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Understanding Botnet Attacks

A number of inter- connected devices coordinated together to perform a certain task are referred to as a botnet. They are generally used for malicious purposes such as stealing data, spamming, launching a ransomware or a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) etc.

Often used with a negative connotation, the word botnet is a combination of two words – Robot and Network i.e. a network of robots used to commit crime.

The cybercriminals who control them are known as bot herders or bot masters. They are widely launching botnet attacks for stealing cryptocurrencies and money from digital wallets, disrupting functions of IoT devices, defrauding advertisers etc. This is indeed worrisome and a serious threat to security systems.

How Do Botnets Work?

  • Bot masters try to bring under their command as many infected devices or bots as possible to make a bigger botnet. This is done to amplify the impact of attack and to create an operational disruption. So the size of botnet matters a lot.
  • They then use bots to completely obstruct a certain website by overloading it. Such an attack is also called DDoS attack.
  • Generally designed to infect millions of devices, bot masters infect botnets into computers through a Trojan horse virus. It is injected into the user’s system when he/she clicks on a website or pop up containing malware or a malicious email attachment.
  • Once the virus is injected into a user’s system, botnets then gain access to their computers, steal the information and commit cybercrimes.
  • They are difficult to detect and most of the times, user might not be able to figure out that their device is under the influence of a botnet.
  • Some botnets can also propagate the infection on their own, thus bringing more devices under control by infecting them.

Structure Of Botnet
There are two main forms of botnet structures.
Client-Server Model: In this structure, one main server controls the transmission of information from each client and is best for taking & maintaining complete control over the botnet. A special software is used to establish the command and control servers in order to send instructions to each client device.
Peer-to-Peer: This P2P model uses an interconnected structure. Unlike client-server model that relies on a centralized C & C server, in a peer-to-peer structure every device functions both as a client as well as server.
Names Of Some Botnets

  • Zeus
  • Windigo
  • Koobface
  • Kovter
  • Flashback
  • Sefnit
  • ASProx
  • Conficker etc.

With the increasing trend of IoT devices, it has become easier to launch a botnet attack. So, it is important to understand the working and implications of a botnet and ways in which a botnet works to prevent falling prey to such an attack.

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

Reasons Why Mobile Apps Fail

There are millions of mobile apps available on the app store. However, there are certain reasons why some apps gain high popularity, become a fad and have over million users whereas some are not able to get even thousand downloads. So, it is important to analyze what makes a mobile app a hit or a failure. Here we have listed certain potential reasons due to which a mobile app generally fails.

  • Poorly Researched Market & Audience

The biggest reason why a mobile app does not qualify to enter the list of most popular/downloaded apps is lack of research. This has two main causes, either failing to specify your target market altogether and marketing your app to wrong set of people or not being able to understand what your target market actually wants. Although, market research is a time taking task but it is definitely worth. It helps you channelize your efforts in the right direction.

  • Lack Of Originality

App stores are already full of similar apps. So why would a user download an app created by you?
They would do so only if it has some feature which other apps don’t have. Your app should have a unique value proposition that differentiates it from others and also optimizes the user experience. Users always welcome new, innovative and useful app ideas.

  • Ignoring Platforms

It is important to develop apps both for android and iOS devices. While doing app developer should keep in mind how a user interacts with different devices.

  • Poor User Experience

If your app faces performance issues, takes longer time to load and has features that are difficult to access then it is definitely something to worry about. People usually uninstall an app that is not able to offer a compelling user experience.

  • Improper Mobile App Testing

The biggest blunder that you can do is to launch your app without testing. It is important to test it so that all the bugs can be removed beforehand, because if you don’t, then you yourself give users a reason to uninstall your app. Hundreds of things can go wrong and the app might just crash. So it is always advisable to test the app before launching it on app stores.

An attractive yet user friendly app goes a long way. So it is a prudent decision to hire a professional app developer who understands the intricate details and possess knowledge as well as skill to develop an optimized mobile app.

