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

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.        

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.      

Balancing Automation With Security

Automation helps in enhancing the productivity of a company by streamlining the processes. Technological advancements have helped companies in automating routine tasks for better management of time and resources. Undoubtedly, automation seems like a lucrative option and a large number of companies are grasping the opportunity. However, it has some security risks that should be taken into consideration before incorporating automation into your operations.

  • If your business process makes use of IoT enabled devices for data collection and process execution, a through security audit is recommended. It is also important to make sure there are no vulnerabilities in the internet or LAN connection that may install Trojans or malware in the system.
  • When automating your company’s payment process, it may be a risk to provide access to multiple people. If multiple employees are authorized to set up and verify payments, the chances of insider threats may increase.
  • Relying excessively on automated tools is another security risk for your business. Periodic manual checks to correlate automated process findings should be conducted.
  • Like other software, ignoring regular updates of automation software may open a back door for cyber attackers.

Once you understand the risks associated with automation, here are some ways to help you balance automation with security:

  • Set Security As A Priority: As the automation market is growing, the service providers have a zeal to launch the latest solutions at a higher pace than their competitors. This may lead to ignorance of security measures during the beta phase of development. Thus, make it a point to ask the automation provider about the built-in security measures. Also, you may consider a trial period to test if the products match your security standard.
  • Think Before Scaling Up: Investing in automation for the sake of keeping up with the trend may lead to the obliviousness of security measures. Thus, before you invest in automation, you should consider the need and purpose. Also, pay attention to your system and infrastructure security before scaling up the automation operations.
  • Regular Updates: Outdated software has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and may lead to cybersecurity breaches. So, it is important to be aware of software updates provided by your automation service provider.
  • Automate Cybersecurity: Incorporating automation in your cybersecurity strategies can help in improving your security protocol by offering features such as better threat detection, data correlation, etc.
  • Training: Before incorporating automation in your operations, train your employees to train them on ways to use the automation tools while considering security protocols.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide state-of-the-art IT security solutions for businesses. For more information on securely incorporating automation tools into your work processes, call us at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cybersecurity Practices For Small-Medium Size Businesses


Small-medium size businesses (SMBs) pose as an easy target to the cyber criminals. The reason behind an increased number of crimes against SMBs is that majority of cyber-attacks have an underlying motive of stealing personal data for identity theft and credit card fraud. Since SMB networks tend to be less secure, it becomes easier for the hackers to launch a breach successfully.

As there is an alarming increase in breach incidents, it has become important for SMB owners to pay more attention to cybersecurity. Some cybersecurity practices that SMBs should adopt are:

Document Your Cybersecurity Policies: It is important to document the cybersecurity policies, installed updates, analysis reports, etc. SMBs can make use of online planning guides to initiate the documentation process. Also, many portals offer online training, tips and checklists related to prevailing cybersecurity trends. This is an important step for SMBs to keep a track of their cybersecurity protocols.

Educate Your Employees: As the cyber-attacks are becoming more complex, the cybersecurity policies are also evolving. In addition to regularly updating the protocols, SMBs should define internet use guidelines and establish consequences of cybersecurity violations. The employees that have access to the network should be thoroughly educated about these updates and guidelines. They should be properly trained on security policies and ways to detect malware or infection.

Firewall: Make sure that your employees should use a firewall when accessing business network in office or at home. Firewalls act as fist line of defense against cyber-attacks targeted to access sensitive data. For an additional line of defense, SMBs should consider installing internal firewalls in addition to external firewall.

Mobile Device Security: As the BYOD culture is gaining popularity, most employees prefer using their own mobile devices to access business network and sensitive data. Since employees tend to download numerous applications or software on their mobile devices, they pose as a threat by accidentally downloading malware. A hacker can compromise the mobile device and gain access to the sensitive business data. Thus, educate your employees on the requirement to encrypt their data, install trusted security apps and password protect their devices.

Password Policies: Teach your employees to use strong passwords. You can ensure this by setting well-defined password policies for network access. Also, it is advisable for SMBs to use multi-factor authentication for granting network access to the employees and consumers. SMB owners can also lay out the policy that requires employees to change their passwords after a few months.

Data Backup: Invest in off-shore backup plans to ensure data retrieval in case of any disaster or data loss. Make it a point to back up the data at regular intervals. If possible, consider using automatic data backup settings.

