SEO Texas, Web Development, Website Designing, SEM, Internet Marketing Killeen, Central Texas
SEO, Networking, Electronic Medical Records, E - Discovery, Litigation Support, IT Consultancy
Centextech
NAVIGATION - SEARCH

Bursting Myths Surrounding Blockchain

A Blockchain is a transparent and publicly accessible ledger that is shared among a network of computers called Blockchain Network. It contains a growing list of records called blocks that are linked in chronological order to form a chain. The data is secured using public key encryption which resists the modification of information. Thus, data stored in blocks can be viewed or accessed by the users but it can’t be tampered with. This advantage has led to a rapid growth of Blockchain technology.

However, with the growth of Blockchain technology, some myths and disillusions have also developed around it. Following are some common myths surrounding Blockchain technology:

  1. Blockchain Is Same As Bitcoin: Blockchain is the root technology for bitcoin; but they are not interchangeable terms. Blockchain is a technology that allows recording of peer-to-peer transactions on a distributed ledger throughout a network. However, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. It is used to make direct exchange of currency between two people omitting the involvement of a third party such as a bank.
  1. Cryptocurrency Is The Only Application Of Blockchain: Cryptocurrency is a major application of Blockchain, however the technology has numerous other applications. Some common applications of Blockchain include monitoring supply chains, data sharing, digital ids, copyright & royalty protection, etc.
  1. Information On Blockchain Activity Is Not Public: A prevailing misconception about Blockchain technology is that the information on the ledger is hidden. On the contrary, reality is that the information can be viewed by anyone. Users can connect their computer to the Blockchain network and receive a copy of ledger on their system. This copy is automatically updated whenever a new block is added to it.
  1. Cryptocurrency Transactions Are Anonymous: It is a misconception that crypto transactions are anonymous. In actual, cryptocurrency transactions are recorded in a public ledger and many government agencies tie up with numerous cryptocurrency exchanges to access the ledger & map the address back to the owner.
  1. Blockchain Is Fundamentally A Storage Mechanism: Most users consider Blockchain to be essentially a storage mechanism. Undoubtedly, it offers unparalleled advantages for data storage; however, the technology has other advantages such as facilitating convenient exchanges.
  1. Tokens & Coins Are Same: Tokens and Initial Coin Offerings are two important terms used in Blockchain terminology. They are often confused to be same but there is an inherent difference between these terms. Coins store simple values; whereas, tokens are used for storing complex levels of value such as property, utility, income, etc.

For more information on Blockchain Technology and its applications, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Covert Channel Attacks

A covert channel attack is initiated by using an existing information channel to transfer objects from one source to another without the knowledge of the user. Since the system or information channel was not originally built for such communication or conveyance of information, hackers transfer the data in small bits to keep the attack unnoticed.

The data is embedded in the free space available in a data stream without affecting the main body of information being transferred. The space used for creating a covert channel may be the free space left within the padding or other parts of the network data packets. Usually, only 1-2 bits of covert data stream are added to one data packet which makes it difficult to detect the attack. As the original data is not tampered, the covert receiver can receive information from the system without creating a data trail.

Covert channels are of two types:

  • Covert Time Channel- The processing of signal information of a network channel by manipulating own system resources which affects real response time observed by the original network.
  • Covert Storage Channel- Direct or indirect embedding of data to a storage location by a system & direct or indirect reading of this data by another system at a different security level.

Using DNS As A Covert Channel

To create a covert channel, attacker installs a malware or specially designed program on the victim’s system via malicious links or by using remote administration to alter its DNS. An altered DNS is configured to serve random text in addition to website information. It behaves normally under usual conditions, but acts as per the covert channel program for a special domain. The flow of information between DNS & malware follows the normal client-server architecture. The malware plays the role of second component of covert channel. It sends DNS requests which look legitimate. The compromised DNS responds to these requests with hidden key information.  Covert receiver extracts this hidden information. Thus, a covert channel uses a fully functional authorized system to transfer unauthorized information in a secretive manner.

Covert channel attacks make use of simple forums like a file or time used for computation, which makes it difficult to identify these attacks. Two techniques that are commonly used for detection of covert channels are analyzing the resources of a system and vigilance of the source code.

For more information on tips to secure your computer network, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Health Technology Trends

Healthcare industry is moving towards preventive care solutions with the help of technological advancements. Digital innovative platforms like information systems and wearable devices are rapidly growing in health care market. Also, new technological trends like big data and healthcare analytics are gaining momentum. These advancements aim at achieving universal healthcare by making medical facilities accessible and affordable for everybody.

