Archive for October, 2015

Steps To Optimize Your Firewall Configuration

October 28, 2015

Firewall is an essential part of your organization’s network security. It works by monitoring all the incoming and outgoing traffic on your network to restrict any unauthorized access. It can also limit exposure by camouflaging internal network information from the public internet. Though its importance is well-known, many people do not optimize their firewall settings efficiently. Majority of the cyber-attacks occur mainly because of flaws in a network’s firewall configuration.

Here are some steps that you need to follow to optimize your firewall configuration:

  • Filter Outbound Traffic: You must constantly monitor your server to detect and remove any unwanted or unauthorized traffic. Denied or dropped outbound requests hitting the firewall should also be tracked. Subsequently, the network administrators should reconfigure the firewall to prevent such unauthorized servers, thereby eliminating load from the firewall.
  • Minimize Privileges: You should set specific configuration polices to filter traffic on your organization’s network. Each user should be given the least level of privileges that are absolutely required for him to work efficiently. This will reduce the chances of a potential data breach. You should also review your firewall policies frequently to determine any new applications and the connectivity they need
  • Run Only Required Services: Many organizations face security issues due to outdated or unrequired services running on their firewall. The best way to overcome this is to strengthen device security and ensuring that the firewall configurations are compliant before they can be used on the organization network. By modifying your device’s settings according to their functioning and usage, you can improve its security and minimize the chances of running a malicious service on your firewall.
  • Standardize Authentication Mechanisms: You should enforce the same authentication mechanisms across all your organization’s branches, even in remote locations. If not, the employees will be able to access online accounts with weak passwords without any limit on login failures on entering incorrect details. In such situations, hackers find an easy way to access the organization network through remote locations. Having a standardized authentication policy will minimize this risk and improve security.

It is important that you continuously monitor your organization’s firewall settings. However, by following these steps, you can improve overall network security and significantly lower the chances of a hacking attack.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to optimize your organization’s IT security. For more information, you can call us at (972) 375 – 9654.

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Protecting Your Financial Information Online

October 24, 2015

With the greater convenience and efficiency offered by online financial transactions, the need to safeguard your information has also increased. More and more people are using the internet for shopping, banking, paying bills, booking tickets etc. However, on the flip side, hackers have also found an easy way to steal the users’ confidential data such as passwords, credit card details, account numbers etc.

Here are some tips that will help to protect your money when you are making online transactions:

  • Be Careful Of Spammy Links: You should always type in the URLs manually for websites where you need to carry out any financial transaction. Clicking on links sent in emails, chat rooms, social networking sites and banner ads on suspicious websites may redirect you to a spam website.
  • Pick A Complex Password: One of the biggest mistakes most people make is using their personal information, like name, pet’s name, date of birth etc., as passwords for online accounts. There are many programs that scan personal information through Facebook accounts and make it easier for the hackers to guess passwords. Make sure you create a strong password, at least 8 characters comprising of letters, alphabets and special characters.
  • Check The URL: While visiting a website that requires entering your sensitive information, you should check and verify that the link is genuine. You should carry out financial transactions only on websites that start with ‘https’. This will ensure that the data you enter is properly encrypted and secure.
  • Get An Additional Credit Or Debit Card: You can also consider having an additional credit or debit card to be used solely for online transactions. Restricting limit for the credit card or holding a limited amount of money on your debit card can help to mitigate the consequences of a hacking attack.
  • Eliminate Vulnerabilities: You should always keep updating the operating system and the applications on your device to eliminate any vulnerability that can be used for malicious purposes. The anti-virus and anti-spyware software should also be installed and regularly updated with the latest security patches.
  • Avoid Using Public Computers Or Internet: As far as possible, you must try to avoid accessing your online banking or shopping accounts on public computers. These systems might not have proper security updates installed and intercept your personal information. Even when using a personal device, avoid connecting to an open or unknown Wi-Fi network. It is possible that hackers might be intercepting the traffic or decoding the information you are sharing over the network.
  • Use Virtual Keyboard: When banking online, you should use virtual keyboard to enter your password or other important details. It automatically encrypts your details and reduces the risk of password theft.

