Your own safety - National Coordinator for Security and ...

Your own safety - National Coordinator for Security and ...

Your own safetyThis brochure sets out tips on how to improve your safety and security and what tolook out for to minimise the risks. There is no need to be constantly suspicious orafraid. If anything, this will only undermine your sense of security. At the same time,awareness and alertness will increase your personal safety.2

Safety and your familyThis brochure offers tips and advice on precautions you can take in and around your home.Tell your family about the precautions you are taking, and explain them to your childrenin a playful way. Teach your children what to do in an emergency – to phone the alarmnumber themselves, for instance, or to go to the neighbours. Tell young children not toopen the front door, open the post, or pick up the telephone. Do so repeatedly so that theywill not forget. In addition, listen to what your children tell you. They are keen observersand are quick to notice anything unusual.What is a suspicious situation?Do you feel that you know what is going on around you, that you can recognise suspicioussituations? Trust your intuition. You know your own surroundings best. If you see anunknown car or a stranger on several occasions at different times and places, yoursuspicion should be aroused – as it should if you see someone wearing winter clothes inmidsummer. The best advice is: don’t be afraid of raising a false alarm. And report anysituation that strikes you as odd. Remember your safety is at stake.Be aware of your surroundings, and note any situation or persons that strike you asunusual. Don’t hesitate to report your suspicions to the local police. It’s better to besafe than sorry.This brochure is produced by the Surveillance and Protection Department (EBB) inassociation with the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department of the Ministry ofForeign Affairs.3

At homeBy looking carefully at your home’s security,you may prevent burglary and othercrimes. The internet has made it easierto find the addresses of people who holdpublic positions. You can make yourselfless vulnerable by making your home lessidentifiable and by checking who is there before you open your front door. The followingtips will help you make your home less accessible to unwelcome guests.Keys• Limit the number of spare keys.• Make a note of everyone who has a key to your home.• Replace locks if keys are lost or stolen.• Never attach a name and address to keys.• Never leave a key in a door.• Keep keys in a permanent, accessible place indoors where they are not visible from theoutside.Windows and doors• Think about not placing a nameplate at the entrance to your home.• If you have to place a nameplate, make sure that it mentions only your surname and notthe names of family members.• If you have a peephole in your front door, use it.• Check whether your front and back doors have security chains.• Fit strong locks and fastenings, and use them appropriately. For more information,• Examine potential escape routes, taking account of locked doors.• Check the bolts on doors and windows before leaving home or going to bed.Lighting• Make sure that the outside of your home is well lit.• Draw the curtains in the evening.• When you are out, leave lights on in some rooms (use a time switch).5

Alarm• Always turn on your alarm (if you have one) when leaving your home.• Make specific arrangements with the alarm control centre/security company on what todo if the alarm goes off.• Make sure that you, your family, and anyone else with a key to your home knows what todo if the alarm goes off.Other measures in your home• Protect your home against fire with fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and carbonmonoxide alarms.Garage and entrance gates• If you have a garage, park your car in it. This reduces the risk of theft or vandalism. Getinto and out of your car in the garage.• Fit a remotely activated lock to your garage door and/or entrance gate. This will save youfrom having to get out of the car outside.• Make sure that the door and/or gates are open as briefly as possible, or install a sensor toclose them automatically.• Park in safe, locked garages or secure car parks.Staff in and around your home• Be careful when appointing domestic staff such as cleaners, babysitters, and gardenersand when hiring construction or maintenance companies. Use reputable firms whenemploying staff.• When hiring new staff, check their references. Check whether they are reliable. Considerasking for a certificate of good conduct. For more information about certificates of goodconduct, go to• Check the identification documents of new staff, and make copies.• Make sure that your staff can always reach you. Give them your mobile phone number.• Remind your staff always to be aware of the security measures you have agreed.• Tell your staff not to admit any unexpected guests or maintenance staff.• Tell your staff not to talk to other people about your home, family, habits, etc.• Advise your staff on how to respond in emergencies.6

Leaving your home unattended for long periods• Ask neighbours, family, friends, or colleagues to keep an eye on your home. Give themyour contact details.• Store valuable documents and property in a built-in or securely anchored safe.• Keep valuable equipment out of sight.• Do not draw all the curtains.• Use time switches for lamps, radios, and TVs.• Lock all doors, windows, garages, and garden sheds.• Make sure that someone empties your postbox daily, or get your post delivered toanother address.Outside your home• Don’t plant tall shrubs or hedges, or place large objects outside your home. They cangive burglars a place to hide.• Get to know your neighbours. Arrange with them what they should do if they seeanything suspicious.Your children’s safety at school and in the playground• Check whether playing outside (on the street or in a public playground) is likely to berisky.• Arrange for your children to be accompanied to and from school.• Make sure the teachers know who will be picking up your children, especially if this willbe someone other than yourself.• Teach your children never to accept lifts from strangers, even if they say they are relativesor acquaintances.7

