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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.        

Basics Of Cyber Security Strategy

In a practical environment, a cyber security strategy is actually an amalgamation of multiple strategies. Cyber security professionals employ different strategies in coordination with each other in order to ensure a multidimensional protection against cyber threats.

Here is a brief guide to cyber security strategies:

Creating A Secure Cyber Ecosystem: The cyber ecosystem involves a wide range of entities including devices, individuals, management, private organizations, etc. which interact with each other. This strategy emphasizes on having a robust cyber ecosystem that would permit its devices to interact in a secure manner. A strong cyber ecosystem has three symbiotic structures – automation, interoperability, and authentication.

Creating An Assurance Framework: The basic objective of this strategy is to design an outline in compliance with global security standards. The framework that is designed is in compliance with industry wide standards, guidelines, and practices. These parameters help businesses to manage cyber security related risks.

Encouraging Industry Standards: Standards help in defining the outline of how an organization approaches the information security related issues. Implementation of cyber security standards enhance the efficiency of security processes, enable systems incorporations, provide a medium to test new applications, organize the approach to arrange new technologies in the cyber framework, etc.

Creating Mechanisms For IT Security: Different IT security mechanisms differ in their internal application features and attributes of security they provide. Following are the common IT security mechanisms:

  • Link Oriented Measures
  • End-To-End Measures
  • Association-Oriented Measures
  • Data Encryption

Protecting Critical Information: Critical information such as user data, login credentials, financial data, business trade secrets, etc. is the backbone of any organization. Safeguarding critical information against growing cyber threats needs a structured approach. This strategy can be implemented via following steps:

  • Defining critical information
  • Categorizing the available information
  • Prioritizing information categories
  • Securing the most critical information
  • Testing the framework
  • Securing the second category and repeating the cycle

Security As A Service: SaaS providers offer a cyber security solution with different attributes to meet diverse cyber security needs of organizations. This strategy can be implemented based on 5 C’s:

  • Change – Organizations face changing pressures from different sources such as competitive threats, new regulations, internal threats, cyber threats, etc. SaaS model enable organizations to respond to these changes quickly.
  • Compliance – SaaS solutions are designed keeping in mind the governances, regulations, etc.
  • Cost – SaaS provides an alternative cyber security solution allowing the in-house IT teams to focus on core business.
  • Continuity – Multi-tenant SaaS services are hosted in highly reliable data centers with built-in redundancy.
  • Coverage – SaaS solutions offer clear benefits with geographically dispersed sites allowing easy management of remote users.

For more information on basics of cyber security strategy, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654. 

What Is SQL Injection Attack?

SQL injection (SQLi) attacks exploit existing vulnerabilities to alter SQL queries by injecting malicious code. If successful, SQL injection attacks can allow the cyber attackers to modify database information, access sensitive data, execute administrator tasks on the database, and recover files from the target system. In extreme cases, attackers can also issue commands to the database operating system.

In order to defend against SQL injection attacks, it is imperative to understand the working of the attack.

How Does A SQL Injection Attack Work?

Cyber criminals may use several different types of SQL injections to execute an attack. Here are some common variants of SQL injections:

  • SQL Injection Based On User Input: In this type of SQL attack, the user inputs are used to inject malicious code and gain access to the system. Web applications accept user inputs via forms. The information collected by these forms is then passed on to the database for processing. If the web application server does not screen the forms, the attacker can inject SQL statements via user input form fields and delete, copy, or modify the contents of the database.
  • SQL Injection Based On Cookies: In this approach to SQL injection, the cookies are modified to infect database queries. Web applications often load cookies to use data stored in them as part of database operations. The malicious users or a malware installed on the system can modify the cookies to inject SQL statement in the backend database. Once infected, cyber attackers can access the database to steal, modify or delete the data stored in the database.
  • SQL Injection Based On HTTP Headers: Some web applications are designed to accept inputs from HTTP headers. In such cases, malicious actors create fake headers containing arbitrary SQL statements. When the web application accepts input from these fake HTTP headers, the malicious code is injected into the database.
  • Second Order SQL Injection: These are most complex SQL injection attacks because they are designed in a way that allows the SQL code to lie dormant in the system for a long time.

What Is The Impact Of SQL Injection Attacks?

SQL injection attacks can cause various harms to the victim system:

  • Steal user credentials resulting in identity theft.
  • Access information stored in database server.
  • Alter or add new information to infected database.
  • Delete database records leading to DoS attacks.

 For more information on SQL injection attack, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.