Would the Traps from ‘Home Alone’ Work?

We are big fans of home alone over here at Keytek and have decided to look at the traps that Kevin Macalister sets up for the ‘Wet Bandits’ and whether they would be useful in actually securing your home.
Now in doing some research into the traps Kevin sets up and the real life consequences of using them on real burglars, we definitely would not advise that you employ any of these tactics. However, there is a ton of home security inspiration to be taken from the Home Alone movies. We will go through some of Kevin’s most ingenuous booby traps and advise you on how to secure your home.

The Spider Surprise

Kevin employs the use of his brothers’ pet tarantula to give one of the intruders a fright. Now, spiders are not the most common of pets in the average UK household. But other pets such as dogs can be a good deterrent to a potential burglar. The noise of them barking or moving around the house is an asset, and the use of a ‘beware of the dog’ sign is an extra precaution.

 

The Slimy Ladder

 

Kevin has the ingenious ideas of smearing the rungs of a ladder with goo, making it impossible for one of the ‘Wet Bandits’ to climb up. We can take two things from this, one; do not leave ladders in a place that they can be used to gain entry. Also you can invest in ‘anti-climb’ paint; this has a thick oily coating that looks glossy when applied. However, it remains slippery and makes it almost impossible for a burglar to climb your wall.

Let the TV do the Talking

‘Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!’ may the most iconic line from a fake movie within a movie. Kevin tricks the ‘Wet Bandits’ by playing a film loud on the television. While this is amusing in the film, the principle is solid. Sounds and lights will deter burglars from breaking in. You can set timers on lamps to come on and off periodically, to give the allusion of a presence in the house. You can even buy a T.V Simulator that flashes different coloured lights, so to someone looking through a window, the television seems to be on.

Secure the Perimeter

Kevin uses a couple of techniques to secure the perimeter of his home. He ices the stairs, the ‘Wet Bandits’ slip and fall, so are unable to reach the front door. He also heats up the front door knob to such a temperature that it burns the pattern into one burglars hand; he also throws bricks at them from the roof of the house. We do not suggest ANY of these however; securing your perimeter is a good idea. Your fencing, hedging or walls can attract or deter burglars. Check for weak spots, a rusty lock or unstable fence for example. A thorny hedge around your home can put thieves off, but you will need to make sure that passers by can still see the front of your home, so a burglar won’t go unnoticed. A gravel drive way is a great deterrent, as an intruder will be put off by the noise it makes when walking on it.

Get to know your Neighbours!

Kevin spends the entire movie scared of his ‘creepy’ neighbour Marley and does not go to him for help. But it is he that saves Kevin from the ‘Wet Bandits’ at the end of the film. If Kevin had got to know his neighbour; he could have gone to him for help straight away. It is important to get to know your neighbours as they are the people most likely to notice if something unusual has happened in your house. You can also ask then to keep an eye on your home if you go on holiday, move any post that may be hanging out of your door.

 

Kevin’s antics are extreme, and of course are done for comic effect, so we definitely don’t recommend you copy him. However a lot of inspiration can be taken from the Home Alone Movies; taking steps to protect your home and belongings is the most effective action you can take against burglaries. So make sure you don’t leave yourself venerable. Visit https://www.keytek.co.uk/security-tips/ to get more advice on how to secure your home.

Home Alone information from;

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

https://www.youi.com.au/youi-news/5-lessons-we-can-learn-from-home-alones-kevin-mccallister

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

Images sourced from;

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/743992/Home-Alone-theory-Old-Man-Marley-Kevin-McCallister-Macaulay-Culkin-Roberts-Blossom

The Top 26 Torturous Home Alone Traps

Stay Safe this New Years Eve!

new years eve

It’s New Years Eve and it’s time to celebrate!

Some of us like to let our hair down when bringing in the New Year; whether you are going to a house party or out on the town. But it’s also an evening you may be at your most vulnerable, in London alone in they increase police presence to 3000 officers around the city because of New Years Eve. Now we’re not saying that you should stay wrapped up in your home with the doors locked, but there are ways you can keep yourself safe while out.

Always have eyes on your drink.

If your drink is unattended for any length of time, then the safe bet is to get a new one. It takes second for someone to slip something in to a drink that’s been left. It is also unadvisable to accept a drink from a stranger, unless you have seen the bartender make it. Saving money on a drink is not worth the risk.

