Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Mailbag Monday

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What is your opinion on electronic door locks instead of keyed entry or fingerprint door locks.

-From Dennis D.

Answer: When it comes to door locks, I don’t use any door locks with a touch screen or electronic access.

I prefer a standard lock with a key and nothing fancy such as a keypad or Wi-Fi connection. I recommend Schlage locks because they are one of the most secure brands you can purchase.

However, if you do want a quality lock that does have a keypad, the Schlage is a good choice. But I would still avoid any locks that connect to Wi-Fi.

The security risk is too high with electronic locks and there’s too much that can break and go wrong.


I have a question about prepaid phones. When you get to the cashier and it’s time to pay they ask you your name and address. Last time I got a burner phone I made up a name, do you agree with that?

-From Ian T.

Answer: Sure, I have no problem with that, it’s really none of their business. Or you can give them your middle name, it’s totally up to you.


I need your help when it comes to creating passwords. A lot of websites require passwords that consist of at least 8 digits with upper- and lower-case letters. I know you have recommended phrases. How do I get around this?

-From Julie T.

Answer: While each website can be different, you will still be required to follow the guidelines of the specific website you are creating a password for.

So, as you mentioned, if a website requires you to use letters, numbers, and special characters then you will still need to do so.

With that in mind, I would imagine as more companies update their website security, they will begin to allow more options when creating passwords, especially since we know that the old standards aren’t the most secure ways to create passwords.

In the meantime, I still recommend creating passwords that have phrases such as PurpleGoatsRunSlow98&&&.


I have a small basement window in a room that I don’t use. I worry that criminals could use this window to break in since I wouldn’t hear it. Do you have any security ideas for a window like this?

-From Paul R.

Answer: It’s important to never overlook a window or door even if you think it’s too small or not an ideal point of entry.

I recommend installing entry sensors for your home security system on every single door and window in your home.

In addition, I would install motion sensors in your basement, especially if it’s not somewhere you typically spend a lot of time.

Finally, I would have a glass breaker alarm on the window too.


I moved to downtown Chicago and plan on riding my bike most places. Since it’s Chicago, do you have any self-defense tips for when you ride a bicycle?

-From Sean V.

Answer: When it comes to bicycles the most important thing you can do in a self-defense situation is to use the bike to your advantage.

For example, your bike can be used to create distance between you and a threat. You can stop riding, get off the bike, but keep it between you and the threat.

​In addition, if it comes to it, you can also use the bike as a weapon. For instance, striking someone with the front tire of a bike could provide enough force to knock the person down, or at the very least push them off balance.

The key is to use the bike to your advantage and remember that it can be used as a self-defense tool. Also, carry items on you like a tactical pen or hard metal flashlight.

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