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Covert Channel Attacks

A covert channel attack is initiated by using an existing information channel to transfer objects from one source to another without the knowledge of the user. Since the system or information channel was not originally built for such communication or conveyance of information, hackers transfer the data in small bits to keep the attack unnoticed.

The data is embedded in the free space available in a data stream without affecting the main body of information being transferred. The space used for creating a covert channel may be the free space left within the padding or other parts of the network data packets. Usually, only 1-2 bits of covert data stream are added to one data packet which makes it difficult to detect the attack. As the original data is not tampered, the covert receiver can receive information from the system without creating a data trail.

Covert channels are of two types:

  • Covert Time Channel- The processing of signal information of a network channel by manipulating own system resources which affects real response time observed by the original network.
  • Covert Storage Channel- Direct or indirect embedding of data to a storage location by a system & direct or indirect reading of this data by another system at a different security level.

Using DNS As A Covert Channel

To create a covert channel, attacker installs a malware or specially designed program on the victim’s system via malicious links or by using remote administration to alter its DNS. An altered DNS is configured to serve random text in addition to website information. It behaves normally under usual conditions, but acts as per the covert channel program for a special domain. The flow of information between DNS & malware follows the normal client-server architecture. The malware plays the role of second component of covert channel. It sends DNS requests which look legitimate. The compromised DNS responds to these requests with hidden key information.  Covert receiver extracts this hidden information. Thus, a covert channel uses a fully functional authorized system to transfer unauthorized information in a secretive manner.

Covert channel attacks make use of simple forums like a file or time used for computation, which makes it difficult to identify these attacks. Two techniques that are commonly used for detection of covert channels are analyzing the resources of a system and vigilance of the source code.

For more information on tips to secure your computer network, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Health Technology Trends

Healthcare industry is moving towards preventive care solutions with the help of technological advancements. Digital innovative platforms like information systems and wearable devices are rapidly growing in health care market. Also, new technological trends like big data and healthcare analytics are gaining momentum. These advancements aim at achieving universal healthcare by making medical facilities accessible and affordable for everybody.

Technology trends that will potentially dominate healthcare industry in coming years are:

  • Primary Healthcare: The industry is focusing on quality improvement techniques to enhance primary care based on accessibility and equity. This will promote good health among a wide range of people regardless of their age, socio-economic status or geographic origin. Primary care revolves around prevention and patient education for longer & healthier lives. New technologies such as mobile apps that track calories, sleep pattern & fitness plans for improved health cycle are being widely used for educating patients.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare industry is employing artificial intelligence systems like IBM Watson for enhancing care management, drug discovery, managing patients for clinical trials, etc. Numerous other robotic and machine learning systems are being introduced in the healthcare sector as they offer attractive & valuable applications like image processing to detect abnormalities, robot assisted surgery, virtual nursing assistants and administrative assistance.
  • Blockchain: The technology is gaining popularity in health care industry because of its ability to secure data and protect it from breaches. Blockchain will facilitate the health care providers to manage endless data including patient health information, insurance claims, and electronic health records in a hassle free manner. Also, it will increase transparency between pharmaceutical industry and customers by enhancing drug traceability to prevent fake drugs.
  • Guiding Patients: Digital health tools like chatbots and companion robots have made healthcare accessible and convenient. They assist the patients in a humane way by addressing their needs. Chatbots make it possible for patients living in remote and rural areas to benefit from telemedicine projects and consult a doctor sitting far off through online channels. On the other hand, companion robots reduce workload of professionals like nurses & helping staff to save time and money.
  • Advance Analytics: Adoption of predictive analytics across hospitals have made it easier to analyze large amount of patient’s data. The analytic tools are capable of identifying genetic factors related to chronic diseases like cancer and spotting individuals with elevated risks of developing these diseases. This plays a key role in formulating preventive medicine programs, providing appropriate treatment as early as possible, reducing the chances of high-cost lengthy treatments and admission costs.

For more information on how medical establishments can benefit from advanced IT solutions, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Using Technology Advancements To Increase Customer Engagement

Customers are the most important asset of a business. It is important for businesses to successfully engage their customers in order to survive in this highly competitive environment. One way to do this is by using technology.

Technology has influenced the business sector positively & empowered businesses to serve their customers in a better way. Following are some ways in which technological advancements can be used to increase customer engagement.

