and metro-buses are not advised for overseas tourists. Mini-buses operate between major townships, which can be high-risk crime zones. Metro buses are also used for local commuting to and from work and are not the safest form of transportation. These transportation systems may also be overcrowded and packed with people who could potentially be carrying COVID-19.
  • Where the Gautrain would usually be the go-to form of transportation—connecting OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg and Pretoria; in light of the Coronavirus pandemic – public transportation of any kind is advised against in order to prevent and lower the risk of contamination. 
  • Do not hitch-hike under any circumstances as this will make you a target for robbery or violent acts of crime. 

Transportation options to consider:

  • Uber’s credit card app facility option helps prevent your on-hand cash, which is an important factor to consider when travelling in South Africa. Make sure to utilise Uber’s Real-Time ID check in order to confirm that the Uber driver’s identity matches that of the driver collecting. 
  • Renting a car is a safe option that many tourists consider and is relatively cost-effective for international tourists due to the current exchange rate. Ensure that navigation means are on hand to avoid getting lost or wandering into unsafe areas. Lock car doors and close windows at traffic lights, intersections and stop signs. 
  • Secure Airport transport is the only option to fully guarantee safety and security. Met on arrival, escorted to your transportation, and driven by an experienced security driver trained in defensive driving offers the most affirmative certainty to security and safety. 

3. Coronavirus Safety Precautions 

The Coronavirus has brought with it numerous issues that could jeopardize the safety of locals and tourists alike. As an already economically strained country grows desperate, crime rates may escalate. 

Many South Africans who work in the domestic or service industry may lose their jobs almost immediately as people self-quarantine. Lack of income coupled with lack of resources, as people continue to panic-buy in bulk, could send the already high crime rates soaring. 

On top of the travel precautions previously mentioned, other factors should be taken into account: 

Home Invasion Risks

While staying in high-end hotels or other safe accommodation options may reduce the risk of belongings being raided, it could increase the risk of viral infection. Hotels have a high guest turn-over and human-to-human contact will be difficult to avoid. 

Renting residential property may reduce your risk of contamination due to large crowd avoidance. If concerns about the risk of invasion arise, this may be controlled with the hiring of an executive protection agent to increase the home’s security and handle potential incidents.  

Beware of Scams!

Scams are common in South Africa – from pickpockets, drink spiking, and ATM scams to unofficial cab drivers and guides at tourist destinations. In these situations, do not give people the benefit of the doubt and keep your wits about you. 

A new scam is circulating as Netcare warns the public of criminals masquerading as officials conducting COVID-19 home screenings. They claim to be “assisting the Department of Health with door-to-door screening for Covid-19.” Unknowing tourists may fall victim to this pretence of a protocol. Therefore, be alert and aware, do not let anyone inside your residence and alert SAPS (South African Police Department) at once. 

South Africa is a beautiful country, full of natural beauty and cultural diversity. The Coronavirus has left the future of tourism uncertain, but for those who are able to or have essential obligations and commitments, taking the necessary safety precautions should be of the highest importance. Click here to utilise our protection services! 

Put your safety first!

It should come as no surprise that corporate travel can be an exciting experience. Venturing into a new city or country, the promise of new networking opportunities and potential career advancements prove how these trips can be both enjoyable and rewarding. However, travelling as a high-profile individual is not without its stresses. In fact, this type of corporate travel anxiety is so common that it even has a name – permanxiety. Below we have unpacked what the three main triggers are and how you can manage them best!

Permanxiety

Permanxiety was first coined by travel industry platform Skift in 2017. This refers to a state of stress that relates to travel – including natural disasters, flying logistics, personal safety and crime. Given the high-pressure nature of executive travel, it is unsurprising that permanxiety has become a buzzword in the travel industry.

In order to best understand this term, we have outlined a few of the main offenders of permanxiety. Understanding these triggers will allow you to better anticipate the moment and ultimately alleviate the stress associated with it.

1. Travel planning, admin and logistics

Keeping your travel plans stress-free can be a rather daunting task. A lot of details need to be ironed out, scheduled and coordinated. While we all enjoy the ease and convenience of an all-inclusive package, travel snags are still a possibility. The aim, however, is to mitigate risk by having certain procedures in place that do not trigger a knock-on effect at the slightest hindrance. 

2.  Airport stress

This is a reality for many. Airports are inherently stressful. From delayed flights, baggage claims, jet lag to tech failures fears. Common causes of airport anxiety include:

–          Queues

–          Take off

–          Baggage carousels

–          Crowds

3.       Personal safety

Personal security pertains to the undisturbed enjoyment of man’s life, including body, reputation and health. It is essentially deterring all means of crime on an individual. At its most basic level, this form of security entails following necessary tools, mindsets and abilities to ensure overall safety.

