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

Understanding Cyber Threat Hunting

Despite deploying security precautions to protect their networks from cyberattacks, numerous firms have experienced network breaches. Nowadays, threat actors use complex and sophisticated tactics to infiltrate a network, the impact of which may not be mitigated by traditional methods. The proactive procedure of checking the network for any hostile activity is referred to as cyber threat hunting.

Cyber threat hunting and cyber threat intelligence

Continuously monitoring the network for suspicious activity and gaps in the organization's ecosystem is required for cyber threat hunting. By analyzing previous data from a variety of sources, cyber threat hunting techniques keep a watch for potential new risks. Threat hunting techniques can discover, identify, and fix security flaws, vulnerabilities, and malicious behavior that normal security measures frequently fail to detect.

How to start hunting threats inside the Cyber or IT infrastructure?

Proactive preparation is the key to success in cyber security operations. It is critical to establish a solid foundation before beginning to develop the cyber threat hunting program.

A business is advised to take the following actions

  • Plan a cyber-threat hunting program - To begin cyber threat hunting, map the security process to any existing security model, such as the MITRE ATT&CK architecture. It is also recommended that the security posture be assessed to see how vulnerable the organization is to hazards and attacks.
  • Maturing the threat hunting program - After determining the level of cyber maturity, the next step is to decide whether the cyber threat hunting process should be carried out internally, externally, or a combination of both.
  • Identifying and addressing gaps in tool and technology implementation -  Analyze the current tools and determine what is required for successful threat hunting and the effectiveness of preventative technology.
  • Identifying and addressing security personnel training gaps - Threat detection necessitates the skills of an expert. If the organization lacks experienced internal specialists, it is recommended to use a third-party source.
  • Adoption of a cyber-threat hunting strategy - Any firm must have a solid cyber threat hunting strategy which can help in mitigating the impact of cyberattacks on its infrastructure.

What kind of professionals can perform active cyber threat hunting?

Cyber threat hunting calls for knowledge of all the systems and data in use at the firm. This has to be combined with exquisite expertize in threat intelligence analysis, reverse engineering and malware analysis. Threat hunters must also be excellent communicators who can present their results and contribute to the business case for sustained threat hunting resources. It is preferable to put together a team of curious, analytical issue resolvers who have these talents and are motivated to further improve them. The willingness to keep learning is another essential quality of effective cyber threat hunters. Cyber threats are continuously changing, thus threat hunters must be dedicated to keeping their knowledge current by following researchers, participating in online groups, and attending industry forums, which enables them to learn about new strategies.

Advanced next-generation technology and human professionals work in unison to create an effective threat hunting process. To find any potential risks and harmful activity, the threat hunters need investigation tools and other inputs. These tools make it possible for threat hunters to find and examine the risks. For example, XDR (Extended Detection and Response) collects all the signals from the IT ecosystem and EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) delivers inputs from the endpoint solution. These tools aid in the earlier identification of any possible threats.

Cyber threat hunters should be aware of the automated procedures, alarms, and behavior analyses that have already been run on the data to avoid duplicating work. Threat hunting may go down a lot of rabbit holes, therefore it demands agility. However, there should be a structured framework in place to direct the hunt and allow for any necessary withdrawal from the rabbit holes.

Contact Centex Technologies for more information on cyber threat hunting. You can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

 

Malware Analysis & Cybersecurity

Malware is a type of invasive software that can harm and destroy computer networks, servers, hosts, and computer systems. It serves as a blanket word for any forms of malicious software that are created with the purpose of causing harm to or abusing any programmable system, network, or service. Malware threats emerge in a variety of forms, including viruses, worms, adware, spyware, trojan viruses, and ransomware.

Malware analysis is the process of identifying and minimizing possible dangers to a website, application, or server. It is an essential procedure that improves sensitive information protection as well as computer security for a company. Vulnerabilities are addressed through malware analysis before they become major problems.

How can Malware analysis assist security professionals in detecting and preventing security threats?