  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality: VR and AR technology is being used to engage customers innovatively. It improves the customer experience & allows them to perform tasks virtually which may be a little difficult or inconvenient to be performed physically. For example, Room Planner: Design for IKEA, is an app that allows users to browse through their products & preview how the furniture would look in their home by visualizing it from different points using their smartphone’s camera.
  • Location-Based Computing: Smartphones these days are location enabled devices that allow businesses to provide personalized services thus increasing customer engagement. For example, businesses can reach out more customers at a geo-location & target their needs. Cinemas, theaters, florists, salons, etc. target their customers in the vicinity & provide them last minute tickets & discounts using location based computing.
  • 3D Printing: By transforming the way businesses manufacture & distribute goods, the 3D printing technology has significantly affected customer engagement. Using this technology, a virtual design can be instantly transformed into a physical object. Also, any flaws in the manufacturing process can be identified early & fixed to save money and enhance customer experience. 3D printing also enables the customers to modify the shape, color, pattern, material, etc. to get a customized product. Since, they can choose what they need, it results in better customer engagement.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots have become quite popular these days. They offer 24/7 customer support and are faster as well as more efficient. These artificially intelligent assistants have self-learning capabilities and can proficiently engage the customers. Emobots have improved abilities & have entered the business scenario now as they can judge real-time emotional reactions of a customer & provide suitable services accordingly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI helps businesses in understanding customer needs & preferences better. For example, businesses can personalize a customer’s shopping experience in real time to increase engagement. Intelligent algorithms enable the websites and apps to target individuals and recommend them products based on their search history.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Most devices these days are internet-enabled which provide numerous opportunities to increase customer engagement. IoT generates humongous amount of data which can be used by businesses to gain insight about customer behavior for a personalized user experience. For example, this technology enables creation of predictive models that use condition-based monitoring to prevent failures before they occur. Businesses can use this information and provide timely maintenance before the device breakdowns completely.

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

Using Cloud Technology In Education Sector

Education sector has seen a major shift as technology has taken the center stage. The introduction of online learning courses, modern software applications and cloud based educational applications has changed the way how education sector used to work traditionally.

Cloud Technology Benefits

Cloud technology has revolutionized the operations in education sector in the following ways:

  • Real-Time Instruction In Virtual Environment: Cloud technology has opened up a plethora of opportunities for students around the world. It offers numerous benefits by enabling face-to-face instructions in a virtual environment. This allows the students residing in different corners of the world to become a part of lectures delivered by teachers of well-known institutes.
  • Self-Paced Distance Learning Online: Educational institutes now offer distant learning courses to students from all across the globe. Since, these courses can be accessed at any time of the day, from any part of the world, they enable students to learn at their own pace.
  • Cost Effective: Cloud based solutions are cost effective as it does not require you to invest on costly infrastructure & equipment. The applications are compatible on mobile devices so the students are not required to own expensive computers or external storage devices. The software programs are either free of cost or require low-cost subscription because the cloud based applications run on internet browsers & the software as a service model (SaaS) makes it easy to use this technology at a lower cost.
  • Unlimited Storage: Cloud hosting has unlimited storage capacity to manage enormous learning material as well as assignments submitted by the students. Also, since one cloud account can be accessed by students on multiple devices, teachers can easily share course material & assignments with all the students simultaneously.
  • Data Security: Cloud storage is highly secure when it comes to data security. Any hardware failure at the end of a student or teacher does not result in loss of data. Also, the content is encrypted end-to-end for enhanced security.
  • More Flexibility: Cloud solutions provide more flexibility to teachers by enabling them to customize their online learning portals according to the need of students. It is also easily scalable to accommodate increasing student base.
  • No More Expensive Textbooks: Cloud based virtual education has outpaced the need of buying expensive textbooks. Digital content which is provided to the students is cheaper as compared to printed text. Thus, every student is able to access the same quality learning material which provides equal opportunity by leveling the field for all students.
  • Easy To Update: Since cloud based material is easy to update, students can have access to the latest learning material at all times.

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

Applications Of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is emerging as a revolutionary technology. Albeit most people relate VR to gaming; in reality it is being used in numerous other domains these days. As the applications of VR are increasing, it is bound to create a huge impact in the near future.

Following are some uses of virtual reality:

  • Military: VR is used by military forces all across the globe to train soldiers in varied activities like parachute jumps etc. The technology is also used to help them learn to cope up with dangerous & complex environments. VR makes it feasible to simulate the environment and perform without the risk of injury or death. 
  • Healthcare: VR is widely being used in healthcare sector for skill training & performing robotic surgeries. Virtual Reality applications enable doctors from across the globe to interact with each other within a virtually interactive environment. VR can also be used for diagnostics to diagnose a condition in conjunction with other methods. 
  • Entertainment: VR has made its way to the entertainment industry and is widely being used in virtual museums, discovery centers, virtual theme parks, galleries, theater, interactive performance studios, etc. People wear special glasses which enable them to see 3D objects from different angles. Virtual reality is also an important part of gaming as it adds 3D effects & improves the gaming experience.
  • Real Estate: VR technology has also paved its way to real estate sector. It has enabled real estate agents to offer virtual tour of properties to the potential buyers for added convenience of viewing the properties without actually travelling. 
  • Business: The business community can use virtual reality to train employees, design the product, offer 360 degree view of the product, etc. It helps in saving costs as well as time. 
  • Education: Another field which has adopted virtual reality is education. It has enabled the students residing in different parts of the world to interact with each other in a three dimensional environment. Also, it helps in presenting complex data in a simple way which can be easily understood & learnt by the students.
  • Construction: Virtual Reality has revolutionized the construction industry. It can be used to view a structure in 3D and experience how it would look in the real world. This enables the engineers to test a number of factors such as structure & design of the building, time & cost involved, etc. Engineers can also use it for simulated construction to maximize efficiency.