This is particularly relevant for high-profile personnel as their personal security is at higher risk given the nature of their status. Providing adequate safety for these individuals means adhering to a multifaceted security strategy.

Key factors to a positive travel experience

  • Personalization
  • An element of enjoyability
  • Extensive around-the-clock support
  • Time-saving administrative tasks
  • Exclusive safety measure, procedures and precautions
  • Clear knowledge of all logistical plans

How Arcangel ensures high-profile travel safety

Secure travel management

Our deep understanding of various areas, situations and threats place us in a unique position. The secure travel solutions that we offer, therefore, begin with a clear understanding of the type of travel that our clients will be making use of. Whether it be business or leisure, the risks associated with the location and other elements of the itinerary remain a priority.

We accomplish this by conducting a country assessment and risk analysis. Specific travel planning and contingencies are based on the analysis. Several of our solutions include pre-travel advance work, secure journey management and personnel tracking.

Our services therefore included:

–       Advanced work and risk assessments based on local intelligence.

–       Professional executive protection specialist to meet the client on arrival and escort them to the designated transport in order to prevent being targeted by criminal elements.

–       An experienced security driver (trained in defensive and specialist driving), will ensure safe transportation to the predetermined location.

–      The security driver and executive protection specialist will work as a team using operationally tested methods for protection and safe transportation of the client to their destination.Ensure comprehensive airport transfer security and logistics with one of the top professional executive protection companies in the country. Tap here to get in contact with our team.

Most universities and colleges will go to great lengths to ensure the protection of their students. Visual reminders of this include campus cameras, Campus Security and various building safety measures. Safety, however, goes beyond relying on these external measures. It includes taking the initiative to safeguard your own protection. So, before heading off to university, we suggest familiarising yourself with these crucial student safety tips:

STUDENT safety tip #1

Distribute your class schedule with your family and CLOSE network of friends. This will create a type of buddy system where those closest to you are made aware of your daily whereabouts. Make sure that your parents and friends all have each other numbers too in case of emergency! 

STUDENT Safety tip #2

Do not give your student card or room key to ANYONE. And we really do mean no anyone. Keys can be copied and used to access your room without your consent. Individuals may also use your student card to access various areas of campus, endangering both you and fellow students. 

STUDENT safety tip #3

Every university has a security office and full-time Campus Security that forms part of your tuition. Make use of this resource and ensure that you know where their offices are located on campus. Your university website will also provide you with their emergency numbers. Familiarise yourself with their offerings which might include:

–          Campus Security escort service

–          University safety apps

–          Emergency phone stations

–          Campus maps 

STUDENT safety tip #4

Very few things are more empowering than self-defence and situational awareness. It will have you feeling more confident and most importantly, feeling a little safer. No, you don’t need to be aiming for a black belt, but rather basic, yet effective, self-defence moves. Make sure to check out any local self-defence classes in your area.

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #5

Always have a few safety supplies on your person. This could be a little bottle of pepper spray or a mini taser. This should be kept in an easily accessible place so you can grab it at any time! We suggest adding it either to your keychain or to a lanyard that hangs under your shirt. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #6

When it comes to safety tips – this one is important – ALWAYS lock your room door. Even if you are just heading out for a few minutes. If your room is located on the first floor, make sure to also lock your windows. Keep all valuables safe in a locked drawer or hidden safe. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #7

Social media is a fantastic platform to keep up to date with friends and family. This space is also a breeding ground for predators. Steer clear of geotagging your photos or revealing your exact location. We suggest taking the time out to do a full social media safety audit

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #8

Before getting into your car, always check your wheels. A common tactic amongst criminals is to place sharp objects into your tyres, ensuring that you are unable to drive far distances. When approaching your vehicle, walk at a slight angle, assessing if any predators are potentially already in your car. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #9

Venturing to a new part of campus? Make sure to familiarise yourself with the area using your campus map. Always walk with confidence and hide all electronics that will distract you and make you an easier target. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #10

Should you be a victim of ANY crime, notify both the police and Campus Security. Reporting the incident will help authorities mitigate future risks. Your university also maintains strong relations with local police, who will be able to help assist in future.

These simple precautions are not only cost-effective but easy to apply in your daily life. Student safety remains a priority, so take responsibility for your personal security by employing these tips today!

According to the Cambridge English dictionary, the word safety is a state in which one feels safe and not in danger or at risk. This definition is often confused with the word ‘security’. Security, however, is the prevention of malicious activities orchestrated by other individuals.

Understanding the various types of safety and security will help you control recognizable hazards and help mitigate the risks. These security tiers include internet, national and personal security to name a few.

