Archive for the 'Security' Category

Programers, Learn your industry

Wow it’s been a long time since I have posted.  Been keeping busy at school and work.

So, being a CIS student while working outside of the computer industry, I came across something that I will take to hart later in my programing life: Programmers, learn the industry you are developing for!  I currently work as a Site Manager for a security company for a client that is in the shipping industry.  My site is a test site for this client for a security round system that my be rolled out to many of their sites nation wide.

Some back ground:  Most security officers have to make rounds or tours during their shift.  There have been many systems over the years to record this process to verify that the officer was where he said he was.  The system we are using is using new technology to bring this process into the 21st century.

The system we are testing uses RFID technology to record where the officer is, then transmits this data via cell phone network to the companies server, where it is then able to be viewed real time on the web by myself or my client.  With this system, you can use other RFID tags for different incidents that may happen while you are working (medical emergency, suspicious person, etc.).  This information can then be emailed by the host companies server to any number of recipients I choose.  This is where the problem comes in and the programmers didn’t know the security industry well.

1) The email is not sent out until the officer completes his round

2) If the officer isn’t currently on a round (sitting at a desk), these incidents are not recorded.

Now, the reason these are problems are that many of the incidents should be forwarded by email ASAP.  My client and myself both carry Blackberry’s and will receive the email within a minute, but because the system holds it until the officer completes the round, it could take a long time for the email to be sent.  If the officer takes 30 minutes to handle the email, and then 5 minuets to complete his round, the email won’t be sent out for 35 minutes.  If the situation is a true emergency, my officer could call me, then I could call every one that needs to know, like what happens now, but the technology is supposed to make my life easier.  Second, my officers spend 3/4 of their time at a desk, not on a round.  If they are not assigned to a round on this system, they can’t input incidents.  Because of this, I know have to program in a “dummy” round, so they can log into the dummy round, log the incident, and the log off the dummy round.  This is two extra steps that should not have to happen.  If the programmers who developed this system would have done some research on the security industry, they would have seen these needs ahead of time.  Now, I could only guess at how they have codded this program, but I think both solutions could have been avoided with less then 100 lines of code.  100 lines of code for two added features that MANY of your customers would use makes a lot of sense.  On the up side, I spoke to one of the VP’s of the company, and both features are being added to their feature want list for the next update.

The moral of the story, if you are working with another industry, do some research on the other industry so you can help them before they ask you to.

NIU, CBS2, and the Gun Control Debate

I want to start off by giving my condolences to the victims, family and friends of the victims of the NIU massacre. My heart goes out to you.

Chicago’s CBS 2 covered the story and interviewed a student who thought the incident would have been a lot less bloody if students and teachers could have armed themselves. They then cut over to Chicago’s Mayor, Richard M. Daily, who said this incident just shows that we need more gun control in this country. Richard M. Daily, YOU. ARE. A. IDIOT. You can not admit when something you push for so much isn’t working.

CBS2 was taking comments from viewers on this issue.  I was very happy to see that so many people in Illinois, one of only two states with no conceal carry laws, want to have the right to arm themselves in public to protect themselves, their families, and others.  Many people who were against it didn’t do their research.  One of the most common comments for gun control was that the people who were carrying in other stats were untrained.  Most states that have conceal carry weapons (CCW) permits require permit holders to go through training including both class room and range time.  This class room time includes firearms safety, legal considerations, and use of force training.

When you take away the right of law abiding citizens to carry fire arms, you take away their right to protect themselves and their families.  What are your thoughts about this.  Please leave them in the comments below.

Gun Control, or Disarming Americans

So, this was a topic that I planned on staying away from for a while because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the opposition that I may get.  As I got thrown into that with my last post, I might as well get opposition for what I wrote, not what some nut decided was relevant.

