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Security Concerns Associated With Digital Wallets

Digital wallets are virtual wallets that store financial information and identification documents and allow users to conduct online/offline transactions. Depending on the type of digital wallet, it may contain debit, credit, prepaid, and loyalty card data, as well as personal information like a driver's license, health card, and other identification documents. Cyber criminals can make efforts to get access to this information for monetary benefits.  In order to stay protected, it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the prevailing security risks.

Following is a list of some of the well-known security risks associated with digital wallets:

Attempting to tamper with the application connected to the digital wallet

Backdoor in a mobile payment app allows an attacker to steal login credentials and transfer them to a server controlled by the attacker. This may allow attackers to use information in digital wallet for fraudulent activities.

Exploiting the vulnerabilities of the application connected to the digital wallet

Unauthorized access to mobile payment capability might arise as a result of an attack on mobile payment APIs used for in-app purchases. This may allow attackers to carry out fraudulent transactions.

Theft of bank and credit card accounts linked to the mobile payment app can also lead to fraud. A fraudster might potentially take advantage of flaws in the registration process to add a new mobile device to the user profile and use it to make fraudulent transactions.

Malware/rootkits installation

Rootkit is a serious threat vector that may be used to directly monitor and hijack/alter API requests as they are marshaled to and from the API endpoint connected to the digital wallet. Attackers may manipulate variables in transit, such as payment amounts.

Permissions for gaining access to the device operating system

With the approval of the user, an OS may grant access to particular resources. Even if a program isn't malicious, having certain permissions might allow it to access sensitive information which can be utilized by another app to get unauthorised access to information stored in the digital wallet installed on the device.

Verifying identities of users

On a stolen device, if a hacker is able to circumvent biometric authentication, user’s complete financial/ payment information would be compromised and payments can be made. In some cases, users may authorize payments by just inputting the lock screen pattern on a mobile phone. Because this information can be easily accessed by eavesdropping, it might encourage opportunistic attackers to hijack a device and make payments on the victim’s behalf.

Payments that are illegitimate

If the card issuer’s terms and conditions are not followed, the issuer may refuse to take culpability for fraud.

Payment transaction accountability

To make a payment, the providers demand fingerprint authentication. There have been instances where fingerprint authentication has been bypassed or compromised on mobile devices. Also, when several users have access to the device, accountability is compromised and it might be difficult to identify the individual who made the payment.

Stolen equipment has a larger attack surface

If a device connected to a digital wallet is stolen, criminals may be able to acquire access to payment cards.

Phishing and social engineering assaults

As digital wallets become more widely adopted, attackers may be enticed to launch attacks imitating genuine applications to seek credit card details. They may also resort to phishing and social engineering in an attempt to persuade users to provide the information required to carry an attack.

Centex Technologies provides advanced cybersecurity solutions to businesses. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Securing Devices & Gadgets With USB Security Drives

In the current cyber scenario, security and privacy are two of the most important concerns. One of the advanced methods of protecting personal data is by securing gadgets with a removable security drive in conjunction with routine passwords. With the use of an external security drive, it can be ensured that the private data on users’ devices can only be viewed when a specific removable drive is connected; otherwise, an "ACCESS DENIED" error message appears.

Protection Beyond Passwords:

Relying only on passwords is a major security mistake that might lead to future issues. Even if strong passwords are used that follow excellent security practices, there is still one flaw: a password is worthless once it is known. A detachable media storage device, in this sense, is more difficult to compromise.

Another apparent advantage is that users can eliminate the hassle of remembering passwords, however, this is less of an issue if people use a safe password manager. Depending on the program one chooses to create the USB key, they may get additional advantages. A physical key can be used to prove the identity as a backup to the password. Through a physical or wireless connection, the key can function with the computer and mobile phone. Even if someone figures out one of those accounts' passwords, they wouldn't be able to login without the actual key. Hence, private information is safe and secure as long as the key is safe.

How a USB Security Key Works?

A USB Security Key, also known as a U2F (Universal 2nd Factor) key, is a sort of hardware security that looks like a USB drive and connects to any USB port on a computer. A security key is, in practice, a physical security device with a unique identity. It has a tiny chip that contains all of the security protocols and code required to connect to servers and authenticate a user’s identity. It is used to verify that a particular individual is visiting a website or accessing a service.

