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Guide To Web Application Penetration Testing

In a dynamic cyber security environment, it is important to test the security protocols of your web application at regular intervals. An effective approach is to check how the security system will react if the application is actually attacked.

Web application penetration testing is a simulation technique that simulates attacks against the web application to help developers and cyber security teams identify any cyber security flaws, weaknesses and vulnerabilities for timely remediation. This type of testing can be used to identify vulnerabilities across web application components and APIs including backend network, database and source code.

Types Of Penetration Testing:

Depending upon the location of attack, web application penetration testing can be classified into two types:

  • External Penetration Testing: In this type, the web application is attacked from outside. The penetration test simulates the way an external attacker would launch an attack against the web application. This type of testing helps in checking firewalls and server security protocols.
  • Internal Penetration Testing: In this type of penetration testing, the attacks against the web application are launched from within the organization. The testing is usually performed through LAN connections. The goal off internal penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities that might exist within the firewall. This type of testing helps in understanding the reaction of web application security system in case of a malicious insider attack.

Another important aspect of consideration when testing web application security is level of access. Following types of web application penetration testing can be performed to test the level of access and scope of knowledge:

  • Black Box Penetration Testing: This type of web application penetration testing simulates cyber security attacks that may be launched by external attackers who have no prior knowledge of targeted system.
  • Gray Box Penetration Testing: This type of web application penetration testing checks the response of security systems in case of an insider attack launched by internal threat actors having user level access to certain systems.
  • White Box Penetration Testing: This is a comprehensive penetration testing that simulates cyber security attacks that may be launched by a threat actor having root level or administrator access to the web application servers and data.

How Is Penetration Test Executed?

Planning:

  • Define the scope of test.
  • Provide required information and documentation to the tester.
  • Determine success criteria of the test.

Execution:

  • Run the test several times.
  • Follow pre-defined success and reporting criteria.
  • Create a clear & detailed report.

Post-Execution:

  • Provide recommendation for remediating vulnerabilities.
  • Re-test to check if remediation was effective.
  • Once all tests are concluded, revert the system to original configuration.

For more information on web application penetration testing, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.         

History Sniffing Cyber Attacks

History Sniffing is an umbrella term that defines different techniques used to monitor the web browser history for diverse purposes including the launch of a cyber attack. Although it is an old trick, the technique is still being used for victimizing internet users. In the recent times, studies have shown a rise in the types and numbers of history sniffing cyber attacks for the sheer ease of launching such attacks.

How Is History Sniffing Cyber Attack Launched?

  • The cyber attackers create fake online advertisement and preload attacker code in this ordinary looking advertizement.
  • The code is embedded with a list of target websites (the websites that hackers want to know if the user has visited).
  • When user clicks on the advertizement, the code starts running and checks the browsing history for target websites.
  • If the user has visited any of the target websites, the program will indicate a match to the hacker.
  • The hackers then redirect the victim to corresponding fake version of the website to cause further damage.

How Are History Sniffing Attacks Used?

The data collected by history sniffing attacks is used as a foundation for other types of cyber attacks by hackers.

  • Phishing: Hackers use history sniffing techniques to find out the financial organization websites visited by the victim. This data is then used to launch customized phishing attacks which automatically match every victim to a fake page of actual financial organization. The victims are tricked into filling their financial details which can be used by hackers to steal money from users’ accounts.
  • Stalking: History sniffing can be used to stalk internet users by keeping an eye on their browsing behavior. Hackers may keep a track of social media pages or locations saved in the browser history. Stalking may cause some serious problems for the victim such as kidnapping, physical damage, assault, etc.
  • Identity Theft: It is common for internet users to save their login details or choose the option to ‘keep Logged In’ on their browser. Hackers can use history sniffing coupled with other malicious code to check the social media profiles logged in on the browser and access these profiles to pose as the user. They can further use these accounts to send unauthorized messages, post fake news, etc.

For more information on history sniffing cyber attacks, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.        

Understanding Cloud-First Approach To Data Protection

Year 2020 has witnessed a great rise in number of cyber-attacks, specially Ransomware attacks and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks including phishing, spear phishing and whaling. These attacks result in data and financial losses. Another reason that has resulted in hike in threat of data threat and data exfiltration is increased number of remote employees due to COVID-19.

The major risk involved in data loss is associated with storing data on-premise or endpoints. Thus, it has become imperative for businesses to adopt a cloud-first approach to data protection.

Here is a step-wise approach to implementing cloud-first data protection strategy:

  • First step is to determine if you can trust the cloud service provider’s platform. Analyze if the service provider can meet the data storage requirements of the organization and has the capacity to adapt to any changes to organization’s backup and recovery plans in the future. Check if the provider can:

                  Support all cloud models including private, public and hybrid.

                  Protect data on servers, desktops, mobile devices, and third-party cloud apps.

