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Instagram Marketing Tips

by Administrator 27. March 2017 10:57

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Ways To Secure Your Network Infrastructure

by Administrator 21. March 2017 13:24

Maintaining a secure network infrastructure is one of the major challenges faced by IT security professionals. All the hardware and software components are critical for seamless connectivity, communication, operations and management of the network. However, the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture and cloud computing resources has made it even more important to protect your company’s information as well as assets.

Given below are some of the tips that can help to secure your network infrastructure:

Understand your network design

First and foremost, you need to understand how the network infrastructure at your organization functions. Gain knowledge about the devices that are connected to the network and the points through which data is transmitted between them. 

Review all the applications

The applications and programs installed on your organization’s computer systems can provide a backdoor for the hackers to gain unauthorized access. Undetected malware, viruses and Trojans can make the entire corporate network vulnerable to various hacking attacks. Hence, it is essential to constantly review all your applications and software programs to ensure that they are completely secured.

Build a security culture

Provide proper IT security training to your employees and set clear guidelines regarding safe usage of the infrastructure. Make them familiar with the common online threats and what should be done to stay protected. This will create a strong security culture and help employees understand their responsibilities towards protecting the company’s resources.

Use secure socket layer

A secure socket layer (SSL) can add a layer of protection to your network infrastructure. It encrypts all the information while it is being transmitted between a user and the web browser. This ensures that the information being shared within your corporate network is not read, manipulated or used by any unauthorized individual.

Avoid adding complexity to your network infrastructure

Unless it is absolutely necessary for the optimal functioning of your organization, do not complicate your network infrastructure. Adding superfluous devices, servers, wireless endpoints etc. increases the chances of your network getting compromised. In case you need to add a network service, ensure that it is properly secured. This, way, even in the event of a breach, the functioning of your entire network will not be jeopardized. 

For more tips on securing your network infrastructure, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Common Causes Of SaaS Data Loss And How To Prevent Them

by Administrator 13. March 2017 18:25

Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud storage solutions have offered numerous benefits for the business owners. By simplifying access to technological resources, reducing delivery times to clients and giving employees the freedom to work from anywhere, cloud applications play a major role in increasing business productivity. However, with all critical information stored off-premise, data loss remains a constant concern.

Here are some of the common causes of SaaS data loss:

  • User Deletion: This is one of the biggest reasons of data loss in the cloud. The registered users may accidentally overwrite a shared file or delete a scrapped document, just to realize later that the data was important.
  • Phishing And Hacking Attacks: Cyber criminals may launch a hacking or phishing attack to gain unauthorized access to data stored in the cloud. By tricking the users to click on a spam link or download a file, the hackers may be successful in stealing their cloud login credentials and manipulating the data stored therein.
  • Data Corruption: At times, the data center of the SaaS cloud provider may be unable to retrieve the stored data. Without proper backup solution, important information may become inaccessible or corrupted.
  • Third Party Applications: Using a third party application can put SaaS data at risk. These apps may contain viruses that overwrite or delete the information stored in the cloud. There are higher chances of data loss if emails, documents, contacts etc. are stored in multiple devices.
  • Closed Accounts: Considering the employee turnover in a company, the SaaS accounts may also be closed or deleted. This may lead to the loss of important data stored by the former employee.

Tips To Prevent SaaS Data Loss

  • Identify Important Information: Firstly, you need to identify the sensitive information stored on all the computers connected to the cloud. The data may include client names, personal details of employees, salary information, credit card information, social security numbers etc.
  • Prevent Document Sharing: You should implement strict policies that prevent accidental or intentional sharing of files outside the organization. Restrict access to the sensitive information and block file transmission to email addresses that do not have your company’s domain.
  • Backup Your Data: There are many cloud backup applications that allow you to store a secure and easily retrievable copy of your data. The information is stored in an encrypted form and can be accessed only by the authorized users.

For more tips on preventing SaaS data loss, you can contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Content Marketing Trends In 2017

by Administrator 27. February 2017 12:33

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ImageGate: Ransomware That Spreads Through Social Networks

by Administrator 22. February 2017 06:19

ImageGate is a recent form of ransomware that attempts to spread malware through images and graphic files on social media websites. It has been discovered by two security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Roman Ziskin and Dikla Barda. The ransomware works in the same way as Locky virus that automatically encrypts the victim’s files and demands a ransom in order to reveal the decryption key.

Considering the massive increase in the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, hackers are directing their focus on breaching the security of these websites. They are continually looking for ways to use these platforms as hosts to carry out their malicious activities.

How Does ImageGate Work?

According to the security researchers, ImageGate works by embedding malicious code into the image files and posting them on ‘white listed’ social media websites. The targeted image files usually have extensions other than ‘.jpg’ or ‘.jpeg’. The malware aims at manipulating the misconfigurations in the social media platforms to purposely compel the users to click on the image. Once the file has been downloaded and the user clicks to open it, all the files on the computer system are encrypted. In order to regain access to the locked files, the user is required to pay the hackers a certain amount as ransom in bitcoins.

