What Are DDoS Attacks And How Can You Prevent Them?

February 27, 2015

A ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ (DDoS) attack can be defined as an attempt made by the hackers to make a system unavailable to the users. This is usually accomplished by interrupting the functioning of the host network or a server to which the system is connected. Unlike a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, DDoS uses multiple remotely monitored computers to overpower the target system and making it unable to respond to the requests of legitimate users.

In a DDoS attack, the hacker begins by exploiting certain vulnerability in a particular computer. Using this, the attacker can easily identify and infect the other connected systems. These computers, also called as zombies or bots, are then directed to launch a flood attack towards the target systems.

Tips To Prevent DDoS Attacks

  • Buy More Bandwidth: This is one of the easiest techniques to ensure that you are protected against DDoS attacks. With this, you can easily distribute your traffic to different servers and create a lot of space to handle the persistently increasing users. Purchasing more bandwidth can allow you to handle more requests, thus, tackle low intensity outbreaks.
  • Restrict Connectivity: If you have multiple computers that directly connect to the internet, you must properly configure routers so as to restrict connectivity. For instance, if you need to receive some information from the client’s system, you can configure it to pass from some selected ports through the firewall.
  • Buy Intrusion Detection System (IDS): These are the software applications that are attached to the network in order to monitor all the malicious activities. If anything suspicious is detected, the IDS alerts the network administrator so that preventive measures can be taken well before time.
  • Encode Your Website Efficiently: If you have programmed your website in an efficient way, the botnets need to be more sophisticated to be successful in the attack. Thus, you must make sure that your web pages are properly encoded and involve minimum server requirements to load.

DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common due to the vulnerabilities in most of the devices. Cyber criminals are finding it very easy to implement these attacks, particularly against small businesses. Following the above mentioned tips can help you to create a resistant web network that is capable of preventing or mitigating the effects of a DDoS attack.

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What Is Botnet And Rootkit Security Threat?

February 23, 2015

Cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to access computer systems for unlawful purposes. Two of such threats to network security are Botnets and Rootkits, which can infect your computer before you even realize that you are a victim of cybercrime.

Botnet

Botnet simply means a group of bot infected computers. In a botnet attack, the owners of computers do not know that a bot has infected their system and the bots remains dormant till the time they receive a command to perform particular action by their controller or botmaster. The bots are commonly transferred to computers through unprotected internet ports or other malicious downloads.

The number of computers in the botnet can range from just a few to thousands or even more. Botnets are often used in Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, spreading virus and spam, and stealing sensitive data such as bank account or credit card details.

Rootkit

A rootkit is referred to as software that can be installed on a computer system without the user being aware of it. It can either come as a part of a larger software package or installed by an attacker by convincing you to inadvertently download the bug. This allows the hacker to take control of your computer system or network.

It is not always necessary that rootkits are malicious, however, they may hide such activities. The cybercriminals can alter your system programming, access important data, and carry out many other tasks on your computer while being hidden. Rootkits are also used for some genuine purposes such as observing illegitimate activity and preventing misuse of an organization’s network by the employees.

How to protect your PC for Rootkit and Botnet?

  • Make sure you create strong passwords that are difficult to be cracked by the hackers. It should include a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, special characters and numbers. Do not allow your internet browser to remember passwords.
  • Installing an anti-virus software can also help to avoid attacks by obstructing the malicious users from accessing your network.
  • The anti-malware programs should always be authentic and reliable. They should be constantly updated to search for any viruses or bugs in your system.
  • Always be cautious while using emails and internet. Hackers usually deliver malware in the form of images, videos, links or pop-ups on your computer screen.

Following good cybersecurity practices can help you protect your network and stop the hackers from taking control of your computer system.

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What Is Browser Hijacking And How To Prevent It

February 16, 2015

Browser hijacking is a term used to describe modification of user’s internet browser’s settings without his consent. This can either happen while downloading and installing new software, or if some malicious hacker forcibly redirects you to a spam website. Once your browser has been hijacked, it can crash your browser, change your default search engine, redirect you to third party websites, add new toolbars or bookmarks, and enable popups or ads on your screen.

Just like other malware and internet scams, hijacked browsers can make a good amount of money for the hackers. It can change your default home page to their website where the search results are directed to the links that the hackers want you to see. Any click on these links is a source of money for the cybercriminals. They can also sell information about your browsing habits to third parties to be used for marketing purposes.

