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Feedback Q&A on Security

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 39 comments and questions on Security issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




Muggers Was mugged in Maryland city USA
Biometrics Using biometrics for university secruity Uganda
Biometrics Wants info on how we use biometrics Europe
Reasons Other student tried to mug him USA
Access Control Want to be an expert in access control Nigeria
Business Property Employee trashed expensive copier USA
Business Property Investigating crimes on property Uganda
Business Property How to stop workers from pilfering? Uganda
Personal Enemy is spreading rumours New Zealand
Personal Spreading rumors USA

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First 10 letters

Was mugged in Maryland city

Topic: Muggers


June 9, 2008

Less than a month ago, I had an episodic of mugging situation in Cheverly, Maryland near Freeway 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway) and Route 50. When I get off the metro subway at Landover Metro station about half hour prior to midnight and before the weekend began, I had thinking about getting taxi cab or city bus to get me home. With my decision, I rode the bus to the location where it was occurred. That street is business where it goes to enter the freeway and toward the hospital. It was very dark and the broken streetlight. I got off the bus and saw the guy, who got off the same time. Past him. Of sudden, he grabbed my backpack. I told him, I can't hear in gesture. Then he pulled me away. I screamed "Help, Help, Help!" It does not work. Next, I looked out and noticed we were approaching to the woods. I knew he would hurt me anything. I escaped out from him and let my backbag and shirt go. My glasses fell off somewhere. I waved the cars for their help. They drove away to ignore me. Next, I figured out what he really wanted from me. I realized that he wanted money and remembered about attending the self-defense workshop at Gallaudet University where CIA Agent gave his presentation. With my determination, I gave him cash and at the same time, I pulled my backpack in return. Somehow, my wallet fell down. he grabbed it and ran away. I was shaking and shocking. Thereafter, I returned home and made a call to the police and reported the incident. I called my credit card companies to cancel it.

Questions here:

1. I noticed his behavior was terrible with outrage. Why does he have his own goal to get the wallet?
2. Do every mugger have their easy lives to do some criminal acts rather than professional career?
3. How long does the police or detective take this case to resolve?
4. I am not sure about the state of Maryland's requirements to protect from muggers. Can I take legal mace or pepper spray, tassler, and whistle with extreme noise? I need to know if I can take self-defense class to protect from the criminals?

Thank you!

Dominic - USA



I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. It is good that you had some training on how to respond. It is also worthwhile to plan what you would do if such an occurrence happened again. If you know what to do in such a situation, you can react more calmly and minimize the damage.

When walking at night in a poorly lit area, especially in a "bad" area or one where there aren't many people, it might be worthwhile to have something like a high-pitched siren device. The loud noise can cause a mugger to change his mind. The problem with something like mace or a taser is that the mugger may be able to turn it on you.

The most common reason muggers rob people is that they need the money to buy drugs. They have such a great need, that they will do almost anything to get enough money for more drugs.

A few that turn to stealing have had good jobs at one time, but their addiction became so great that they lost their jobs. Mugging is an act of desperation. A professional criminal will do such things as to break into homes or cause fraud to get his money.

Catching muggers is difficult for the police. If one is able to get a credit card and try to use it, he might be caught. If there are a number of muggings in an area, police may be on patrol, looking for the muggers.

Best wishes on keeping safe, and I hope this never happens to you again.

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Using biometrics for university secruity

Topic: Biometrics


September 15, 2007

Am doing a research on biometrics, I need enough advantages to present to the university so as they see the importance of using biometrics in the registration offices and other rooms that need top security like server rooms and apply them. Help me out please.

Atwine - Uganda



Past concerns about using biometrics for security have been cost and reliability. But recent developments have improved the technology to the point that many companies are using it. You can even secure your computer using a biometric reader, as opposed to entering a password.

Many companies still use magnetic readers for passes to secure places like server rooms. Problems occur when a badge is lost or stolen. With biometrics, you know exactly who the person is, without any chance of fooling the system.

Some references on the subject are at:

For a comparison of very inexpensive devices, see:,1738,7495,00.asp

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Wants info on how we use biometrics

Topic: Biometrics


March 12, 2006

To Whom It May Concern: I am a student at Bradford College studying a degree in BSc HONS Information Technology. As part of my final year project I doing a dissertation on Biometric systems used in the modern world.

