Monday, May 17, 2010

Document Safety - Be Aware

Click on Link Above to Watch Video!

Those of you that are actively making sure you have back up copies of important documents or are just completing your due diligence with other important and possibly sensitive personal data should be acutely aware of the fact that modern photocopy machines in service since 2002 have computer hard drives installed on them. This was done so they can print large documents more rapidly from computers.

Unfortunately this same convenience feature also records each and every document ever copied on the machine. Therefore those sensitive medical or legal records you might have copied on the office photocopy machine, the post office or a photocopy service are now available to identity thieves or anyone with programs downloaded off the Internet.

When the machines are traded in, the documents often are stored with the machine and the next owner has unrestricted access to them. Many companies do nothing to stop this because they are either unconcerned or uneducated about the security risk - as was the City of Buffalo, New York Police Department and a health care company as seen in this video from CBS News. So, documents copied at a doctor, lawyer, insurance or company office using one of these machines are possibly already out there and ready for the taking.

Programs exist that could wipe the hard drives clean and some copier sales companies insist (now) that they in fact can ensure the safety of the original user (aka owner of the machine - not YOU if you used it at work or wherever) after a trade in. Don't trust that to happen. Don't copy anything sensitive on these type of machines - period.

You might have to seek out older and less complex and non-networked copiers not utilizing hard drives - you might get funny looks from copy center folks who are unschooled in this issue. You may just have to print out any files you have digitally or scan them and print extra copies.....yes a pain to do. Consider the potential consequences of not doing so.

If you own the copy machine or lease them you can purchase a program ($500) to clean the disk or have it erase the file after each use like Sharp brands reportedly do.

Be aware of this going forward and if you are all of a sudden a victim of identity theft.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reality Check - Violence in America

Look closely at this sign..... since when is anyone entitled to everything in life for free? Who is promoting this fantasy and that it actually exists here? Actually promising to kill police officers if their demands for free benefits are not met is outrageous.
This activity of promoting violence left unchecked will quickly lead to lawlessness, anarchy and chaos which ultimately leads to death and destruction. There are people in this country who actively use this ageless method of fomenting disorder and chaos as a expeditious means of accomplishing their political agenda.....this is more than troubling. It is wrong.

Nothing is ever free - nothing of real value ever comes without hard work or sacrifice. Free to one person generally means someone else must go without. You cannot sit around and absorb everything you need like a sponge.
Same message applies to personal preparedness - don't always plan on someone else always coming to your rescue - you have to participate in the process by regularly taking steps to ensure your own safety. Sorry, no flowery prose or promises here - just a reality check.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gear Essentials - Paracord

We have all seen the TV survival shows with some guy who can live forever it seems with his one big knife and whatever junk he might find on his route in the wilderness.
Now that is an excellent skill to have don't get us wrong...but realistically how many of you are prepared to live with the bugs full time and begin to make gear out of discarded junk after an emergency? Not many.
There are a few essential gear "must haves" in your kit - paracord fits the bill - light and strong with plenty of applications.
Not all are created equal however. Our friends at (they continue to sponsor the free ICE Kits by the way!) realize this and have stocked up on paracord - you can actually buy a 1000 ft roll of this and split it amongst your family members/friends for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a bunch of 100 foot lengths.
There are so many uses for this cord and it comes in a variety of colors if you decide you need gray, yellow, green or black for your specific needs.....100 ft for your kit would be excellent. Take it with you always on hiking/camping trips and kayaking/canoeing.....

From :

Gladding certified and calibrated laboratory's policy is one of continuous product improvement and development. Constant monitoring and testing of incoming raw materials, in-process manufacturing inspections, and final product specification testing assure that all components meet and often surpass government standards.

This paracord is ideal for camping, boating, crabbing, indoor or outdoor clothesline, halyard line, garden line & any other uses requiring great strength & durability.Contains Seven (7) Removable Inner Strands that can be used for fishing line, sewing thread, tripwire, nets, traps and other emergency +/or survival situations.

Paracord is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Once in the field, paratroopers found this cord useful for many other tasks.
It is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during STS-82, the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.[1]The braided sheath has a high number of interwoven strands for its size, giving it a relatively smooth texture. The all nylon construction makes paracord fairly elastic; depending on the application this can be either an asset or a liability.Mil Spec 550 Para Cord is made to Mil-C-5040 specifications (7-strand core).

This para cord is trusted and used by our armed forces.Military grade 550 paracord rope known as Mil-C-5040 Type 3 is made of nylon so that is dries quickly and is mildew resistant. It is 1/8 inch in diameter and is rated for 550 lbs.