Performing Malware analysis helps security professionals in the following ways: -

  1. To determine the origin of cyber-attacks.
  2. To estimate the severity and impact of a potential security threat.
  3. To determine the exploitation potential, vulnerabilities, and patching mechanisms.
  4. To logically prioritize the malware activity based on the seriousness of the threats.
  5. To identify and block any hidden IoCs (Indicators of Compromise) and IoAs (Indicators of Attack)
  6. To improve the effectiveness of IoCs, IoAs, SOC alerts, and notifications.

Malware analysis methodologies preferred by Cyber Security professionals

Static Analysis

During a static malware analysis, the malware's source code is inspected. After decoding the malware's source code, the IT team can inspect it to determine how it operates. By observing how the code operates, IT personnel may be able to build more secure procedures. In addition, static malware analysis serves as a logic check for the final analysis of dynamic malware.

Dynamic Analysis

Dynamic malware investigation refers to the process of quickly analyzing how malware acts. This requires checking the system for any changes the virus may have done. Newly launched processes and those whose settings have recently changed are tracked. In addition, the analysis would consider any changes to the DNS server settings on the client workstation. In addition to analyzing files and processes, dynamic malware investigation also analyzes network traffic and system behavior.

Combinatorial Malware Analysis

The most advantageous method is to combine both kinds of malware analysis methods. Combinatorial malware analysis can extract many more IoCs from statically generated code and uncover buried malicious code. Even the most complex malware may be detected by it.

Application of Malware Analysis in cybersecurity

Application of YARA and Sigma rules to detect and hunt threats

More advanced methods are being used by adversaries to elude existing detection systems. Threats may be found more quickly by using YARA and Sigma rules to spot malicious functionality or suspicious infrastructure. Extraction of IoCs is another result of malware investigation. To help teams stay alert to relevant risks in the future, the IoCs may subsequently be fed into SIEM solutions, TIPs (Threat Intelligence Platforms), and security orchestration tools.

Research & Development in Detection Engineering

Malware researchers from academia or corporate industries analyze malware to learn about the most recent tactics, vulnerabilities, and tools employed by adversaries. Threat researchers can leverage behavior and artifacts revealed by malware analysis to identify comparable activities, such as access to a certain network connection, port, or domain. SOC teams may utilize this data to detect comparable threats by analyzing firewall and proxy logs or SIEM data. Early in the attack life cycle, malware analysis systems offer higher-fidelity alarms. Security teams can therefore save time by prioritizing the outcomes from these alerts over other technologies.

Contact Centex Technologies for more information on how to protect your business from cyberattacks. You can call Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

What is Secure Distributed Data Storage?

Data is the foundation of every organization. Business organizations collect and generate large amounts of data which may include trade secrets, client information, financial data, employee information, R&D data, etc. Cybercriminals target this data to cause business disruption for multiple reasons including financial benefits (ransom), causing harm to the business organization, etc.

A data breach can cause significant financial and reputational harm to a business. This makes it imperative for all organizations to protect their data. Secure Distributed Data Storage has evolved as an effective solution for storing data.

What is Secure Distributed Data Storage?

Secure Distributed Data Storage is a system that stores and processes data at multiple physical locations instead of one centralized location. This approach is the exact opposite of the traditional cloud storage system as it eliminates the use of a central server. The data is distributed across a number of physical network nodes or even multiple cloud servers.

A popular example of Secure Distributed Data Storage is Google Cloud Platform’s Spanner.

What is the Importance of Secure Distributed Data Storage?

The importance of Secure Distributed Data Storage lies in the advantages this approach offers as compared to a single machine or single server data store.

  1. Performance: Even the minutest delay in data retrieval or an app loading can immensely impact a business. When a large amount of data is stored on a centralized server, multiple data requests can lower its performance by causing data traffic resulting in user frustration, loss of sales, and revenue loss. When data is distributed across multiple locations, data requests are also distributed, which helps in improving the performance by lowering the response time.
  2. Scalability: Rapid growth in user number and cyclical usage pattern are two major reasons why businesses or applications need to scale up the data storage regularly. Scaling up helps in meeting the load requirements without causing a delay in response time. In case of a single machine storage system, only vertical scaling is possible. Vertical scaling refers to the process of upgrading the machine’s CPU, RAM, or storage capacity. However, Secure Distributed Data Storage offers horizontal scaling in addition to vertical scaling. Horizontal scaling means adding new network nodes or cloud servers.
  3. Reliability: Secure Distributed Data Storage is highly reliable. By distributing data across multiple locations, it also distributes the risk factor. Most Secure Distributed Data Storage systems replicate data before storing it at multiple locations. So, in case one server is compromised resulting in data loss, data can easily be retrieved from other servers. Additionally, use of multiple servers helps in improving the percentage availability time and fault-tolerance of the system.

