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Reasons Why Companies Fail In Securing Data

      

Companies accumulate large amount of data every year. The data may include important information like trade secrets, customer information, client database, product/service information, marketing strategies, etc. It is important for the companies to keep this data secured to prevent financial, trade and reputation loss. However, an increasing rate of data breach incidents indicate that most companies fail to secure their data.

Here are some common mistakes that the enterprises make leading to loss of data:

  • Lack of Security Testing: New security features are launched at regular intervals. While it is recommended that businesses should update their security features with newer versions; the switch should be made after proper testing. The companies make the mistake of skipping the beta phase of testing (a testing phase where vulnerabilities of a new security feature are detected and rectified by the technical team of organization). Implementing any new security feature without thorough testing puts the business data at the risk because hackers get the chance to exploit the vulnerabilities and launch a data breach.
  • Forgetting To Map Data: Data movement is an essential component for managing the operations of any business. As the use of online resources is increasing, data movement forms the basis of marketing/ sales strategies, collaborative meeting of on-shore & off-shore employees, process handling between different teams, etc. As the data is regularly moving, it becomes important to keep a track of it. Mapping data is the process of marking the origin, journey and destination of data flow. It also involves keeping a track of every person who interacts with the data, and the changes made to it. This helps the data monitoring team to detect data handling patterns and recognize unexpected interactions at an early stage. However, companies usually commit the mistake of neglecting this important process.
  • Relying Solely On Anti-Virus: Although it is important to install anti-virus software into the computer systems of the organization to detect the malware; it should not be treated as the backbone of the cybersecurity strategies of the organization. Businesses make the mistake of relying solely on anti-virus software instead of installing other security measures that can detect and flag potentially malicious incoming data before it enters the network.
  • Using Outdated Versions Of Security Networks: When considering security networks, companies have to pay attention to three aspects namely security software, security hardware and internal network of company’s systems. Companies often update one or two of these aspects which leaves them at the risk of improper integration of security networks. The outdated versions lead to vulnerabilities in the system which can be exploited by hackers.

It is advisable for the businesses to focus on proper cybersecurity strategies to prevent data breach instances.

For more information about ways to secure data, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

 

Understanding The Difference Between AI, Machine Learning & Deep Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Deep Learning are commonly used interchangeably. However, in technological context; Machine Learning and Deep Learning are subsets of AI. In order to understand the difference between these terms, it is important to know the actual meaning of individual term.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial Intelligence is a term that defines the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. The processes include learning, reasoning and self-correction. AI is broadly classified as weak (narrow) AI and strong AI. Weak AI systems are designed to do a particular task. The most common example of weak AI is the virtual personal assistants. On the contrary, strong AI systems are equipped with generalized human cognitive abilities. These systems are able to find a solution to any problem independent of human intervention.

Machine Learning (ML): ML is an application or subset of Artificial Intelligence. Under this application of AI, a machine is programmed to access and manipulate data. The machine can analyze the data to identify patterns and learn from these patterns. This allows the machine or computer system to modify decisions as per any change in data without explicit programming. Machine Learning is driven by algorithms and stat models. The common usage of Machine Learning can be found in apps such as email filtering, optimization, internet fraud detection, etc. Machine Learning methods are widely grouped as supervised and unsupervised ML.

  • Unsupervised ML: These methods group interpret data based only on input data. Clustering methods are an example of unsupervised ML.
  • Supervised ML: Supervised ML methods use both input and output data to develop a predictive model. Classification and Regression methods are listed as supervised ML.

Deep Learning (DL): It is a broader subset of AI. Deep Learning involves collection of large unstructured data and combing through it to generate classified structured information. The basic difference between Machine Learning and Deep Learning is that ML is task oriented learning, whereas DL is more general. It is used to derive meaning or identify patterns in unstructured data. This, in turn, helps in spotting large scale trends or irregularities. Some common applications of Deep Learning include self-driving cars, fraud news detection, natural language processing, visual recognition, etc.

For more information about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.

Things You Need To Know About Mobile Device Management

Most of the employees at workplace connect their mobile devices to secure corporate networks. The trend is gaining popularity as it offers flexibility and convenience. However, this has given rise to concerns over security, privacy and connectivity. With the rapid adoption of BYOD culture by organizations, there is a requirement for more dynamic security solutions. Without a MDM (mobile device management) software, business information on lost or stolen devices will not be secured and can lead to loss of data. Also, personal devices used by employees have increased exposure to malware and viruses that could compromise confidential data.

This results in a rise in number of incidents involving data breach and hacking. Such events are detrimental for a company’s reputation among customers and other business partners. As there is an increase in corporate cyber-attacks, businesses are seeing the value of comprehensive MDM solutions.

Mobile device management is a system that is designed for IT administrators to secure policies, permission rights and applications across multiple platforms. It enables easy monitoring of all mobile devices to safeguard all business applications and credential assets. The organizations, through MDM software, can have complete control over their data.

