The Perils Of Cybersquatting

May 20, 2016

Cybersquatting can be defined as an illegal registration, use or trade of a domain name with the intent of making monetary profits from website visits. In most cases, the cyber squatter may sell the domain to the rightful company at a certain price. However, he may also attempt to divert users from the legitimate website to infect their device with malware.

Types Of Cybersquatting

  • Creative Extortion: This form of cybersquatting capitalizes on the adjournment or ignorance of the business owner to register a domain name. The cybercriminal may get hold of the domain and sell it back to the owner at a higher price.
  • Typosquatting: In this case, the cyber squatter creates a URL based on the common typographical errors made by the users. For instance, www.abcd.com may be registered as www.abxd.com, owing to the proximity of the keys ‘c’ and ‘x’ on the keyboard. Whenever a user misspells the URL, he gets directed to the fake website.
  • Dropcatcher: This involves purchasing a domain name immediately after it has expired, without giving its owner the time to re-register. By acquiring the domain name, cyber squatters may greatly benefit from the huge traffic that would otherwise have been received by the genuine website.
  • Defamatory Cybersquatting: Some cyber squatters may purchase a domain name and publish defamatory comments about a trademark owner. This compels the owner to purchase the domain at a higher price to protect his reputation and credibility.

Tips To Protect Against Cybersquatting

  • Make sure you register your company’s domain name and logo as early as possible. Also, renew it in a timely manner. Many cyber squatters have specialized software to scan registry services and acquire the domain name right when it expires.
  • Get a domain name registered even if you have not set up your business yet. Cyber squatters usually buy domains in bulk, so you should acquire all potential URLs that you may want for your business.
  • Build up as many variations of your domain name as possible to prevent typosquatting. All these additional domains should be redirected to your primary website. Register all the typographical errors that users may make while entering the URL. If your URL has more than one word, register it with hyphen between them. You should also consider registering multiple extensions for your domain name, including ‘.com’, ‘.org’, ‘.net’ etc.

Centex Technologies provides comprehensive cyber security solutions to the business firms in Central Texas. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Securing Your Home Network

May 13, 2016

Home routers are an easy target for the cybercriminals, on account of their poorly configured security settings.  Once the hackers are able to breach the network, they can track, block, redirect or tamper with the user’s online activities. They may also infect the system with malware and make it a part of the botnet so that it can be used to initiate hacking attacks on other computers. It is, therefore, important to have a secure network to avoid or minimize the consequences of a hacking attack.

Given below are some tips to increase the security of your home network:

Change Important Default Settings

When a router is initially set up, it has a default IP address and log in password. Hackers are very well familiar with these default credentials and may use them to gain access to your network. Therefore, you must change the IP address to something which is not commonly used. You should also change the service set identifier (SSID), a unique name for your wireless local area network. A default SSID or one that includes your personal information can be easily breached, so make sure it is lengthy as well as contains both numbers and alphabets.

Turn Off Remote Access

Most routers come with a remote access feature, which allows you to access your network from any location. Though it may be useful for the authorized users, the hackers may also be able to log in without having to breach the login credentials. Thus, you must disable remote access on your router or use proper restrictions and change the default port number to something that cannot be easily cracked.

Enable MAC Address Filtering

MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering allows you to limit the number of devices that can access your home network. Create a whitelist of the MAC address of all your devices so that only the authorized users can use the internet. In such case, even if the hacker has your username and password, he will not be able to connect to the network.

Encrypt Your Network

There are many options for you to encrypt the information shared over your network. The most basic form of encryption is WEP. Though it can be easily cracked, WEP encryption is compatible with most hardware devices. On the other hand, a stronger type of encryption, WPA2, is a good option to access internet securely on latest devices.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete network security solutions in Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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How To Defend Against Botnets

May 7, 2016

Botnets are a group of malware infected computers that are controlled by cybercriminals. They use a specially designed malware program, known as bot, to breach the security of the targeted computers and gain access to its administrative accounts so that they can be managed from a remote server. The network of compromised computers is then used to send out spam emails, initiate denial of service and phishing attacks as well as commit financial frauds. The bots usually remain undetected and operate in background programs, making it difficult for the users to remove the malicious program from their computer system.

