Women’s Safety and Security

 

As a result of the devastating news surrounding the murder of Sarah Everard, there is currently a national conversation regarding women’s safety. As a female led security consultancy, we would like to offer some of the top safety tips which we often recommend to our female clients.

In our opinion, the first rule of self-defence is to develop a strong sense of environmental situational awareness. Being able to understand and identify the risks of a situation and to react appropriately, is the best way to avoid becoming a victim or target of both environmental and criminal situations.

 

Raise Your Situational Awareness

We often walk around oblivious to our surroundings, this could be through a false sense of security because we know where we are, or due to distractions such as mobile phones.

It is vital to remain alert in public, know who is around and behind you, look ahead and premeditate where you would go if you were in danger. Don’t wear earphones, they will reduce your chance of noticing an approaching person or vehicle.

 

Manage Your Profile

By this, we mean realise how to blend in and not be identified as a potential target for theft or worse. Be mindful of how you show and carry expensive jewellery, handbags, watches and electronics. A woman should have the freedom to dress how she chooses; however, it is also important to realise that unfortunately there are people whose perception of you will be directly linked to the way that you are dressed which will impact their treatment of you. This is especially relevant when travelling. (more information can be found in our online lone female travellers course)

 

Look Strong and Confident

A potential harasser can be deterred by a projection of strength. Most criminals have a strong instinct for self-preservation, which has a direct impact on their selection or subsequent disregard of an intended target or victim. Project strength by walking with purpose, keeping your head up and shoulders back, standing straight and making eye contact.

 

Check In

When you go out, get into the habit of telling somebody where you are going, how you are getting there and when to expect you. This will become a routine and safe practice to follow.

 

Live Location

A great tool available to WhatsApp users is the use of the live location function. This is located within the addition menu (marked with a blue cross) you can select “live location” for a period of time, up to 8 hours which is very useful if you can arrange for a friend to monitor your journey or evening run.

 

Don’t Overshare

Be wary of disclosing your address or full name to strangers. When using social media, don’t post exactly where you are or where you are going, post after you have left and don’t post details of places that you visit regularly. Set your settings to approve posts that other people tag you in. Think, if you would not share details of your address, job, partner, children, parents, phone number or email with someone in a supermarket queue don’t do it online.

 

Have a Plan

If you are going out late, plan your travel home and stick to it. Stay with any friends that you have planned an evening with and check that each other get home safety. Consider taking trainers or flat shoes if your journey home involves walking or public transport. Don’t use unlicensed mini cabs and don’t be afraid to photograph the number plate of a taxi that you are travelling in before you board. If travelling by bus, stay downstairs in sight of the driver. In train carriages try and find a carriage with a conductor. Familiarise yourself with your mobile phones shortcut to 999, it is much harder to perform normal functions when you are under pressure.

 

Draw Attention

If you feel threatened react to your instincts, cross the road, go somewhere more public or call for help. Don’t be scared to draw attention to yourself.  A discussion between our staff has identified multiple occasions where females have avoided theft or physical harm by shouting and making a noise when confronted by a potential attacker. Be aware of what is known as the bystander effect; it has been proven that when many people can help, often no-one does. This is because everyone expects someone else to intervene. If you are attacked in a public place and people are watching; make eye contact and direct your plea for assistance “you, help me”

 

 

Self-Defence

Whilst it is common knowledge that carrying a weapon can have an adverse effect as apart from being illegal it can be used against you. Sadly, there are situations where self-defence might be the last available option. In the UK, carrying mace or pepper spray is against the law. However, if you are physically threatened you may take reasonable and proportionate measures to defend yourself. If you have an alternative option, such as a defence dye spray, use it. You can use any item that you are legitimately carrying for another purpose as a weapon if it is proportionate, i.e. the miniature bottle of hairspray or mosquito repellent that might be in your bag.  For these to be effective you have to have them ready to access, they are no good if you can’t locate them. Similarly attack alarms, these need to be easily accessible such as attached to the outside of your bag where you can easily pull a string or activate a button if needed.

 

 

 

If you would like more advice and exercises which teach you how to raise your awareness levels, identify if you are under surveillance, plan your travel safely and be more considerate of your approach to online security; visit our online training platform. Our current courses include:

Lone Female Traveller Security Awareness

Security Awareness for High-Net-Worth Nannies

Canine Surveillance Awareness & Protection for Dog Walkers

Women’s Safety and Security

 

 

 

www.sloaneriskgroup.co.uk

enquiries@sloaneriskgroup.co.uk

Doxxing, weaponising your data for revenge

 

 

 

What is Doxxing?