For effective results, MDM solutions should be executed effectively. Essential criteria for successful MDM solution are:

  • Enforcement of security policies and passwords
  • 24/7 monitoring and fully manageable
  • Cloud-based system (to have automatic updates)
  • Remote configuration and monitoring
  • Restricting access to specific data and applications through Geo-fencing
  • Remote data wiping to prevent unauthorized access
  • Data restoration facility for corporate data
  • Rooting alerts for any attempts to bypass restrictions
  • Logging for compliance purposes
  • Remote disabling of unauthorized devices
  • Scalable – to accommodate new users and sophisticated devices
  • Device troubleshooting
  • Device location tracking

Other factors to be considered while implementing MDM solutions are:

  • Architecture: MDM software should be implemented depending upon the preferences of an individual business. Even with the increase in cloud services and infrastructure; organizations still have some systems that are run in their own data centers. In this case, solutions are required for on-site, cloud and hybrid options.
  • Direction: MDM solutions should be opted by a company depending upon the development of the enterprise. It should best fit current and future needs of the business.
  • Integration: It is essential for MDM solutions to comply with the existing security and management controls of the business. The right software will enhance both security and efficiency, enabling IT administrators to monitor and control from a single access point.

For more information about Mobile Device Management, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.

Trending Technologies In IT Industry

As technology is evolving rapidly, it has enabled a faster change and greater progress in the IT industry. The disruptive technological trends like interconnected humans, robots, devices, content and services driven by them have become an integral part of modern IT applications.

Some of the major technology disruptors revolutionizing the IT industry are:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): It is an emerging form of automation technology that uses software with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. RPA is used to perform high-volume repetitive tasks that awere earlier done by humans. The RPA robots utilize the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications like humans do.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT enables devices, home appliances, cars, etc. to be virtually connected and exchange data over the internet. The connected devices share data that they collect and take instructions from multiple sources which may or may not be in close proximity. Proper use of IoT technology can enable optimized traffic system, efficient waste management, energy use, etc.
  • Cloud Computing: The major part of the IT industry relies on cloud computing, making it one of the most trending technologies. The range of cloud solutions & delivery models is widening and it now requires the cloud services to be more adaptable in different areas of activity. Majority of IT service providers are acquiring hybrid cloud solutions to speed up the service delivery.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain technology has potential applications in almost every field. We have already witnessed use of blockchain applications in healthcare, IT, real estate, law enforcement, cryptocurrency, banking, etc.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI are computer programs that perform highly intelligent tasks, such as recognition of images, speech, patterns and complex decision making. Machine learning is a new branch of AI that is creating and enabling smart business operations with greater accuracy.
  • Data Security: Cybersecurity is increasingly evolving due to technological advancements. As the threats are constantly arising and the hackers are finding better ways to illegally access information, technologies are required to enhance data security by incorporating hardware authentication, cloud technology and deep learning. This makes data security an emerging technology as it will constantly evolve to defend against intruders.

Implementation of modern technology in business operations, marketing, customer care, etc. can increase productivity of an organization. For more information about various trending technologies and how they can be applied within your organization, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Importance Of Multi-factor Authentication

In recent years, there is an increase in number of cases related to password breach. The main reason for upsurge in number of such instances is the ease to crack an account password using modern algorithms and software. Accessing personal, financial or business information using a hacked password has become a lucrative option for cyber criminals; while it poses a great threat to businesses around the world.

In order to avoid falling prey to password theft, organizations are making a drift towards MFA (Multi-factor Authentication). MFA is a security system that requires the user to verify his identity using more than one method of authentication from independent categories of credentials at the time of login or a transaction.

Why Do Organizations Need MFA?

Following are the primary motivations to incorporate MFA in organization’s cyber security protocol:

  • Stronger Authentication: As per a study, 80% of hacking-related breaches are a result of weak or stolen passwords. MFA modifies the traditional practice of granting access based on username and password. It adds another layer of protection to the resources of an organization which is based on multiple weighted factors. This reduces the risk arising from compromised passwords.
  • Adaptive Work Culture: As organizations are promoting BYOD and work from home culture, more employees request access to the organizational resources from their personal devices. The employees may access their email accounts over unsecured Wi-Fi networks outside the organization’s protected premises. This gives the hackers greater opportunities to steal passwords.
  • Common Passwords: As employees are required to set up and memorize passwords for multiple accounts or resources, they tend to keep easy passwords. Alternatively, they may keep a common password for multiple accounts. This puts the organization at a higher risk for password breach.
  • Higher Risks: Most of the password breaches result in identity theft. The cyber criminals may impersonate the victim employee and gain unauthorized access to the data, financial information, trade secrets, customer credentials, etc. The hackers may even erase the data files hampering the functionality of the organization for a long period of time.
  • Defamatory: A password breach may allow hackers to access the customer records including personal details, address, personal health information, etc. They may leak this information resulting in defamation of the organization in the market. This may cause serious business setback.