CommunicationsEmail, fax, phones, and smartphones arepart of everyday life. But they also carryrisks. Criminals can misuse modern meansof communication, so it is important toknow with whom you are communicating.Be careful about what information youplace on the internet. The more careful you are, the less risk there is that informationabout you will be misused. It would be terrible if burglars ransacked your home afterdiscovering – via social media or geotagging – that you were away on holiday.The tips below will help you assess and limit the risks. For more information,visit• Consider getting an unlisted telephone number.• Don’t give your name when you pick up the telephone.• If you doubt the caller’s identity, ask for their name and phone number. Then phonethem back.• Deactivate your telephone’s number identification function if you are phoning peopleyou don’t know.• Be cautious about giving out your phone numbers.• Don’t discuss anything sensitive on the telephone. Someone may be listening in.• Make sure that the alarm numbers are clearly visible on every telephone.• Program alarm numbers into your telephone so that they can be dialled automatically.• Protect your mobile telephone and voicemail with a pincode.Smartphones• Make sure that your smartphone does not transmit any location information(‘geotagging’) when you use social media (like Twitter, Facebook, and Hyves) or otherapps.• Be cautious about using social media to talk about private plans or habits.• If possible, don’t use the GSM network. Use a 3G connection – either UMTS or W-CDMA– instead.8

Research has shown that it is relatively easy to eavesdrop on messages transmitted viathe GSM network (also known as 2G). If possible 1 , configure your smartphone to useonly 3G networks like UMTS and W-CDMA. Your smartphone may be configured toautomatically select the best available signal. This option is usually displayed as‘auto-dialling’ or ‘dual mode’. It is a good idea to turn it off manually.• Turn off your Bluetooth connection after use to prevent criminals from using it to stealinformation from your phone or install apps on it.• Protect your mobile telephone and voicemail with a pincode.Internet• Make sure that your computer is well protected. Use passwords, anti-virus software, afirewall, and anti-spyware software.• Be cautious about mentioning personal details on websites or in emails.• Try as far as possible to keep your private and work-related use of the internet separate.• Don’t be lured into revealing personal details to fraudsters on the internet (a practiceknown as ‘phishing’).You may receive an email claiming to come from a familiar organisation like yourbank, asking you to click on a link and enter personal information. Don’t do it! It isalmost certainly a fake email sent by a cyber criminal.• Don’t use unauthorised software.• Don’t download peer-to-peer software (from Limewire, Kazaa, etc.). If you do so,your personal information may find its way into the public domain. If you or a familymember uses such software, other users will have access to your My Documents folder(the peer-to-peer principle).• Talk to your children about using the internet and email. Tell them about the risks ofchatting and using webcams. Make sure you are involved in their use of the internet.• Don’t store confidential information on a PC with an internet connection.• Use a protected USB stick for storing confidential information. Protect it with apassword.1 This is not possible in the case of some smartphones, including the older generation of Apple iPhones.9

Email• Don’t open attachments from unknown senders.• Use several email addresses, possibly with names other than your own. You can usedifferent email addresses for postings on websites where an email address is required.• Give your main email address only to people you trust.• If you receive a threatening email, don’t delete it. Contact your security officer or thelocal police to make an official report, and follow their instructions.Mail delivery servicesYou may receive a letter or parcel containing something unpleasant. It may be a threateningnote, hazardous powder, or even – in rare cases – explosives. Examine your post carefully.If you receive an item of post containing a threat or other unwanted contents, place it in aplastic bag to prevent the loss of trace evidence. The police can then investigate further. Ifyou receive a postal item that seems suspicious, don’t open it, but phone the local police.Be extra vigilant if:• the origin of the item is unknown to you;• you are not expecting any post from the person and/or organisation that sent it;• the address is incorrect, is incomplete, or contains numerous or notable spellingmistakes;• the addressee’s title is incorrect. The sender will often know the name, but not the title;• the item is over-stamped. The sender may not want to run the risk of the item beingexamined or returned because it hasn’t got enough stamps on it;• the item bears the word ‘personal’, and you are not expecting any personal post;• the item is stained with oil or fat, or the colours have run. This may have been caused bythe presence of/contact with hazardous substances;• the envelope is very stiff. This may be due to hazardous substances. A hard surface isoften required to stick various components to the postal item.If an item of post matches any of these characteristics, do not open it. Contact thepolice, who have the expertise to determine whether it really is suspicious. If youreceive a threat, report it to the police.10

On the moveWhen you’re on the move, whether walking,cycling, driving or using public transport,you may be vulnerable. One way of avoidingrisk is always to travel with other people. Ifpossible, consider hiring a driver. The tipsbelow will also help you minimise safetyrisks when moving from place to place.General tips for moving from place to place• Don’t be predictable. Vary your routes and times of arrival and departure.• Make sure that you know which neighbourhoods to avoid at certain times.• Avoid walking on the street alone at night. Walking with a group of people makes youless vulnerable.• Keep away from public disturbances, demonstrations, etc.• Take busy streets.• On an empty street, walk in the light as far as possible.• Walk against the traffic in case an unseen vehicle approaches you from behind.• Before leaving a location, look out of the window for any striking or suspicious-lookingcars or persons.• If you think you are being followed, change direction inconspicuously several times andthen check whether you are still being followed.• If you are sure you’re being followed, contact the local police or go to a police station.Securing your car• When buying a car, consider electronic security features such as a starter immobiliser,a fuel pump immobiliser, a car alarm, and central door locking.• Keep your car keys separate from other keys; this will limit loss or damage if your car is stolen.• Don’t leave anything valuable in your car, and leave your glove compartment open. Thiswill show that your car contains nothing worth stealing.• When you leave your car parked, take with you any sensitive information, whether inpaper documents or on laptops or USB sticks.• Consider fitting a GPS receiver.• Make sure that the fuel tank and spare wheel can be locked.• Have the chassis number etched onto the windows.11