NFC (Near-Field Communication) and/or Bluetooth may also be incorporated into certain security keys, making them ideal for use with modern Android and iOS devices. These removable keys also work with social media applications such as the likes of Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and storage providers like Dropbox and Microsoft as well as password managers such as 1Password. Developers also use security keys on GitHub for controlling the version of their developmental projects. Even browsers like Google Chrome support the usage of such removable media for securing the credentials of the user accounts.

Security keys are so good that they even prohibit a user from entering their information on a fake website. Even if a hacker succeeds in deceiving the user, the hackers would not be able to fool the security key. This piece of hardware functions as a digital bodyguard, preventing unauthorized access to users’ data. Also, the security key does not save any personal or account information. Even if users misplace their security key(s) or they are stolen, the thief and/or hacker(s) must know the exact account names and passwords in order to use the key.

Advantages of using USB security drives:

  1. With the same USB device, users may safeguard many PCs.
  2. On a computer, it may safeguard several user accounts.
  3. It can lock user accounts on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, with each account having its schedule.
  4. Removable media storage drives build a comprehensive Log file and send alarm messages through email.
  5. It can snap photos of anyone attempting to get access to the device and send them to the original user/owner or upload them to a remote server.
  6. It also sounds an alarm if access is refused and disables the CD AUTORUN command to keep malware from infecting the devices.
  7. It safeguards its in-memory data.
  8. It updates the security codes saved in the USB or removable media storage drive key periodically for maximum protection.

The Yubico YubiKey and its variations, the Google Titan Key, the Thetis Fido U2F, and the Kensington Verimark Fingerprint key are all examples of popular removable media keys.

Removable USB Security Keys are a simple and low-cost option to protect sensitive data. While they may be overkill for an individual layperson, the amount of protection they provide makes them desirable for anyone working with sensitive data, particularly when using a public Wi-Fi connection.

Centex Technologies offers enterprises complete cybersecurity solutions. Contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454 for more information on how to safeguard your systems.

How Does Cybersecurity-as-a-Service Benefit In Securing Small Businesses?

What is CSaaS and what is it comprised of?

Outsourcing cybersecurity management to a professional Information Security Services provider, who is capable of ensuring security to your business operations is known as Cybersecurity-as-a-Service (CSaaS). CSaaS is frequently sold in bundles that comprise, among other things, the following services: -

  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Post-incident investigation
  • Executive summary reports
  • Email Exchange server security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Pre-incident prevention and detection
  • End-User security awareness training
  • Threat Intelligence and Threat Hunting
  • Digital Forensics and Incident Response
  • Malware Analysis and Reverse Engineering
  • Security Information and Event Management
  • Device configuration maintenance and backups
  • Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing
  • Firewall, Intrusion Detection-Prevention, and Load balancer support
  • Detecting, Preventing and Responding to various cyber threats and risks
  • Securing - Infrastructure, Network, Data, Endpoint, Application, Cloud, IoT, Physical premises
  • Maintaining organizational Compliance as per various 3rd-party vendor security assessments.

How could small businesses strengthen their Cybersecurity posture by implementing CSaaS?

A few of the primary benefits of implementing CSaaS, that are generic to any business across industries are as follows: -

Cost reduction of hiring, training, retaining Cybersecurity experts

Building identical cybersecurity skills in-house is significantly more expensive than using CSaaS. The global lack of IT Security expertize has made it extremely difficult to locate qualified staff, and those few that are available demand to be well compensated. MSSPs (Managed Security Service Providers) deliver cutting-edge security at a low cost. The CSaaS model removes significant upfront technology expenditures in favor of monthly fees that are predictable. 

24/7 Cybersecurity expertize at your fingertips

Finding a qualified workforce and putting together an efficient security operations team in-house may take a long time. CSaaS is immediately available, giving you access to a huge team of cybersecurity professionals and the latest tools. MSSPs work with a variety of customers in a variety of sectors. So, they have a plethora of real-world knowledge to draw on when battling increasingly sophisticated hackers. Furthermore, they are often available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is difficult for small in-house security operations teams.

Stress reduction on HRs and Executive leadership

Even if you have the means, establishing an in-house team of cybersecurity professionals may be difficult. This poses significant personnel issues and puts HR in a difficult position. There may just be insufficient people to effectively handle cybersecurity. CSaaS is helpful since it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By working with a third-party vendor, you can be certain that your company will always have enough people to cover the task.

