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What Is Disaster Recovery As A Service?

“Disaster Recovery As A Service” or DRaaS can be defined as a cloud computing service model which allows an organization to back-up its data and IT infrastructure on a third party cloud computing environment. It also provides disaster recovery through a SaaS solution to help an organization regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure after a disaster.

Benefits of DRaaS:

Cost Efficiency:

The most important components of disaster recovery include:

  • Preventive measures that reduce the risk of man-made disasters
  • Detective measures aimed at identifying disasters at the earliest
  • Corrective measures to restore lost data and allow affected organization to resume business operations at the earliest, in case a disaster occurs
  • Disaster recovery planning includes using innovative hardware, software and performing on-time updates.

In order to achieve these goals, organizations need to run regular analysis of potential threats, maintain IT systems in optimal conditions, and seek innovative solutions focused on cybersecurity. DRaaS providers take care of these requirements with high efficiency. They also include cloud-based data management where resources are replicated to many different sites to ensure continuous backup even if one site is not available. This helps in reducing the risk of disaster and reduces the cost incurred due to downtime after disaster.

Increased Employee Productivity: In order to execute a disaster recovery plan, it is important that employees should know their roles and responsibilities. When specific roles and responsibilities are assigned in advance, it will increase effectiveness and productivity of the plan. It is important for organizations to have at least two employees who can perform one task. This allows the organization to implement disaster recovery plan even if one of the employees is not available.  Opting for DRaaS allows the organization’s employees to focus on their own tasks as the disaster recovery is managed by the well-trained team of the service provider. Most managed service providers also train employees of the client to handle disaster recovery plan.

Scalability: When a disaster recovery plan is designed, organizations also take scalability into account. The recovery plan should be able to manage increased organizational resources resulting from business growth. Opting for DRaaS allows easy scalability as organizations are just required to convey increased requirements to the service provider and pay accordingly.

Centex Technologies offers an array of managed services to its clients. The services are aimed at ensuring smooth operations and security of clients. To know more about Disaster Recover As A Service (DRaaS), call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

How To Protect Organization's Data?

Protecting data is one of the top priorities for an organization as data theft can lead to leaked user credentials, financial loss, etc., among other notable damages. Cybersecurity teams of an organization need to be proactive in protecting the organization’s data to prevent the repercussions.

Here are five data protection steps to protect your business:

  • Identify What Needs To Be Protected: When formulating a data protection strategy, it is first important to know what you are protecting. There might be some hidden or lost assets connected to the organization’s network. Employ an IT asset management system and run a discovery of organization’s environment to identify every asset that can be a potential source of vulnerability. Additionally, be aware of any software downloaded by employees on their devices and keep a track of shadow IT. Shadow IT on home computers or remote devices used by employees may pose a threat as these are not managed by IT team of organization. IT teams need to learn about software being used by employees and how to protect it.
  • Patch & Update: Installing latest updates helps to keep a software protected as the updates contain patches to any vulnerabilities present in previous versions. Unpatched vulnerabilities are a significant problem. A study has indicated that unpatched vulnerabilities account for approximately 60% of all data breaches. Create a well-defined policy to evaluate and schedule updates and patches. This helps in minimizing downtime and increasing protection.
  • Review The Tools: Efficient integration of information security tools such as antivirus, firewalls, and IDP/IPS into systems can improve data protection. Another important factor is to scale the protection as per the environment, for example consumer grade antivirus software used for securing a home computer would not be effective in case of an organization’s network. Organizations can monitor their environment using a SIEM tool aided by 24/7 security operations center.
  • Spread Security Awareness: The famous Colonial Pipeline data breach was most likely caused by a phishing email. Employees may act as an entry point for a malware and are often targeted by cyber criminals by sending phishing emails or messages. Phishing emails are designed to look more realistic and the sender’s address is usually spoofed to look like a co-worker’s. It is important to educate employees to be able to identify phishing signs and take the required steps. Organize cybersecurity training at every level of hierarchy to keep employees updated about changing cybersecurity protocols.

Centex Technologies assists organizations in identifying their cybersecurity needs and provides services to strengthen the IT security of its clients. To know more about ways to protect an organization’s data, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cybersecurity Risks When Implementing Hybrid Cloud Model

A hybrid cloud model combines a private cloud with one or more public cloud solutions. In a hybrid cloud model, proprietary software enables communication between distinct services. This type of cloud computing model can help gain security advantage provided some critical challenges are addressed.