Key Features of Secure Distributed Data Storage:

  1. Secure Environment
  2. Fully Authenticated System
  3. Zero-Trust Practice
  4. Data Replication
  5. Data Encryption at Rest & in Transit

Contact Centex Technologies for more information on Secure Distributed Data Storage and enterprise network planning. You can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

What Is Cache Poisoning?

Cache poisoning is also known as DNS cache poisoning. DNS or Domain Name System is a system that translates man-readable internet addresses into machine language numeric addresses. These numeric addresses are known as IP addresses. 

When a user tries to access a website via his browser, the browser forwards the request to the DNS server. The DNS then looks up the corresponding IP address and reverts to the request. The browser receives the IP address and uses it to load the website or domain requested by the user. 

DNS remembers the requests and stores the requested IP addresses in its memory. It helps the server reduce the revert time if the same domain request is received in the future.

This system nullifies the need to remember complex IP addresses associated with a webpage. Humans can remember the domain name, and DNS does the translation for the computer. However, the system has some loopholes that allow the hackers to carry out Cache Poisoning attacks.

What is Cache poisoning? 

DNS Cache poisoning refers to adding an incorrect entry to the DNS Cache. Here is the most common process followed by hackers for cache poisoning.

  • A browser submits a requester to the DNS resolver
  • Hackers build a dupe DNS nameserver that matches the authentic domain 
  • When the DNS resolver contacts the nameserver, hackers respond to the request via a fake nameserver
  • The DNS resolver receives this response and forwards it to the requesting browser
  • The fake response is stored in the DNS cache for future reference 
  • Every time a user requests for this domain, he is redirected to the incorrect domain stored in cache memory

The success of this type of cache poisoning is that DNS uses UDP (User Datagram Protocol) rather than TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). UDP does not verify the identity of the parties involved in the conversation. Hackers can easily alter the heading of UDP requests and respond to the request under pretend of a trusted DNS server. 

There are several vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit for implementing a DNS cache poisoning attack. Some of these vulnerabilities are:

  • Lack of identity verification and validation
  • Recursive DNS server vulnerability (forged information spreads from one DNS server to another)
  • Unencrypted DNS protocol

Cyber Security Risks Imposed by DNS Cache Poisoning:

DNS cache poisoning redirects a user to a fake and possibly malicious website. It may result in multiple cyber security risks.

  • Data theft
  • Malware infection
  • Delaying security updates
  • Censorship

Preventing DNS Cache Poisoning:

Once a forged entry is stored in DNS cache memory, it stays there until its Time To Live (TTL) expires. In the meantime, cache poisoning can spread to other DNS servers. So, it is required to delete the forged entry to prevent the DNS server from redirecting requests to the fake website.

Users can implement some measures to protect their server from cache poisoning attacks:

  • Business organizations should hire an IT professional to configure DNS servers rather than relying on relationships with other DNS servers. It will prevent hackers from using their DNS server to corrupt or influence an organization’s server.
  • Configure DNS server to run permitted services only. It limits the DNS server from running additional services not required by the organization. Limited exposure reduces the chances of an encounter with cache poisoning attacks.
  • Make use of an SSL/TLS certificate that binds the company’s details to a cryptographic key. It activates the HTTPS protocol to secure and encrypt the connection between the browser and your web server.

Centex Technologies provides cyber-security services & IT consultation to help businesses ward off cyber-attacks. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

10 Ways To Secure Business Communications In 2022

A growing number of companies are implementing rules that assure greater compliance with government requirements and safe storage of critical company data. Loss of business data may not only result in penalties but also cause loss of reputation, customer trust, & finances.