Business expansion by focusing on business operations

Modern firms work in a dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-changing global environment. As a result, an organization’s cybersecurity requirements are likely to change over time. A fresh new firm with only a few people and a modest infrastructure, for example, would most likely have a limited attack surface. A small-scale security suite should serve in this scenario. However, as businesses expand, recruit more personnel, and expand their infrastructure, their attack surface will eventually expand. As a result, they would have to raise their coverage and buy a more comprehensive plan. The CSaaS model’s inherent flexibility is one of its most appealing features. Businesses also can either scale up or scale down as required to make sure they are spending the right amount of money on cybersecurity while avoiding unnecessary services. The entire procedure may be time-consuming, whether it’s monitoring network traffic, managing logs, or making system updates. This might take time away from your primary activities if done in-house. Of course, this can lead to lower productivity, a poor customer experience, and other issues. None of these things are desirable. The benefit of CSaaS is that it allows you to outsource almost all aspects of cybersecurity to a provider. It’s a relatively passive mode of operation. As a result, you’ll be able to concentrate on what matters most to you: developing your company and increasing the revenue & profits.

According to a recent PwC poll of over 10,000 business and IT leaders, this strategy is now being used by 62 percent of companies. With the frequency and severity of cyber assaults on the rise, more businesses are likely to follow suit.

Centex Technologies provide complete Cybersecurity solutions to businesses. For more information on how you can protect your systems, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454

How And Why Do You Need To Secure Your IoT Devices?

Why should you secure your IoT devices?

Widespread digitization has increased the convenience of using the internet, but it has also increased the risk of being targeted by cyber-attackers. Hackers can steal and exploit your personal and financial information, as well as take control of smart cameras and microphones to spy on you. As a result, your privacy and security may be jeopardized.

How to easily secure IoT devices?

Here are the seven ways to secure your IoT devices: -

Router configuration

Router ties all your IoT gadgets together and makes them useful. Don't use the default name for your router which is generally set by its manufacturer. People might find the default login and password and get access to your smart home network (if they discover the brand and model). So, set some strange name that has nothing to do with you or your place. Your router name must be very unique; also avoid revealing any personal information.

Strong access credentials

Set the router's password to something genuinely unique. Use passwords that are made up of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. The login credentials used to log into your IoT devices must also be set complicated. It's now critical to set unique set of credentials for each IoT device's user account and smartphone or web application. This ensures that even if one device's password is hacked, the other IoT devices remain secure.

Wi-Fi Network isolation for IoT wearables and gadgets

Many routers support guest network creation. It is advised to protect the primary home network from IoT cyber risks. You can build and deploy a secondary WiFi network. This will be devoted just to the IoT wearables and gadgets. Now, the IoT gadgets are operating via an isolated WiFi network. Hence, even if the hackers intrude, they would not be able to hack into your other vital personal devices.

Disable any features that you aren't using

Many IoT gadgets allow you to control them from any location on the earth. Disable remote access if you only use them on your home's Wi-Fi connection. Smart speakers, too, include Bluetooth alongwith a Wi-Fi connection. What if you don't utilize it? It should be turned off. It may sound weird, but an active microphone might be utilized to listen in on your chats if it is hacked. As a result, deactivating features entails blocking as many of those various entry points as feasible.

Updating and patching devices

Updating the firmware on your IoT devices may not happen automatically. Essential security patches are frequently included in these updates. So, do a manual check every few months and, if any outstanding firmware upgrades are discovered, install them without any delay.

Enable 2FA and MFA

Having a password plus an MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) adds an extra degree of protection. When someone tries it hard to log in the IoT devices using 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), they must offer extra evidence of identification every time. This proof could be an OTP or a verification code delivered to your phone or email address. MFA is activated by-default on most of the IoT devices in the market. You can use third-party apps like Google Authenticator to activate 2FA.

Installing an NGFW

A typical firewall lacks the essential security functions such as intrusion prevention and virus protection. Sometimes intercepting the SSL/SSH content and QoS management services aren’t available on traditional firewalls. The NGFW (Next-Generation FireWall) is an integrated network platform that combines a standard firewall with additional security features. An NGFW also contains almost all the features of a typical firewall. This makes it effective at detecting and defending against cyberattacks. NGFWs are an expensive investment, but the amount of security increment they provide for your IoT device network makes it quite worthwhile.

Even if you get the costliest IoT equipment from the most prestigious firms, the safety and security of your IoT devices’ network is ultimately in your own hands.

