(CNN) — Egypt says a recently constructed 36-kilometer concrete and wire barrier encircling Sharm el-Sheikh will help protect tourism at the Red Sea resort on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula.
Authorities in southern Sinai hope to revitalize tourism, which has been dented by upheaval after Egypt’s 2011 uprising, the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Sinai in 2015 and the coronavirus pandemic. In 2005, bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh killed dozens in one of Egypt’s deadliest militant attacks.
The security barrier is made of concrete slabs with stretches of wire fencing separating the resort from the desert around it. Some of the slabs are marked with black peace symbols.
Those entering the city by road have to pass through one of four gates equipped with cameras and scanners.
A police guard at the Ruwaysat entrance of the security cement barrier built around the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on February 6, 2021.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Sharm el-Sheikh is about 360 km (224 miles) south of Sinai’s northern, Mediterranean coast, where an insurgency by Islamist militants has been concentrated.
“The distance between them is huge, plus there is great security with Egypt’s Second Army securing the North Sinai, and the Third Army securing South Sinai,” South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda told journalists on a tour of the area at the weekend.
“They will be searched, security cameras will identify them, vehicles will go through a scan, so that when they arrive in the city, it’ll be after a full search operation.”
A museum housing ancient Egyptian artifacts opened in Sharm el-Sheikh last year amid efforts to diversify tourism activities at the beach resort. A university named after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has also opened recently in the city.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Sharm el-Sheikh often hosted international summits attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
It’s a new year and we have a new President of the United States, but that doesn’t mean that the world has changed all that much. Just like before, identity theft is on the rise, and more people than ever would love to get their hands on your Social Security number and account passwords.
Much of this information is bought and sold on the dark web — the unsearchable underbelly of the internet where all kinds of nefarious activities take place. Other types of fraud occur when someone digs through your trash or writes down your credit card number. Or maybe a data breach takes place and, through no fault of your own, all of your personal information is exposed for hackers and thieves to find.
According to Rahul Telang, professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, it may even be worse than that since fraudsters are perpetually coming out with new ways to steal. For example, synthetic ID fraud is a newer type of fraud on the scene. With this type of crime, a fraudster combines public and stolen data to create a synthetical identity that might even pass face recognition.
Regardless of which types of fraud scare you the most, you can take steps now to ensure you are not a victim. This year may not be the year you get rich or get six-pack abs, but you can (and should) secure your financial accounts.
Expert Tips On How To Secure Your Accounts
There are a lot of ways to secure your financial accounts, but it all starts with knowing which accounts you actually have. Financial advisor Olivia Summerhill of Summerhill Wealth says anyone looking to secure their financial accounts should start by organizing their finances.
“The best way to protect their financial identity is to know the location of all accounts,” she said, adding that most Americans do not grasp where all of their financial accounts are and what the balances are.
“Starting here will help people make better financial decisions and help them if their accounts or identities were compromised,” says Summerhill.
Once you have a list of your accounts and where they are, consider the following steps:
Financial advisor Ryan McPherson, who is Director of Coaching and Financial Education at SmartPath, says you should turn on multi-factor authentication where you can, adding that nearly all banks, credit cards, and other financial institutions have an option to enable this protection.
“A common example of this is receiving a code via text that you must enter into an app or website after you’re entered your password,” he says. “While this may take a moment longer, it increases the security on your account.”
Check Your Credit Report Regularly
McPherson also says to check your credit reports regularly, which you can do for free using the website AnnualCreditReport.com. This tip isn’t high-tech and doesn’t need to be, but it can make a big difference.
In addition to checking your credit reports with all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax
“That way you’ll catch anything that shouldn’t be there,” he says.
Use A Password Manager
Use a password manager and stop reusing simple passwords, says McPherson. This message is for anyone, but especially for those who are using the same basic password over and over again.
Programs like LastPass do a great job to help you generate lengthy unique passwords for each of your accounts, and they are cheap to sign up for. For example, LastPass has a free version you can try, and the premium version is just $3 per month.
Use A Credit Card For Purchases
Corey Nachreiner of WatchGuard Technologies says you should never pay for online purchases with a debit card, and for good reason. After all, you may be liable for up to $500 in charges if someone fraudulently uses your debit card and you fail to report the fraud within 2 to 60 business days of your statement being mailed to you.
And if you don’t report it after that, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you could lose “all the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.”
By contrast, you can only be liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges if you pay with a credit card, and the majority of credit cards have zero fraud liability policies anyway.
Use A VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Sean O’Brien, founder of Yale Privacy Lab and Principal Researcher at the ExpressVPN Digital Security Lab, says you should consider a paid VPN service that you can utilize across your devices, especially when you travel.
