Smartphone Security Tips

February 5, 2016

Keeping your smartphone properly secured is extremely important. Considering the wide range of tasks you carry out through your smartphone, right from social networking and banking to online shopping, following the right security measures has become a pre-requisite. It will help you protect your device against different forms of malware attacks.

Here are some tips to keep your smartphone secure:

  • Use A Screen Lock: This is probably the most basic and often overlooked security tip. Make sure your phone screen is locked at all times, either with a PIN or password. Create a password that is difficult to crack in case your phone is lost or stolen. You can also use a pattern lock but keep your screen clean to avoid leaving fingerprints.
  • Protect Sensitive Data: Even if you have used a strong password, the data stored in your device is still at risk. A cybercriminal simply needs to plug-in a USB cable to connect the smartphone to a computer and access the files stored within. To avoid this, you should keep all your important files and folders password locked or encrypted. With this, the user will be required to enter a pre-set code before the file can be viewed or copied.
  • Set up locate and remote wipe: Most smartphones allow the users to locate the device in case it is lost or stolen. They can even remotely wipe the information stored in the phone or simply change the PIN/password to lock the thief out of the device.
  • Download Apps From Trusted Sources: Allow apps from only genuine sources to be downloaded and installed in your smartphone. Also, check the app’s ratings and reviews before downloading, particularly if it is not so well-known. Read its privacy policy to know what phone features and data the app needs to access.
  • Turn Off Wi-Fi And Bluetooth When Not In Use: Ensure that your phone’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and all other wireless protocols are switched off when you are not using them. Else, put your phone in a non-discoverable mode to avoid making it vulnerable to a hacking attack. Also, turn off automatic connections to open Wi-Fi networks to leak out your smartphone’s useful data.
  • Install Security Software: Download a credible and trusted security app to protect your smartphone against malware and viruses. Make sure you frequently update the virus definitions. Some applications also offer additional features such as remote wipe, app lock, data backup etc.

For more smartphone security tips, contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Firewall

January 27, 2016

Firewalls have become a critical component of any organizations’ cyber security program. Though most businesses implement sophisticated security practices, a minor vulnerability at the core can put their sensitive data at risk. In an era of advanced persistent threats (APTs) and other emerging hacking attacks, firewall has continued to be an effective line of defense in most circumstances.

Here are some tips organizations can get the most out of their firewall technologies:

  • Disable Remote Administration: Many routers have the facility of enabling remote administration. This feature allows an external user to administer your firewall settings. Disabling remote administration can make your firewall a lot more secure.
  • Lock Down VPN Access: VPN clients can bring about a lot of security threats as they use unsecure operating systems that are not guarded by firewall. Hence, you must be clear about the data that each VPN user is allowed to access. Avoid giving complete control of the entire internal network to the users. Create a well-defined access-control list to determine different categories of users and the internet services they need to use.
  • Change Default Password: Regardless of how well-configured your firewall is, it can be rendered ineffectual if the hacker is able to crack the password. Therefore, it is important that you change the default password and use a strong one that can’t be easily guessed. The password should be at least 8 to 10 characters long and include a combination of numbers as well as letters. Also, the password should not be used for any other online accounts.
  • Enable Attack Detection: This feature is not available in all network firewalls or may be present with another name, such as Intrusion Detection System (IDS). If possible, ensure that it is enabled so your firewall can detect and prevent common hacking attacks.
  • Keep Settings Consistent: Allowing employees to customize firewall settings can put every computer’s security at risk. When a malware or malicious code breaches the firewall, it becomes difficult to assess where exactly the vulnerability is located. Therefore, the firewall settings should be kept consistent across the company’s network. Even minor changes such as allowing pop-ups or plugins in a single computer system should not be permitted by the firewall administrator.

For more tips on increasing the security of your firewall, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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The Rise Of Cyber Extortion

January 23, 2016

Cyber extortion is a relatively common online crime wherein a hacker demands money to stop or prevent attack on an organization’s website, computer systems/servers or internet network. Since a large number of businesses depend upon internet, cyber extortion has become an increasingly common cybercrime. Most cyber extortionists use malware laden email attachments or spam URLs to infect the target computer systems.

Types Of Cyber Extortion Attacks:

  • Ransomware: This is the most common cyber extortion attack that involves the use of a ransomware to infect an individual’s computer, steal confidential information or encrypt the stored data. The victim needs to pay a certain sum of money in order to retrieve the files. Examples of ransomware Trojans include CryptoLocker, CryptorBit, CryptoWall and CryptoDefense.
  • Denial Of Service: A denial of service attack occurs when a business’ internal network is flooded with unauthenticated traffic that it denies access to the legitimate users. The company’s website may even be shut down for an indefinite period of time. This type of attack primarily targets start-up businesses as they do not have the sophisticated IT infrastructure and security software.
  • Hijacked Accounts: Online account breaches can be quite serious, particularly if they involve financial or social accounts. Cyber criminals are specifically targeting social media accounts as they are not fully protected by the users. In these attacks, the hacker may threaten the victim to erase, alter or leak out the sensitive information until the extortion amount is not paid off.