  • Know about the data security practices implemented by the cloud service provider. It is important to ensure that organizational data should be encrypted both in flight and rest to avoid unauthorized access.
  • Be prepared to combat a data theft attack by designing a well-defined data recovery plan. Ask the cloud service provider, if there is a recovery action plan such as redundant data centers, secondary data center at a different location, etc. for such situations.
  • Relying solely on manual processes to back up mission-critical data can be ineffective. As organizations create a large amount of data everyday, manual data backup and management is no longer feasible. Also, processes such as Cloud, DevOps, and automation movements account for a dynamic business environment which further solidifies the need for automated backup policies.
  • Consider the level of tech support that the organization would require in case any issue with cloud backup or cloud data management is detected. It is important to have a pre-hand knowledge about how to contact the cloud service provider to reduce the response time. Ask the cloud service provider if it offers different support channels such as Email or chat. Also, make sure that the provider offers 24*7 support across different time zones.

What Are The Benefits Of Cloud-First Approach To Data Protection?

  • Cost savings
  • Scalability
  • Streamlined and coordinated approach
  • Reduced human error
  • Improved recovery abilities

For more information on cloud-first approach to data protection, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.   

Cybersecurity Threats To Be Aware Of

With increasing use of internet, there has been an alarming increase in number of cybersecurity threats. In addition to number, the risk and severity of cybersecurity threats has also increased. Advancement of technology and wide use of digital media have added to the skills of cyber criminals. The best practice to combat these cybersecurity threats is to be aware of different threat types and be prepared with effective cybersecurity strategies.

Here is a detailed list of cybersecurity threats that businesses should be aware of:

  • Cloud Vulnerability: Cloud vulnerability is and will continue to be one of the biggest cybersecurity challenges faced by business organizations. The major reason behind this is the changing business scenario as organizations have increasing number of remote employees. The employees need to access business data from different locations in order to be efficient and productive. Thus, organizations are leveraging cloud applications and storing sensitive business data on cloud storage. Some of these cloud vulnerability attacks include data breach, mis-configuration, insecure interfaces and APIs, account hijacking, malicious insider threats, and DDoS attacks.
  • AI-Enhanced Cyberthreats: AI and machine learning have found extensive applications in all fields including marketing, manufacturing, security, supply chain management, business mainstream, etc. Cyber criminals are also exploiting AI to launch sophisticated cybersecurity attacks such as AI Fuzzing and Machine Learning Poisoning.
  • AI Fuzzing: Fuzzing refers to usually automated process of finding hackable software bugs by randomly feeding different permutations of data into a target program until one of those permutations reveals vulnerability. AI fuzzing integrates AI with traditional fuzzing techniques to create a tool that detects system vulnerabilities, start, automate and accelerate zero-day attacks.
  • Machine Learning Poisoning: The cyber criminals target a machine learning model and inject malicious software in it. This makes the system (operating the model) vulnerable to cyber security attacks. As machine learning models feed on data sourced from surveys or social media, cyber criminals exploit user-generated information such assatisfaction ratings, purchasing histories, or web traffic by using malicious samples, introducing backdoors or Trojans for poisoning training sets and compromising the model.
  • Smart Contract Hacking: Smart contracts are specially designed programs that contain self-executing codes for creating rules and processes that build blockchain-based applications. Since this is a new concept, researchers are still finding bugs in these programs. Cyber criminals exploit these vulnerabilities and target the programs for hacking into applications. this poses as a new cybersecurity threat for businesses.
  • Deepfake: It is a fake video or audio created by modes such as swapping a famous person’s face in videos or altering the audio track of a video to spread fake news. The technology is AI-based and is being used extensively by cyber criminals to cause disruption across various industry segments such as financial market, media, entertainment and politics. In business world, these fake videos may be used to impersonate CEOs to spread fake news about a business.

For more information on cybersecurity threats, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.      

Understanding Automation Software

Automation refers to the use of technology for performing tasks with reduced human assistance. It can be applied to any industry that involves repetitive tasks. However, it is more profoundly implemented in the industries of robotics, manufacturing, automotives and technology.

In the technology industry, automation is used for developing IT systems and business decision software.

  • IT Automation: In case of IT, automation can be integrated with and applied to anything from network automation to infrastructure, methodologies, DevOps, cloud, edge computing, security, testing, monitoring, and alerting.
  • Business Automation: It involves the alignment of business process management and business rules management with the process of modern application development. The underlying goal of business automation is to meet changing market demands.

The current market scenario requires businesses to undergo Digital Transformation. Instead of focusing on streamlining processes like automating customer records for sales, businesses now need to focus on developing new opportunities like automating complete business operations. This requires business and IT leaders to partner together for developing automation software and applications for business operations.

However, a simple question that needs to be answered is: Why Should a Business Adopt Automation Software?

In modern day scenario, businesses face multiple challenges such as supporting their employees, reaching out to new customers, providing innovative products & services at a faster speed. Automation software helps the business in managing, changing and adapting its IT infrastructure as well as business operations. Simplifying basic operational processes frees up time for businesses to focus on innovation and creativity.