 I am very pro gun.  Unfortunately, I live in one of the few states in the contrary where I do not have the right to carry a fire arm.  I am referring to conceal carry licenses.  My personal thought on the subject is that by not allowing citizens (when properly licenced) from arming themselves, you make it much easier for criminals.  If you were an ice salesman, where would you have a better business, in the arctic where ice is everywhere, or in the Caribbean where ice is sparse?  Criminals think the same way; they would be much more likely to commit a violent crime where it is illegal to own/carry a fire arm (oh, wait.  If they are a criminal, they will probably not care and have a gun anyways) than somewhere that any law abiding citizen my have a conceal carry licence and my be carrying.  What are your thoughts on the subject?  Let the comments fly in…

Patriot Day

Patriot DayToday is Patriot Day in honor of all of the public safety personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, especially those on September 11th, 2001. Like everyone else in America, I remember the moment I found out like it was yesterday. I was away at collage at the time. During the beginning of the attack, I was in a Chemistry lecture, and when I arrived at my Art Appreciation class, the teacher made the announcement that planes had crashed into the twin towers and the Pentagon. She then had the audacity to state “While other teachers have chosen to cancel their class, I have chosen to go ahead as planed,” at which point almost 75% of the class, including myself, got up and left the lecture hall. For the first few hours, I kept thinking that it was all some sort of bad dream, that I would wake up and everything would go back to normal. I never did awake from that “dream” and finally came to the realization that the world had changed forever.

Every other blog I have looked at has asked where you were, but my question is how do you plan to remember that dreadful day. I will be taking part in my county’s annual ceremony today, in my dress uniform (oh, how I hate wearing the hat and tie!!), at the county’s Fire and Police Memorial.

The Case of the Missing Urn

As I believe I have mentioned before, I work contract security for one of the larger shipping companies in the world. Yesterday, I was approached by the cartage manager at my station. He stated there was a shipment going from a funeral home in our area to an address out of state. He said that the package had come up missing and he thought it may be in our station. I asked him what the package contained. He hesitated, and told me that it was an urn. “Was this urn empty or occupied?” I asked. He told me my worst fear, that it was occupied.

So, I thought, we are missing someone’s ashes, and the poor family is probably flipping out. The cartage manager did not have any of the information I needed to start looking for it on video, so, I just kind of looked around the station, but didn’t see anything that looked like it contained the urn.

Today, though, the station manager approached me and asked for my help. He said after I left, the cartage manager got the information he needed and started looking at the video, but was not able to find the box. I normally look at the video for theft investigations and have the best working knowledge of the system at our station, so he wanted me to take a look. He and I went into the video room and he told me when it went missing…August 10th. For those of you who didn’t do the quick math, that’s a day short of two weeks this poor man’s body has been missing. I quickly found the driver who had picked it up, and saw a box that matched the description go onto the belt. A short while later, I was able to track the package as it was removed from the belt because it didn’t have a shipping label on it. For some unknown reason, instead of the box going to the pile to be researched, some one on the dock tossed it into a corner. We went out onto the dock, and sure enough, Grandpa’s ashes were still there. I feel bad for the family, but the ironic part, is that the funeral home that shipped the package has been told before that the company I work for does not ship human remains. So, to try and hide it, it was the funeral home that waited almost a week and a half from when they knew there was a problem until the told us.

I feel horrible for the family. I could not even imagine finding out that one of my lovedone’s remains were sitting, collecting dust in the corner of a shipping warehouse for two weeks. Has anyone else ever had something like this happened to someone they know? How would you react if it did happen to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Security at Home Tip of the Week: Be Carful of What You Leave Outside

Everyone who owns a house has probably stored something out side there house at some point.  But be carful what it is.

  • Laders would give a would be thife easy access to your second floor windows.
  • Bricks are easy to pick up and toss threw a window.
  • Yard tools and be used to force open locked doors.

Walk around your house once a week and pretend you had no keys and had to get into your house.  What ever is outside that you would use to get in should be locked up, stored inside, or placed in a shead with a lock.

What other things should people be carful not to leave out?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section.  Have an idea or a question for the Security at Home Tip of the Week?  Leave it in the comments or e-mail me.

