Cyber Insurance – Needs And Benefits

May 26, 2015

Cyber insurance is designed to provide coverage from the losses incurred by an organization due to various cybercrimes such as network damage, data breaches, denial of service attacks, identity theft etc. Generally, a cyber-insurance policy protects against two types of risks – first party and third party. The former covers the losses of the policy holder whereas the latter one recompenses for the company’s liabilities towards clients, business partners and shareholders. Coverage options in a cyber-insurance policy may include crisis management, computer forensics investigation, data reconstruction, security liability, protection from cyber ransom etc.

Why Is Cyber Insurance Needed?

Every business, be it large or small, is likely to rely on information technology to some extent. In spite of using sophisticated firewalls and anti-virus software, it is nearly impossible to achieve complete security from cybercrimes. This is where the need for cyber insurance arises. It is particularly important for companies that hold confidential customer data, rely heavily on computer network to carry out business activities and deal in financial transaction processing.

Some of the reasons why companies need cyber insurance are:

  • Safeguarding the data of clients is one of the most important reasons to purchase cyber insurance.
  • Disclosure agreements and commercial contracts stored on the network may contain clauses regarding the confidentiality of the information. These can lead to expensive claims in the event of a breach.
  • Most entrepreneurs believe that their business is sufficiently covered by other insurance policies. However, having a cyber-insurance policy will make sure that all the network security risks are comprehensively covered.

Benefits Of Cyber Insurance

  • Mitigates Risk: Cyber insurance helps mitigate the risk of network attacks by increasing security measures. Insurers need to attain a certain level of cyber security in their organization as a prerequisite for coverage. This helps companies to identify the flaws in their IT system and make improvements in security practices.
  • Reimburses Losses And Penalties: Cyber insurance is immensely beneficial in the event of a large scale network attack. It provides coverage for the losses incurred, costs of notifying the affected individuals, hiring an attorney, legal fees and liabilities to other people.
  • Business Interruption Expenses: Some insurance policies also offer coverage for the income lost by a company as a result of the network or equipment failure due to the cyber-attack.

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What is a Sniffer Attack?

May 18, 2015

A sniffer attack involves capturing, inspecting, decoding and interpreting the network packets and information exchanges on a TCP/IP network. It aims at stealing unencrypted information, such as user IDs, passwords, email text, transferred files, credit card numbers, network details etc. It is also referred as a passive cyber-threat as the attacker is usually invisible and difficult to detect on the network.

Types Of Sniffer Attacks

  • LAN Sniffing: In this, the sniffer software is installed on the internal LAN to scan the entire network exhaustively. This helps to provide further information such as server inventory, live hosts, open ports etc. Once all the details are gathered, the hacker may launch a port-specific attack.
  • Protocol Sniffing: This method involves creating separate sniffers to carry out attacks on different network protocols. For instance, if a hacker sees UDP packets in a network, a separate sniffer is started to capture information.
  • ARP Sniffing: The hackers steal all the important information related to the IP addresses and its associated MAC addresses. This data is further used to initiate packet spoofing attacks, ARP poisoning attacks or exploit vulnerabilities in the network router.
  • TCP Session Sniffing: This is a basic sniffer attack in which the hackers get hold of the traffic between the source and destination IP address. They target details like service types, port numbers and TCP sequence numbers to create and control a fabricated TCP session.
  • Web Password Sniffing: In these sniffer attacks, the hackers penetrate the HTTP sessions that do not use secure encryption. Following this, the user IDs and passwords can be stolen and used for malicious purposes.

Tips To Protect Against Sniffer Attacks

  • Enable a WPA or WPA2 encryption for your router. Also, make sure you change its default password to limit access to your network. Use a long and secure password consisting of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters and symbols.
  • Use MAC filtering on your network. You must allow only trusted MAC addresses to access your private VPN, thus, reducing the chances of a sniffer spying on the network.
  • Ensure that the important sites you use, particularly those that involve making financial transactions, have SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. If a site is SSL enabled, it will have a URL beginning with HTTPS instead of HTTP.

We, at Centex Technologies, can assess and implement advanced cybersecurity measures in your organization. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Importance Of Keeping Local Citations Consistent

May 11, 2015

Local citations are a critical component through which search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc., determine the location based ranking for a business. In addition to having citations on credible and well-indexed websites such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, BBB, Foursquare etc., it is equally important to have business listings on service specific portals.

How Do Local Citations Work?

While determining your ranking for local search results, Google crawls through various sources on the web to search for “mentions” of your business. Search engine spiders look out for information like business address, phone number, website URL etc. and compare this data with the information provided on your website and Google+ page to verify its legitimacy. Generating local citations is particularly important for small businesses as they can benefit from high local search engine ranks and can compete with major players in the industry.

Why Is It Important To Keep Citations Consistent?