Below are some tips to protect against botnets:

  • Be Careful With Pop-Ups And Suspicious Links: Make sure you do not click on pop-ups that appear randomly on a website. Most of the ads that show a warning message or prompt you to download an anti-virus software are laden with malware which can compromise the security of your computer. Also, avoid visiting websites that appear to be fake as they can download malware the moment you open them.
  • Do Not Open Email Attachments: You should not click on or download email attachments from unknown senders. Most of these contain malware disguised as an important document, such as a tax form or sales invoice. As soon as the user attempts to open the file, the malware gets activated.
  • Switch Browsers: Another effective technique for protecting against botnets is to use a browser other than the popular ones. Most malware are designed according to the security configurations of the browsers used by most people. Switching your web browser can lower the risk of botnet attack to a great extent.
  • Improve System Security: Install anti-virus, spyware and anti-malware software on your computer to scan as well as remove any potentially malicious programs. Make sure you subscribe to automatic updates or install the newer versions to avoid making your system an easy target for the hackers. USB flash drives and other removable storage devices should be used cautiously as they can easily transmit malware. Also, disable the auto run feature on your computer to avoid installing software and programs from unknown sources.
  • Use Secure Credentials: Use a difficult username as well as strong password and keep them in an encrypted format. For better security, you can adopt 2 factor authentication so that even if the hacker is able to breach your password, he will not be able to gain access to the account.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to improve the cyber security at your business firm in Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Cyber Security Tips For Start-Up Businesses

April 27, 2016

With the increasing involvement of cloud computing, social media and employees working from multiple locations, start-up businesses have become vulnerable to different forms of cybercrime. Owing to their ambiguous security practices and inexperienced employees, hackers can gain an easy access to the important information that can be used for malicious purposes.

Here are some of the useful cyber security tips for start-up businesses:

  • Protect Your Network: Safeguard your company’s internal network by installing a firewall, spyware and anti-virus software. Make sure that all the files and data sent or received through the network is properly encrypted. Set a password to secure the internet router from being accessed by unauthorized users. You should also configure access point so that it does not broadcast your network’s name.
  • Educate Your Employees: Creating well-defined security policies and implementing them effectively within the organization can help to avoid potential hacking attacks. Educate the employees about the online security threats and the best way to protect against them. Inform them about the importance of creating strong passwords, handling removable media and managing privacy of their official email accounts. Establish clear policies for maintaining confidentiality of any sensitive data and personal identifiable information.
  • Restrict Access: Limit the number of employees who can access the important company accounts and computer systems that store confidential data. Encourage employees to lock their computer or laptop when they are not around. This will help to prevent the incidence of data breach. Remove local administrative privileges to avoid malicious or unrequired software downloads.
  • Backup Important Information: Backup all the information stored on the computer systems on a regular basis. This may include the important word documents, spreadsheets, employee information, clients’ financial details, databases etc. Thus, even if your network is compromised, you can minimize its effects on your company’s operations.
  • Use Secure Payment Processing: If your business involves online financial transactions, make sure you are working with trusted payment processing provider. The customers’ credit/debit card data should be stored in an encrypted format in a secure computer or server. Keep the payment systems isolated from other programs. Make sure that you use different computer systems to process payments and browse the internet.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to improve the IT security of your start-up business in Central Texas. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Common Mobile Security Threats

April 23, 2016

Mobile devices have become an easy target for most cybercriminals due to the improper security mechanisms and lack of awareness on the part of the users. Lost or stolen devices, vulnerable applications and security flaws pose a major risk for a company’s security. Identifying these threats and being proactive in defending against them is the key to safeguard your mobile devices as well as important data.

Here are some of the common mobile security threats that need to be addressed:

  • Malware: Smartphones and tablets may be infected by worms, Trojans, viruses as well as other forms of malware. Users download several apps, games and software, some of which may be injected with a malicious code to steal important information stored in the device. When a device is infected, the hackers can gain access to the usernames and passwords, track online activity, collect online banking information etc. They may also use the malware to initiate hacking attacks against other mobile users.
  • Unauthorized Access: Mobile devices often lack strong password policies to restrict unauthorized user access. Though there is the option to set PIN, password or pattern lock, but all these can be breached easily. Also, certain malicious apps installed can also breach the users’ personal data stored on the device. Thus, all the email accounts, contacts, social media profiles, online banking details and other sensitive information are at a risk of being stolen.
  • Insecure Data Storage: Most of the data in a mobile device is usually stored in an unencrypted format. This poses a serious security threat as a theft, loss or unidentified access of the device by anyone puts all this information at risk. Confidential data can be easily retrieved, shared, deleted or modified.
  • Eavesdropping: Information sent and received through a mobile is not always secure, particularly over a wireless internet network. Thus, it can be easily intercepted by a hacker. Eavesdropping attacks are usually undetectable, making the user to unintentionally leak out sensitive information shared through phone calls and instant messages to the cybercriminals.
  • Unauthorized Modifications: Users often make certain unauthorized modifications, known as jailbreaking or rooting, in their mobile to install third party apps. This exposes them to increased security risks as they are likely to download malicious software in the device. Also, jailbroken devices are less likely to receive automatic application updates and security patches, allowing the hackers to easily exploit the vulnerabilities in the software.

For more mobile security tips and cybersecurity solutions for your business firm, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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