Maintain the #squadgoals

Always keep an eye on where your friends are. If you’ve gone out in a group, make sure no one has been left on their own, and that you haven’t been left on YOUR own. There are so many ways to lose your squad on a night out like; going to the loo or queueing at the bar. But it is so important that you keep each other safe. You are less likely to be targeted by criminals if you are in a group.

The creepy guy has no right to grab you.

When you and your friends are having a good time on the dance floor and someone is getting too close for comfort or touching you; tell them to stop and go away. If a person keeps touching you, after you have told them to stop, or is getting too close for comfort then tell a member of security staff or bar staff, they should deal with them for you.

Use bright and busy streets

So the place you’re at is a bit naff and you fancy moving on. Make sure you walk down streets that are well-lit and busy. When you are out in the cold it may be tempting to take a short cut down a back alley or park. This will leave you extremely vulnerable, especially if you are on your own. There will be plenty of people around on New Years Eve so you shouldn’t find it hard to find people around. Don’t be the cliché girl in the horror movie, who walks right into the monster down the dark alleyway!

Your bag is not worth your life (even if it is Michael Kors)

If the worst does happen and someone tries to steal your bag…let them. You can replace everything that’s in there and If someone is willing to try to take your bag in the street then they are probably willing to hurt you to get it. If you don’t put up any fight they will most likely to leave you alone. It’s a good idea to keep your keys in in your pocket, so if someone does take your bag then you can still get in at home.

Never drink and drive…obviously

Make sure you plan how you are getting home. If you have a plan in place then you are less likely to be tempted to drink drive. Try to pre book a taxi or beg a friend for a lift. If you do end up getting a taxi, then make sure he is licenced. Take a picture of his licence number and send it to a family member or a friend, a legit taxi driver shouldn’t mind you doing this.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye (literally)

Fireworks are an integral part of New Years Eve, but unless you are an expert you should not be lighting up those bad boys yourself. It might not be you lighting them, but if an intoxicated friend tries to start a display…MOVE AWAY. It might be fun looking at the pretty lights, but what won’t be fun is ending up in hospital with burns. Leave it to the professionals.

 

So if you decide to go out to celebrate New Years Eve, make sure that you take steps to keep yourself safe. We wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year!

Let Santa in…But Keep the Burglars Out!

How to let Santa in and keep the burglars out!

It is the time of year where we start preparing our houses for the arrival of the big man….Father Christmas. So, your tree is up, you’ve hung the lights and wrapped the gifts, but as much as you want Santa to grace your house with a visit, there are some people you’d rather keep out. Burglars often strike this time of year because they know your house is stuffed with goodies. We have written a guide to help you let Santa in, but keep the baddies out.

 

 

  1. If you don’t have a chimney Santa has to come through the back door, but thieves can also get in. Invest in a ‘Santa Key’. It’s a magical key that you leave out for Santa, a key only he can use. Meaning that you can lock your back or front door as usual, so that burglars cannot get in. Locking your doors is the number 1 thing you can do to secure your house, according to RSG Security; 73% of burglars use doors, which are open in 3% of cases. https://www.rsgsecurity.co.uk/blog/news/interesting-uk-burglary-statistics

 

  1. If you have brought presents (to add to the ones that Santa brings) then it is advisable not to leave them on display. Not only will Father Christmas think he has already visited your house and not leave any more presents, it will entice burglars. Single parent families will be most at risk; RSG Security says that most likely break-in and burglary victims are single-parent families in urban UK areas as they are affected twice more than homes with two parents, and thrice more than households without https://www.rsgsecurity.co.uk/blog/news/interesting-uk-burglary-statistics

 

  1. You may be worried that Santa will set off your house alarm. Don’t be, Father Christmas has mastered skills over the years that means he will be undetected by an alarm. Burglars however will set off an alarm, so it is very important that if you have one, then you should always set it. Just the sight of a burglar alarm can deter a burglar. Most burglaries are not planned and are carried out by opportunistic criminals, having an alarm on your house means that thieves are less likely to pick your house to break in to.

 

  1. It’s always a good idea to let Santa know if you are not going to be at home over the festive period, so he knows where to drop the presents off. However, it’s best not to advertise the fact that you are away. Invest in light timers, the sight of lights going on and off periodically will give the impression that you are home. Also make sure that you stop any deliveries of milk or a newspaper, several pints of milk stacked up at your door is a dead giveaway that you are not around. Another strategy to stave of criminals when you’re away is, if possible, ask a neighbour to park in your driveway.

https://www.dorset.police.uk/news-information/news-archive/dont-be-a-christmas-burglary-statistic/

http://www.turas-troimh-alba.com/photos/milk.html

  1. While children write a list to send to Santa, it’s a good idea for you to be writing a list of your own. Dorset Police recommends that you; keep an inventory including description, serial number and photograph of each item or even register your valuable items at immobilise.com/ which will simplify insurance claims and Police reports  with certificates of ownership.