Tips To Safeguard Your Business Against Cyber Extortion

  • Know Your Data: Understand the type of data your company needs to store and what risks are involved with it. Depending upon the nature and the amount of sensitive information, you should implement cybersecurity practices in your organization.
  • Set Limits: Restrict the administrative privileges for computer systems and corporate network. Limit the number of employees who can access or use the computers containing all the important information.
  • Enforce Strict Password Policies: Educate employees about the importance of creating strong and lengthy passwords for their online accounts. Also, a single password should never be used for more than one account. You can further increase password security by implementing two-factor authentication, wherever applicable.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help you to prevent cyber extortion attacks in your organization. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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How Cloud Computing Can Increase Business Productivity

January 15, 2016

Every business, whether small or large, operates towards achieving a common goal, i.e., increasing productivity and profit margin. Cloud computing is one of such technologies embraced by businesses across the globe to gain a competitive edge in the industry. By having greater access to data at every level, the employees can work more efficiently and utilize their time as well as efforts in a more industrious manner.

Here are some of the ways businesses can increase productivity with cloud computing:

  • Staying Connected: With the cloud, your employees can stay connected to their work no matter where they are. They simply need an internet connection to access files, applications and software required to carry out their task seamlessly. They can also manage work flow and maintain communication with the team members to track real time updates about any task.
  • Remote Working Privileges: As work from home culture is prevalent in most companies, it can be difficult for the employees to transfer files and data from one computer to another. However, cloud computing provides an easy and round the clock access to all the important files from one central location which can be viewed by all the employees.
  • Recruiting And Retaining Employees: Having the ability to work remotely, businesses become able to hire efficient employees from anywhere in the country. In case a suitable candidate lives in another location, cloud makes it easy for him/her to work in collaboration with rest of the employees. You can also track the performance of each employee by viewing who accessed a file, who made the changes and when the data was updated.
  • Managed Services: With cloud computing, employees can focus on improving their efficiency at work without having to worry about maintaining, storing and securing the data. Your cloud service provider will monitor and implement any security upgrades required in the hosted program or applications. Therefore, you do have to maintain a specialized in-house IT staff.
  • Flexibility And Scalability: When you store the data on the cloud, you do not need to worry about the shortage of space. As your business expands, you can simultaneously scale up your cloud service to ensure functionality for more employees. Also, you can also select and customize the applications you need, hence, paying for only those services that are required for the smooth running of your business operations.

For more information about the benefits of cloud computing for your business, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Effective Ways To Prevent Security Leaks In Your Company

January 8, 2016

Your business stores and handles a lot of sensitive data every day. These may include the personal and financial information about your clients, customers or employees. Failure to implement proper security measures can lead to data breaches and have serious implications for your company’s credibility.

Given below are some of the steps you should follow to prevent security leaks in your company:

  • Protect Information: All the information stored on your company’s computer systems should be properly encrypted to avoid unwanted access. Use of removable media should be limited as far as possible. If required, only encrypted data should be allowed to be transferred to these devices. Restrict the number of employees who can view or use the data. Conduct thorough employee background checks and never inadvertently allow temporary or new workers to view confidential information.
  • Good Password Practices: A lot of people make the mistake of creating short and simple passwords, which makes them easy to be hacked by cybercriminals. In order to increase data security at your workplace, set strong passwords for all business accounts. You can also implement two-factor authentication for an added layer of security. This involves the use of a password along with another security element, such as a one-time password, to verify the identity of the user.
  • Outsource Payment Processing: Avoid handling customers’ financial information, credit and debit card details on your own. If you own an ecommerce website or accept online payments, make sure you outsource the task to reputable vendors or payment gateway providers.
  • Keep Security Software Up-To-Date: Keep your computer’s operating system and security software up to date. Use reliable firewall, spyware and anti-virus software and update them regularly. Implement password protection and timeout functions for all the systems. Configure router settings to prevent unauthorized users from accessing company’s internal network.
  • Employee Training: Providing comprehensive security and privacy training to all the employees can considerably bring down the risk of a data breach. Frame a written security policy and make sure the employees adhere to it. Let them know which information is sensitive and what are their responsibilities towards maintaining its confidentiality. Also, restrict the use of computer systems for business purposes only. Do not permit unauthorized downloads and block access to inappropriate websites.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to optimize cybersecurity practices for your business. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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