By following the above mentioned tips, you can efficiently protect your personal and financial information from being accessed by the cybercriminals.

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Tips To Stay Safe When Sharing Files Online

October 16, 2015

Online file sharing is a feature that allows the users to send or receive documents in a quick and convenient manner. However, every new technology comes with its own set of challenges. With the increasing cyber threats and data breach incidences, internet safety has become an important concern than ever. Staying alert and following the required safety practices can help to minimize the occurrence of a data breach.

Here are some of the tips that can help you stay safe when sharing files over the internet:

  • Choose Strong Passwords: Although it is a much known security practice, unsecure or weak passwords are still the cause in most cases of hacking attacks. Ideally, you must create a separate password for each online account that you manage. Make sure your password is at least 12 characters long with a combination of lower and upper case alphabets, numbers as well as symbols. Names, date of births or common legible words are easy to interpret and hence, should not be used as passwords.
  • Use Two Factor Authentication: Safeguarding your files with a two-step authentication provides an added layer of security. Besides the user name and password, an additional verification element is required to gain access to the files. These may include a one-time password sent on the individual’s phone, verification links sent through emails, answering a security question or performing a biometric scan of an authorized user.
  • Encrypt Files: Sharing files without proper encryption puts them at risk for a breach. Encryption will make sure that even if a hacker has gained access to your files, he would not be able to open and read it. Only the authorized individuals will have the key to decode the file so as to make it comprehensible.
  • Avoid Downloading Unknown Files: Apart from the files that you send, you also need to be cautious with the ones you receive online. It is important that you download only those files that are sent from trusted sources. Additionally, you must be more careful while downloading email attachments with .exe, .com, .bat, .zip and .vbs extensions. These may contain malicious codes, viruses or programs aimed at stealing information from your computer.
  • Install And Run Security Software: You must install and constantly update your anti-virus and firewall software to defend against viruses that you may get from shared files. Even when you download files from a trusted source, make sure you run an anti-virus scan to prevent breach of your important documents stored on the computer.

For more online file sharing tips, you can contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Reasons Why Trojan Virus Is Dangerous

October 10, 2015

Trojan is a malicious software program designed to carry out unauthorized actions on a computer. These may include deleting system files, modifying, blocking or copying data and disrupting the computer’s performance on various networks. Although Trojans do not have the ability to replicate themselves like a virus, they can allow installation of viruses in the infected computer.

How Trojan Infects A Computer?

Trojan viruses can infect a computer through any of the following ways:

  • Email Attachments: Trojans can be sent in a disguised form through email attachments. The hacker may send emails claiming to be from credible organizations that compel the users to download attachments.
  • Game Downloads: The virus can infect a system through free game downloads, specifically from unauthorized sources.
  • Web Browser Exploits: Trojan viruses can also enter a user’s computer through security vulnerabilities in the web browser.
  • Messaging Clients: The hacker may send a spam link or malicious code through instant messaging platforms which, when downloaded, infect the device with a Trojan.

Consequences Of Trojan Virus

Here are some of the reasons why Trojan virus can be dangerous:

  • Steal Identity: Certain form of Trojans jot down whichever key you strike on your keyboard. Thus, they are able to steal your username and password for different websites, known as an identity theft. When the hacker breaches your account, he can get access to your contacts and send them malicious URLs to infect their system as well.
  • Manipulate Requests: Trojans can also be used to execute a man-in-the-browser attack. When an individual performs any financial operation, the virus may manipulate the amount and account details once the transaction has been confirmed.
  • Difficult To Detect: Unlike other viruses and worms, Trojans are much difficult to detect and remove from the computer. This is because they are not active unless you are doing something important on your computer, such as logging into an account or transferring funds from your bank account.
  • Subjugate The Computer: Trojan allows the cybercriminal to take complete control over the infected computer. Hence, they are able to turn on their web cam, disable the mouse or keyboard and even boot up the system.
  • Launch Another Attack: DDoS attacks can also be carried out through some types of Trojan viruses. The hacker may install other malicious software, damage the system or steal important information stored in the computer.

It is important that you keep your anti-virus software updated to detect any Trojan infection and prevent the hackers from accessing your computer.

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