Can A Burglar Access Your Home Via Key Entry? He Can in 90% of U.S. Homes.

lock-bumping

 

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and so therefore are home burglaries.    And let’s face it – with the uptick in family travel and vacation during holidays and the fast-approaching summer season, one can reasonably presume that the number of home break-ins will increase dramatically during the next several months. From time to time in the upcoming weeks, we will post security tips that we hope will increase your personal security risks and management.

This week we will concentrate on the first usual point of entry – the family home door.  Whether it is the front, side or basement door, burglars know how to get inside and to your property.

As if evilly purposed technology isn’t bad enough, the old-fashioned methods of breaking and entry are still widely used by burglars.

A phenomenon known as ‘lock bumping’ is on the rise. It’s a little-known technique that’s fast, simple, and very discreet.  It draws far less attention than breaking in a window or tearing down a door.  If your cylindrical door lock is one of the more popular brands or models on the market – and 90% of home door locks are cylinder-models and ACME types – you’re vulnerable to this particular type of illegal home entry. Lock-bumping requires a bump key.

What is a Bump Key?

A bump key is a key in which all the cuts are at the maximum depth (999). Bump keys can be cut for standard pin tumbler type locks as well as “dimple” locks.   (From lockwiki: A dimple lock is a pin-tumbler-based lock design that uses flat side of the key blade as a bitting area. Cuts on the bitting area resemble dimples, hence the name. This contrasts traditional pin-tumblers that use the edge of the blade as the primary bitting area.)

 

How is lock bumped?

Steps

Image titled Bump a Lock Step 1

  1. A key type is determined that fits inside the target lock. In most cases, a particular model of lock will accept all keys from that model because only the teeth of the keys are different. In other words (and as mentioned above), once a burglar has an Acme-model bump key, it could open all other Acme-model locks.

    Image titled Bump a Lock Step 2

  2. Obtain a bump key. There are two ways to obtain a bump key: one way is buy the type of key for the model lock in question and ask the locksmith to lathe a “999” key, a kind of key where all the valleys are at the deepest possible setting.   ORImage titled Bump a Lock Step 3
  3. Cut one’s own bump key. With a copy of the key in question made, a burglar will then use a metal file to create his own bump key.  All of the valleys are filed down so that they are even with the lowest point in the teeth.
Of course, then there is this simple bump method:
A special “bump” key is inserted into the target lock and then struck with a tool made of rubber or plastic, such as this blue tool on the bottom of the image. The impact of the bump key on the tumblers inside the lock temporarily pushes them up, allowing the lock’s cylinder to turn. When done right — and it’s not hard to learn — this method can quickly and quietly open a lock.
In our next mid-week Beacon Bulletin, we will bring you information and videos on how to bump lock-proof your home.Just remember that your personal safety and that of your family is paramount.  Whatever knowledge in this area that we may impart, do not back up it with a plan to confront a burglar unless it is absolutely necessary. If a successful entry does occur, hopefully, no one will be home and material possessions are not worth a life.

BNI Operatives; Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Real Life Cyborg Hacks That People Have Implanted In Them Right Now

Aside from the nation being warned by credible intelligence sources that the new wave of terrorism will involve surgically implanted explosive devices (SIEDs) within human beings, there are other positive uses for our now cyborg bodies. (A cyborg is defined as a “being” that contains biological and mechanical – robotic or other artificial – parts.)
Several examples of positive cyborg enhancements are:

Multi-Purpose Hand Implant Chips

We’ve all lost (misplaced) keys, credit cards, driver’s licenses… But just suppose you could store your valuable items in one hand?  Literally, “in” your hand.  Seattle company, Dangerous Things, touts a small multi-purpose RFID implant that can replace all of your must have items.

From The Modern Rogue:  “The RFID chips that you implant in your hand or wrist, are a sort of multipurpose identification/unlocking/communication tool. Need to open your door? It can function as a key card — the inventor of the device, biohacking pioneer Amal Graafstra, uses his implant to unlock the door to his house. Passport control? The implant can contain the same information biometric passports do (though good luck getting through airport security without a real passport until these things become the norm). It could store your personal data, health stats, and even financial information.”

 

 PetaPixel.com

The Eyeball Camera

Filmmaker Rob Spence happened to have a  nonfunctional blind eye in his socket, so he had it removed, replacing it with a specially built camera.  While the recording capability may raise privacy concerns (ala the fiasco that was Google’s Glass recorder eyewear that provoked such a negative response that the item was deep-sixed- well, for now), the positive usage is obvious – those who couldn’t “see” now can via record and playback or, I imagine as the technology continues to evolve, view in real time.

 

 The Verge

Finger Magnets

We haven’t quite figured out beyond the “cool” factor how tiny magnets surgically implanted into one’s fingertips will revolutionize mankind yet but they certainly make picking up metal stuff a lot of fun!  Theoretically, though, these magnets can aid with helping those who’ve lost sensory abilities in their hands to use eating utensils, operate machinery and just about any other function that requires interaction with metal in our lives. (Presumably there are control functions that turn on and off the magnetivity.)