Following are crucial cybersecurity risks that need to be identified and addressed before implementing the hybrid cloud model:

  • Compliance: A hybrid cloud model involves data movement between high-security private cloud and comparatively less secure public cloud. Such data movement may induce compliance issues and make data vulnerable to breaches. Businesses need to take extra measures to ensure that the hybrid cloud model meets compliance requirements. It may be achieved by ensuring that individual private and public cloud networks meet standard data security norms such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Also, it is important to make sure that the data transfer mechanisms adhere to regulatory requirements.

 

  • Data Privacy: The essence of hybrid cloud model lies in flexible data movement between public cloud and private cloud. In such movement, there are high chances that the data can fall prey to intruder attacks that challenge the organization’s data privacy rules. Organizations should employ measures such as endpoint verification protocol, robust VPN, and strong encryption policy. These measures help in encrypting and protecting data from security breach incidents.
  • Distributed Denial of Service: DDoS is another serious cyber-attack that can be initiated from multiple sources to target a single location. Since the attack has various source locations, it becomes difficult to trace and detect. This increases the risk factor. To tackle this, organizations need to maintain a strict monitoring system that can track the inflow and outflow of data. It is important to make sure that the monitoring system should be scalable, responsive, and able to handle multi-vector attacks.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLA): Employing a hybrid cloud solution means handing over data governance and accountability to its public Cloud Service Provider (CSP). If the security of such a public cloud is compromised, it can be a severe issue and may lead to critical data loss. To avoid such issues, be careful while signing Service Level Agreements with the service provider to ensure data confidentiality. Make it a point to understand security limitations and strictly define accountability factors.
  • Risk Management: Organizations should employ adequate risk management and preventive safety measures to protect their intellectual property from potential risks. Organizations can use tools such as IDS/IPS to scan malicious traffic. Also, maintain a log monitoring system with advanced firewall and security management features.
  • Data Redundancy: Organizations should adopt a well-defined data redundancy policy to ensure timely backup of critical data. This can be achieved by maintaining multiple data centers. It also helps in continuing business services during data center outages.

For more information on various cloud models, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654

Types Of Cyber Attacks

Cyber-attacks have become sophisticated and are now capable of causing long-term effects on organizations. Thus, businesses need to prepare comprehensive cybersecurity policies. The first step to drafting a cybersecurity policy is to be aware of the threats.

Here are the types of cyber-attacks that an organization is most likely to face:

  • Brute Force Attack: Under this type of attack, the attackers adopt a trial and error approach to guess the password to a system or user account. They try every possible combination of passwords or passphrases until the account is unlocked. Brute force attacks are expedited by using software or tools that can push many possible passwords in a short time. Some of the tools used by cybercriminals include Aircrack-ng, Crack, Hashcat, Hydra, etc.
    Safety Tips:
  • Use complex passwords and change them regularly
  • Set a limit on number of login attempts
  • Enable captchas
  • Employ multi-factor authentication
  • Credential Stuffing: Credential stuffing cyber-attack is based on the assumption that users tend to keep the same password across multiple accounts. Attackers use a database of compromised credentials (password breach database available on the dark web containing stolen credentials from data breaches) to gain unauthorized access to an account. The attackers use bots for automating and scaling up the attack. The hacked accounts can be used for financial theft, fraudulent transactions, misuse of stored data, etc.

Safety Tips:

  • Employ multi-step login process throughout the organization
  • Blacklist suspicious IP addresses
  • Use techniques such as device fingerprinting
  • Phishing & Spear Phishing: Phishing is one of the most common cyber-attack types. Attackers frame an email that looks legitimate with a seemingly trusted source to trick targets into providing personal details. The emails generally include matters that would require a user to act in a hurry; for example, the email may mention that the user needs to verify his details within a few minutes to avoid being charged a penalty or account suspension by his financial institution. The attackers use technical knowledge in conjunction with social engineering to design a successful phishing attack. Spear phishing is a more targeted attack where the attackers research the target to prepare a more personalized message or email.

Safety Tips:

  • Be wary of emails from unknown sources
  • Before clicking on a link, hover over it to see the destination
  • Pay close attention to email headers
  • Malware Attacks: Malware is a broad term representing attacks where malicious software is downloaded on the target device to steal, encrypt, or delete sensitive data for business or financial benefits. Majorly known forms of malware include adware, bots, ransomware, and Trojans.

