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Ways To Avoid Online Shopping Traps

Online shopping is preferred by a lot of people, owing to the convenience and variety of products it offers. However, it can also put you at risk for various cyber-crimes, such as identity theft or man-in-the-middle attack, if you do not follow the necessary security measures. In order to keep yourself safe, here are some of the important things that you should bear in mind while shopping online:

  • Choose Reliable Websites: Make sure you verify the authenticity and credibility of the site before purchasing any product. Check if the website provides a detailed information of the company, including address, fixed line telephone number, email address, shopping guidelines, privacy policy etc. It should have a legitimate payment gateway having a URL that starts with ‘https’. You should also read customer reviews and ratings for the website.
  • Beware Of Spam Emails: You may receive several emails stating the deals offered by different shopping sites. Even if an email looks genuine, you should not click directly on the link provided therein. It could be a malicious code that may redirect you to a spam website or download a malware to your device. Instead, prefer visiting the retailer’s website directly to check the deal.
  • Be Skeptical Of Discounted Goods: Sale and discounts can be lucrative, but you should be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Do not rush into buying things unless you are sure of the product quality and genuineness. Even if you do not make a purchase, some websites simply want to you register to have access to your email id and password. 
  • Protect Your Personal Details: Many websites allow you to save your personal and payment details to speed up the checkout process. While this may save you some time, you can also risk your sensitive information being leaked to cybercriminals. If possible, consider checking out as a guest user, so you can authenticate the purchase every time.
  • Never Shop On Public Wi-Fi: When you enter credit or debit card information over a public computer or Wi-Fi network, it is possible that it is transmitted without proper encryption. This provides an easy access to the hackers to steal the important details and use it for malicious purposes. 
  • Keep Record Of All Purchases: Maintain a proper record of the financial transactions and invoices of all the stuff that you purchase online. You should also frequently check your credit or debit card statements to determine if there are any unauthorized purchases.  If so, you should immediately bring it to the notice of your bank or credit card provider.

Staying alert and following the necessary safety measures can help you make the most of your online shopping experience.

Open-Source Website Security Tips

There has been a tremendous expansion of innovative tools and applications in the web development world. Popular open-source content management systems, such as Drupal and WordPress, have made it easier for businesses to make their mark over the internet. Their highly customized designs, templates, plugins and modules provide for a simpler website creation and execution. Although these websites are user-friendly, they can be vulnerable to a number of security threats. However, a few preventive steps can mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks on your open-source website. Some of these have been discussed below:

  • Keep Plugins And Themes Updated: Majority of the hacking attacks on open-source websites are carried out through an unpatched vulnerability in a theme or plugin. When hackers discover the route to access such a plugin, they may manipulate it for malicious purposes. To avoid this, you should make sure that your software platform and themes are updated to the latest version. You must also remove any unused or non-updated plugins from your website.
  • Relocate Administration Directory: By default, most open-source website development platforms use the ‘admin’, ‘wp-login or ‘wp-admin’ extensions as log in page. This is where a user gets access to modify the site’s content and other backend settings. Relocating your administration directory to another folder will make it difficult for the hackers to trace.
  • Form Validation: Make sure you perform both server side and client side (browser) form validation. The web browser may identify minor failures such as mandatory fields left empty or numbers entered in a text-only column. However, to avoid getting them side stepped, you must conduct a server side validation as well. This will make sure that the hackers are not able to enter a malicious scripting code into your website’s database.
  • Install SSL: It is recommended to use an SSL certificate to encrypt important information transferred between the browser and website server. It prevents the data from being intercepted, thus safeguarding you against Man In The Middle (MITM) attack. SSL certificates are particularly important for ecommerce portals and other websites that need to store sensitive information of the clients or customers.
  • File Permissions: Since most open-source platforms come with pre-set file access permissions, they are usually not optimized for security purposes. Depending upon your web host and purpose of the plugin, you should alter your file permissions to prevent hackers from entering malicious code into your website.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete cyber security solutions to Dallas, TX based businesses. For more information, call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Tips On Securing Your Cloud Data

Information privacy on the cloud is a major concern for cybersecurity experts across the globe.  With more and more businesses relying on cloud based storage, the threats for data breach have increased manifold. Although the service has numerous advantages, it is important that business owners implement certain proactive efforts to keep their data protected against any unauthorized access.

Here are some of the tips that can help to keep your cloud data safe and secure:

  • Use Strong Password: One of the most important things you must do to keep your cloud account secure is choosing a strong password. You should not use common phrases, like your name or birthday, as these passwords are vulnerable to hacking attacks. Instead, include a combination of letters, numbers and special characters while creating your password.
  • Avoid Storing Sensitive Information: As identity theft is on the rise, the best way to safeguard yourself is by keeping all the sensitive data away from the virtual world. Make sure you do not store information about your credit card, address, password, bank account, national security number etc. on the cloud. If you need to include any of these, you must properly encrypt it before uploading.
  • Apply Two-Factor Authentication: If your cloud solution provides the option, you must apply two-factor authentication to increase the security of your account. In this, you will be required to enter a one-time-password, that you receive on your phone, to access your account. Thus, even if someone knows your password, he won’t be able to log in without clearing through this verification stage.
  • Encrypt Data: Try to encrypt all of your information before uploading it to your cloud account. Most of the cloud service providers today allow encryption of data. However, you also have the option to download a third-party cloud protection app. By applying a strong encoding method, you can be assured that even if your files get stolen, the hackers would not be able to decode them without knowing the encryption key.
  • Read The User Agreement Of Cloud Provider: It is extremely important that you carefully read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of using your cloud account. Check about the security practices implemented by the company, both over the cloud and at the data center, to protect your data.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete IT security solutions to the business firms in Dallas, TX. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

Keeping Your Mobile Devices Secure

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become an important part of life for most people. Though these technologically advanced gadgets have provided a great deal of convenience, there are several threats that come along. With sending emails, shopping and doing banking on the move, your personal information has become more vulnerable than ever.