Tips To Protect Against ImageGate Ransomware

  • Make sure you do not click on any unidentified file downloaded to your computer system.
  • If a file gets forcibly downloaded, do not open or execute it. You should carefully delete the file so that the ransomware is not able to infect the files stored on the device.
  • You should avoid clicking and downloading images as well as graphic files from social media websites.
  • Do not open image files that have unknown file extensions, particularly ‘.svg’, ‘.hta’ and ‘.js’.
  • The anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer should be regularly updated to stay protected against latest forms of ransomware.
  • It is recommended to be vigilant while accessing your social networking accounts. Even a single malicious download can make you lose access to your device and all the files stored within it.

Centex Technologies provides complete cyber security solutions to the business organizations in Dallas, TX. For more information on ImageGate and other forms of malware, feel free to contact us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Shortened URLs: Yet Another Security Risk

by Administrator 14. February 2017 14:26

URL shortening is quite a common trend over the internet. These URLs are helpful while sharing lengthy and complex links through instant messaging, emails or on websites that have a strict character limit, such as Twitter. When the user clicks on the shortened link, he is automatically redirected to the original URL. There are a number of URL shortening services available on the internet, some of the popular ones being bit.ly, goog.gl and tinyurl.com.

What exactly is URL shortening?

The concept behind URL shortening is simple. When you enter a long URL, it is encrypted by the use of an algorithm in order to produces another link with lesser number of characters. The shortened URL address is then mapped to the original link so that the user lands on the web page that he intended to visit.

Security risks associated with shortened URLs

  • Link Manipulation: The first and foremost security risk is that a shortened URL hides the destination link. It means that there is no way to identify the landing page to which you will be redirected upon clicking the link. This is the reason why shortened URLs are used in various phishing scams. Hackers send these URLs embedded in emails or IMs so that the victim is not able to verify their authenticity.
  • Ineffective Spam Filters: As the original URL is not visible, the spam filters cannot identify the potential threat and do not blacklist the email. The safe browsing features in popular web browsers warns the users if they are about to visit a phishing website. However, in case of shortened URLs, as the landing web page is not known, no warning is issued and the user is directed to the potentially spam website.

Tips to stay safe while using shortened URLs

  • Many URL shortening services allow the users to check where a shortened URL will be redirected before they actually click on the link.
  • Shortened URLs that take the users to a log in or sign up page should never be trusted. Instead, you should access all your online accounts by manually typing in the website’s address. Also, verify that the URL begins with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.

We, at Centex Technologies, offer effective IT security solutions to business firms in Dallas, TX. For more details, feel free to call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Network Virtualization: Benefits, Risks And Best Practices

by Administrator 30. January 2017 12:24

Network virtualization is a way of combining different physical networks to make them function collectively as a single virtual network or vice versa. At times, the process may also include virtualization of storage solution, which facilitates using all storage devices as a single resource. Network virtualization can serve multiple purposes, depending upon the specific requirements of an organization. This may be aimed at either improving the efficiency of the in-house IT systems or lowering investment in additional hardware components.

Given below are some of the benefits offered by network virtualization:

Centralizing Confidential Data

Due to the increasing data breaches and other online attacks, many business owners are considering storing their data on a centralized location. With this, a hacked computer system, lost/stolen device or negligence on the part of an employee would not pose a major risk to the security of sensitive information. When IT administrators store the data on a centralized server, it mitigates the risk of theft, malware infections and unauthorized access to the company’s intellectual property.

Setting Up A Sandbox

Sandboxing involves demarcating and isolating all the applications that may pose a potential threat to the internal network of the company. Network virtualization proves to be a great help in this regard. When a sandbox is created for web browsing, it prevents all the online attacks from affecting the host server and applications that are operating out of the virtual environment.

Facilitating Secure Network Access

With the increase in ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) and work from home culture, a lot of employees access the corporate network from their personal devices as well as from multiple locations. When virtualization is used, the employees do not have to deal with the management and security aspects of the network. All these can be handled at the back-end by trained IT staff at the office.

Security Risks Of Network Virtualization

  • When virtualization is added to the IT infrastructure, it can make it more difficult to monitor and detect security issues, such as advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  • Network virtualization creates a dynamic environment which, at times, may lead to virtual sprawl. This means that the administrator may not be able to keep a track of the online activities and security vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
  • To eliminate these risks, it is important to improve the security of the host machine. Virtual systems that are not performing important business operations or remain unused should be removed from the network. Lastly, strict access control policies must be implemented to secure the virtual network.

For more information on network virtualization, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Security Concerns For Wearable Devices

by Administrator 14. January 2017 12:34

Wearable devices have provided a tremendous opportunity for business organizations to keep the employees connected to work and improve their efficiency. The use of smart glasses, watches, headgear etc. facilitate better data collection and better customer service abilities. However, just like every other technology, security risks are bound to come along. The extensive functionality served by these devices can sometimes magnify the threat surface, thereby introducing many new ways in which data can be compromised.