The research for this article was fun and occasionally, we all need to lighten up, so we hope you have enjoyed this brief interlude from our generally serious topics!

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Using Someone Else’s WiFi- Can They See Your Activity?

Several times a week, we are asked this exact question – If I am using someone else’s WiFi,  can they see my search history, read my email or otherwise monitor my activity?

Simply put- unless they are extraordinarily gifted tech geniuses, not really.  In other words, they can see that you are connected to their WiFi and can see the length of connection but your device’s anti-virus and other firewall programs will prevent them from accessing your desk/lap tops hard drive and other devices’ internal and cloud storage.

That said, if you are up against a very savvy tech thief, (the types that sit outside hotels and passively offer free connection bait – usually ones that looks very similar in name to the hotel’s WiFi, e.g. MarriottGuest1 rather than MarriottGuest), bide these steps (added to by our friends over at xqiz.it :

1) Most importantly, use HTTPS.

2) You should use non-logging DNS servers (hint: NOT Google’s DNS servers).

(At this point, in the US, you are reasonably well protected from someone doing a man-in-the-middle read of your communication. Unless you know how to manually manage your certs, you’re never safe in other countries, particularly places like China and any of the former Soviet states, where the governments tend to have access to the certificates that the local cert authorities provide for encryption and signature validation.)

3) Java and Flash must both be disabled. Failing to disable these allows local code to go around the settings you use from above. (Little known industry secret: Most sites that use Flash use small pieces of invisible Flash content to track you.)

4) Do not use Chrome. Its primary purpose is to de-anonymize you so that Google can track you completely.

5) Use the private surfing option in your browser (preferably Firefox) to reduce the chance that your browser fingerprint is discernible (unique/identifiable) by the server.

Our advice? Use common sense- if in public, be very careful; if in private, know your source.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As Always,

Stay safe.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter

 

Wishing our valued readers a Happy Easter and Happy Passover.  May you and yours receive the blessings of good health, happiness, prosperity and joy, always.

 

– The BNI team

Can The US Survive An EMP Strike?

The recent, erroneous incoming missile alert in Hawaii that was transmitted via cell phones woke up the nation to the real threats we face from an increasingly hostile set of bad actors, i.e. North Korea, Iran, international terrorist groups, Russia (still) and probably China.   That incident, from the NYT:

An early-morning emergency alert (like the above) mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked 38 minutes after it was issued.

That alert was an error but what do we really have to fear from tech-savvy North Korea?  Many intell agencies and reliable news reporting sources like Bloomberg point to an EMP (Electromagentic Pulse)  attack.  As EMP is still rather new to the nation’s collective awareness, we’ve compiled the below facts to familiarize our readers with information on this type of weaponized event. (For the purposes of this article, EMP will refer to a Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse.)

What is an EMP?

A Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation created by nuclear explosions from a nuclear device fired into the atmosphere over a target country.

What happens in the event of an EMP attack?

If an EMP was fired over the US, it would devastate the electrical grid of the nation, along with all its infrastructure and would lead to widespread casualties. There would be an indefinite blackout in the ensuing chaos caused by a mass failure of the power grid. In the case of any nuclear attacks, radiation is the main thing to be worried about but in the case of an EMP, the radiation is mostly absorbed by the air in the atmosphere above where it is detonated. Using the EMP as a weapon may be desirable for a hostile actor as it requires less accuracy, and an EMP blast could affect a 700-mile radius (1126 km).

How can we avoid an EMP attack and how can the damage be contained in its aftermath?

John Norden, director of operations at ISO New England Inc., which manages a grid serving six states, said the industry is unprepared for a full-scale electromagnetic attack. The power industry doesn’t really have any standards or tools to handle “black sky events’’ such as an extreme cyber or EMP attack, or even conventional war, Norden said at a recent [industry] conference.

How real is the threat of an EMP attack?

Peter W. Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation and expert on 21st century warfare, took issue with claims of imminent EMP attacks, particularly by North Korea.

“EMP is where the science fiction of fears does not cross with reality,” he told Newsweek (Oct. 2017).

He said that EMP was discovered as a by-product of nuclear tests at the outset of the Cold War, but it remains largely untested.

“North Korea [and other nuclear powers] have not tested it, to know what would be the design, height, range, etc. to have the effect they want,” he said.

“So, the scenario assumes North Korea would finally decide to attack the U.S., to risk a war in which its leadership would die, but do so in an utterly untested, unpredictable manner, as opposed to using a nuke in a way that they know works and would definitely have a catastrophic effect on the U.S.  That is a pretty big assumption, the kind made in cruddy novels, but less likely in reality.

“If you are worried about North Korea, worry about the actual and far more likely use of their nuclear weapons, missiles or conventional cannons, rather than the stuff of weak science fiction.”

The EMP Commission though remains convinced that the threat from a North Korean EMP attack is real—with a primitive, low-yield nuclear weapon likely to cause enormous destruction to U.S. electronic infrastructure if detonated at height.