I have selected your organisation as a primary research tool to collate information regarding biometric systems. I would like to know if you have implemented a biometric system within your organisation. If so which type of system? I also would like to know the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the system? Why you implemented the system. Was it for security purposes? To help information processing? To obtain information on customers for market research purposes? Has the system implemented made a difference? How has it helped your organisation? Are there any pitfalls in the system? Are there any criticisms to the system by users? Would you recommend other commercial worldwide organisation to implement a biometric system? I hope you can literally provide me with any information about biometric systems related to your organisation as this would be very helpful and beneficial to me. I
look forward in hearing from you,

Much appreciate, Mr M.ELYAS (BSc Hons Student)

- Europe



We are an educational website, giving basic backgrounds on various subjects.

We do not use biometrics, although we are planning on in the future. We also plan to have more detailed lessons on that subject and others in security.

Best wishes with your studies and research paper.

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Other student tried to mug him

Topic: Reasons


February 15, 2006

Hello, my name is Jeff. I am at sophmore level in a high school, and just recently, a teenager of same age attempted to mug me.
It all started with him asking whether I had money on me. I said no, and then he asked me for my cellphone, where I also refused. I then tried to walk away, but he continued, this time struggling to grab my phone. When I pushed him slightly away, he reached for my pockets, and attempted to grab whatever was inside. He ended up taking my music player, and then tried walking away. My friends, who were only a few feet away, came to aid me. I had more confidence in confronting him, so I threatened him to return the music player. He rejected my orders, and threatened back that he would "punch me in the face".
I, having several street fighting experiences and having win many of them, was not provoked by this threat, although agigitated by the fact that the teen would not return the player. By coincidence, the principal of the school had arrived, although It was not clear whether she knew about the current situation. The teen eventually gave the player back, but threatened that he would try again.

What should I do if he comes back and tries the same thing? It would be hard to avoid him, and at this time, fighting him seems like the only option, because of the strength and height advantage I have over him. (I stand at 5'10, 150 pounds, while he stands at 5'5, around 110 pounds).

Thank you for your help.

Jeff - USA



You wonder what caused this fellow to try to mug you. I wonder if he was desperate for money or had been dared to do it by some friends? Being dared to steal seems more likely, because this doesn't sound like a typical case.

The problem with this situation is that he may have been so humiliated (especially if is buddies tease him about it) that he might bring a gun to school or sneak up behind you with a club or something. It is good to be on your guard.

One thing you can try to do is to defuse the whole problem. This kid seems pretty pathetic and probably has some personal problems. You might try something like: the next time you see him, smile and say a friendly, "Hi." That would set him back in surprise. Then say to him, "Hey man, that wasn't so cool trying to take my stuff. What gives? What's the story on this?"

If you show you're not angry and actually a little friendly, perhaps he will realize he was a jerk. He might even tell you what the story was. At the very least, you will have the mental edge if you do get into a fight again.

It's a tough situation, so it might be worth trying something different. Who wants to waste time with hassles when there are more fun things in school?

Best wishes in this, and let me know how it turns out.

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Want to be an expert in access control

Topic: Access Control


December 15, 2005


ROTIMI - Nigeria



You should find out the companies providing access control and alarm systems in your area. Check buildings that have security systems to find who provided it. You can then find a local representative who can tell you how to get the training you will need.

There is a great need for such experts. Best wishes in your career.

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Employee trashed expensive copier

Topic: Business Property


November 17, 2005

One of my husband's employees was having a very "bad" day and was quite frustrated because he didn't like the placement of the copier and tripped over it. He became very angry (has had a problem with this in the past over very small details), pulled the large, expensive copier outside of the building, and proceed to throw it into the trash bin, thus destroying the copier. Do you know if legally he can be held responsible for the cost of this copier? He was seen by 3 individuals doing the above so no more proof is needed. Please email and give me feedback on our options. Thank you.




The thing to do is to first sit down with him and ask him what he thinks about this situation. Tell him how much the copier will cost to replace. Then let him do the talking. He may say he is sorry and offer to pay for your loss. But then again, he may balk and say it wasn't his fault or something. At least you know where he stands on the issue.

If he does not cooperate, you can tell him you will press charges. You can contact the police on this matter of malicious damage to your property. Unfortunately, it is something that would have to be settled in small claims court.