It is so important at this time of year to protect your house and your family. When you suffer a break-in you lose more than just your possessions, you can lose your peace of mind too.  For support after a break in you can visit www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/burglary .

Make sure your festive season isn’t marred by a burglary. Find out more ways to secure your home at www.keytek.co.uk/security-tips/

Shop Safely this Black Friday

How do you shop safely online this Black Friday?

 

Shopping safely and securely online

As technology progresses, more items than ever before are available to buy online, from clothing and food to plane tickets and hotel rooms. With an infinite number of choices online, all available from the comfort of your own home and without the hustle and bustle of crowds in a shop, online shopping is a convenient and easy alternative to shopping in-store. However, before you embark on an online shopping spree, ensure you are aware of the security risks when shopping online and how to protect yourself. While you don’t have to be concerned about pick pockets while shopping online, there are still malicious hackers looking to steal personal data and financial information. Follow our savvy online shopping guide and you can shop online with confidence.

  1. Make sure you’re buying from a real online shop

It is vital to always shop using familiar websites which have received good reviews from previous customers. Malicious hackers are known for setting up fake shopping websites to either infect your computer with viruses and malware, or to steal your payment information during the ‘checkout’ process. Hackers can use your information for identity theft and credit card fraud.

How to spot a fake online shop:

  • A peculiar URL – for example, if the shop is called very-cheap-shoes.com the chances of the website being genuine are very slim.
  • Strange contact information – most online shops will have their own business email, for example customerservices@boohoo.com as opposed to boohoocustomerservices@hotmail.com.
  • Very low prices – If the online shop is selling an expensive product for less than half the retail price, it is most likely a scam.
  • Bad language – A reputable company will hire a copywriter to ensure all content on the website is written with no mistakes. Any grammar or spelling mistakes are a huge warning sign.
  • Bad design – Online shops, especially those in the fashion industry, take pride in their modern and sleek website design. If a website is designed badly and is hard to use, it could possibly be a scam.

 

  1. Is it a secure site?

When shopping online, make sure to check the website has SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption installed. You will know a website has this by checking that the URL begins with https:// instead of http://, and a small lock symbol should appear in the URL bar.

 

  1. Use strong passwords

It is common for people to use multiple online shopping sites for different products, this will often require making multiple accounts storing personal and financial details.  It is important to ensure the passwords for these accounts are not the same as this is a huge security risk. We advise the use of password generators to create long complex passwords which are almost impossible for hackers to crack.

 

  1. Check your bank for irregular activity

For those who frequently shop online on multiple websites, it can be difficult to keep track of the transactions made, therefore we advise shoppers to keep a personal record of what has been purchased, which website you used and how much money was spent.

Don’t wait for your monthly statements to check your bank transactions, make sure to check either online or in store regularly in order to increase your chance of spotting fraudulent activity or purchases you didn’t make promptly. It is vital you notify your bank of any fraudulent activity immediately in order to secure your account and receive any money you didn’t spend back into your account.

 

  1. Protect your PC

It is extremely important to have an effective antivirus system on your device, as this is the most basic form of protection when using online services. Installing malware protection will scan incoming and outgoing traffic to your device in attempts to detect any potential malware.

 

  1. Beware of scams

There are various phishing emails circulating advertising deals and offers which appear, and most often are, too good to be true. It is often during holiday times when scammers send out viruses and malware concealed as a gift or inclusive offer. Scam emails can be so well designed that they often have higher click rates than legitimate emails from real businesses. In order to outsmart scams we advise shoppers not to open emails from companies they do not recognize or haven’t previously used.

As well as email scams, online shoppers should beware of clicking on advertisements or links on social media websites and around the web. Often pop up websites will advertise attractive deals, however it is important to carry out research to determine if the advert is genuine and has genuine customers, or if it is a scam.

  1. Avoid using debit card

When online shopping, it is advisable to use credit cards or services such as PayPal, as opposed to debit cards.  Debit cards are riskier to use due to them being linked to your bank account, and are at a higher risk of exposing personal information if hacked. Credit cards offer shoppers more protection and less liability if card details are stolen.