To know more about mobile application development, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

Big Data Terms That One Must Know

Data has a huge potential if the right value is derived from it. Big data is the voluminous repository of data which is used to form inferences. It is a relatively new concept.

It is a wide field and encompasses a number of terms in itself. Here we have listed certain terms which are used in tandem with big data that one must know to gain a detailed insight over this subject of study.

  • Algorithm – It refers to a mathematical formula that is generally used to analyze data. It is usually run by a software.
  • Data Lake – Huge source of information in its raw form is known as Data Lake. This information is used to form inferences.
  • Data Mining – The process of delving into available information to derive meaningful insights is known as data mining. Experts use a variety of statistical techniques, machine learning algorithms, sophisticated software’s meant for data analysis to generate significant conclusions.
  • Distributed File System – It is not possible to store large volume of data on a single system as it is complex, costly and infeasible. So, it is generally stored across various storage devices. This mechanism of storing data on multiple devices is known as distributed file system.
  • ETL – It is an acronym which means extract, transform & load. It is a three step process which is used while ingesting information over big data systems in a structured manner. First of all, raw data is extracted, then it is converted into a meaningful form. Finally, it is loaded onto the system for use.
  • Hadoop – It is a programming framework. Hadoop enables storage and processing of huge chunks of data.
  • Data Scientist – They are people who are experts in analyzing data and are well versed with science, statistics, mathematics and other data analysis techniques.
  • Data Cleansing - There might be certain sets of information which are incorrect. Data cleaning is the process of removing incorrect or irrelevant information from the database. This is done to maintain the quality of data as it is further used for analysis.
  • Dark Data – This is that kind of data which is there in the company’s data repository but has never been put to use.
  • NoSQL- It is a database system which means ‘Not Only SQL’. It is designed to handle large volumes of unstructured data without any schema.
  • IoT – Internet of Things is the growing trend these days. Since so many devices are connected to the network, large amount of data is collected through them which can be used for further analysis.

    To know more about big data, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Cloud Solutions For Businesses In Central Texas

KILLEEN, Texas – March 15, 2018 – Centex Technologies is pleased to announce our achievement of the Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency as part of the Microsoft Partner Network Program.

To receive competencies with Microsoft, a partner must prove their expertise and know-how through performance requirements, various exams and successful demonstrations of implementation and customer satisfaction through customer references.

“Centex is thrilled to have gained the Microsoft Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud solution competencies,” said Abdul B. Subhani, President/CEO of Centex Technologies. “This will allow us to provide the best possible cloud solutions in the Central Texas area.”

For more information about this achievement or any other questions about Centex Technologies’ network administration services, please contact Stanley Stinehour at (254) 213-470 or email stanley@centextech.com.  

About Centex Technologies

Centex Technologies is an IT consulting company with offices in Killeen, Austin and Dallas, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. Our goal is to provide innovative IT solutions that exceed expectations. We assist our clients through a wide range of comprehensive and cost-effective services to advise, install, service and repair, configure, maintain and teach Information Technology. Our highly skilled and professional staff has extensive experience serving medium- to large-scale organizations in diverse technical areas such as Network Administration; Technical Support; Project Management; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Internet Marketing, and custom Web, Application, and Software Design and Development. Additional information about Centex Technologies can be found at www.centextech.com


Ways Business Process Automation Benefits Businesses

In this era, where we are progressing towards a technological boom, businesses too are aggressively moving towards automating their processes. Modern business process automation tools have significantly transformed the operations and fostered better integration of processes. This is often done to minimize the effort and channelize it in a better and useful way. From simple tasks to complex processes, businesses might just automate their operations to save time, effort & operating costs as well as reduce the redundancy. Let’s just go through some benefits process automation has for businesses –

• Better Quality – It involves technology aided devices to perform the tasks which ensure better quality of work by minimizing chances of error. Since every action is identically performed, the results are often very reliable and accurate.