Internet security

Internet security is a division of computer safety. This branch specifically deals with all internet (online) based threats. These threats include website viruses, malware, data damage and unauthorised system access to name a few. The internet is an open computer network. It allows for free exchanges of both information and ideas. There has been a recent surge in online-based threats. This highlights the vulnerabilities of the digital space. It also emphasizes the inherent dangerous and unsafe nature of the internet.

Did you know that everything that we do on the internet ultimately leaves a digital footprint? Whenever we engage on the internet, from sending personal emails to splurging on online shopping sites, we are essentially divulging our personal data. This information is then sent into an ever-changing computer series and various network links. Hackers then intercept, retrieve this information and use it in tandem with various breaches.

Common internet security issues

· Hackers – Individuals that attempt to circumvent or breach internet security measures.

· Spyware – The aim of spyware is to obtain personal information. This starts with following individuals browsing habits. Spyware helps in targeted advertising efforts.

· Viruses – Viruses are specialised programmes that gain entry into unsuspecting individual’s computers. Their foothold in the system either corrupts or destroys data and damages the machine.

· Phishing – Traditionally this is when data is acquired, mostly credit card details, bank account information etc. for financial gains or to commit identity theft.

· Online identity theft – Stealing the identity of an individual over the internet for personal gains, particularly that of financial motive.

· Worms – Worms are self-replicating malicious malware that spread through your network, that spread copies of your computer across the internet.

· Spam – Unsolicited messages that are sent via the internet. Some of which are embedded with malware.

Means of protection

· Anti-spyware

· Bot protection

· Antivirus

· Memory firewalls

· Defence+

National security

National security is a state requirement. It entails ensuring the survival of the nation. Protection strategies employ tactical efforts within branches of government. This to ensure the protection of society. This includes diplomacy efforts to economic interests, political maintenance and power projections etc. National security looks to examine all potential threats, their prevention and contingency plans for future use. Essentially, this form of protection is the ability for a nation to protect itself, and its citizens, from external threats.

National security subdivisions

· Economic – Ensuring the financial strength and stability of a nation.

· Territorial – Protecting the physical boundaries and borders of a country.

· Physical – Minimising injuries, chronic illnesses and death caused being national disasters or pandemics

· Ecological – Preventing environmental damage.

· Political and social – Mitigating violations of the law.

Means of protection

· Diplomacy used to isolate threats and rally allies.

· Stimulation of economic efforts through job creations, industry expansion, international relations etc.

· Maintaining substantial armed forces.

· Emergency preparation measures.

· Legislation.

· Intelligence services.

· Implementing civil defence strategies.

Personal security

Personal security pertains to the undisturbed enjoyment of man’s life, including body, reputation and health. It is essentially deterring all means of crime on an individual. At its most basic level, it entails following necessary tools, mindsets and abilities to ensure overall safety.

Personal protection “barriers” use the same procedural barriers as physical and technical barriers. The aim in this regard is to protect a house, company facility or person. Personal protection barriers may not be made of bricks, mortar or solid hardwood, but they are barriers just the same. Relinquishing those barriers, increases your vulnerability.

Personal protection barriers can include:

  • Maintaining a low profile
  • Avoiding fixed and predictable routines
  • Utilizing situational awareness training
  • Recovering from surprise and maintaining the initiative
  • Life-saving tactics
  • Using initiative

Other barriers also include adopting a positive attitude towards these procedures. It also entails ensuring strong communication and being methodical and consistent at all times. 

The prime goal of personal protection, is to utilise physical security methods to deflect criminal interest in an individual.

Types of personal security

·  Work

·  Travel

·  Roadside

·  Residential

Common threats

· Robbery

· Hijacking

· Theft

·Sexual and physical attack

Means of protection

· Always remain aware and alert!

· Stay handsfree as carrying items make you a vulnerable target.

· Display confidence when walking around.

· Trust your instincts, that if your intuitive feeling tells you that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

Get in contact with Arcangel Protective Services to better increase your personal security.Prioritising your overall safety and security is of the utmost importance to us. Let us help decrease your vulnerability to external threats by clicking here and booking a consultation with our team of specialists.

Everything that you do online immediately creates a stream of personal data. This data is incredibly valuable. Particularly in a world that thrives off data exchanges. Understanding how to protect your data, therefore, becomes essential.

Understanding personal data

Online surveys, Wi-Fi fill-out forms and online shipping are but a few examples of data exchange. This is where you provide personal information in exchange for a service or product. Contrary to belief, the item that you then receive is not the actual product – you are! The data that these systems gather essentially turn you into their product that they can later use for personal gains.

In some cases, your data is innocuous but in many situations, this data poses a real threat to your online safety. Companies, cyber hackers and criminals can piece together this information where all of your personal data is exposed; leaving you vulnerable and susceptible to cyber attacks.