  1. Stay private

Wi-Fi has become a daily part of modern life, however it does have limitations. It is important to never shop online using a public or open Wi-Fi which isn’t password protected, as this could allow a hacker to hijack all your traffic, allowing them to track all your activity while you are shopping, including your passwords, emails, addresses, personal and financial information. We recommend avoiding public hotspots when online shopping, as these are most likely unsecured.

  1. Be smart about apps

While mobile phone apps are a convenient method of online shopping, there are various deceptive apps on the market which have been made to steal your information. Ensure to only download apps from reliable sources such as the Apple App Store or Android Market. When using an app for shopping pay attention to the permissions the app asks for. If the app asks to access information such as your contacts, or any other suspicious activity, it is best to avoid it.

  1. Don’t give extra information

Most online shops will only require payment information and shipping information. If a store asks for extra information such as your date of birth, National Insurance Number or any other suspicious details, be wary of using such websites, as they could be attempting to steal personal information.

Online shopping has become increasingly popular and also a growing concern among security experts. Various methods of protection have been introduced to help increase security of online shoppers, from two-factor authentication to improved protection software’s, so we’re optimistic the future of online shopping could be more secure.

We hope that this blog has given you some great tips to protect your next online shopping spree and is a reminder that it’s not just your home security you need to be savvy about. Check out some of our other blogs for other security tips you may not have thought of.

Home security for children 

Telephone scams

Sources:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373130,00.asp

https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/online-shopping-security-tips/

https://www.safewise.com/blog/10-cybersecurity-tips-for-online-shopping/

Give the Gift of Security this Christmas

Christmas Security

Give the Gift of Security this Christmas

As Christmas approaches and you find yourself struggling to think of unique and impressive gifts to buy, it is important to remember there is nothing more valuable than the safety and security of your family and loved ones. We at Keytek have collated a list of gifts and stocking fillers that will help ensure the safety of those you love this Christmas.

For the explorers

The perfect gift for individuals who are always travelling to new places, whether it is a holiday resort in the Maldives or backpacking in Thailand, is The Master Lock 5900 Safe Space® Portable Safe. The constant worry of having a phone, camera or other small valuables stolen could be eliminated by the portable safe. The safe is lightweight and impact-resistant, providing a practical security solution for personal belongings while on the go. https://www.keytekshop.co.uk/product/master-lock-5900-safe

For the forgetful

People who frequently find themselves locked out the house because they’ve forgotten their keys often result in hiding a spare key around the front of their property. This can put their security at risk, as the easiest way a burglar can enter a house is by finding the spare key. An ideal gift for those who forget their house keys is a Key Safe. There is an assortment of Key Safe’s available in a variety of sizes, makes and models. Most Key Safe’s can only be accessed by a code which only the owner and their loved ones know. They are extremely durable and weather resistant, and can be found on the Keytek shop!

For the misplacers

We all have that friend or family member who is regularly misplacing their valuables, whether it’s their wallet, keys or kids! The Iristag Wireless Tracker is the perfect gift to help keep track of personal belongings easily, using GPS technology and a Smartphone App the tracker alerts the user if a valuable item movies outside of a predetermined range, and easily locates missing items. The tag is available in 4 colours, is small in size and unnoticeable when attached to objects. https://www.keytekshop.co.uk/product/iristag-wireless-tracker-white

For the bikers

Motorcycle and bicycle theft remains a growing problem and can be easily avoided by the use of a bike and motorbike lock. If a loved one has a passion for biking, a gift that secures their most prized possession is ideal for Christmas, as motorcycles and cycles can be very expensive, therefore targeted by thieves. Keytek Shop stocks various locks, from chain locks to loop locks, which all offer high levels of security for bikes and motorcycles.

For the witty

Why not consider a humorous yet practical gift this Christmas. The range of Decoy Safe’s on the Keytek Shop can be used to hide money, jewellery and valuables in plain sight. The Keytek Shop offers 3 models of Decoy Safe’s; The Heinz Baked Beanz, Heinz Spaghetti and Heinz Tomato Soup cans, all recognised by the police, neighbourhood watch groups and insurance companies as effective theft deterrents.

This year don’t just resort to your usual go to gifts for Christmas; why not throw in a practical gift as well! Gifts which protect the security of a person and their prized possessions are enormously valuable, and the recipient will be extremely grateful in the long run.