While driving• Keep handbags, laptop bags, and mobile telephones out of sight.• Keep the doors, windows, and roof closed while driving.• Keep sufficient distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, so that youhave time to respond effectively to changing traffic situations.• Stop only if directed to do so by authorised persons.• Look out for suspicious traffic conditions (unusual objects, cars stopping unnecessarily,etc.).• Do not pick up hitchhikers.Getting into and out of the car• Look around before getting into or out of the car.• Make a habit of locking the doors as soon as you are inside the car.• Don’t get out if suspicious-looking people are hanging around.Using public transport• Avoid empty, underground, and badly lit metro and bus stations, especially at night.• Avoid empty compartments.• Sit near the driver/conductor.• Sit with your back to the window so that you have a good view of your fellow passengers.• Keep personal property close to you and visible.Using taxis• Use only reputable taxi firms.• Order taxis in advance.• Program the phone numbers of reputable taxi firms into your mobile telephone.• Don’t get into a taxi that is already carrying a passenger.• Tell the driver in advance which route to take so that he does not choose an unknownroute.12

At workAt work, too, you can be exposed to safetyrisks. Make sure you know existing securityprocedures, such as what to do whenentering the building and rules concerninginformation security. Remember thatinformation which seems harmless toyou may be of interest to others. Make sure that you know whom to inform if an incidentoccurs. Most workplaces have a manager or officer responsible for security. In addition,remember that information security doesn’t stop when you leave your workplace.• Tell your employer as soon as possible about incidents such as loss or theft.• When you are out of your office, keep it locked.• When you are away from your computer, lock your screen so that no one can see itsdisplay.• At the end of your working day, observe the ‘clear desk’ principle: don’t leave anydocuments lying on your desk.• Be careful with confidential information, and always observe the principle of ‘need toknow’ rather than ‘nice to know’.• Be aware that it’s not just written documents that contain confidential information.Don’t discuss confidential information in public places.• As far as possible, communicate using secure channels.• Hold confidential conversations in private or via an encrypted telephone.• If you work with state secret information, never take it home with you.13

Travelling abroadWhen you visit a foreign country, youmay face risks to your safety. But you canlimit these risks considerably by makingappropriate preparations. Make sureyou are familiar with the situation in thecountry you intend to visit. For currenttravel advice and country information, visit and Inaddition, keep a specific contact constantly informed of your travel plans, so that someonealways knows where you are.Important documents and phone numbers• Make sure you have a valid passport and visa.• Take along any vaccination certificates that may be required.• Make photocopies of your passport and visa, and store the originals in the hotel safe oranother secure place.• Scan your most important documents, and mail them to your own email address as aprecaution in the event of loss or theft.• Keep a note of your credit card numbers and the phone number you need to call if youwant to block them.• Program important phone numbers into your mobile telephone (including the numberof the local Dutch diplomatic mission, home numbers, the emergency number of yourtravel and health insurers, and local emergency numbers).• Program an ICE number in your telephone. ICE is the international abbreviation for In Caseof Emergency. The ICE number belongs to the person to be called if an emergency occurs.Travel preparations• For reservations, use the services of reputable travel agencies and safe airlines.• Choose a hotel away from potentially dangerous areas.• Mark your luggage labels only with your business address or the address where you arestaying during your trip and your mobile telephone number.• Use suitcase labels that hide your address on the inside.• Don’t take valuable items with you if they are not necessary.• Make sure you have enough money in various forms and hide it in different locations.• Keep confidential documents in your hand luggage.14

While travelling• Always keep a close eye on your luggage and never leave it unattended.• Under no circumstances take packages or goods for other people.• Take another route if you encounter irregularities while travelling.• Wear informal clothing with no distinguishing features, logos or signs of personal status.• Don’t take anything with you that may offend residents of the country you are visiting,such as alcohol or controversial books or magazines.• Use a transfer service to and from your hotel rather than a taxi (if possible).• In unstable countries, avoid government buildings, embassies, or radio and TV stations.Hotel• When you check in, make sure that as few people as possible overhear your name androom number.• Don’t leave your room key lying around. If necessary, take off the label with the roomnumber.• Stow valuable assets (such as jewellery, laptops, and important papers) in the hotel safe.• Always use the main entrance to the hotel.• In your room, check the security of the doors and windows, the lighting, and potentialescape routes.• Receive any unknown visitors in the hotel lobby, not in your room.• When you leave your room, lock the door, windows, and balcony door.15

Published byNational Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV), January

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