Do not panic! There are numerous ways to protect both your privacy and identity online. Particularly when engaging on social media, which is one of the biggest platforms for cyber data hacking. Knowing the risks immediately puts you ahead. Here are our top social media audit tips for you to employ:

Facebook

As you know, Facebook has subtabs on every profile that allows users to fill in information about themselves. This includes your age, images and your location. These interactive features are open to the public to engage with.

Did you know that in the third quarter of 2019, Facebook had 2.45 billion monthly active users? This substantial user engagement accounts for the high advertising revenues that the site accumulates. When utilising this app, we suggest employing these dos and don’ts to protect yourself:

Do:

·         Only establish connections with people that you know and trust, make sure to check your friend list often.

·         Assume that ANYONE on the internet has access to your personal information on your Facebook page, so take caution when divulging information.

·         Check the privacy settings on your friends and family’s personal pages, as their accounts could expose your personal data.

·         Secure your browser settings, ensuring that you recognise and understand various access points.

Don’t:

·         Post images that have your exact location attached to the image.

·         Assume that because your profile is restricted from public view that the server does not have access to your data that can be shared amongst third parties.

Where to locate Facebook settings: Click from the top right of your Facebook page and tap the word ‘Settings’. Click Privacy in the left column and then ‘Edit’. 

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing app that allows its user to curate personalised content. Instagram has over one billion monthly active users and is one of the most popular social networks worldwide. In terms of the social media platform’s privacy, accounts can be made public or private. Content, however, can be viewed by non-Instagram users via Google search. It is crucial that the following measures are taken to safeguard your privacy:

Do:

·         Only allow close friends and family to follow your account.

·         Ensure that your family and friends take similar privacy precautions to ensure that your personal information remains private.

Don’t:

·        Automate your Instagram posts to go onto your various other social profiles (ie: Twitter and Facebook). This inherently increases your discoverability.

·         Embed hashtags in your images as this increases your visibility when individuals are searching.

Where to locate Instagram settings: Tap on your profile and click the icon found in the top-right corner. This will give you access to all privacy settings.

Twitter

Twitter is a social media networking app that is known for its micro-blogging format. Twitter averaged 330 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2019. For many, Twitter is a medium to stay up to date on current affairs and the whereabouts of friends. We recommend the following when engaging on this platform to enhance your privacy.

Do:

·         Only establish connections with people that you know and trust, make sure to check your friend list often.

·         Assume that ANYONE on the internet has access to your personal information on your Facebook page, so take caution when divulging information.

·         Secure your browser settings, ensuring that you recognise and understand various access points.

Don’t:

·         Post images that have your exact location attached to the image.

·         Assume that because your profile is restricted from public view that the server does not have access to your data that can be shared amongst third parties.

Where to access Twitter privacy settings: Click on your thumbnail profile picture located on the top banner. From the drop banner menu, select Settings and Privacy. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a popular professional networking site that connects employers to job seekers that have shared their CV’s. The most recent and accurate number of LinkedIn’s monthly active users is 303 million. Users maintain their pages by regularly updating the page with educational and professional achievements.

Do:

·         Regularly review the connections that you have made on the site.

·         Although this app is based on sharing professional information, ensure that you are cautious and intentional with the information that is shared.

·         Turn your profile visibility “off” when you are no longer actively seeking a job.

Don’t:

·         Post multiple images on this app in order to ensure a level of privacy.

·         Ignore the Data Privacy and Advertising setting option. This can be found under Settings & Privacy > Privacy > How LinkedIn uses your data.

·         Forget to restrict your browser settings to prohibit those on the same server from accessing your information.

Where to access LinkedIn privacy settings: Tap on the Privacy tab under the Settings & Privacy heading. Apply the above-mentioned precautions when creating and maintaining your profile.When sharing information online, we often forget that once that information is shared, there is no control over where it goes. Employing these safety measures will ensure that this year you remain in FULL control over your digital presence. Need a little more help with navigating your online presence? Click here and get in contact with us!

The festive season can be quite chaotic. The year is coming to an end, everyone needs a break Companies shut down and employees are out of the office. As crazy as everything may seem, this is the perfect opportunity to begin gearing up for the new year. You now have the opportunity to ensure that everything is ready and safe for when your employees return. 

This begs the question – is your office ready and secure for the new year? 

If you aren’t sure, keep reading. We highlight the best ways to ensure that your office is safe and secure. Particularly before your employees even step foot into the new decade. 

Why is office safety and security important?

When your employees leave their homes, they want to know that they’re entering a safe environment. It is the employer’s duty of care to ensure their company and office space is safe and secure.