Technology trends that will potentially dominate healthcare industry in coming years are:

  • Primary Healthcare: The industry is focusing on quality improvement techniques to enhance primary care based on accessibility and equity. This will promote good health among a wide range of people regardless of their age, socio-economic status or geographic origin. Primary care revolves around prevention and patient education for longer & healthier lives. New technologies such as mobile apps that track calories, sleep pattern & fitness plans for improved health cycle are being widely used for educating patients.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare industry is employing artificial intelligence systems like IBM Watson for enhancing care management, drug discovery, managing patients for clinical trials, etc. Numerous other robotic and machine learning systems are being introduced in the healthcare sector as they offer attractive & valuable applications like image processing to detect abnormalities, robot assisted surgery, virtual nursing assistants and administrative assistance.
  • Blockchain: The technology is gaining popularity in health care industry because of its ability to secure data and protect it from breaches. Blockchain will facilitate the health care providers to manage endless data including patient health information, insurance claims, and electronic health records in a hassle free manner. Also, it will increase transparency between pharmaceutical industry and customers by enhancing drug traceability to prevent fake drugs.
  • Guiding Patients: Digital health tools like chatbots and companion robots have made healthcare accessible and convenient. They assist the patients in a humane way by addressing their needs. Chatbots make it possible for patients living in remote and rural areas to benefit from telemedicine projects and consult a doctor sitting far off through online channels. On the other hand, companion robots reduce workload of professionals like nurses & helping staff to save time and money.
  • Advance Analytics: Adoption of predictive analytics across hospitals have made it easier to analyze large amount of patient’s data. The analytic tools are capable of identifying genetic factors related to chronic diseases like cancer and spotting individuals with elevated risks of developing these diseases. This plays a key role in formulating preventive medicine programs, providing appropriate treatment as early as possible, reducing the chances of high-cost lengthy treatments and admission costs.

For more information on how medical establishments can benefit from advanced IT solutions, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Network Security Threats

A computer network consists of one or two computers that act as nodes and some peripheral devices. Once these devices are electronically connected, they enable the user to share resources, send & receive data over local or world-wide network and store data locally or on cloud. However, there are some security threats that lurk around computer networks and as the number of threats is on constant rise, it becomes necessary to have detailed knowledge about them.

Common Network Security Threats

  1. Viruses & Worms: They are snippets of software that are designed to infect a computer network. Both computer virus and worms are sent as email attachments, downloaded from a website or transmitted through any writable device like thumb drive, hard disk, etc. Once downloaded, they replicate themselves & spread over networked systems. After infecting the system; they send spam, disable security settings, steal personal information or delete data on the hard drive.
  1. Rogue Security Software: It is a malicious software as well as an internet fraud. The software sends a fake warning stating that the security settings of a user’s system are not up-to-date. Once the user is convinced, a scareware is downloaded under the disguise of an antivirus software. The software modifies actual security settings to prevent the user from identifying the attack. It crashes the system & reports the detection of fake malware. However, instead of directly deleting the detected files, the user is prompted to make extra payment for removal of reported virus. The prompts may stop after the payment is made, however the cycle repeats itself after a time gap.
  1. Botnet: They are a network of compromised computers which are controlled by a Command & Control network without the knowledge of computer user. The computers in the network are called bots or zombie computers. They are used to send spams or to initiate DDOS attacks. Also, botnets can be employed for attacking secure systems. Each bot operates at a low attack frequency to evade detection; however, collectively they are capable of performing a brutal attack.
  1. Trojan Horse: It is a malicious software that masks itself as a legitimate program and tricks the user to run it willingly. They are often spread via email or as a false advertizement that requires the user to click on a malicious link. Once the software is downloaded, it can record passwords by tracking keystrokes, hack webcam, steal personal data, etc.
  1. SQL Injection Attack: It is a code injection technique that attacks any type of SQL based data driven applications. The attackers takes advantage of security vulnerabilities of the application & inject malicious SQL code into an entry field for executing the attack. The attack enables them to spoof identity, annul website transactions, destroy the data or allow complete disclosure of user data stored in the database or application.

Regularly updating the antivirus software, avoiding links from unauthorized sources and scrutinizing the website before downloading any application can help in avoiding network security threats.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.

Using Technology Advancements To Increase Customer Engagement

Customers are the most important asset of a business. It is important for businesses to successfully engage their customers in order to survive in this highly competitive environment. One way to do this is by using technology.