Further reading:

The Grinch Who Didn’t Steal Christmas 

Make Home Security Your New Years Priority 

Christmas Security Hints and Tips 

The Grinch Who Didn’t Steal Christmas

The grinch who didn't steal christmas

The Grinch Who Didn’t Steal Christmas

The festive times are approaching

Soon the turkey will be ready for roasting

Family will be coming from far and wide!

Use these tips to keep them safe and secure this Yuletide.

You’ve bought your gifts all shiny and new,

Remember to keep them out of view.

It can be fun to show your presents on Twitter and Facebook,

But if it’s public, your posts could lure in a pesky crook!

Don’t leave parcels out on the doorstep for too long,

It may be stolen if a thief comes along.

Deterrents will make your home look occupied,

Burglars are less likely to strike if someone’s inside.

Although it sounds obvious you’ll be shocked,

How many people don’t keep windows and doors locked!

Remember these tips are useful all year round,

To help keep your home and loved ones safe and sound.

Merry Christmas From Keytek®  Locksmiths!

Further reading: 

Give the Gift of Security this Christmas 

Christmas Security Hints and Tips 

Make Home Security Your New Years Priority 

Christmas Security Hints and Tips

Christmas is upon us and as we all patiently wait to see what presents lie under the Christmas tree unfortunately so are many potential intruders, looking to take advantage of the busy social schedules and expensive items on show in homes all across the country.

Research shows that burglars do take a day off on Christmas Day however during the winter months statistics reflect that thefts increase by a massive 20%! Unfortunately, it’s not just homes that are targeted, many fraudsters attack on-line to take advantage of the surge in on-line shopping during December. Christmas is a time to enjoy ourselves, spending time with much loved family and friends, along with all the festive activities we attend around this special time of year. We have put together some helpful hints and tips below to help keep your home and Christmas gifts safe ready to be received on Christmas Day.

1. Christmas Gifts

Try to keep any expensive items out of view of windows and passersby on the street. It’s best to hold off until Christmas Eve on placing any items under the tree. Following the excitement and unwrapping our Christmas gifts we are all left with the vast amount of packaging and boxes that these items come in, whilst we will be quick to get these outside and into the bin it is worth bearing in mind that these can act as adverts to potential intruders, letting them know what valuable items lie inside your home, it is best to set the boxes aside and take these out on the morning the bins are due for collection, or taking them directly to your local dump.

Christmas Tree

2. Lock all Windows and Doors

During the frantic rush of Christmas we are often in and out of our homes in a hurry trying to get things in order for the holiday which can sometimes mean we become forgetful. Try to stay aware and ensure when leaving your home that all of your windows and doors are closed and locked securely. Pause for a moment, check and check again!

3. Home security

If you don’t already have security cameras, it’s a great idea to install some form of home security system. Many potential intruders are opportunists and may take advantage of a target if it arises, a home security system is a fantastic way to deter burglars and keep an eye on your property if you are away.

4. Out shopping

Be alert and aware when out shopping especially in overcrowded busy city and town centres. Try not to have expensive jewellery on show and ensure your purse or wallet are hidden from view. If you’re shopping with lots of bags full of gifts try and stay alert for approaching strangers, many potential thieves may be looking for easy targets to pickpocket.

5. Christmas Shopping

Don’t leave presents or valuables on view in your car. If you’re out shopping and have too many bags to carry it’s easy to quickly nip back to the car to drop these off and continue shopping without a second thought. With this in mind, always park your car in well lit, visible areas ideally in a car park with security cameras or guards where your vehicle will be on show, clearly visible and less likely to be targeted by thieves.

Christmas shopping

6. Buying online

If you’re shopping online it’s good to do your research, if something looks too good to be true it quite often is. Many online criminals will try to take advantage of Christmas shoppers with fly-by websites looking to take customers banking details. Always double check the product and look for websites that offer secure payment like paying with Paypal.
Be mindful when using social media promotions to buy products, a lot of social posts may be unverified and promoted from an unknown website and can use shortened url’s to disguise this. If you are looking through social media for deals be sure to use official pages – these will often be verified by a blue tick and have a direct link to the company’s website or other social media channels.

7. Social Media

Whilst we can all be swept up in the excitement for the much anticipated Christmas party or perhaps that holiday away over the festive period it is worth keeping in mind that putting these details across social media will advertise that your property will be unoccupied for a certain period and not everyone reading those details will be wishing you a Merry Christmas and to enjoy your time away.