For more information on Virtual Reality and its applications, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

How To Choose A Data Backup Service

A business generates huge chunks of data every day which is susceptible to cyber threat and risk of loss. Once lost, it can interrupt daily operations of the business or bring them to a standstill. So, it is extremely essential to back up the business data regularly in order to retrieve the lost data, if a need arises.

There are variety of factors that need to be considered while choosing the data backup service that best suits your business needs. Following are some factors that can help you make the right choice.

  • Scalability Capabilities: As your business grows, the amount of data produced by it also increases. So, make sure to choose a scalable data backup service with the capability to accommodate the growing needs of your business. It is important to consider this or you would have to buy a new backup option to fulfill your business needs, which will cost you both time & effort.
  • Cost Effectiveness: Cost is another important factor that needs to be considered as data backup providers charge a fee for rendering their services. The backup provider may choose a fixed rate or pay-as-you-go basis. However, make sure to ask about any hidden fees, charges that you might have to pay if you exceed the data limit, etc. Also inquire about their refund policy, just in case you change your mind.
  • Security & Privacy Of Data: Data security is a primary concern for a business, so it is important to ensure that you choose a data backup service provider that offers top-notch security. This is necessary to prevent information spillage. The service provider might offer security measures such as limited access to information, encryption capabilities, two-step verification, password usage, etc.
  • Reputation Of The Service Provider: Do check the reputation of the service providers before opting for their services. Conduct a thorough background research and check their work history, certifications, client testimonials, track record, etc.
  • Needs Of The Company: It is vital to assess the needs of your company and choose a data backup provider accordingly. You need to make various considerations such as the data type & size, level of support required, compliances with the laws, etc.
  • Terms Of Service: Different service providers have different terms and conditions, so it is important to inquire about them in advance. This will enable you to understand their policies on matters concerning data ownership, management, security & access.  

In the wake of rising cyber-crimes and stringent legal requirements, it is very important to choose a reliable as well as cost effective data backup service provider.

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

Ways Technology Can Help A Small Business

In order to thrive in the competitive environment, small businesses need to revolutionize the way they conduct themselves. It can be achieved by making the best use of technology. Let us discuss ways in which technology can help a small business:

  • Cloud-Based Services: Small businesses can simplify their operations by opting for online cloud-based services. This will help them in improving productivity while reducing administrative costs. They can also incorporate cloud-based applications in their sales and marketing processes to make them efficient.
  • Marketing: Businesses can formulate better marketing strategies as technology enables them to create user friendly portals, communicate with online clients using chatbots, track customer’s buying behavior, promote business on different platforms, reach out to customers through emails or messenger apps, have an effective customer support system, etc. which in turn generates more revenues.
  • Accounting: Technology enables businesses to use an online invoicing service. This helps in significantly reducing the cost of collecting payments from customers. Also, businesses can keep a track of their expenses using software and apps specifically designed for this purpose. Technology has also enabled business to pay their taxes online, streamline business finances, share financial information & records online, etc.
  • Mobile Working & Telecommuting: Devices like tablets, smartphones or laptops have enabled professionals to stay in contact with their customers, no matter where they go. This way they can interact with the customers and solve their queries as & when they arise.
  • RFID: It is a technology that enables businesses to capture the digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels using a reader via radio waves. The technology is used to track mass objects and helps in saving time & effort.
  • Communication: If communication costs form a large part of your monthly expenses, then resort to online communication methods like VOIP. Online communication solutions are highly functional and help in cutting communication costs.
  • Better Customer Service: Technology has enabled businesses to have interactive websites, 24/7 customer service, online chat support etc. through which they can always stay in touch with their customers. This has helped in increasing customer satisfaction as their requests are attended at the earliest.

Businesses in every industry are benefiting from the use of technology as it has made business processes easier for the staff as well as made customer interaction hassle free.

Centex Technologies is an IT consulting firm providing technical assistance to businesses around the globe. It also offers myriad of other services like website designing, website development, search engine optimization, software development etc. For more information, call at (972) 375 - 9654.