Technology has influenced the business sector positively & empowered businesses to serve their customers in a better way. Following are some ways in which technological advancements can be used to increase customer engagement.

  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality: VR and AR technology is being used to engage customers innovatively. It improves the customer experience & allows them to perform tasks virtually which may be a little difficult or inconvenient to be performed physically. For example, Room Planner: Design for IKEA, is an app that allows users to browse through their products & preview how the furniture would look in their home by visualizing it from different points using their smartphone’s camera.
  • Location-Based Computing: Smartphones these days are location enabled devices that allow businesses to provide personalized services thus increasing customer engagement. For example, businesses can reach out more customers at a geo-location & target their needs. Cinemas, theaters, florists, salons, etc. target their customers in the vicinity & provide them last minute tickets & discounts using location based computing.
  • 3D Printing: By transforming the way businesses manufacture & distribute goods, the 3D printing technology has significantly affected customer engagement. Using this technology, a virtual design can be instantly transformed into a physical object. Also, any flaws in the manufacturing process can be identified early & fixed to save money and enhance customer experience. 3D printing also enables the customers to modify the shape, color, pattern, material, etc. to get a customized product. Since, they can choose what they need, it results in better customer engagement.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots have become quite popular these days. They offer 24/7 customer support and are faster as well as more efficient. These artificially intelligent assistants have self-learning capabilities and can proficiently engage the customers. Emobots have improved abilities & have entered the business scenario now as they can judge real-time emotional reactions of a customer & provide suitable services accordingly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI helps businesses in understanding customer needs & preferences better. For example, businesses can personalize a customer’s shopping experience in real time to increase engagement. Intelligent algorithms enable the websites and apps to target individuals and recommend them products based on their search history.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Most devices these days are internet-enabled which provide numerous opportunities to increase customer engagement. IoT generates humongous amount of data which can be used by businesses to gain insight about customer behavior for a personalized user experience. For example, this technology enables creation of predictive models that use condition-based monitoring to prevent failures before they occur. Businesses can use this information and provide timely maintenance before the device breakdowns completely.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

What Is Distributed Cybercrime?

Distributed cybercrime is a type of attack that is launched on a large scale with an aim to target many victims though the same campaign. Recent attacks like WannaCry, BadRabbit, NotPetya and other cybercrimes have created a havoc, thus highlighting the alarming increase of distributed cybercrimes.

Launching a massive ransomware attack on masses is the most preferred choice of cyber attackers. Such attacks are on rise and as per a prediction by Cyber Security Venture, a new organization will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds in 2019 and every 11 seconds by 2021. The number is soaring high and is growing at a fast pace.

What Makes Distributed Cybercrime A Preferred Choice To Cyber-criminals?

A cyber-criminal is not required to possess specialized knowledge of cybersecurity or cryptography to launch an attack. They use sample exploit codes and tools that are available on the dark web.

This way hackers develop malware and malicious software that run on professional platforms. The attack is not targeted to a specific set of people and usually cyber criminals don’t know their victims personally. They are simply interested in the ransomware amount. Their primary victims are individuals and organizations with sub-par security.

Following are some reasons why distributed cyber-attack is a lucrative option for cyber-criminals:

  • Since the distributed ransomware attack is aimed to target masses, it requires less effort.
  • Highly specialized skill & knowledge is not required to launch a distributed cybercrime.
  • There are endless possibilities of earning revenue as every standard endpoint is a potential source of revenue.

Hackers often send an email or website link, which when clicked by the victim installs a malware on their device. Ransomware attacks have affected almost every sector like healthcare, finance, transportation, etc. 

How To Protect Against Distributed Cybercrime?

  • Make sure that your organization meets the baseline security standards.
  • Follow a threat-centric vulnerability management (TCVM) approach.
  • Install an anti-virus software.
  • Update and patch your devices regularly.

How Does Threat Centric Vulnerability Management Work?

Cyber-crimes have been commercialized and so following this approach can significantly help in minimizing the risk of a distributed cybercrime.

  • The first step is assessment and discovery of vulnerabilities within an organization’s system.
  • Next step is threat intelligence research to consolidate and understand which exploits are active, available or packaged in the crimeware.
  • Then analyze the vulnerabilities and flag the ones that are exposed in the network or actively exploited.
  • Implement patches or other remedial factors such as IPS signatures, segmentation, etc. to avoid exploitation.
  • Check if something has been done to neutralize the effect of threat or reduce the overall risk. Vulnerabilities which have not been mitigated should be closely monitored.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.