Following are the most common methods used by businesses to protect corporate communications from cyberattacks:

  • PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data usage and security: A company's corporate data usage policy should explicitly define what constitutes acceptable use of the data. The PII data policies must evidently state whether corporate and/or personal use is permitted, and if yes, then what will be the scope of it. If employees are granted personal use, steps should be taken to outline what types of correspondence will be considered unacceptable or offensive.
  • Installing DLP (Data Loss Prevention) tools to prevent unauthorized transmission of company secrets: Up to 90% of a company's intellectual capital now exists in digital form. It has been estimated that the loss of critical business information via cybersecurity incidents to more than USD 24 Billion per year. It's vital that every employee understands the critical seriousness of transmitting company data. Hence, a deploying DLP solution is beneficial to not just detecting but also preventing the loss of critical and sensitive data via business communications.
  • Complying with business-specific standards and government regulations: The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act regulate data privacy. The acts detail specific measures that regulated companies must take to adequately protect customer data. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires organizations to comply with certain privacy and auditing standards, security controls, and mechanisms.
  • Monitoring employees’ behaviors and usage of internet and corporate devices: The company is eventually responsible for any employee’s misuse of corporate devices, assets, and data. Hence it is required to responsibly monitor, review and inspect its employees' communications. The allowed use and acceptable behavior should be articulated in a company’s communications policy, and each employee should be required to sign an agreement for the same.
  • Creating a Cybersecurity program and install security tools to strengthen the security posture: Integrations with applications that can scan messages and attachments are essential. Installation of SOC (Security Operations Center) along with the requisite software solutions is of utmost importance to strengthen the security posture of the organization.
  • Categorizing different types of information and their scope of usage: Filters should be established to look for potentially offensive or defamatory business correspondence. All outbound data transmission should be scanned for project names and other keywords that might indicate that confidential content may be about to leave the organization. Alerts that are flagged by the content filtering tools should be blocked outright or stripped off their attachments.
  • Implementing PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege): Within the company, a completely secure-communications strategy should establish graduated degrees of privilege for users. IT administrators should leverage this categorization to apply contextual logic to groups of content. For example, different types of sensitive corporate content should demand different levels of clearance to be approved for data and information distribution.
  • Deploying an appropriate encryption scheme to protect corporate email data: To safeguard every digital material that is approved for transmission beyond a specific sensitivity threshold, strict criteria should be implemented. Unless linked via a VPN, personnel data related to HR, blueprints, contract agreements, business strategies, and other sensitive information should not be transmitted between individuals in remote locations.
  • Implementing using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to facilitate remote working: VPN Policies can be used to establish trusted communication channels between distributed sets of users that eliminate the threat of eavesdropping. Based on the identity of the sender and recipient, policy rules can be created to secure all communications between particular individuals or specific groups of users.
  • Privacy and Security of data-in-transit and data-at-rest: Data policy rules can be set to secure the data stored in servers at the backend as well as the data getting transmitted and exchanged between senders and recipients. Encrypting all communications between certain persons of importance (for example, the CEO and CFO) or groups of users (remote finance departments, legal division and outside law firm, executive management, and R&D, etc.) is of utmost importance.

Securing corporate communications should start with the company's formation. Physical controls must be in place before new gadgets & infrastructure may be incubated. To safeguard company communications, qualified security staff must be employed and trained. 

Centex Technologies provides advanced cybersecurity solutions to businesses. To know more about securing business communications, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

 

Integration Of Cyber Security With Data Science

Data science is a field of study that combines domain expertise, programming, mathematics and statistics to extract meaningful information from data. Cyber security and data science are two rapidly growing fields of computer science. Data science can be integrated with cyber security to develop cybersecurity data science.

The important question that arises is: Why Should Data Science Be integrated With Cyber Security?

Here are some reasons to answer this question:

  • Hackers make use of more sophisticated techniques (including Artificial Intelligence) than ever to perform cyber attacks.
  • Big data regarding cyber security grows and changes at a fast pace.
  • The junk of big data needs to be converted into information for being useful.
  • In order to formulate an effective cyber security protocol, it is important to understand ‘how’ of an attack in addition to ‘what’.