Concerns around security are topical in any office environment. Along with the threat of workplace violence, security has other important aspects. This includes protecting assets and inventory. As well as maintaining the cybersecurity of data and client information. Each aspect of security has its own challenges and procedures. This is why it might be beneficial to hire a protection company. They will help you implement necessary security procedures. 

Workplace safety is very important for each and every employee. It is the duty and moral responsibility of the company to look after its employees. 

Keeping your office secure enables you to protect:

  • Confidential documents
  • Computers, electronics and other valuable possessions
  • Your staff
  • Your company’s data 

How to secure your office

As you go into the new year, you need to make sure your office is ready for any potential risks. You can start securing your office by doing the following: 

  • Evaluate and assess the security needs of your workplace (a professional can do this for you)
  • Devise a comprehensive policy to cover all security needs
  • Consult with protection specialists to ensure you are covering all bases
  • Get entire aspects installed through third party contractors based on the agreed scope of work
  • Get the system tested and verified as per requirements
  • Commission the system for real-world operations
  • Keep maintaining the systems as per workplace security policy

Risk Assessment

There is no need to be stressing about how secure your company is when you can use our services. We’ve got an easy solution, that you can implement. 

Contact us if you feel like your company security isn’t up to standard. 

We will conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of your company. We will be highlighting areas where you are at great risk. Detailed measures and instructions to increase security will be given. 

Security Protocols

Still feel like you’re being exposed to risks? Start considering the following: 

  • Physical access control: do you have a system in place that controls who comes in and out of the building? Access control will offer your employee a sense of security because they know that not just anyone can enter. 
  • Surveillance: do you have professional and reliable surveillance systems that monitor the internal and external parameters of your company?
  • Proper lighting and alarm system: your parking garages and quieter areas need adequate lighting that will ensure no threats are hiding in plain sight. A fully-functional and operational alarm system is needed in any company. 
  • Clearly marked emergency exits: in the event of an emergency situation, employees need to know the safest way to exit the workplace so that they aren’t stuck in a dangerous situation. 

Secure Travel Management

If this is something your company hasn’t invested in just yet, be sure to reconsider it in the new year. As part of duty of care, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure employees are protected while travelling for work. 

There are many potential risks and threats when travelling internationally or locally. These risks are not only reserved for the high net worth individual or celebrity. Business and leisure travel may also be affected thus the need for secure travel management. 

Here at Arcangel, our deep understanding of the areas, situations and threats place us in a unique position. We are thus able to provide a secure environment for our clients. The secure travel solutions that we offer begin with a clear understanding of the type of travel and the risks associated with the location and other elements of the itinerary.

We accomplish this by conducting a country assessment and risk analysis. Specific travel planning and contingencies are based on the analysis. Some of our solutions available include pre-travel advance work, secure journey management and personnel tracking. 

Data Protection 

As we rely more and more on online platforms and upload vasts amounts of secure data onto online platforms, the need for adequate data protection is exponential. 

This means you need to start taking your cybersecurity more seriously. The best way to do this is to hire an external organisation that specialises in this type of security. This is what your business might need to do though; 

  • Install and maintain a firewall configuration that provides security and protects and secures the stored data.
  • Do no use default vendor passwords and another parameter of security.
  • Use anti-virus and frequently update their programs to remove any malicious software.
  • Secure systems and applications should be developed and maintained.
  • Those with access to your system should be assigned a unique user ID.
  • Track and supervise network access.
  • Regular testing of security systems and processes should take place.
  • A policy must be maintained that addresses information security for all personnel.
  • Use of cameras to monitor vulnerable areas. Classification of media is required to protect sensitive data.
  • Sensitive Authentication Data must be secured.

Go into the new year ready to take on anything that comes your way. Ensure your company and your employees are protected at all times with comprehensive security policies in place. We would love to give you the confidence to feel safe and secure in the new year, please contact us

Protecting yourself isn’t always about your physical safety and security. Nowadays there is an increase in the risk to your online safety. We often don’t think about the threat that being online can pose. We’re on our own mobile devices or laptops and computers so what’s the big deal? Here’s the thing; the internet is open to everyone, and everything you put out there is accessible by anyone. Meaning that it is imperative that you are more aware of your online presence and various safety precautions.

What are you doing to ensure you’re 100% protected while online? 

Most of us aren’t able to confidently answer that. But we’re here to tell you exactly what you should be doing to optimise your online safety. 

Why you should take online safety seriously

The worldwide web is a vast and sometimes scary place. There is so much going on in the online world that we don’t even know about. Many people use the internet to prey on unsuspecting victims for various heinous crimes. These include:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Phishing
  • Scams 
  • Stealing of personal information
  • Impersonations 
  • Viruses, among other threats. 

