Security Short: OPSEC for the home

Enterprises develop policies for protecting all kinds of assets, both physical and virtual. Some of these policies cover Operations Security or OPSEC. Examples of OPSEC include not displaying your company badge in public or shredding sensitive information. Some of these same policies can be applied at home to protect yourself and family. Let’s take a look at a few OPSEC items.

1. Shred everything that contains information about you. This includes everything with your name and address on it (Personally Identifiable Information or PII). Call me paranoid, but to keep thieves and fraudsters away, you need to protect your information. Purchase and use a good cross-cut shredder as they provide a good level of security. Strip cut shredders make it too easy for the criminally minded to reassemble the pieces and view the original document. Confetti shredders are the ultimate in security. In addition, if you are permitted to burn where you live, shred your documents then burn the scrap. Never send your scraps to a recycler as a determined thief could reassemble the documents if you are a high value target. Throw the scraps in the garbage as a last resort, but make the scraps undesirable to someone wanting to go through them. You could mix them in with used pet litter, old food, or anything else. If you are creative, perhaps using the scraps as mulch would be good as well. Be careful again as scraps in a mulch bed may be a target unless made undesirable.

2. Protect your automatic garage door code while entering it. Be careful of who is around when you openly key your code into the garage door opener. This may sound strange, but “shoulder surfers” could observe your code and use it or give to someone else to use whenever they please. Whenever I am around someone entering a PIN, password, or other sensitive information, I always step back and turn away from the person. That way they know you are not observing their sensitive information. This is just courteous and should be practiced at ATMs as well. I hate it when someone is just a foot or two away when entering your PIN.

3. Keep your valuables locked up and out of site. This sounds obvious, but I could not tell you how many times I have seen things sitting in the open or even the safe sitting in some observable spot. We all like to show off, but this just tempts those who can’t help themselves. Keep your coins, watches, jewelry, and other valuables locked in a safe and keep the safe in a low traffic area, especially if you hold frequent parties or entertain. I know, this is a common sense OPSEC issue, but people forget.

These are just a few things to keep you safe. More to come in a future post.

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