Once the reasons for integrating cyber security with data science are understood, it is required to understand how to integrate cyber security with data science. Easiest way to do so is to make use of data science for three basic tasks:

  • Classification: It is the step of using data science practices for predicting data labels for a set of data being studied.
  • Regression: The goal of regression is to study if different factors effect each other, and if yes, then to what extent. A simple example of integrating data science regression techniques in cyber security is to discover suspicious HTTP requests.
  • Clustering: Clustering techniques attempt at sorting the big data into various groups based on data points that resemble one another. It includes analysis of a new found threat to decide the category it belongs to. A practical example of clustering techniques in cyber security is to identify if user credentials have been stolen.

The next important question that needs to be answered is – What is the benefit of integrating cyber security with data science?

Integration of cyber security with data science helps in tackling cyber threats at a faster pace and with higher efficiency. Here are some benefits of integrated cyber security data science:

  • Data science techniques enable computers to use and adapt various algorithms based on cyber security data they receive, learn from it, and understand the required consequent enhancements.
  • Biometric authentication and user recognition patterns help in reducing the chances of identity theft.
  • Integrating data science helps in detecting and preventing phishing attacks by detecting anomalies in behavior.

For more information on integration of cyber security with data science, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Security Concerns Associated With Digital Wallets

Digital wallets are virtual wallets that store financial information and identification documents and allow users to conduct online/offline transactions. Depending on the type of digital wallet, it may contain debit, credit, prepaid, and loyalty card data, as well as personal information like a driver's license, health card, and other identification documents. Cyber criminals can make efforts to get access to this information for monetary benefits.  In order to stay protected, it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the prevailing security risks.

Following is a list of some of the well-known security risks associated with digital wallets:

Attempting to tamper with the application connected to the digital wallet

Backdoor in a mobile payment app allows an attacker to steal login credentials and transfer them to a server controlled by the attacker. This may allow attackers to use information in digital wallet for fraudulent activities.

Exploiting the vulnerabilities of the application connected to the digital wallet

Unauthorized access to mobile payment capability might arise as a result of an attack on mobile payment APIs used for in-app purchases. This may allow attackers to carry out fraudulent transactions.

Theft of bank and credit card accounts linked to the mobile payment app can also lead to fraud. A fraudster might potentially take advantage of flaws in the registration process to add a new mobile device to the user profile and use it to make fraudulent transactions.

Malware/rootkits installation

Rootkit is a serious threat vector that may be used to directly monitor and hijack/alter API requests as they are marshaled to and from the API endpoint connected to the digital wallet. Attackers may manipulate variables in transit, such as payment amounts.

Permissions for gaining access to the device operating system

With the approval of the user, an OS may grant access to particular resources. Even if a program isn't malicious, having certain permissions might allow it to access sensitive information which can be utilized by another app to get unauthorised access to information stored in the digital wallet installed on the device.

Verifying identities of users

On a stolen device, if a hacker is able to circumvent biometric authentication, user’s complete financial/ payment information would be compromised and payments can be made. In some cases, users may authorize payments by just inputting the lock screen pattern on a mobile phone. Because this information can be easily accessed by eavesdropping, it might encourage opportunistic attackers to hijack a device and make payments on the victim’s behalf.

Payments that are illegitimate

If the card issuer’s terms and conditions are not followed, the issuer may refuse to take culpability for fraud.

Payment transaction accountability

To make a payment, the providers demand fingerprint authentication. There have been instances where fingerprint authentication has been bypassed or compromised on mobile devices. Also, when several users have access to the device, accountability is compromised and it might be difficult to identify the individual who made the payment.

Stolen equipment has a larger attack surface

If a device connected to a digital wallet is stolen, criminals may be able to acquire access to payment cards.

Phishing and social engineering assaults

As digital wallets become more widely adopted, attackers may be enticed to launch attacks imitating genuine applications to seek credit card details. They may also resort to phishing and social engineering in an attempt to persuade users to provide the information required to carry an attack.

Centex Technologies provides advanced cybersecurity solutions to businesses. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.