This doesn’t even cover the risk poor online security has on businesses. 

Ask yourself

  1. Do I know all of the people on my social media friend’s list? 
  2. Are my social media accounts set to private? Have I checked if the privacy settings have been changed/updated?
  3. Who can see my content or my online activity? 
  4. Am I giving away private information, like my home address, the name of my child’s school or even my current location? 
  5. Have I revealed that I’m currently on holiday, letting potential criminals know that my house is vacant? 
  6. Have I clicked on any unsecured links that will hack my various online accounts or steal my private information? 
  7. Did I shared my account passwords with anyone? 

How to stay safe online

It’s time you take your cybersecurity seriously. Here are our top tips on how to stay safe online. 

Cybersecurity is a moving target.

Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new tricks to threaten your online security, so you need to be conscientious about what you’re downloading and keep up to date with the latest security updates. Make sure you keep a watchful eye on the news for any new online threats.

Has someone gone phishing?

Phishing is a term used to describe an individual or group of individuals who scam users. They do so by sending emails or creating web pages that are designed to collect your online banking, credit card, or other login information. 

You may be sophisticated enough to know not to click on a URL that’s supposedly from your bank or a friend, but does everyone in your household? Make sure your family members are aware of phishing and warn them not to click on URLs from an email or social network message. 

It is also advisable to get a security program that recognises and blocks potentially unsafe URLs.

Beware of scams

There are various ways to trick you into entering your personal information. Even some so-called “legitimate” businesses can trick you into signing up for recurring annual payments without you even realising it. 

Use a password management system

Passwords are your primary defence against hackers and it’s no secret that it’s often a flimsy one; Kitty123 just isn’t going to cut it. Bolster your defence with a password management program, this way a more secure password is generated for you and best of all, you only need to remember one password.

Keep social networks secure

There’s a good chance that at least one person in your house is on a social network. Unfortunately, social media networks have become a haven for cybercriminals. 

Keep a close eye on your social media accounts. If someone messages you who hasn’t done so in a while, then it might be suspicious, especially if they are sending you random links or asking personal questions.

Educate kids about online safety

When it comes to cybersecurity, kids are often the weakest link. Get security software that keeps your children from clicking on the wrong links and visiting the wrong sites. Teach kids about suspicious activity online and encourage them to ask for help if something seems suspicious.

What about your mobile devices?

Your phone and tablet need as much security protection as your PC. Make sure you’ve got a full security solution that covers your mobile devices as well. Put a passcode on your tablets and phones too.

Watch out for online shopping

Many online shopping sites are fake. Many have fallen victim to the stunning items that are being sold online for cheap prices but often these sites are used to scam you into divulging your personal details so they can drain your bank account. Make sure you’re only purchasing from reputable sites. 

When in doubt, call support

The best security software programs offer support 24/7. If you ever have any suspicions you’ve been hacked, call for help. 

It might seem tedious but your online safety matters and by being more wary of it, you’ll suffer less in the future. If you have any questions about online safety or data protection, feel free to contact us.

The holiday season is an exciting time. After a gruelling year filled with hard work, it is finally time to relax and unwind. No matter what you’ve got planned this holiday, it is important to remember that you still need to be safe. Criminals don’t go on holiday and statistics continue to prove this with criminal activity showing a substantial increase during the festive season. Which is why it’s important to consider holiday safety.

No matter where you’re going, whether abroad or local, your safety will always be a pivotal part of your trip. 

We’ve taken the time to highlight important steps you should take before, during and after your trip. This will ensure that not only you are safe and secure at all times but your belongings are too.

Before you leave

Make sure you contact your alarm or security company before you leave. They should be notified of the days that you will be away and when you’ll return. This will make them aware of the fact that your house is vulnerable during that period. You should also test your alarm system to make sure it is fully operational prior to leaving.

holiday safety

Once you’re confident that your alarm system is in tip-top condition, you need to prepare your house. Make sure you:

  • Get a reliable light timer that will turn certain lights on at a certain time to give the perception that someone is in the house.
  • Don’t close all the curtains and blinds in your home, this makes it blatantly obvious that the house is unoccupied. 
  • If possible, hire a reliable and trustworthy housesitter who stays at your house for the duration of your trip. 
  • Make sure that doors and windows are locked and secure – this includes every window, bolt and security gate. 
  • If your neighbours are close, trusted friends or family, alert them that you will be away for a certain time so that they too can keep an eye on your home. 
  • If you’re leaving after Christmas and you have the boxes that expensive gifts came in, make sure to discard of these boxes and don’t just leave them in the outside bins. 
  • Be sure to lock valuable possessions away or hide them from plain sight. 

During your vacation

Holiday safety isn’t only about securing your home but ensuring that you keep yourself and your family safe while you’re away. 

