Archive for April, 2015

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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What Is Network Traveling Worm Attack?

April 18, 2015

Network traveling worms are specifically encoded programs that are able to transfer from a computer to other through various ways. These worms are automated hackers that transfer important information to impair the entire network once they gain access into it. Worms are quite similar to viruses except that they spread in a slightly different way. When a worm infects a computer, it searches for another system connected through the same local area network (LAN). Once it is found, the worm facsimiles itself to the new computer and continues with its search for more machines to replicate further. Due to its nature of traveling through the network, a worm is able to consume most of the bandwidth, causing the servers to stop responding.

Different types of network traveling worms are:

  • Email Worms: These worms travel by way of attachments in email messages or links to a corrupted website.
  • Instant Messaging Worms: These spread by sending spam links to the contacts in an instant messaging application.
  • Internet Worms: These types of worms scan the internet and other available network resources to search for vulnerable computers. If any such system is found, the worm attempts to connect and infect it.
  • IRC Worms: These worms spread through Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels and transmit infected links or files to the contacts list.
  • File Sharing Network Worms: These worms replicate itself into a shared folder and spread by way of a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

How Network Traveling Worm Attack Affects?

  • Exploit Vulnerabilities: The worm begins launching attacks from one computer in your network to other systems that do not have an updated firewall/ patch installed. Using this, the worm implements ‘shellcode’ on the target machine to make it download and set up a similar type of worm.
  • Weak Passwords: The worm tries to initiate a dictionary attack on other computers in the network. Through this, it aims at accessing the credentials required to execute commands on the target system.
  • Insecure Vulnerabilities: The worm can simply recreate itself through openly shared folders on other computers connected through the same LAN.
  • Email: The worm inspects the contacts list and sends well-written emails to make people click on a spam link, install software or download an attachment to their computers.

Tips To Counter Network Traveling Worms Attack

  • Block auto-execution of attachments in email
  • Keep your computer’s firewall and patches  updated
  • Filter traffic on your router and Wi-Fi network
  • Disable auto run capabilities on the computer
  • Use strong passwords

Following these tips can help you protect yourself against network traveling worms attack to a great extent.

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What Are Advanced Persistent Threats

April 13, 2015

An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a targeted cyber-attack mostly directed against businesses or political institutions. In this, a hacker gains unauthorized access to a system network and remains undetected for a long duration. The purpose of advanced persistent threat is not to damage the computer or infect the organizations’ network. Rather, it aims at stealing sensitive and high-value information from organizations involved in manufacturing, finance and national defense.

An advanced persistent threat has three main targets:

  • Stealing information from the target
  • Surveilling the target
  • Sabotaging the target

How Does It Work?

An advanced persistent threat usually follows the following four steps to successfully accomplish its purpose:

  • Investigation: This involves a thorough analysis of the weaknesses in the network security system of the organization. It may be done through domain queries, port as well as vulnerability scans.
  • Initial Access: Once the weaknesses are discovered, the hacker tries to exploit them to gain access into the organization’s network. For this, he may use a sophisticated social engineering technique, known as spear fishing.
  • Increase Rights: Following the initial entry, the hacker attempts to gather the necessary user credentials to gain more control over the system. He also creates several back doors to easily access the information while circumventing all the security mechanisms.
  • Exploitation: Once full control has been established, the hacker will be able to constantly detect, steal and exploit all the sensitive data stored in the corporate network.

Counter Measures For Advanced Persistent Threats

In spite of the sneaky nature of the advanced persistent threats, there are many preventive actions taken by most organizations to safeguard their critical information. The most important of them is to recognize what data you need to protect and detect the threat at an early stage to prevent further penetration. You must also install a layered data security protection in your system. This would provide an added protection in case of a potential advanced persistent threat attack.

Another counter measure can be to hold continuous security awareness training sessions for all the employees. This will ensure that they are alert about what and what not to do while using the internet or email.  Other technological defenses against advanced persistent threat attacks may include data encryption, classification, application whitelisting as well as security analytics.

It is also important for the IT security team of the organization to remain proactive to deal with any such unauthorized breaches in the corporate network. We at Centex Technologies evaluate and recommend security measures for your organization. For more information, call us at – (855) 375-9654

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