Centex Technologies provide complete network security solutions. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454

5 Ways Online Businesses Can Secure Their Customer Information

Privacy, securing data, and providing end-to-end security are unquestionably important components of doing business with clients online. The dynamically changing expectations and habits of online customers’ demands adoption of the best practices of securing user data and guaranteeing seamless user journeys. Some of the ways by which online businesses can secure their customer information are:

  1. Tell the customer how the business uses their personal information - Customers may be cautious to share personal information with brands, owing to a lack of transparency between businesses and customers over how their data is handled. Transparency may go against traditional business practices. But being transparent brings genuine value to products and services while boosting brand loyalty in the current business-consumer connection. Customers can understand and subscribe to the wider picture if you are honest about how you use their data.
  2. Check the IT environment for vulnerabilities and patch them - Businesses, particularly eCommerce sites, should test their sites on a regular basis to find vulnerabilities that aren't detected by their current security measures. Businesses must hire cybersecurity specialists or ethical hackers to identify code vulnerabilities. Running daily scans to ensure that malware hasn't been planted on the site is a basic check to be done. Businesses are also advised to invest in more powerful security programs as well.
  3. Monitor and control the access to customers’ data - Software to assist the integration of devices into IT infrastructures provides extra security layers for login processes. It also provides tools to encrypt emails. While these tools can help prevent unwarranted attacks, they don't address the source of the problem. Human employees and their unpredictable behavior is the most concerning factor. The greatest strategy to reduce the risk to your data is to educate your employees about your company's data protection policies. No amount of technology innovation can insulate a business from human error and oversight. Employees must be educated about the ways to handle sensitive customer information. They must also undergo specific courses that train them in preventing classified corporate information from falling into the wrong hands. The staff must be made to think twice about sending sensitive information over email. Also, the IT teams must ensure that passwords are changed and updated on a regular basis.
  4. Encryption is the need of the hour - Less than half of firms say they encrypt critical data, indicating that it is still a serious flaw. Payment processors such as Visa and MasterCard require retailers to encrypt card information by default during transactions. If the personal data is saved on corporate servers, there is a substantially higher danger of getting it hacked. The data has to be safeguarded with rigorous industry-standard security and the newest encryption technology.
  5. Proactively prepare for a disaster and be resilient - Most businesses have a disaster recovery strategy in place to deal with human error, data center outages, and natural disasters, but cyber-attacks are sometimes overlooked. It's critical to put protections in place to ensure business continuity even after facing a data breach. Care must be taken to ensure cyber-attacks must not be able to disrupt day-to-day business operations.

It makes sense to invest the time and resources necessary to protect sensitive customer data. Businesses must build a culture of joint responsibility for securing data. Data breaches are on the rise, and their impact is expected to be seen for years to come. As a result, criminals are getting wiser about hacking their target networks. Companies are advised to prioritize customer data protection now more than ever.

Centex Technologies provides computer networking, IT security and Cybersecurity solution to businesses. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.

Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats In 2022

Cybercriminals launched numerous cyberattacks in 2021 that were not only well-coordinated but also far more advanced than anything previously seen. Recent cybersecurity incidents affecting some of the world's largest corporations may have caught your attention. In reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic, the globe transitioned to a remote work paradigm and has since progressed to a 'hybrid' work culture. This has resulted in a flurry of new threats, technologies, and business models in the cybersecurity area. Everyone is a target of these cyberattacks, but small enterprises appear to be one of the most popular. CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) across the globe think these five cybersecurity issues are going to become the new cyberattack norm in 2022:

A range of cyberattacks targeting the Networks and Wifi of remote workers- A firewall and VPN deployed however reduce the common cybersecurity concerns. But educating the staff, and implementing stringent security policies are also a must. Putting up cybersecurity measures, on the other hand, becomes challenging when workers operate remotely. Almost half of the senior IT professionals in companies see their staff developing undesirable cyber-security behaviors. While working from home has been good for many employees, this is turning into a nightmare for security professionals. Unsecure networks, personal devices, and human error are just a few of the top cybersecurity threats connected with remote work. Ongoing employee training, among other security measures, can help to limit the danger to a large extent.