With a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can ensure you’re not sharing your information with hackers on a public internet network. A VPN provides this protection because it lets you create a private network while using public internet access.
Enable Account Notifications
Most lending institutions, brokerage firms, and credit card issuers let you set up account notifications that alert you when a withdrawal is made or another transaction takes place. Chip Kohlweiler, Vice President of Security at Navy Federal, says to enable notifications on any account you can.
“You can be notified when there’s activity going on in your account, making it a good first step in securing your account,” he says. “Many banking apps have customizable notifications that allow you to choose when you want to be notified and how.”
Consider Freezing Your Credit
Financial advisor Taylor Jessee of Taylor Hoffman also offers a foolproof way you can make sure nobody can open a new account in your name.
“One of the quickest, easiest, most cost efficient, and effective things to do is to freeze your credit report,” says Jessee.
Freezing your credit report prevents and blocks lenders and other financial institutions from viewing your credit file, so it is an easy way to stop fraud before it even happens.
For example, let’s say a fraudster steals your identity and tries to open a credit card in your name. If your credit is frozen, the bank will reject the fraudster’s credit card application because they would be unable to pull your credit report to verify your credit history and creditworthiness beforehand.
Fortunately, you have the benefit of freezing each of your credit reports with the three bureaus for free and online. If you need to apply for a new account later, you can also “unfreeze” your reports.
You can also look into signing up for credit monitoring.
Sign Up For Identity Theft Protection
Finally, consider signing up for identity theft protection that includes oversight of your accounts. The best identity theft protection services of 2021 will oversee your credit reports and notify you of suspicious activity. They can also monitor the dark web for your information, and they’ll even keep an eye out for address changes or public records in your name.
As you compare ID theft protection plans, make sure you choose one with plenty of identity theft insurance. With the ID Watchdog Platinum plan from ID Watchdog, for example, you get up to $1 million in identity theft insurance with protection included for stolen funds from a 401(k) or a Health Savings Account (HSA).
WASHINGTON — Standing across the street from the 7-foot tall black metal fence that now surrounds the U.S. Capitol building, National Guard soldiers shifted feet to brace themselves against the cold wind.
Troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia joined those from D.C. Leaving their homes and jobs, the Guard troops are here, three days after five people — including two Air Force veterans — were killed in an attempted insurrection.
They are here to help ensure it does not happen again.
“I never thought I would see this in my own country,” said one of them, who, like other troops, spoke anonymously without authorization to speak on the record.
The soldier is part of a major mobilization effort that has seen about 6,200 National Guard troops flow into town from several nearby states. The troops are already all in town.
Troops expressed a true sense of duty and urgency, to help protect a city still on edge after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot stoked by rhetoric from outgoing President Donald Trump and just ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden.
Passersby showed their appreciation with nods and thumbs up.
“Thanks for coming,” many said as the hurried past the troops.
Bad moon rising
Even as Washington licks its wounds and tries to recover from an assault on the seat of government, a new wave of unrest may be about to crest.
Those who stormed the Capitol were able to stall, but not end the certification of the 2020 presidential election making Biden the official winner. Now social media is full of posts extolling what’s been dubbed the “Million Militia March” in which Trump supporters will return to the Capitol ahead of the inauguration.
There is chatter about ride shares, where to find lodging in the Washington area — and what to bring. Baseball bats, perhaps, or assault rifles.
“We took the building once,” one commenter posted, according to the Times, “we can take it again.”
The Washington Post reported a call for armed marchers around the nation.
“REFUSE TO BE SILENCED,” said one online post cited by Alethea Group, calling for an “ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS” for Jan. 17, the last Sunday of Trump’s polarizing presidency. Another post called for action at “DC & All State Capitols” and was signed by “common folk who are tired of being tread upon” declares: “We were warned!”
Ready to protect
Guard officials would not comment on the specifics of the Million Militia March.
“The DC National Guard stands ready to support the incident command and is committed to supporting our local and federal agency partners,” said Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper, a DCNG spokesman.
Ready, in this case, may mean that these troops are authorized to stand watch armed, if needed. But that’s something that has yet to happen.
Some of the National Guard troops who have rushed to the nation’s capital brought weapons, but do not initially plan on carrying them, said Clapper.
“We are not carrying weapons now, but any changes in posture will be determined by intel reports and risk assessment,” he said.
For Guard troops standing outside to guard the Capitol, watching the Jan. 6 attack unfold was reminiscent of what many experienced on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We knew right away that we were going to come here,” said one Guard soldier.