  • Keep your documentation (passport, ID or driver’s license) close to you or in a secure place. And keep a certified photocopy of these documents in a separate safe place just in case. 
  • Don’t keep large amounts of cash on you.
  • Make sure to plan your routes or expeditions to ensure you are completely comfortable with where you are going to avoid any risky situations. 
  • Before you go on your trip, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure that your accommodation and where you’re going is safe and has a good reputation. 
  • Avoid looking like a tourist, try blending in as much as possible. 
  • Keep your travel and accommodation arrangements to yourself and don’t divulge too much information to people you meet or “friends” you make. 
  • Don’t post too much about your trip on social media. We know it’s exciting to be away and have new experiences that you want to share but you never know who is keeping an eye on your social media pages. Posting on social media that you are away lets criminals know that your house is vacant.
  • Do a security sweep of your hotel room. Always keep your hotel door locked and never answer it for someone you don’t know. If you can, try to get a room near the front desk or the elevator. 

When you’re on your way home

If you are driving home, make sure to plan your route carefully and have the correct amount of money for tolls on the way. Ensure you are well-rested for the trip because car accident rates are heightened during the festive period. 

holiday safety

If your trip was a bit further and you’re flying home, make sure your documentation is safe and easily accessible. Be wary of your personal belongings on the trip home.

While en-route home, check in with your security company to ensure there has been no suspicious activity at your house or in the neighbourhood while you were away. And be careful that no one has followed you into the driveway of your home.

To ensure your holiday safety is at optimal levels, get in contact with us. We will do a thorough risk assessment of your home and help you with your travel safety. We want you to have a happy and safe festive season – no matter what.

You’ve probably heard someone somewhere say “you need to be more aware” but what does this mean and how do you actually do it? Similar to our article on the Power of Visualisation, situational awareness techniques are used to protect yourself before a threat takes place. You need to be more self-aware, more cognizant of your surroundings and take serious note of any irregularities. 

It’s perfectly fine to go to self-defence classes and prepare yourself for when you’re in a dangerous situation but what if you could avoid the situation entirely and not have to protect yourself in the first place? Situational awareness is a crucial self-defence skill in itself. It can successfully get you out of danger and help you avoid confrontation.

You can train yourself to be more aware, there is no need for a class or instructor. You are perfectly capable of training your mind to perceive the world a little differently and more intuitively. With some tips and tricks, you will quickly master the art of situational awareness.  

Situational awareness definition 

According to Security Adviser, “situational awareness is the use of the sensory system to scan the environment. The purpose of this is to identify threats in the present or to project those threats into the near future”.

Simply put, situational awareness consists of learning specific techniques that enable you to become keenly aware of the environment you’re in so that you can identify potential threats that may arise. 

How can situational awareness be improved?

If you feel like you have no idea how to master situational awareness, there is no need to panic. You can improve your own situational awareness in a few steps and with practice. 

There are many ways to improve your awareness but we’ve isolated these at the top 3:

  1. Start by isolating the foreground, middle ground and background of your environment.
  2. Develop your intuition by observing internal changes. Start by noticing things that aren’t out of the norm or unusual from what you’re used to. 
  3. Deny one of your senses. By removing one sense, your other senses are heightened, enabling you to pick up things you previously wouldn’t have been able to. 

Improving your awareness techniques 

Your mind and your senses are your best ally in a variety of situations. This is how you can hone in on using them to your full advantage.  

Sensory awareness

  1. Stop: when you enter a new location and while you’re out and about, you need to stop. Take in your surroundings and think about the following:
  • Who is around you, are they moving and who is standing still? 
  • What do you hear close to you and what sounds register in the distance? 
  • Are there any specific smells in the area? 
  • What is the temperature like against your face and arms? 
  • Is there anything in the environment that strikes you as out of the ordinary, or doesn’t seem to belong?  

By doing this, you are using all of your senses to take in your environment. You have also taken the time to actively acknowledge your surroundings which increases your situational awareness. 

2. Look for something new every day:  as you go about your daily routine and follow the same route to work or as you stop off at the same places, try to spot something new each day that you have never noticed before. 

This will train you to be more conscious of your surroundings, reminding you to actively take note of possible irregularities. 

3. Be aware of sound: note that your sense of hearing tells you about distance. You can judge what might be happening near to you or further away.

4. Explore the darkness: this might sound a little odd but another tip is to become a  nighttime predator in your own home. Turn off all the lights and navigate from room to room. You will discover that this is a multi-sensorial exercise. Touch, hearing and special sensations become amplified. The more you do this, the more you comfortable you’ll feel when your sense of sight is taken from you or when you’re out during the night. 