Given here are some of the best practices to keep your mobile devices secure:

  • Keep Your Device Updated: The first line of defense against security threats is to keep your mobile devices updated with the latest software. Check for updates regularly and download the apps only from credible sources. You must also keep your device properly patched against known vulnerabilities. 
  • Encrypt Data: There is a lot of sensitive information stored on your mobile device, such as official emails, contact numbers, passwords etc. In order to keep everything safe, it is best to store the data in an encrypted form. This will make sure that if the device is stolen, the thief will not be able to access the information stored therein.
  • Remote Wipe: These apps enable you to erase all the data in case the device gets stolen or lost. You can remotely wipe off all the stored contacts, images and other important data from another system. However, these apps work only if the mobile device is turned on and receiving a network signal.
  • Lock The Device: Enable built-in screen lock features in all your mobile devices. Make sure you employ strong passwords to block unwanted access. You can also use the auto-lock feature in which the device will automatically lock itself after a certain period of time and require a password to be unlocked.
  • Avoid Using Open W-Fi Networks: You must not use public Wi-Fi networks, particularly those that do not require a password to connect. It might be set up to initiate an attack on your network. Avoid logging into any secure websites while using a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Be Careful With Bluetooth: Many mobile devices come with a default setting to switch on Bluetooth. This enables the users nearby to detect your device and potentially, connect to it. To avoid this, turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it or alter its security settings so that it is visible only to already connected devices.

For more tips on how to keep your mobile devices safe and secure, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654(972) 375 – 9654.

Safeguard Your Information

Hacking has always been a matter of concern for the internet users. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to breach confidential data, passwords and other information.  Considering the prevalence of security attacks, it is not irrational to assume that almost 9 out of 10 people will be a victim of identity theft once in their lifetime. If you are a business owner, you might want to make sure that all the information related to your employees and clients is totally secure.

Here are some of the cyber security tips to safeguard your information:

  • Create Strong Passwords: Most of the hacking attacks are carried out with stolen passwords. Thus, it is important to create a password that consists of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers as well as special characters. Passwords with a combination of all these elements are usually hard to crack. You should also change your passwords at frequent intervals.
  • Avoid Using Personal Information In Passwords: Although passwords containing personal information like name and date of birth are easy to remember, it makes them much easier to hack. This information is widely available on Google and social media platforms that can be easily found by the hackers. 
  • Turn Off GPS And Wi-Fi Services: Keep your smartphones and laptops secure by turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS when you do not need them. This way, no one will be able to detect your location.
  • Delete Unused Apps: If you have a lot of apps on your smartphones/ tabs that you do not use often, make sure you delete them. You must also replace the apps that require access to most of your personal details such as contacts, SMS logs, emails, location etc.
  • Keep Your Browser Clean: Prevent yourself from getting spied by frequently clearing browser history, cache, cookies and saved passwords. It saves your personal information from being insecure on your computer, laptop or smartphone.
  • Turn Off Geotagging: Some social networking websites display your location along with your photos or posts. You must turn off geotagging to avoid giving out information about the place from where you have taken the pictures. 
  • Shop Only With Credible Websites: If you are shopping online, make sure the website belongs to a reliable company. All your transactions should be protected by an ‘HTTPS’ browser session. This will make sure that your name, address, passwords, credit card details are going over the internet in an encrypted form. 

For more tips on safeguarding your information and other cyber security issues, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

Payment Gateway Security Tips

If you have an ecommerce website, you might be aware of the importance of a secure payment gateway. As a business owner, it is important that you keep the users’ information confidential and secure from getting misused in any form. Such data may include usernames, passwords, credit or debit card details, PIN numbers etc. It is important that you follow strict measures to ensure the security of all the transactions that take place through your website’s payment gateway.
Here are some of the tips that you must follow to ensure payment gateway security:

  • PCI DSS: The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has put forward certain security standards for all the businesses that accept online payments. These are a set of 12 requirements that ensure all corporations that store, process or transmit credit or debit card data maintain a safe and secure environment.
  • Storing Card Details: In order to keep your customers’ data protected, it should be encrypted in an asymmetric format, which makes it nearly impossible for the hackers to decode it. Also, the software should be programmed to ask for a strong password, consisting of alphabets, numbers and symbols, for the transaction to be processed. You must also verify the IP address of the user before validating any transaction through your payment gateway. This may seem a bit complicated initially, but it is very important to keep the process fast and secure.
  • Physical Security: The network or system that stores all the credit or debit card data of the customers should have restricted access. Only the concerned employees should be able to view the information. You can also issue smart cards or use biometric authorization before letting anyone enter the room that has the equipment storing such details.
  • Threat Detection: Make sure you have executed credible software to monitor all the traffic that your network receives. This will help you detect and avert any potential malicious users visiting your website. As soon as any such movement is detected, you must take immediate action to verify that your customers’ data is secure.

The customers should also be very cautious while making any online transaction. Make sure that the payment is redirected through a verified payment getaway with an ‘HTTPS’ protocol. Also, you should avoid making purchases through public computers.

For more information about payment gateway security, you can contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.