Threat to big data and cloud infrastructure - Increasingly, businesses are turning to the cloud to accelerate their digital transformation. Despite the growing popularity of cloud computing, data security remains a top priority for many businesses. Some of the reasons for cloud environments to be a lucrative target for hackers are: - 

  • RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) has not been properly administered and monitored
  • Misconfigurations of cloud instances
  • Failure to deploy and configure MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
  • Lack of monitoring and surveillance of the cloud environment
  • Improper configuration of IAM (Identity and Access Management) policies

Vulnerabilities in IoT enabled devices, wearables, gadgets, and appliances - It's all about becoming data-driven in the digital transformation process. One of the main sources of that data is the IoT (Internet of Things). IoT devices are vulnerable mostly due to a lack of built-in security safeguards to protect them from attackers. Cyberattacks on IoT devices have more than doubled in 2021, according to Kaspersky. Cyber attackers might obtain access to sensitive data and launch attacks against other linked systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in IoT devices.

Ransomware and APTs are here to stay - The classic ransomware narrative involved malicious programs encrypting files quickly with public-key RSA encryption. Then it deleted those files if the victim did not pay the ransom. Threat actors steal data from enterprises in addition to encrypting files in double extortion ransomware attacks. These are also well known as threats that force you to pay first or else they shall breach the company networks. This means that, in addition to demanding a ransom to decrypt data, attackers might threaten to expose stolen data. However, you cannot trust a hacker even if you made a second payment. Blackmailing and extortion are inherent characteristics of APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups. Most of these cyber attackers belong to some or the other APT groups. 

Social engineering and phishing - Anti-phishing software is in huge demand nowadays due to the wide scale advent of the work from home model. Credential stuffing is a cyber-attack in which credentials obtained from one service's data breach are used to log in to another unrelated service. These attacks are increasing their intensity. The sophisticated bots attempt multiple logins at the same time and pretend to originate from different IP addresses. The fact that many users employ the same username and/or password combination across several sites makes credential stuffing assaults quite effective. Credential stuffing will remain a severe issue if this practice persists. The most common source of data breaches is human mistakes. Many social engineering attacks will continue to grow in 2022. The lack of end-user cybersecurity knowledge and the attitude that it is the cyber team's responsibility is a red flag that people must rectify.

In 2022, there are a number of other threats that businesses should be aware of. Being aware of the top cybersecurity threat predictions for 2022 is just not enough. It's also critical to have a cybersecurity plan that can defend businesses from these dangers.

Centex Technologies provide state-of-the-art cyber-security and IT systems for enterprises. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454

What Is Business-IT Alignment?

Business IT alignment refers to the correspondence between business objectives and IT requirements of an organization. As the use of technology has become eminent for achieving business goals, it has become necessary to bridge the gap between the business units and IT department.

Before understanding more about business IT alignment, it is first important to know the reasons that have led to the progress in this direction. Here are some problems faced by organizations that keep IT department separate from other business units:

  • Under performance leading to limited success
  • Expensive investments with low ROI
  • Slow or faulty deployments resulting in bottlenecks that hinder service delivery
  • Lack of coordination between processes and solutions
  • Poor communication and support for end users and potential customers

In order to achieve business IT alignment, it is important to acquire a well-planned strategy. Following an iterative process by defining one change, putting it in place, analyzing the results, and making required changes can help an organization in achieving effective alignment between business operations and IT processes. This strategy can be defined as Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.

Plan:

  • Analyze current problem & conditions
  • Establish change objectives
  • Create processes to achieve solution

Do: 

  • Implement plan
  • Test small changes
  • Gather data on effectiveness of change

Check: 

  • Evaluate data
  • Identify deviations between goals & outcomes

Act:

  • Standardize the solution
  • Review & define next issues
  • Repeat the cycle

For aligning IT & business, consider these best practices:

  • Include all business teams along with IT team in continuous strategic loop so that all teams understand each other to function better.
  • View IT as a support to transform business results; so, add IT to other business units to offer solutions to address their problems and improve business efficiency.
  • Aligning all the business teams under common language and goals makes it easier to integrate the business and IT units. The main goal of the teams should be improve customer experience.
  • Implement equal level of transparency for all business teams and make them aware of what are the good investments the company is making, what are the problems being faced, what decisions need to be re-evaluated, etc.

Benefits Of Business-IT Alignment:

  • Reduce IT expenses by making only those IT investments that aim at business goals
  • Increase collaboration between the teams
  • Gain visibility into problem areas across the business units
  • Improve ROI
  • Speed up delivery time
  • Up-skill industry and employee knowledge

For more information on strategies and solutions for IT infrastructure management and IT alignment with business operations, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.