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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.

 

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.

What Are Deepfakes And Why Are They Dangerous?

Deepfake is a type of artificial intelligence created by combining the phrases deep learning and fake that facilitates in developing videos that have been fabricated via using deep learning techniques. It is a subset of AI that refers to algorithms that can learn and make intelligent judgments without human intervention. A deep-learning system can create convincing impersonations by examining images and videos of a target person from various perspectives and then copying their behavior and voice patterns. Once a prototype fake has been created, GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) are used to make it more credible. The GANs method aims to find faults in the system and make adjustments to fix them.

How can you stay away from deepfake videos?

  1. Deepfake videos are much simpler to spot than deepfake photographs. And you may accomplish so with the assistance of two factors. When a deepfake video of a person is created, for example, there is little difference between the person and the backdrop. However, you may spot a false video if the attention is solely on the face in the video and the surrounding is purposefully obscured.
  2. Deepfake can be easily avoided by restricting personal images on social media and avoiding close-up photos of your face as much as possible.
  3. Advanced artificial intelligence algorithms are under development which can swiftly identify deepfake videos thereby preventing people from falling prey to fake news and fake films.

When and where did deepfake start?

Deep Fake was a user on Reddit in 2017 who began employing face modification technology for pornography. It was from here that the term Deepfake was coined, and videos like this were known as Deepfake Videos. 

Deepfake as a boon to technology

MyHeritage, a software program, has been in the headlines for transforming any image into a 10-second movie. With this app, you may also breathe new life into old images using this program. With the use of this program, images of prominent personalities from past were transformed into movies. And these films show that if Artificial Intelligence is applied correctly, this approach may be beneficial to humans.

Deepfake as a threat to humanity

A.  Deepfakes were used to subvert democracy in the United States 

Facebook decided to prohibit the use of deep fakes after fake videos of politicians began spreading on social media. They allowed a few loopholes, such as the ability to keep sarcastic films and photos, but distinguishing between satire and agenda-driven content is difficult.

B.  Deepfakes began to be exploited by internet predators 

People began leveraging the ability to substitute anyone's face in an image or video to make pornographic content without their consent. As the deep fake technology allows them to do so by replacing face and expressions; all cybercriminals need is a profile photograph on social media to produce fake material to produce fake videos.

C.  Deepfake to tarnishing reputation of individuals 

A Pennsylvania mom, for example, was prosecuted for harassing cheerleaders at her daughter's school by employing deep fakes. The mother used manipulated recordings to carry out a cyberbullying campaign against girls she viewed as competitors to her daughter.

Deepfakes still continues pushing the digital media envelope where researchers suggest using NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) is the most effective strategy to combat deep fake. But NFTs, on the other hand, are still far away from being the standard on blockchains like Ethereum.

To know more about various cyber threats and methods to prevent them, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.

Network Security Threats

A computer network consists of one or two computers that act as nodes and some peripheral devices. Once these devices are electronically connected, they enable the user to share resources, send & receive data over local or world-wide network and store data locally or on cloud. However, there are some security threats that lurk around computer networks and as the number of threats is on constant rise, it becomes necessary to have detailed knowledge about them.

Common Network Security Threats

  1. Viruses & Worms: They are snippets of software that are designed to infect a computer network. Both computer virus and worms are sent as email attachments, downloaded from a website or transmitted through any writable device like thumb drive, hard disk, etc. Once downloaded, they replicate themselves & spread over networked systems. After infecting the system; they send spam, disable security settings, steal personal information or delete data on the hard drive.
  1. Rogue Security Software: It is a malicious software as well as an internet fraud. The software sends a fake warning stating that the security settings of a user’s system are not up-to-date. Once the user is convinced, a scareware is downloaded under the disguise of an antivirus software. The software modifies actual security settings to prevent the user from identifying the attack. It crashes the system & reports the detection of fake malware. However, instead of directly deleting the detected files, the user is prompted to make extra payment for removal of reported virus. The prompts may stop after the payment is made, however the cycle repeats itself after a time gap.
  1. Botnet: They are a network of compromised computers which are controlled by a Command & Control network without the knowledge of computer user. The computers in the network are called bots or zombie computers. They are used to send spams or to initiate DDOS attacks. Also, botnets can be employed for attacking secure systems. Each bot operates at a low attack frequency to evade detection; however, collectively they are capable of performing a brutal attack.
  1. Trojan Horse: It is a malicious software that masks itself as a legitimate program and tricks the user to run it willingly. They are often spread via email or as a false advertizement that requires the user to click on a malicious link. Once the software is downloaded, it can record passwords by tracking keystrokes, hack webcam, steal personal data, etc.
  1. SQL Injection Attack: It is a code injection technique that attacks any type of SQL based data driven applications. The attackers takes advantage of security vulnerabilities of the application & inject malicious SQL code into an entry field for executing the attack. The attack enables them to spoof identity, annul website transactions, destroy the data or allow complete disclosure of user data stored in the database or application.

Regularly updating the antivirus software, avoiding links from unauthorized sources and scrutinizing the website before downloading any application can help in avoiding network security threats.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375-9654.