You could get a lawyer involved, but you would probably end up spending more than you would get back.

Your employee would be smart to offer to pay for the damage he did. In such a case, he would probably keep his job with you. If he doesn't pay, you should fire him and press charges.

Note that your insurance may pay for the damage, but it is best to keep them out of it unless absolutely necessary.

I hope things work out for you in this situation.

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Investigating crimes on property

Topic: Business Property


September 7, 2005

How is crime on property deemed to be well investigated.

Eliab - Uganda



Any evidence that can point to who did the crime should be sought out. Also, asking people in the neighborhood if anyone saw something suspicious.

Doing a thorough job in the investigation will help to find the perpetrators. Unfortunately, often such crimes are not solved.

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How to stop workers from pilfering?

Topic: Business Property


September 4, 2005

I am happy and convinced of the level of security research you people have undertaken, because you really talk of the real situation on ground. Personally am a security manager in a prominent publication company here in Uganda.
My major area of interest where i may need your input is how to curb or atleast minimize pilferage by staff to 1%.
Thankyou for the knowledge please may the migthy lord give you abandant prosperity.

Eliab - Uganda



A good way to reduce pilferage in a company is to inform the workers that it can affect their jobs. If workers feel they have a stake in the company and that stealing can affect the profits and thus possible raises and job security, they may think twice about pilfering. The problem is that this is something that must come from upper management as part of their business philosophy. As security manager, you really can have a difficult time to convince workers that they have a stake in the company's success.

It is still possible to post signs saying something like, "Taking company goods can affect all of our jobs."

Also, some companies have zero tolerance for stealing and will immediately fire a person caught taking things. On the other hand, there are companies that allow workers to take some things, just to keep a happy workforce. I'm not sure how well that works, though.

Also, there are companies that have posted security TV cameras to monitor any thefts. The presence of such cameras alone will discourage many from taking things.

I hope these ideas help you handle the situation.

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Enemy is spreading rumours

Topic: Personal


August 23, 2005

Hi umm i was wondering if i could get sum advice at the moment life sucks all because of my enemys my reputation is ruined all my ex mates think im gay so they dont want to be my mate anymore all because my enemy spreaded a rumour everytime i see him he always wants to fight me but i dont want to and i jus walk away im trying to get on with life but its hard with no mates that will back you up ive got my family they are trying to help but there never there when i need them i really need help ive been isolated at home and cant go out but my enemy is sort of on the 'street life' so i always see him walking the streets.its screwing up my grades for school to cause i never want 2 go plz help
Thanks Martin

Martin - New Zealand



One thing you don't want to have are enemies. They can screw up your life, and it isn't worth the hassle. Unfortunately, there are people who will dislike you because of jealously, competition, something you did, or some misunderstanding.

The first thing to do is not to consider this guy as your enemy. You don't want to do him harm, and you don't want to have anything to do with him. Calling him your enemy makes him just that. Instead, just say he is just another guy.

Now figure out why he considers you his enemy. It sounds like he wants revenge for something you did to him. Hopefully, it was just a misunderstanding that you could correct.

But some people don't want to give up. They want to get revenge, to fight, or to ruin their enemies.

Remember that it is always good to know your enemies. You can keep an eye on them. It is your so-called friends that can stab you in the back.

What type of mates are those that will drop you, because some bully is spreading rumors about you? Even if you were afraid to fight him, what is wrong with them? Are they afraid of him too? Maybe that is why they don't back you up. Call them out on this. You have nothing to lose. Let them know you are disappointed with them for not supporting you.

It is a tough situation. You can keep a low profile and hope he will get tired of harrassing you. You can look for new friends in school. If he doesn't stop, perhaps you will need to confront him and try to kick his butt. If he doesn't go to school, you might check with the police about his harrassment.

Like I said, it is a tough situation. Probably keeping a low profile for a while will work the best. But also calling out your ex-mates is worthwhile.

I hope these ideas help. Let me know how things turn out.

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Spreading rumors

Topic: Personal


June 25, 2005

What is the legal term for spreading rumors to damage ones reputation??

Charlie - USA



It is legally called slander or defamation of character.

Slander is considered a tort or civil wrong, and the injured person can bring a lawsuit against the person who made the false statement.

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