When considering your sensory awareness, remember your senses of proprioception, balance and kinaesthesia which tell you about movement and space. Which also provides unseen but necessary information. 

Mindful awareness 

As the day marches on, we get lost in our thoughts 

At some time during our day, we may think of an event that took place in the past. At other times in the day, our minds may project into the future. This could be a useful exercise like scenario planning. However, not all future thoughts are useful.

Worry is a common future projection. Our mental space is engrossed with horrors of what might happen. Stress and anxiety, both of which are products of worry, reduce awareness. Criminals are drawn to people who are in this state. It may be wise to change your thought process to be more present, especially during daily errands or while travelling. 

Sometimes our minds focus on the immediate present. Our minds are alert and tuned into our direct space. Our senses absorb the environment. Intuitive feelings are produced compelling us to act against danger or toward delight. Psychologists nowadays call this mindfulness. This is the ideal state of mind to be in to ensure you can detect potential threats and protect yourself in dangerous situations. 

You are far more capable than you think you are. Your senses, your mind and your gut instincts provide you with all the intel and ammunition you need to protect yourself. But if you feel you may need more protection or advice about how to amplify your safety and security, please contact us.  

In this world, kindness and compassion are often hard to come by but you still get some people who are a little too nice. While this is a commendable quality to have and you should never lose your kind and thoughtful traits, there are some situations where being too nice can really affect your safety. This is when being more assertive will benefit you.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re uncomfortable and unhappy but you feel too timid or shy to change the situation you’re in?

When is being too nice not okay

When you’re out and having a good time with friends or even if you’re at a shop running errands, if you find yourself in a risky situation, you need to do something. 

There are some situations that warrant your kind nature but when you find someone is being too pushy or has invaded your space, there is no need to be passive. Most of the time in these cases, if you do not stand your ground and make it clear that you don’t appreciate the advances, the attention or you just need some space, something far worse can take place. 

Criminals prey on those they deem as weak and vulnerable and if you make yourself appear that way, you run the risk of being preyed up. “Niceness” can make you an easier target to be taken advantage of, controlled, and even emotionally, physically and sexually abused. It can also prevent you from standing up for yourself, even in situations that aren’t very dangerous. 

Why do we feel we need to be nice? 

Sometimes we’re more concerned with what others think of us than what we think of ourselves. We’re more worried about making someone feel bad or causing a scene than we are with asserting ourselves. 

Often, we’re even more concerned about giving people the benefit of the doubt and thinking their intentions may not be impure rather trusting our own perceptions. 

This is something that is ingrained in many of us. Rather be polite than have to deal with confrontation but eventually (or sooner rather than later) this is going to a detriment to your safety. It might be time to learn to be a little more assertive and how to do it without feeling bad. 

How to be more assertive 

assertive

There is no such thing as being ‘too rude’ when your life is in potential danger. If you’re uncomfortable or feel like someone has invaded your personal space, you should:

  • Stand tall and with confidence
  • Tell them how you feel and assert yourself
  • If the situation does not change, remove yourself

This might be easier said than done, for many people, this is more difficult than it sounds. What we suggest is trying to remain cognisant of the fact that you will probably never see this person again (if they’re a stranger) or if they’re someone you know, consider whether or not this is someone you actually need in your life. 

You should never feel like you HAVE to stay in any situation, you shouldn’t worry about appearing rude or impolite – your personal safety comes first!

Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. You’re telling yourself and the person threatening your safety that you matter and you will not accept how you’re being treated. Always keep in mind that creating a scene is always a deterrent and appearing confident will keep potential predators at bay anyway.

How to deliver your message the correct way 

Remember, it’s not just what you say but also how you say it that’s important. 

Assertive communication is direct, clear and can be stern. If you communicate in a way that’s too passive, your message may get lost because people will underestimate your seriousness or find it easy to walk over you. 

Our top tips would be for you to:

  1. Keep your emotions in check:

Being overly emotional, crying or panicking can take away from the message you’re delivering. You have every right to be stern and even raise your voice if necessary (this will garner some attention) but try and remain in control of the situation. 

Do not show that you are scared or intimidated, remain calm on the outside, be serious in what you have to say and make yourself heard without compromising yourself. 

  • 2. Use body language: 

Your body language says everything. By simply turning your back to the situation/person and keeping your stance even, your back and shoulders upright, you immediately appear more confident and in control. If this doesn’t deter the person, remove yourself from the situation. Under no circumstances do you need to stay somewhere or with someone who is threatening your safety and security. 

Becoming more assertive can be difficult but it can really add to your safety. It might seem like ‘no big deal’ but being too nice can land you in situations you never intended to be in. If your safety and security is something of concern to you, if you need a risk assessment or if you require some advice on how to increase your security, we’re always here