 For more information about cybersecurity practices for SMBs, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Reasons Why Companies Fail In Securing Data

      

Companies accumulate large amount of data every year. The data may include important information like trade secrets, customer information, client database, product/service information, marketing strategies, etc. It is important for the companies to keep this data secured to prevent financial, trade and reputation loss. However, an increasing rate of data breach incidents indicate that most companies fail to secure their data.

Here are some common mistakes that the enterprises make leading to loss of data:

  • Lack of Security Testing: New security features are launched at regular intervals. While it is recommended that businesses should update their security features with newer versions; the switch should be made after proper testing. The companies make the mistake of skipping the beta phase of testing (a testing phase where vulnerabilities of a new security feature are detected and rectified by the technical team of organization). Implementing any new security feature without thorough testing puts the business data at the risk because hackers get the chance to exploit the vulnerabilities and launch a data breach.
  • Forgetting To Map Data: Data movement is an essential component for managing the operations of any business. As the use of online resources is increasing, data movement forms the basis of marketing/ sales strategies, collaborative meeting of on-shore & off-shore employees, process handling between different teams, etc. As the data is regularly moving, it becomes important to keep a track of it. Mapping data is the process of marking the origin, journey and destination of data flow. It also involves keeping a track of every person who interacts with the data, and the changes made to it. This helps the data monitoring team to detect data handling patterns and recognize unexpected interactions at an early stage. However, companies usually commit the mistake of neglecting this important process.
  • Relying Solely On Anti-Virus: Although it is important to install anti-virus software into the computer systems of the organization to detect the malware; it should not be treated as the backbone of the cybersecurity strategies of the organization. Businesses make the mistake of relying solely on anti-virus software instead of installing other security measures that can detect and flag potentially malicious incoming data before it enters the network.
  • Using Outdated Versions Of Security Networks: When considering security networks, companies have to pay attention to three aspects namely security software, security hardware and internal network of company’s systems. Companies often update one or two of these aspects which leaves them at the risk of improper integration of security networks. The outdated versions lead to vulnerabilities in the system which can be exploited by hackers.

It is advisable for the businesses to focus on proper cybersecurity strategies to prevent data breach instances.

For more information about ways to secure data, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

 

Watering Hole Attack

A watering hole attack is an opportunistic cyber security attack where the attacker targets a specific group of end users, usually an organization.

What Does ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Mean?

The attack gets its name from a wildlife predatory tactic. Many predators in a forest lurk around a watering hole or an oasis to wait for their prey. As the prey comes to drink water from the oasis, the predator grabs the opportunity to attack. The cyber-attack follows a similar approach and is thus named as ‘Watering Hole Attack’.

How Is The ‘Watering Hole Attack’ Executed?

For executing the attack, hacker traps a single user to gain access to a corporation’s server. The attack is executed in a stepwise process:

  • Finding The Waterhole: The attackers begin the process by finding the waterhole. They conduct thorough research and observe their target user to find out the website that is frequently visited by him. This website acts as the waterhole.
  • Compromising The Website: Once the attackers identify the frequently visited website, they look for existing vulnerabilities in the website. They inject malicious JavaScript or HTML code in the ads or banners displayed on the website. When the end user accesses the compromised website, this code redirects him to a separate site where the malware is hosted.
  • Infecting the server: When targeted user accesses the site, a script containing the malware is automatically downloaded on the user’s system. This malware collects personal information from user’s device and sends it to the C&C server. In some cases, the malware script may allow complete access of the victim’s system to the attacker. The infection is then spread across other systems on the organization’s server.

Avoiding ‘Watering Hole Attack’

In order to increase the impact of an attack, hackers choose trusted websites for launching the infection. Also, they make use of zero-day exploits for infesting these websites. This makes it difficult for traditional tools like antivirus to detect these attacks at an early stage. Thus, employing preventive measures is the best way to keep yourself safe from Watering Hole Attacks.

  • Keep your system updated with latest software patches.
  • Configure firewalls & other network security protocols.
  • Monitor the popular websites visited by your employees to ensure that these sites are not infested with any malware.
  • Regularly monitor your organization’s websites to detect any malware at its earliest stage.
  • Use browser’s private settings and VPN services to hide your online activities.
  • Configure your security tools to keep users notified about compromised websites.
  • Educate your employees about ‘Watering Hole Attacks’ and ways to avoid them.

For more information on Watering Hole Attack, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.