One of the major factors determining your website’s ranking in search results is the consistency of information provided in local citations. This includes business’ name, address and phone number (NAP), across all the citations. Besides basic business information, operating hours, modes of payment accepted, website URL should also be kept consistent. Any incorrect information is likely to reduce your potential customers, either through the wrong contact details or Google suspecting your business’ reliability and giving it a lower rank. The wrongly entered information may also spread quickly over the internet by robots and crawlers, thus, multiplying the effects of the error.

Tips For Maintaining Consistency In Local Citations

  • Decide on your exact business name and use it throughout all references over the internet.
  • Use a single phone number as your business’ primary contact. If you have a toll free number, use it as a secondary option. If there is only one option, always provide the local number.
  • Make sure to enter your complete address, including correct suite or unit number (if applicable), city as well as zip code.
  • Confirm that all abbreviations are in the same format for all business listings. For instance, Ltd should not be replaced with Limited.

Having real and consistent local citations can result in scoring huge points and achieve a higher ranking in local search results.

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What Are Web App Attacks?

April 29, 2015

Web app attacks are among the most common types of data breaches posing serious threat to a business’ cyber security. These attacks can jeopardize the functioning of your website, inhibit its performance and in most cases, crash the website completely. As most web applications run in the browser, any potential security flaw can permit hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities in the apps and damage the business website.

Common Web App Attacks:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): These attacks use a vulnerable web application to send malicious client side code to be executed by the end user. Once this is done, the hacker can have access to browser’s session tokens, cookies and other sensitive data.
  • SQL Injections: This type of attack manipulates the vulnerabilities in the web apps in order to gain access to the databases and other information that they hold. These may include things such as email addresses, names, telephone numbers, postal addresses, bank account information, credit card details etc.
  • Cookie Poisoning/Hijacking: A number of web applications use cookies to save and retrieve user information like login id, password and email address. Cookie poisoning allows the hacker to access unauthorized information about the user to create new accounts or penetrate the existing account.
  • Directory Traversal: It is a form of HTTP attack in which the cybercriminal installs malicious software on the web server. If the attempt is successful, the hacker can have access to the restricted directories and execute commands that are outside of the server’s root directory.
  • Remote Command Execution: This allows the hacker to execute remote and random commands on the host computer through a vulnerable web application. These attacks are largely possible due to insufficient input validation.

Counter Measures Against Web App Attacks

  • Set Safe Permissions: Most often, the web apps are attacked due to the preventable vulnerabilities present in them. Make sure you set safe permissions for your files so that they can be written or executed only by the web server.
  • Scan For Vulnerabilities: This is extremely important to identify the potential vulnerabilities in your application that may make it open to cyber-attacks.
  • Use Application Firewall: Installing and regularly updating firewall can also provide an added layer of defense against web app attacks.
  • Restrict Unauthorized Users: Make sure that the write access to your files should be given to a limited number of users. This is applicable both for the server side and web app backend.

We, at Centex Technologies can help you evaluate and implement web app security measures in your organization. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Websites With Infinite Scroll: Pros And Cons

April 24, 2015

With online businesses wanting to create better and seamless user experience, a lot of companies are opting for websites with an infinite scroll. Infinite scroll websites are coded in such a way that they continuously load content as a user scrolls down a web page. The best examples of such websites are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, infinite scroll website is not always the right choice for every business. Whether or not you should implement infinite scrolling depends upon the type of information that you want to present to your website visitors. Read on to know the pros and cons of a website with infinite scroll design:

Pros

  • Keeps Users Engaged: Infinite scrolling is a good option for websites that need to keep the users engaged for a longer time. As the content continues to appear, users keep on scrolling down the web page. Having to click on a ‘see more’ button might break the link of the users.
  • Great For Mobile And Touch Screen Devices: Infinite scroll design is a perfect fit for mobile and touch screen devices. Users just need to scroll down to view more information without having the need to load a separate web page. The information on these websites is presented in boxes which are quite appealing for the users to click to tap for more.
  • Easy To Manage Real Time Information: Websites that have to provide real time information to their users work well with infinite scroll design. For instance, continuous updating of news feed on Facebook allows the users to conveniently scroll through the entire content.

Cons

  • Lost Footer Information: One of the biggest drawbacks of infinite scroll design is that users are unable to reach the footer. People often refer to the footer for important information about the website such as contact details, social media links, copyright information, terms of use etc.
  • Inability To Search Specific Information: Users need to scroll through the entire page to search for anything specific on the website. Similarly, they cannot skip anycontent to view something that interests them.
  • Mapping Problems: Without pagination, users may feel disoriented about where they are on a particular pageor where the previously viewed content has gone. Infinite scroll websites do not have any back button to view the page visited earlier.

Before making the move towards an infinite scroll design, make sure the page design rightly matches the purpose of your website. We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete web design/development solutions to businesses. For more information, call us at (855) 375-9654.

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