Safety Tips:

  • Use a dedicated tool for adware removal
  • Install firewall and keep the system up-to-date
  • Perform frequent backup
  • Avoid downloads from unknown sources

Centex Technologies is committed to helping clients understand cyber-attacks and formulate an effective strategy to stay protected. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Role Of AI In Transforming DevOp

DevOps methodology has significantly improved software development by breaking down the traditional barrier between development & IT teams. This collaboration of distributed teams helps in reducing the timeline of software development. However, the ultimate goal of DevOps – which is 100% automation across Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) – remains unachieved. Some business organizations still seem to be struggling with how to integrate DevOps in overall business processes.

These challenges can be maneuvered by adopting AI. The highly distributed nature of AI toolsets helps in reducing operational complexities of DevOps methodology. AI also improves the accuracy, quality and reliability of DevOps by streamlining and accelerating different phases of software development.

Ways in which AI transforms DevoPS:

  • Testing: DevOps includes a number of testing processes such as unit testing, regression testing, functional testing, and user acceptance testing. These testing processes generate a large amount of data and analyzing this data can be overwhelming for the DevOps team. AI implements pattern recognition to make it easier to analyze and categorize the data. After analyzing, it also provides insights on poor coding practices and errors to help code developers identify areas for better performance.
  • Data Access: The productivity and efficiency of DevOps team is highly stalled by lack of adequate access to data. This hinders the team’s ability to leverage data for decision-making. AI-powered data mapping technologies integrate a myriad of data from different sources & streamline it for consistent & repeatable analysis. It helps teams uncover valuable insights for decision-making.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Prompt alerts are helpful in promoting rapid response. However, when DevOps teams receive multiple alerts with same level of severity, it becomes difficult for them to react effectively. In such situations, AI helps in prioritizing most critical issues by collecting diagnostic information pertaining to every issue. In addition to prioritizing the issues, AI also suggests prospective solution based on magnitude of alert, past behavior, & source of alert. This facilitates faster remediation of the issue.
  • Automation: Integration of AI with DevOps significantly improves the automation quotient by eliminating or reducing the need for human intervention across processes from code changes to deployment.
  • Security: DevSecOps is an extension of DevOps that ingrains security into DevOps workflow. It automates core security tasks across software development lifecycle. AI based anomaly detection techniques help teams to accurately spot threats to their system and secure it proactively.
  • Collaboration: AI plays an important role in improving collaboration between DevOps teams by facilitating a single, unified view into system issues across DevOps toolchain.
  • Software Quality: AI improves the quality of software by auto-generating and auto-running test cases on the code. AI-based testing tools eliminate test coverage overlaps and fasten the process from bug detection to bug prevention.

Centex Technologies offers software development services for organizations. To discuss your software requirements, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Recent Cyber Attacks

Recent times have been quite eventful for cybersecurity specialists. The world witnessed a number of cyber-attacks; thereby creating a need for adoption of advanced cybersecurity solutions.

Here is a brief description about some significant breaches that happened recently:

  • SolarWinds: In this attack, hackers were able to successfully compromise the infrastructure of a company named SolarWinds. The company produces a network and application monitoring platform known as Orion. After compromising the company’s infrastructure, the attackers used their access to distribute compromised version of the software to the users including 425 of Fortune 500 companies, top ten telecommunication companies of US, top five US accounting firms, hundreds of colleges worldwide, etc. Malware infected version of Orion was used to successfully breach a cyber-security company known as FireEye. Another malware known as Supernova also used the compromised Orion version as the delivery method to infect its victims.
  • Software AG: Software AG is the second largest software vendor in Germany and seventh largest in Europe. It was hit by Clop ransomware attack in October 2020. The attackers demanded $23 million as ransom.
  • Sopra Steria: It is a European IT firm that provides an array of IT services, including consulting, systems integration, and software development. In October 2020, the company was attacked by a new version of Ryuk ransomware.
  • Telegram: A group of hackers that had access to the system used for connecting mobile networks across the world were able to gain access to Telegram messenger and email data of high-profile individuals in the cryptocurrency business.

Formulating new cyber security strategies and updating existing protocols is necessary for staying protected against cyber-attacks. A great way to do so is to observe the cyber-attacks and understand the new techniques being used. Recent cyber-attacks have shown that ransomware and social engineering attacks are gaining momentum. In terms of defensive actions, SolarWinds attack has indicated that third party risk management needs to be prioritized. Protecting remote endpoints and workers has emerged as next priority. Automated response systems should be used to improve the response time for preventing lateral infections through the network.