How Is MFA Set Up?

A commonly used MFA practice is implementation of TOTP (time-based one-time password). A user now requires two pieces of information to access the resources; password set by him and a TOTP generated on his registered smartphone or email id. This helps in significantly reducing the incidents of breach. However, there are numerous other factors that are used to set multiple layers of security.

Some of the factors used for setting up MFA are:

  • Factor 1: Password, security question, PIN, etc.
  • Factor 2: HMAC-based OTP, TOTP, Personal Identity Verification, etc.
  • Factor 3: Biometric
  • Factor 4: Geolocation Security Checks, IP address, etc.
  • Factor 5: Picture password, gestures, touch, etc.

For more information on Multi-factor Authentication, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Watering Hole Attack

A watering hole attack is an opportunistic cyber security attack where the attacker targets a specific group of end users, usually an organization.

What Does ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Mean?

The attack gets its name from a wildlife predatory tactic. Many predators in a forest lurk around a watering hole or an oasis to wait for their prey. As the prey comes to drink water from the oasis, the predator grabs the opportunity to attack. The cyber-attack follows a similar approach and is thus named as ‘Watering Hole Attack’.

How Is The ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Executed?

For executing the attack, hacker traps a single user to gain access to a corporation’s server. The attack is executed in a stepwise process:

  • Finding The Waterhole: The attackers begin the process by finding the waterhole. They conduct thorough research and observe their target user to find out the website that is frequently visited by him. This website acts as the waterhole.
  • Compromising The Website: Once the attackers identify the frequently visited website, they look for existing vulnerabilities in the website. They inject malicious JavaScript or HTML code in the ads or banners displayed on the website. When the end user accesses the compromised website, this code redirects him to a separate site where the malware is hosted.
  • Infecting the server: When targeted user accesses the site, a script containing the malware is automatically downloaded on the user’s system. This malware collects personal information from user’s device and sends it to the C&C server. In some cases, the malware script may allow complete access of the victim’s system to the attacker. The infection is then spread across other systems on the organization’s server.

Avoiding ‘Watering Hole Attack’

In order to increase the impact of an attack, hackers choose trusted websites for launching the infection. Also, they make use of zero-day exploits for infesting these websites. This makes it difficult for traditional tools like antivirus to detect these attacks at an early stage. Thus, employing preventive measures is the best way to keep yourself safe from Watering Hole Attacks.

  • Keep your system updated with latest software patches.
  • Configure firewalls & other network security protocols.
  • Monitor the popular websites visited by your employees to ensure that these sites are not infested with any malware.
  • Regularly monitor your organization’s websites to detect any malware at its earliest stage.
  • Use browser’s private settings and VPN services to hide your online activities.
  • Configure your security tools to keep users notified about compromised websites.
  • Educate your employees about ‘Watering Hole Attacks’ and ways to avoid them.

For more information on Watering Hole Attack, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cyber Security For E-commerce Portals

In simple words, an E-commerce website is an online portal that facilitates the exchange of goods (or services) through transfer of information & funds over internet. Common examples of E-commerce websites are shopping portals, ticket booking websites, auction websites, music portals, etc.

Need For Data Security In E-commerce:

E-commerce operations involve exchange of user’s data like payment details, delivery address, contact information, etc. If there is an instance of data leak, the users can become victims of serious financial frauds, privacy violations and identity thefts. This makes it vital for e-commerce portals to keep the data secure through advanced cyber security solutions.

Below are a few most common security measures that e-commerce portal should adopt:

Choose The E-Commerce Hosting Service Wisely: The hosting service plays an important role in keeping the website secure. Following are some factors that should be considered while choosing a hosting service for an e-commerce portal:

  • The hosting company should have a strong cyber security policy and should deploy required solutions to keep the servers safe.
  • Hosting server should be configured by keeping in mind the security level desired. The configuration should allow advanced cyber security solutions to work well without compromising the performance of the portal.
  • The hosting provider should have a good backup management.
  • The hosting server company should provide technical support 24/7.

Use HTTPS: It is recommended to buy SSL certificate and move your E-commerce website to HTTPS. SSL or Secure Sockets Layer encrypts the traffic and creates a secure layer between user’s browser and your server to prevent data breach by hackers.

Secure User Information: An important aspect is to keep user login information secure as hackers tend to steal it. Also, it may help to have unique password requirements like using a combination of alphabets, numerical values and special characters.

Store Selective Information: It is understandably important to store the data required to contact customers or plan your marketing strategies. However, avoid storing data that is not required. Also, it is advisable that E-commerce websites should not store sensitive user data like credit card details.

Audit Your Website: Regularly audit your E-commerce platform to keep a check on vulnerabilities. Also, keep an eye for security updates and patch up your settings accordingly. It is important to have a stringent security policy and update it on regular intervals as new threats arise.

For more information on cyber security solutions for E-commerce portals, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.