Here are some other reasons that support the decision of adopting automation software for businesses:

  • It is hard to manage IT operations and processes while adopting new processes and staying in compliance with dynamic legal systems.
  • Requirements and demand are growing exponentially faster as compared to IT and business capabilities.
  • New methodologies such as DevOps are forcing changes in business culture.
  • The scaling up of business technology including virtualization, Cloud, etc. is too extensive to be performed manually.

An automation software for businesses holds its importance in improving productivity, consistency, and efficiency. Some advantages of automation software for businesses are:

  • Higher Productivity: As the automation software handles the repetitive tasks, the IT team is free to use the skills for more productive tasks such as developing new opportunities.
  • Better Reliability: Reducing the amount of human intervention in repetitive tasks helps in reducing the errors. A software brings reliability to the tasks as the processes, testing, updates, and workflow happen in the same order and time, making the results more reliable.
  • Easier Governance: A software can be coded easily to implement any changes making it easier to oversee the implementation and processes.

For more information on automation software, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.      

Jokeroo: Things To Know

Jokeroo is a type of ‘Ransomware As A Service’. So, in order to understand Jokeroo, it is first important to understand what is RaaS (Ransomware As A Service). RaaS is a mode of selling the use of ransomware to different affiliates.

The developer creates the ransomware and a payment site. The affiliates can sign up on the payment site. Once signed up, these affiliates help in distributing the ransomware to different victims. The ransom collected from the victims is then split between the developer and the affiliate.

Features Of Jokeroo RaaS:

  • In order to spread infection via Jokeroo ransomware, the developers distribute the ransomware via developers of other programs as well.
  • Jokeroo acts as a RaaS that offers membership packages to its affiliates. The services available to the affiliates depend upon the membership tier.
  • Once signed up, the affiliates gain access to dashboard of Jokeroo RaaS platform. The dashboard will show the membership level of the affiliate, list of victims, when they were infected, and if the victim has paid the ransom or not.
  • Affiliates can also look deeper to check the victim list and their IP address. The list also includes information such as Windows version and geographic location.
  • Jokeroo RaaS allows the affiliates to create their customized ransom notes.

How To Remove Jokeroo Ransomware?

If the victim has working backup of the infected files or is never going to try and recover the lost files, then the simple ways to remove Jokeroo ransomware are to:

  • Scan the computer with one or more antivirus and anti-malware programs
  • Reinstall the operating system

In case the victim needs to recover the encrypted files, victims can try to decrypt the files or use methods of file recovery.

  • Restore From Backup: If regular backups have been made on a separate device, then the victim can easily recover the files after running antivirus and antimalware scans to remove the ransomware.
  • File Recovery From Cloud Storage: Even if the encrypted files have been synced to the linked cloud storage, a number of cloud services retain the older versions of altered files for some days.
  • Recover Shadow Volume Copies: Volume Shadow Copy Service is a Windows technology that creates snapshots of the computer files on a regular basis and allows to revert any changes made on those files.

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

Importance Of Regular Software Updates

When working on a computer, it is common to receive pop-ups suggesting you that ‘a software update is available’. It is tempting to click on ‘Cancel’ or ‘Remind Me Later’ button, when you are busy with some work. However, it is not a healthy practice to put off software updates for a long time or even worse neglecting them.

The sooner you update your system, the higher will be your confidence in the security of the system. But it is common for users to ask why it is so important to install software updates.

Here are some points that emphasize on the importance of software updates:

  • What Do Updates Do? : Software updates offer an array of benefits & revisions. The updates might include fixes to security loopholes detected in previous versions of the software. Another benefit of software updates is that they may include fixes to combat or remove software bugs for an improved efficiency and performance. Installing updates to the operating system can help in improving the speed and performance of the complete computer system. It also makes the system ready for new types of software that are designed to be compatible with latest OS versions.
  • Patch Security Flaws: Software vulnerabilities are security flaws found in the programming of the software. They tend to offer easy entry point for the hackers. Hackers take advantage of these vulnerabilities by creating a code to target these security holes. The code is packed into malicious software which then infects the system to steal confidential data or cause other damage. Software updates contain security patches that cover the security holes to keep hackers out of the system and create a secure environment.
  • Secure Your Peers: Undoubtedly, installing a software update helps in preventing security attack on the system, it is also essential to protect other systems connected to the same network as the system in question. The reason being that if a system is infected by a malware, it can result in lateral spread of the malicious code in the connected devices.
  • Enhance Software Features: Software updates may be designed to enhance some features of the software or add new features to the software. These updates ensure that the performance of the software is improved. While these updates may be considered to be non-essential and low priority in nature, these software updates help in ensuring that the business uses a software version that is fully compatible with what clients and customers are using.

For more information on importance of software updates and how to maintain computer systems for enterprise, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.