Centex Technologies provides cybersecurity solutions to businesses. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

The History Of Ransomware

A ransomware is a malicious program that infects a target device and gains control. The program encrypts files and blocks the user access to the infected data (or system) until the targeted organization pays the ransom to the attackers. Although the instances of ransomware attacks have gained momentum lately, it is actually a primitive cybersecurity threat.

Here is a brief account of history of ransomware:

  • First Ransomware: The first known ransomware attack was recorded in 1989. The attack was carried out by Joseph Popp, an AIDS researcher. He distributed 20,000 floppy disks containing a malicious program to AIDS researchers across 90 countries. He made pretence that the floppy disks contained a survey program. It was a basic ransomware attack and since then ransomware attacks have evolved and have acquired an array of advanced features.
  • Locker Ransomware: In 2007, a new category of ransomware malware appeared. It was known as Locker Ransomware. This type of ransomware did not encrypt files; instead it locked the victim out of the device preventing him from using it. Another ransomware that operated on this technique is known as WinLock. The ransomware employed worms such as Citadel, Lyposit, and Reveton for displaying a fine message from a law enforcement agency. The ransomware demanded $10 as ransom in exchange for the unlocking code.
  • Scareware: After a few years, the attackers changed their strategy. They started capitalizing on the fear of ransomware by spreading fake applications and antivirus programs. In these types of ransomware attacks, the malicious applications attack a target device and display a pop up message saying that the device has been infected with viruses. The message encourages the victim to visit a website and pay for antivirus software for fixing the problem. The link mentioned in the message redirects the user to a malicious website designed to look authentic and legitimate. After a few years, cyber criminals understood that they can compromise any website instead of designing fake websites. They switched to automated ransomware attacks the included phishing emails as vectors.
  • Crypto Ransomware: In 2013, first cryptographic ransomware emerged. It was known as CryptoLocker. It was launched by Gameover ZeuS bot and was sent as an email attachment. Once downloaded, the ransomware encrypted the files on the device and demanded a bitcoin payment for unlocking the files.
  • Ransomware-As-A-Service: It is the latest step in the evolution of ransomware. It first appeared in 2015 with the Tox toolkit launch. This gave beginner cybercriminals a chance to develop custom ransomware tools with advanced capabilities.

Centex Technologies offers cybersecurity solutions to businesses. For more information on, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Popular Modern Hacking Techniques

The year 2020 has witnessed a shift in the digital ecosystem as major number of employees have taken a turn towards working from home. Thus, most organizational networks are now being accessed remotely by employees sitting at diverse locations spanning across the globe. This has given rise to new opportunities for hackers who are exploring different techniques to disrupt the vulnerable networks.

Here is a list of popular modern hacking techniques:

  • H2C Smuggling: H2C stands for HTTP/2 cleartext. These attacks abuse H2C unaware front-ends to create a tunnel to backend systems. This enables the attackers to bypass frontend rewrite rules and exploit internal HTTP headers.
  • Portable Data exFiltration: Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks are extensively being used to compromise data stored in PDF files and exfiltrate it to a remote server. The rate of these attacks has extensively increased with the increasing popularity of server-side PDF generation such as generation of e-tickets, boarding passes, etc. These PDF documents often contain sensitive information including bank details, passport numbers, addresses, and other personal data. In this attack, a malicious injection vector is injected into the PDF. When a user clicks on the link or anywhere in the PDF, the hacker can extract all the sensitive information entered by the user.
  • TLS Attacks: Exploiting features of TLS (Transport Layer Security) makes it possible to land Server Side Request Forgery attacks. The attack technique involves exploiting technologies involved with TLS session caching. The hacker can manipulate the session to send a TLS session ID ticket or psk (pre-shared key) identity to his server.
  • NAT Slipstreaming: NAT slipstreaming exploits the victim’s browser in conjunction with the Application Level Gateway (ALG) connection tracking mechanism built into NATs, routers, and firewalls. This is done by chaining internal IP extraction via timing attack or WebRTC, automated remote MTU and IP fragmentation discovery, protocol confusion through browser abuse, etc. As the destination ports are opened by NAT or firewall, this helps in bypassing any browser-based port restrictions.

Understanding of the hacking techniques is essential to formulate effective prevention strategy against modern hacking attacks. An effective prevention strategy is important to ensure the safety of organization’s network and individual user systems. A loophole in the cyber security strategy can cause major losses in terms of stolen data, user information, business secrets, etc.

For more information on popular modern hacking techniques, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.