Editor’s Note:  Given the vastly opposing views from the scientific, intell and military communities regarding the viability of an EMP attack on the U.S,  we will be routinely scanning for updates on this topic and posting as warranted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

 

What Your Car’s Vinyl Family Graphics Tells Criminals

We’ve all seen the dad, mom, son, daughter & family pet vinyl graphics glued on to the rear windows of vehicles.  (One can select the graphics that accurately reflect his family’s composition.) My personal favorite is the one depicting the father holding a briefcase, an empty space next to him, his son’s outline followed by that of the daughter, the baby and then the family dog.  In the area above the missing wife’s space is the message, “Position available”.  Very cute, seemingly innocuous and yet, by most of us in the law, legal and law enforcement fields, viewed with concern.

“In order to defeat bad guys, you have to think like one.”  – Col. Timothy B. Mills, one of my very first mentors in the criminal investigation field.

If I’m a bad guy and I am casing a neighborhood, I am more likely to break into a home with young children- especially a baby.   Parents are extremely vulnerable when confronted with their children’s safety or very lives.  As a bad guy, whether it’s burglary or kidnapping that I’m about to commit, I will use every intimidation method I know.  Threatening the life of an infant or young child will, more likely than not, force the adult victims into compliance.

So while family graphics are pretty on a Prius, cool on a Camry and hopeful (see above re: wife advertising!) on a Honda, they’re also dangerous involving derelicts.

Get a Mt. Rushmore bumper sticker if you must but do not announce to the world the composition of your household.  While the majority of people are good, all you need is one bad element to destroy the safety of your home and family environment.

Be proactive and more reluctant to share your family information with strangers at large.

BNI Operatives:  Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy New Year!

Wishing our valuable readers a very happy, healthy, productive and successful 2018!

Stay warm and stay safe. 

Looks Like A SSN But Is A TIN. Defining A Taxpayer Identification Number

What is a TIN?: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used for tax purposes in the United States. It is also known as a Tax Identification Number or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number. A TIN may be assigned by the Social Security Administration or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Why do we assign TINs if we have SSNs?: In 1996, the IRS, in camera, resolved a huge issue: what to do with the millions of potential taxpayers from whom they dearly wished to collect income tax  but could not verify their SSNs?  Whether here illegally or foreign workers without proper work permission identification, etc… the powers that be within the agency promptly invented and authorized use of TINs.  Taxpayer Identification Numbers.   TINs look like SSNs (9 digits in an NNN-NN-NNN format), few people know the difference (and criteria for assignment/appropriation) and even fewer know of their existence.  (Except for those every delightfully slithery federal contractors!)  A TIN is issued to an employer who can then substitutes said TIN on requisite tax filings for a worker ineligible (why….?) for an SSN.

Can TIN abuse occur?  Despite a past investigation in 2012 by the IG  (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)-  on the multiple assignment by said contractors of a single TIN, the IRS declined to make any changes and stated that further analysis is needed.  By next year, it is predicted  that at least $2 billion of taxpayer dues will be lost along these TIN abuse lines – in just that year.

TIN Trivia Fact:  A TIN’s middle numbers are always, at least currently, between 70 and 80.)

The IRS will always find a way to demand and protract taxes.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

L’Shanah Tovah!

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Wishing our treasured readers who observe Rosh Hashanah a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year!

 

 

“I Have Him Saying That On Audio!” Yes, But Is That Legal? State Recording Laws

Hands down, the best publicly available guide to electronic recording law is that provided by the Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press (RCFP). The guide also includes FCC rules and updates to laws already in existence.

Comprehensive yet easily absorbed and implemented, the RCFP’s Recorders Reporting Guide outlines the tape-recording laws and then options with state-by-state definitions and laws. For example, the tape-recording laws for New York:

New York

Summary of statute(s): An individual who is a party to either an in-person conversation or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05 (McKinney 2012).

In-person conversations: The “mechanical overhearing of a conversation,” or the “intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation or discussion, without the consent of at least one party thereto, by a person not present” is illegal. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00. A state appellate court held that individuals who talk in a manner such that a non-participating third party may freely overhear the conversation may have no reasonable expectation of privacy in it. New York v. Kirsh, 575 N.Y.S.2d 306 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991). Thus, a journalist does not need consent to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Electronic communications: The consent of at least one party to any telephone communication, including a cellular telephone communication, is required to record it. Sharon v. Sharon, 558 N.Y.S.2d 468 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1990). And because the provision of the statute dealing with wireless communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature,” consent likewise is required to disclose the contents of text messages sent between wireless devices. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00.

Hidden cameras: It is a felony to photograph or record “the sexual or other intimate parts” of a person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

Criminal penalties: Illegally recording an in-person conversation or electronic communication is a felony offense. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.05.

Disclosing recordings: Disclosing the contents of a sealed communication that has been opened or read in violation of the wiretap law without the consent of the communication’s sender or receiver is considered “tampering with private communications,” a misdemeanor. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.25.

Straightforward language for a sometimes gray area of investigative rules.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

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