Bean counters

Can someone please tell me why too many bean counters don’t look at the big picture.  I work contract security, and my client contact called and informed me an accountant was questioning why my staff had two guards when “one was watching the door and the other was just walking around the dock.”  (By the way, I am currently working for a shipping company).  Now, this bean counter never asked me what I do and only assumed that all a security officer must do is watch a door for a living.  I guess he doesn’t realize that security can also be used for loss prevention and emergency response and mitigation.  Now, with my current position, I don’t feel like I am being used to my full potential on the emergency response and mitigation, but I spend most of my day on loss prevention.  Now, if my second officer on my shift were to no longer be there, I would be stuck at a door preforming access control duties.  Losses for the station I am at have fallen dramatically since I was moved to that site, and I believe that I have earned my salary since I have been there.  But, as many of the employees who work for this shipping company say, they “save a penny today, to spend a dollar tomorrow,”  so who know, half of my staff my be gone in a few weeks.  Oh well, I’ll just have to spend more time on my CrackBerry, sitting at a door all day.

Security at Home Tip of the Week: How to prevent a car break-in

I have had my car broken into twice now and have learned from my mistakes. The most important thing to remember is that car break-ins are a crime of opportunity.

  • If you don’t give someone a reason to break-into you car chances are they won’t.
  • If your stereo has a removable face plate, take it with you.
  • Hide anything of value.
  • Stick your CDs under your seat.
  • Put your lap top in your truck or take it with you.
  • Stick your MP3 player in the glove box.

And the three most common sense deerants:

  • Don’t leave your car in bad neighborhoods.
  • Lock your doors when you leave your car.
  • Close your windows before you leave.

Both times my car was broken into, the only thing that was taken was my stereo. Both times I got complacent and didn’t take my faceplate off the stereo. Have any of you ever had your car broken into? What was taken? Do you have any other suggestions that I didn’t list? Comment if you have. Also, if you have any ideas for a Security at Home Tip of the Week, leave it in the comments.

Security at Home Tip of the Week: Family First-Aid Kit

This is the first edition of The Peon’s Security at Home Tip of the Week. I will do my best to publish the Tip of the Week on Tuesdays for now, although I may move it to Sunday’s.

This week is the Family First-Aid Kit. I personally keep 2 first-aid kits: one at home and one in my car. The one at home is not really a kit, but more the necessary supplies in our medicine cabinet. Your home first-aid kit should include adhesive bandages (Band-Aids(tm)), anti-bacterial spray or ointment, gauze pads, roller bandages (AKA a roll of gauze), medical tape, eye bandages, and a pair of rubber gloves. You should also have your pain reliever of choice (Tylenol ™ or aspirin) and at least 3 days worth of any medications you take. You should also have any other quick relief over the counter medications you may use (for heartburn, re-occurring injuries, etc.) You should keep all of these items close together if you don’t have them in a kit. You should keep at least 3 days worth of every thing, so in the event of a major disaster (tornado, flood, hurricane, earth quake, man made disaster), your family can be self sufficient for some time in case emergency crews can’t get to you right away.

The first-aid kit in my car consists of many of the same things as above, but in smaller amounts. I do carry more in my car than most people would need, but I was an EMT and have lots of accident prone people I play sports with. Just with my church group, I have treated a torn nose (he got it caught on another person’s glasses playing Ultimate Frisbee), a severely cut lip (football injury), and a concussion (he just didn’t see the tree he ran into). But I digress. I also keep a tea candle and lighter in the kit. In the winter, you can light the candle and (if it’s not too cold), it should help keep your car just above freezing if you break down. I also keep an emergency blanket (AKA a space blanket) for the same reason as the candle. I personally use more first-aid supplies out of my car than my home, but, as I said before, I know a lot of accident prone people.

The basics of your first aid-kit can be bought as a kit on-line or at a drug store of your choice.  Your kit will evolve over time, but that’s OK, as long as you re-stock what you use, and add what you find out you need.

Look for future editions of the Security at Home Tip of the Week. The tips will be both physical security and emergency management in nature. If you have any questions or suggestions for the Tip of the week, please comment with them. I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge (or research ability).