• Consistency – Since the processes have been automated, there exists a certain level of consistency in the way a product or service is delivered to the customer.

• Time Saving – Much before business process automation was ingrained into our systems, business operations & tasks were performed by employees manually. This increased the risk of error and also took more time. Automation has reduced the human effort with repetitive tasks being done by machines. This adds value to the business by properly channelizing the abilities of their employees into creative and cognitive tasks.

• Efficiency – When business processes are automated then employees are able to perform better even with less resources. It ensures that the systems run smoothly and the business is able to leverage maximum benefits out of it.

• Reduced Costs – A task when done manually follows a slow pace and often costs more than what it does when automated. It significantly reduces the operating costs and minimizes wastage.

• Streamlined Operations - Also known as Workflow automation, it has enabled businesses to streamline their processes. They have been able to optimize their workflow by eliminating unnecessary tasks.

• Accountability
– It enables business owners to prepare a database and find out who is responsible for what task. They can even held people accountable in case an issue arises.

• Customer Satisfaction – People are able to get reliable and consistent results which in turn increases their level of satisfaction.

Factors That Should Be Considered While Choosing Which Processes To Automate –

  • Employee Involvement
  • Level Of Complexity
  • Volume ( In Terms Of Task/ Operation)
  • Possibility Of Standardization
  • Availability Of Technology
  • Cost Involved

Business Processes Which Can Be Automated -

  • Operation Management
  • Project Management
  • Customer Support
  • Communication
  • Purchase Order Management
  • Job Applicant Tracking etc.

Business process automation is a strategic decision taken to improve the productivity. To know more about business process automation, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Social Engineering Attacks & How To Prevent Them

Social engineering as the name suggests deals with exploiting the human element in the cyber chain. The hackers make an attempt to bait human psyche to divulge sensitive & confidential information.

In this type of attack cyber criminals need not design sophisticated softwares and operating systems containing malware. Rather it is an act of psychological manipulation.

Here we have listed some common techniques of launching social engineering attacks –

Baiting – In this type of attack, hackers hit the human’s curiosity and greed. Once the user is duped, a malware is injected in their system and they steal away user’s confidential information. They lure in people with free music and movie downloads and make them part with their login credentials.

Also, attackers might just drop in some flash drives or USB’s near a company building. Now an inquisitive employee comes into picture, who out of his/her curiosity connects the drive or USB to company’s computer. This way the malware is injected and virus spreads throughout the company network.

Pretexting – As the name suggests, the hacker pretexts and drafts clever questions to elicit user’s confidential information. They generally masquerade their identity and impersonate as a trust worthy authority. From name, address, phone details, social security number to bank records, attackers can gather all types of information. They can be around you, acting as your co-worker, insurance agent, prospective employee, tax official etc. so you must always be extra careful before providing such sensitive information to anyone.

Scareware – It aims at inciting fear in the mind of users. The attacker sends fictitious threat notes and makes them believe that their system is injected with virus. In all the panic, users often install a fake anti-virus software that itself contains the malware for a problem that doesn’t even exist. It may be distributed through emails and is often called fraudware.

Shoulder Surfing – This technique involves directly observing or stalking someone to garner confidential information. A social engineer might just overlook your login information or even your ATM pin. Just with a glace, they are able to figure out the necessary information leaving you vulnerable to a social engineering attack.

Quid Pro Quo Attack – It is quite similar to baiting. However, in this type of attack the hacker promises a service or benefit in exchange of some information or access. Generally the hacker impersonates as an IT professional and promises to solve the user’s problem or offers some software upgrade in exchange of passwords & access codes.


How To Prevent Social Engineering Attacks –

  • Don’t click on suspicious links and websites.
  • Keep your system updated.
  • Install an antivirus on your system.
  • Use multilayer authentication criteria.
  • Be extra conscious and alert while disposing off documents containing sensitive information.
  • Use different passwords for different logins.
  • Back up your data regularly.
  • Organize employee training programs.