Here are some of the common security risks posed by wearable devices:

Lack Of Data Encryption

Wearable devices do not use encryption protocols to store the information securely. There is no sophisticated PIN or password required to gain access to the data. They also do not have any biometric or other authentication methods to validate the identity of the users. As a result, there is a serious risk of data theft if the device is lost or stolen.

Difficulty In Patch Management

Most wearable devices function on a completely different operating system and run several third party applications. Hence, frequent software updates and patches are not readily available for these devices. This makes them an easy target for the hackers to carry out malicious attacks in order to exploit the vulnerabilities and intercept information shared through the wireless networks.

Insecure Wireless Connectivity

In order to function efficiently, wearable devices need to be connected to your mobile device through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies. However, when you keep the connectivity options enabled, you may inadvertently allow hackers to download malware or malicious programs to your device. They may also launch a brute force attack to breach the password of your device’s wireless network.

Recording Sensitive Information Through Photos, Videos and Audio

Wearable devices come along with a very discreet ability to record the important information about your company in the form of audio, video and images. Smartwatches and smart glasses can easily be used to capture and transmit confidential data to the hackers, without leaving any trace. This type of data breach cannot be prevented by anti-malware, anti-spyware and any other form of security software.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to improve the IT security of your business firm in Dallas, TX. For more information on protecting the wearable devices at your workplace, feel free to call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Types Of Identity Theft Attacks And How To Prevent Them

by Administrator 27. December 2016 10:11

Identity theft is a quite prevalent form of online crime that has become more sophisticated and complex these days. When a hacker gets access to your personal information, such as name, password, social security number (SSN), credit card or bank account details, he can use it for a myriad of malicious purposes. These may include breaching your online banking account, committing online frauds in your name or selling your credentials further.

In order to protect yourself from identity theft, it is important to understand the different ways in which the attack is generally carried out.

  • Keylogging: This type of identity theft involves installing a malware on the target user’s computer system. Whenever the user logs into an online account or carries out financial transactions, the malware records the keystrokes and transmits them to the hacker.
  • Phishing: The hacker may send a fake email to the user or display pop-up advertizements while browsing the internet. The email is spoofed to have come from a credible organization, such as a bank, and requires the user to take an immediate action. This may include downloading a software, visiting a website or filling out an online form.
  • Data Breach: Identity theft may also occur when hacker gains unauthorized access to the sensitive information while it is being shared over the internet, particularly unsecure networks. Packet sniffers may be used to view and steal the user’s financial information. Apart from this, spying, denial-of-service attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks and other such techniques may be used. 

Tips To Prevent Identity Theft

  • Install Security Software: Make sure you install anti-malware, anti-spyware and other security software in your computer as well as mobile devices. These will help to identify and delete the malicious programs or files from the system. You should also enable firewall to monitor and block any suspicious traffic from accessing your network.
  • Follow Proper Security Measures: You should follow the best security practices while accessing the internet, particularly on public Wi-Fi networks. Do not log in to your banking and email accounts or shop online when connected to an unsecure network.
  • Guard Against Phishing Attempts: Do not open or download attachments from emails that come from an unknown sender. Also, you should not share your personal or financial information or click on a link embedded in such emails.

For more tips on protecting yourself against online identity theft, you can contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Fundamental Tips To Keep Your Network Safe

by Administrator 14. December 2016 04:44

IT security is a pre-requisite for successful business operations. The present day online attacks are very sophisticated, hard to detect and can cause serious damage to the computers on your corporate network. Besides malware and virus infection, there are many other security threats, such as Denial of Service (DoS), spyware, ransomware, man-in-the-middle attack etc. Therefore, regardless of the size and type of your organization, it is important to take the necessary network security steps to protect your data from cybercriminals.

Discussed below are a few fundamental tips to keep your network safe:

Delete Unused Accounts

Email or social networking accounts that are not active should be deleted. Since these accounts do not have updated security settings, they are quite easy to be hacked. Make sure you timely review all your official accounts and identify as well as delete the ones that are no longer required. You can either perform this task manually or use a software to remove unused accounts.

Keep VPN Secured

If you use a virtual private network (VPN), you should keep it completely secure to prevent unauthorized access to your company’s internal network. Use the most advanced authentication and encryption protocols to monitor as well as regulate the network’s usage. You can even consider accessing the internet remotely so that your browsing details are not saved.

Be Proactive With System Updates

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for security flaws in obsolete web browsers, plug-ins, software applications and operating systems that can be exploited for malicious purposes. It is therefore, important to update all the computer systems on your network on a regular basis. Software vendors frequently release patches and updates to fix the bugs as well as improve functionality of the applications. The IT staff should either enable automatic updates or download and install the latest versions from trusted sources.

Secure Your Router

Make sure that you change the default name and password of your router. The default credentials are quite common and can easily be decoded by the hackers. Create a strong and lengthy password as well as a unique username. Also, change the security level from WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 so that only the authorized users have access to the corporate network.

We, at Centex Technologies, offer complete network security solutions to business firms in Dallas, TX. For more information, feel free to call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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