Your Hump Day Reading List for February 15, 2017

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Another selection of useful self defense and personal security articles this week, including a look at surviving your normal life; the real security risks of connected devices; how to harden your computer against ransomware; how to carry a trauma response kit; the tactical pen is dead, long live the tactical pencil; a simple security precaution almost no one takes; and finally a level-headed look at travel and terrorism.

 

Can you survive your everyday life?

I know lots of folks who carry all manner of self defense equipment: gun, backup gun, tactical knife, backup knife, at least two magazines of spare ammunition, and handcuff keys (just in case they’re restrained by a kidnapper) — but can’t treat the most minor medical injury or safely climb the stairs when the bulb in their porch light has burned out. You’ve probably heard me say this before: self defense and personal security are  much more than shooting ‘tangos’ in a tower. Read this article and give some thought to how you handle the “everyday” sorts of emergencies, because they’re the ones most likely to happen.

 

Skynet? No, this is actually real.

Remember last year when a large portion of the country suddenly had no internet access? Turns out it was an ambitious attack using “smart devices” — those appliances many of us are buying which connect to the internet for some function. Those devices can also be used by an ambitious criminal to determine if your home is occupied, or even if you’re home alone and haven’t set your alarm (or electronic door lock.) It hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, happened yet but all the pieces are in place. This article gives you a feeling for the potential, and the one thing you should do to prevent your devices from being used.

 

Who would hold your computer for ransom? You’d be surprised.

As long as we’re talking about cybersecurity, it’s worth noting that ransomware attacks are increasing. Ransomware is a computer crime wherein a criminal encrypts all of the files so they’re absolutely inaccessible, then extorts the owner to pay money to get the encryption password. Once aimed at wealthy businesses, as the technology to mount an attack has become easier to use even regular people like you and me have been targeted. How can you prevent a ransomware attack? Here’s a comprehensive guide to hardening your computer against a high-tech extortionist.

 

Some ideas on carrying essential medical gear

Although I don’t go in for the silly acronyms like “TCCC”, I think it’s vitally important that you carry trauma response gear with you and know how to use it. The problem is that it’s not always easy to carry. This article has some good ideas on what to carry and how to carry it. (I’d also suggest the new SFD Responder ankle rig from Safer Faster Defense. It’s been purpose designed for both efficiency and comfort, and though I’ve just started playing with mine it looks to be a real winner!)

 

Is the pen still mightier than the sword?

I’m a big believer in carrying (and knowing how to use) alternative self defense devices. As I’ve mentioned before, I always carry a high intensity flashlight that can be used as an impact and control tool. What I don’t talk about as much is the solid aluminum pencil I also carry, which can be used as both a control tool and a piercing weapon. This article talks about the “tactical” pen and its use as a weapon, and I’m sharing it with this disclaimer: the purpose-made tactical pens are often confiscated by security guards who know what they’re used for just as much as you do. I’ve actually seen TSA seize them at the airport. At the same time, my innocuous pencil — every bit as strong, in any practical sense, as the tough-looking device which just got seized — sails merrily through the same checkpoint. The secret? No one is going to look twice at a yellow pencil like this. (Link is to the eBay vendor from whom I’ve purchased all of mine. Don’t let the Russian Federation location scare you — Andrey is a reliable, reputable seller.)

 

Tell people where you’re going!

Back when I was doing Search-And-Rescue (SAR), one of the safety procedures we emphasized to anyone who would listen was to always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that help comes as quickly as it can when you need it. It’s a rule I don’t follow at home, and I don’t know many people who do. That’s probably something we should change, and this article explains why.

 

Is terrorism keeping you from traveling?

This is a great article that gives you some actionable ideas on decreasing your risk of being the victim of a terror attack. More importantly, it gives you a LOT of ideas on how not to let the fear of terrorism keep you from traveling and enjoying life! It’s probably the best thing I’ve read on the subject in a long time.

– Grant

P.S.: Do you, or someone you know, own a snubnose revolver for self defense? Grab yourself (and them!) a copy of my new book, Protect Yourself With Your Snubnose Revolver.  It’s available now in Kindle, iBooks, and paperback versions. I may be biased, but I think it’s the best book you’ll find on using a snubby as a self defense tool!

Opening photo: “Camelus dromedarius at Tierpark Berlin” by Agadez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

 

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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