 

Doxxing or Doxing is an abbreviation of Documents or Docs. Doxxing is sharing a persons or a company’s private or identifying information, this is usually online but can also take a physical form such as graffiti or in newsprint.

 

Doxxing is a weapon which is used by people with a variety of intentions, from addressing social injustices to attacking someone with the aim of inciting physical harm against them. The information shared through doxxing is generally meant to expose, embarrass, extort or endanger the person being doxxed. This information can include phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, photographs or any other identifying information which the victim of doxing would not voluntarily place in the public domain, or in the context used by the doxxer.

 

The main attraction of doxxing is to inflict a monumental level of pain or harassment against someone without leaving home or being easily detected as the perpetrator or instigator of the attack.

 

What are the origins of doxxing?

 

Doxxing was originally known as Dropping Docs and was initially a method used by hackers and gamers to take revenge against opponents. An early example involved the details of white supremacists being doxed on UseNet. It has evolved into a modern-day method of attack used by a range of people.  Anyone with access to an online platform such as Facebook or Twitter can publish information about someone else in a basic form of doxxing. Dedicated Doxxing sites hosted on both the surface and the dark web go a stage further and are designed as a platform for information to be revealed, shared and acted upon.

 

What do doxxers hope to achieve?

 

On dedicated doxxing platforms, the victim’s details are often published with a rough description of what they are accused of such as paedophilia, cheating, child or animal abuse in the hope that other people will subject them to harassment, ranging from using their details to sign up to junk mail services to physical abuse or even swatting attacks.

 

Swatting takes doxxing to another level, generally seen in America, this is a method of using the victim’s information to call a swat team claiming that an armed or hostage situation is underway. The aim is that the swat team causes severe distress or even shoots the person being doxxed.

 

Examples of doxxing include:

 

An instance in the late 90’s and early 2000’s where an anti-abortion campaigner published a list of abortion providers forming a hit list. People’s names were annotated if they had been hurt or killed. To date eight people from that list have been killed.

 

In 2013 a student was misidentified and doxxed on Reddit as a suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing. After a considerable amount of abuse, he was found dead. His death was ruled as a suicide, believed to be as a result of doxxing.

 

Over the last three years we have seen a steep rise in clients experiencing problems relating to doxxing. We have helped a client who after ending a relationship was doxxed by his previous partner. He was wrongly listed as a paedophile on a number of websites. Our investigation was able to produce evidence linking his former partner to the accounts sharing the information.  Another case involved the distribution of revenge porn against a teenage girl which was being widely shared via social media. The images were actually deepfakes, her Image had been superimposed on another person’s body, however this was deeply embarrassing for both her and her family. After some work we were able to identify the source of the images and eventually remove the content.

 

Is Doxxing Illegal?

 

Different countries have different laws regarding doxxing. At present in the UK there is not a law dedicated to doxxing however most cases will fall under the data protection act, the protection from harassment act or the computer misuse act. The problems generally lie with enforcing these legalities as most doxxers are very tech savvy and will hide behind several layers of protection and aliases.

 

Can doxxing be prevented?

 

People can protect themselves to an extent, we recommend the following:

 

  • Don’t overshare, this relates to social media. Consider your posts and comments and the consequences of them. Keep your accounts locked down and limit the information which you provide.
  • Do not make your phone number visible on social media sites, consider using a secondary disposable number for account set up.
  • Opt out of the open electoral register.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) to mask your computers IP address
  • Consider who you provide you address, phone number and email address to. Set up secondary email accounts for online shopping and services which request your delivery details. You can gain additional protection by arranging to pick deliveries up from collection points, this is recommended when using services such as eBay where subsequent disputes are common.
  • Only provide your home address when you really need to, don’t fill out surveys or prize giving questionnaires, most of that information eventually works its way into the public domain either through mailing list sales or data breaches.

 

 

Most importantly, audit yourself, check your own online identity by running your name and partial details trough a range of search engines. See what information about you is easy to find.

 

Alternatively, our online profiling service can save you the time and do this on your behalf. We will compile a report detailing what information about you or your business can be easily located, our experienced team can then execute a process to remove this information where possible.

 

For more information or to discover our other services including, physical penetration testing, surveillance, close protection, investigations and due diligence visit our website.

 

www.sloaneriskgroup.co.uk

Email – enquiries@sloaneriskgroup.co.uk

Phone – 0203 897 22 72