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

Growing Our Diverse Business Position

Centex Technologies receives its MBE certification in Georgia

Killeen, TX, January 16, 2018– Centex Technologies is pleased to announce its newly awarded Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification through the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). By passing the particular review and requirements, Centex Technologies may operate as a Minority Business Enterprise and Minority Subcontractor within the state of Georgia, receiving contracts working with state and local agencies.

Centex Technologies previously received its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification in the state of Texas in 2016. Through the DBE interstate application process, Centex was able to apply for and receive its DBE certification with the state of Georgia in 2017, as an advantage for our Atlanta office.

DBE‐certified businesses in Georgia that meet the state’s MBE qualifications are automatically eligible for MBE certification.

According to the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, MBE certification provides emerging firms with invaluable business development resources. With certification, enterprising business owners gain unprecedented access to corporate buyers and executives who are interested in working with certified minority business.

For more information about this certification and other work Centex Technologies performs in the government division, please contact Christopher Walton, Vice President and Legal Counsel (Government Division) at cwalton@centextech.com

About Centex Technologies
Centex Technologies is an IT consulting company with offices in Killeen, Austin and Dallas, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. Our goal is to provide innovative IT solutions that exceed expectations. We assist our clients through a wide range of comprehensive and cost‐effective services to advise, install, service and repair, configure, maintain and teach Information Technology. Our highly skilled and professional staff has extensive experience serving medium‐ to large‐scale organizations in diverse technical areas such as Network Administration; Technical Support; Project Management; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Internet Marketing, and custom Web, Application, and Software Design and Development. Additional information about Centex Technologies can be found at www.centextech.com

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GDPR Compliance & Its Impact on US Businesses

A large amount of customer information is collected each day. Even a slight carelessness in managing sensitive customer information can cost the business dearly. General Data Protection Regulation i.e. GDPR is new standard that provides a set of rules which the companies operating or doing business in Europe must comply to. The European Parliament adopted it on April 14, 2016 with an intent to protect personal and private information of customer’s. 

The soaring figures that account the data breaches validate the importance and need of GDPR. It covers a total of 99 articles and would regulate data protection laws and policies. As per the reports by Ovum, a London based analyst and consultancy firm, two- thirds of U.S. companies might have to reconsider their strategy in Europe owing to GDPR. 

What Will Change –

Businesses (Including US businesses operating in Europe) would now have to be extra careful while managing customer databases like an individual’s IP address, social security number, name, cookie data etc. Stringent state rules will now govern a company’s customer data protection policies. It will come into force on May 25, 2018 and companies not adhering to GPDR will be have to pay a hefty fine. 

Which Companies Will GDPR Affect –

A business or company that -

  • Operates in Europe  
  • Processes personal data of European citizens

How To Prepare Your Company For GDPR –

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has come up with a guide which companies can follow to prepare themselves for GDPR –

  • Cognize your staff about GDPR.
  • Systematically organize, manage and share the customer information you hold.
  • Review your current privacy policies and make necessary changes to harmonize them with GDPR.
  • Check your procedures and make sure that they cover all the rights individuals have.
  • Update your procedures and decide the ways you will handle requests within new time frame.
  • Decide the lawful way to process personal data.
  • Check whether your consent seeking mechanism complies with the rules of GDPR.
  • As per GDPR you would need parental consent to process a child’s personal data so setup a system through which you can verify an individual’s age.
  • Ensure that you follow an appropriate and quick mechanism to detect and report a data breach. 
  • Get well acquainted with ICO’S code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments.
  • Hire someone to act as the Data Protection Officer, whose main role would be to keep a check whether data protection policies are being complied or not.
  • Determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.

Enforcement of GPDR would mean less data breaches which will ultimately benefit the end user by protecting their private and confidential information. It is a revolutionary step by the European government for the best interest of their citizens and US based companies operating in Europe will have to do the required modifications in their policies and online applications in order to adhere to the norms. 

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