Tips To Prevent Browser Hijacking:

Given here are some of the important tips that can help you prevent your browser from getting hijacked:

  • Frequently Update Your OS And Browser Version: Make sure that you have updated your browser with the latest version available. Also make sure that all the security patches are properly functioning to avoid any cyber-attacks targeted at unshielded vulnerabilities. Companies providing web browsers are responsive to the hijacking issue and keep on adding security features to prevent it. Thus, it is essential that you update your browser regularly.
  • Enable Real-Time Protection in Your Anti-Virus Software: Most antivirus software offer a feature known as ‘Real-Time Protection’ that keeps an eye on attempts made to alter your browser’s configuration files. It alerts you if anything you are downloading is trying to make changes in the browser’s settings. For this, you should make sure that your antivirus software is always up to date.
  • Be Careful Before Downloading Any Software: Browser hijacking software may be downloaded automatically along with a number of authentic software. Therefore, you should always be careful while reading the disclaimer details about installing any particular software. Some companies allow you to refuse to install the bundled applications that are not essential for the downloaded software to operate.
  • Removing Browser Hijacking Malware: Some hijacking software permit removing the faulty applications after installation. However, most of them do not allow you to undo the changes made to your browser’s settings. Even after you have removed the software from your system, your browser will remain hijacked until you manually reset its settings to default.

Browser hijacking is one of the most common cyber security threats. It is important to protect yourself by selecting appropriate settings and anti-viruses for your computer. For more information on network/ cyber security, please call us at – (855) 375-9654.

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Improving Your Company’s Network Security

February 10, 2015

As the technology and systems behind cyber-attacks are persistently evolving, it’s nearly impossible for any company to stay absolutely secure. However, there are a few important steps that must be taken to minimize the threats to your company’s network security. Here we have jotted down list of steps that a company should implement to strengthen security of its computer network.

  • Use Two Factor Authentication: Customary authentication methods involving a username and password are no longer effective from security point of view. Instead, you should prefer using a two factor validation combining the above two elements with some other confidential physical devices such as a smartphone, USB token, smart card etc. It can also incorporate biometric data like retina scan, fingerprint and voice recognition etc.
  • Have A Specified Security Policy: Whether you have a large or small company, there must be a comprehensive security policy explicitly stated to all the employees. This includes making sure that the software on their systems is up to date with a fully functional security cover. Latest anti-malware and antivirus software should be properly installed and inspected. Also, the staff should know whom to call if any system software needs configuring. Employees should also be educated about type of external devices that are prohibited on office computers.
  • Use Biometric Encryption And Passwords: If a company’s computer or laptop is stolen, there is a high possibility that someone can gain access to the confidential data, infect the network or access other computers. To prevent this, you can implement additional security features in the system such as encrypting the hard drive, facilitating a biometric password on start-up. You can also install BitLocker on your Windows computer to automatically encode the data saved on the hard drive or removable media.
  • Secure Access From External Servers: If any employee is accessing your server from a personal device, make sure that he has to pass through applicable verification measures. Introduce one time passwords (OTPs) or smart cards for the users to connect through the company’s VPN. If your company follows bring your own device (BYOD) policy, you must set up appropriate policies to ensure that it does not affect your network’s security.
  • Perform Regular Checks: It is very important that you review your security policy on a regular basis. Frequent system audits can help you measure the effectiveness of your company’s security operations against potential threats and attacks.

By devoting more attention to your company’s security practices, you will be in a better position to not just shield, but also correct the inconsistencies in your private network.

We at Centex Technologies provide complete cyber security solutions to corporates. For more information call us at (855) 375-9654.

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Secure Your Business Travel

January 27, 2015

Business travelers are always a prime target for the cyber criminals and spammers to gain access to their computers and confidential data stored therein. Thus, before you go on your next business trip, make sure that you follow these important security tips in order to keep your system safe from any sort of vulnerabilities.

  • Install Proper Security Updates And Patches: Before you leave for your journey, update the security software of the operating system and other applications for your computer. Also update the anti-virus software and if possible, enable it to update automatically. Although these processes may take a while, but it can prevent your system from security attacks by hackers.
  • Download Updates From Authorized Websites: If your computer suggests you to update certain software or applications, do not click on the ‘update’ button straightaway. This can be a malware to install spam software in your operating system. To avoid this, you should go to an authorized website and download the updates directly from there.
  • Always Use Virtual Private Network (VPN): Whenever you use the internet connection offered at public places such as hotels, airports and cafes, there is a higher possibility that your data can be intercepted and accessed unless it is properly encoded. This may include your username, password, documents and emails that you send etc. If your company provides VPN access, make sure you use it while traveling.
  • Beware Of Free Access Points: Unsecured Wi-Fi access points may seem to be tempting, but they may be a trap set by the hackers to spy on your private data. Malicious hotspots can also be used to redirect the users to spam websites that can infect the computer with viruses. However, if you need to connect to the internet, make sure that you opt for Wi-Fi services that require a password for authentication.
  • Encrypt Your Hard Drive: Your laptop may consist of some important business related data which may be at the target of cyber criminals. Make sure that your hard drive is properly encrypted and has a complete backup to keep all your information secure.
  • Avoid Using Public Computers: Computers in internet cafes and hotel business centers should never be trusted for any private communication or transaction. There may be a key logger installed to detect your username and passwords as you type.

It is also advisable that you change your laptop’s password once you have returned from the business trip.

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