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on security

Nov 27, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

6 mins read

How To Protect Against Simple Attacks

VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Police examine a body on a street in Melbourne on Nov. 9, 2018. A man was shot by police after setting his car on fire and stabbing three people, killing one. The man was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital in critical condition.
Editor's Note

No attack arises out of a vacuum. Rather, they are the result of a process that can be detected by a watchful eye. Situational awareness and effective preparation are often your best tools to not only protect yourself in dangerous situations, but to ensure you and your loved ones avoid some of the most common threats altogether. In an era when attacks with cars, knives and guns have become commonplace, Stratfor has worked to provide the information you need to stay one step ahead.

How to Counter Armed Assaults

Dec. 3, 2015: "Once a person understands the possibility of being targeted and decides to adopt an appropriate level of situational awareness, he or she will be mentally prepared to quickly realize that an attack is happening, something security professionals refer to as attack recognition."

Blunting the Impact of a Knife Attack

March 17, 2016: "If you are unable to avoid the attacker, then it is handy to have received some self-defense training — specifically training related to edged weapons. It is also important to understand that in an encounter with a determined opponent armed with an edged weapon, you are likely to get cut. But the good news is that most cuts will not be fatal. So even if you are slashed or stabbed, you must continue to fight. Do not simply surrender at the first sign of blood and allow yourself to be slaughtered."

How to Pack for Emergency Situations

Aug. 4, 2016: "In my briefcase, I keep a clear, quart-sized plastic bag containing a tourniquet, a six-inch Israeli combat dressing, a chest seal and some regular Band-Aids for non-emergency situations. These items are not overly bulky, fitting easily inside even a slim briefcase. Such a kit can also be assembled for less than $15."

Stopping Vehicular Attacks in Their Tracks

Nov. 17, 2016: "People can take steps to protect themselves from vehicular attacks. The first is to practice good situational awareness anytime you are on the street, particularly in crowded areas. That is key, because the quicker you recognize that an attack is underway, the more time you have to avoid it. In the event that a vehicular assault happens in your vicinity, run at a right angle away from the vehicle and try to put objects such as buildings, trees, lampposts, fire hydrants and garbage bins between yourself and the attacker. Vehicular assaults can be deadly, but they are not an ideal method of attack, and with the right precautions, they can be stopped in their tracks."

How to Protect Yourself From Simple Terrorist Attacks

Sept. 21, 2017: "As the Islamic State has lost territory in its core areas, its messaging to grassroots jihadists has shifted from "come and join the caliphate" to "stay home and conduct simple attacks." With both poles of the jihadist movement calling for more of these types attacks, it is not difficult for us to forecast that the phenomenon will continue and even expand."

To Stay Safe on the Internet, Don't Stand Out From the Herd

Jan. 4, 2018: "Of course, not all criminals need to make physical contact with their victims. Lawbreakers are increasingly active in cyberspace, and the information people provide online, frequently on social media sites, can be mined to aid in cybercrimes. Recently I saw a message that a family member had responded to on Facebook that appears to have been specifically engineered to elicit the kinds of information used to answer security questions for account logins and password resets. The message was framed as "let's get to know each other better in this hectic, disconnected world," but it included questions about the city where you met your spouse, the name of your first pet, the town your mom was born in and the name of your high school mascot. It was clearly about far more than becoming better acquainted."

The Bridge Between Awareness and Action

Feb. 8, 2018: "U.S. Air Force Col. John Boyd first developed the concept of OODA [observe, orient, decide, act] as a method to help his fellow pilots become more effective in dogfights. The system achieved its initial, narrow goal, shortening pilots' decision and action processes. Soon enough, people in other fields recognized the merits of OODA and began applying it in a wide variety of nonmilitary settings, including corporate decision-making and medical triage procedures. I myself believe the system is a useful tool for enhancing personal security. And though law enforcement and security officers receive the most OODA training, civilians also have much to gain by internalizing its wisdom."

Prevent, Deny, Defend: A Strategy for Dealing With Mass Public Attacks

May 15, 2018: "To respond to active shooters, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program at Texas State University in San Marcos has developed the concept of "avoid, deny, defend." I prefer this terminology over the widely cited "run, hide, fight," because avoid and deny better describe the proper behavior in such a situation. But if we make "avoid, deny, defend" into "prevent, deny, defend," we create an excellent framework for thinking about how to create security programs to protect public spaces."

Why Understanding Is Key to Thwarting Social Media Threats

Oct. 2, 2018: "Today, homing in on a potential target is as simple as conducting a quick search on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, viewing an organizational chart on the targeted company's website or searching for other mentions of the person's name and function on an array of other internet sites. Once operatives have compiled a list of persons of interest, a quick perusal of the targets' social media accounts can provide indicators regarding who is vulnerable to recruitment. Personal issues such as financial difficulties, marital problems, discontent with work, and alcohol or drug abuse are not difficult to spot when people vent on social media, and nearly all social media users have seen incidents of people posting information that could assist someone looking to compromise them — if they haven't posted such information themselves. That's why it's always critical to be conscious of what one is posting on the internet for the world to see."

Scott Stewart supervises Stratfor's analysis of terrorism and security issues. Before joining Stratfor, he was a special agent with the U.S. State Department for 10 years and was involved in hundreds of terrorism investigations.

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