Archive for May, 2016

How To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

May 26, 2016

Identity theft has always been a major concern for the internet users. Cybercriminals constantly attempt to breach the personal information, such as user names, passwords, social security numbers, bank account details etc. to carry out various online scams. They may also make unauthorized purchases on the victim’s credit card and breach into email account to send out spam mails or initiate phishing attacks.

The following security measures can be implemented to protect yourself against identity theft:

  • Be Aware Of What You Share: You must be cautious about the information you share through your social media profile. Make sure you do not post your address, contact details, social security number, date of birth etc. as these can be easily used by the hackers to steal your personal information. Configure the privacy settings at the highest level to safeguard your account.
  • Create Strong Passwords: Maintaining password security across all your online accounts is critical to protect them from being hacked. Create strong and hard-to-crack passwords comprising a combination of uppercase/lowercase alphabets, numbers as well as symbols. Use a different password for each account and update it frequently.
  • Protect Your Mobile Device: There are many apps that allow you to conduct banking transactions, shop, pay taxes or track your finances online. Make sure you download the app or software only from a credible source. Check its ratings and reviews before downloading as well as confirm what information it may access on your mobile. Also, block the installation of apps from unknown sources on the device.
  • Watch Out For Phishing Scams: You should never trust emails that claim to be from an authentic source and ask you to click on a link or provide your personal information, such as address, account number, credit card details etc. Do not reply to such emails or download any attachment contained in it. Instead, you can directly contact the concerned company to know about the legitimacy of the email.
  • Use Security Software: Key loggers, backdoors as well as other malicious programs can allow the hackers to gain access to your computer and steal information. These programs may infect your computer through email attachments, drive-by downloads or clicking on a malicious advertizement. After this, the hacker may attempt to steal information by session hijacking, accessing files and documents or recording keystrokes to breach the password.

For more information and prevention tips for identity theft, contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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The Perils Of Cybersquatting

May 20, 2016

Cybersquatting can be defined as an illegal registration, use or trade of a domain name with the intent of making monetary profits from website visits. In most cases, the cyber squatter may sell the domain to the rightful company at a certain price. However, he may also attempt to divert users from the legitimate website to infect their device with malware.

Types Of Cybersquatting

  • Creative Extortion: This form of cybersquatting capitalizes on the adjournment or ignorance of the business owner to register a domain name. The cybercriminal may get hold of the domain and sell it back to the owner at a higher price.
  • Typosquatting: In this case, the cyber squatter creates a URL based on the common typographical errors made by the users. For instance, www.abcd.com may be registered as www.abxd.com, owing to the proximity of the keys ‘c’ and ‘x’ on the keyboard. Whenever a user misspells the URL, he gets directed to the fake website.
  • Dropcatcher: This involves purchasing a domain name immediately after it has expired, without giving its owner the time to re-register. By acquiring the domain name, cyber squatters may greatly benefit from the huge traffic that would otherwise have been received by the genuine website.
  • Defamatory Cybersquatting: Some cyber squatters may purchase a domain name and publish defamatory comments about a trademark owner. This compels the owner to purchase the domain at a higher price to protect his reputation and credibility.

Tips To Protect Against Cybersquatting

  • Make sure you register your company’s domain name and logo as early as possible. Also, renew it in a timely manner. Many cyber squatters have specialized software to scan registry services and acquire the domain name right when it expires.
  • Get a domain name registered even if you have not set up your business yet. Cyber squatters usually buy domains in bulk, so you should acquire all potential URLs that you may want for your business.
  • Build up as many variations of your domain name as possible to prevent typosquatting. All these additional domains should be redirected to your primary website. Register all the typographical errors that users may make while entering the URL. If your URL has more than one word, register it with hyphen between them. You should also consider registering multiple extensions for your domain name, including ‘.com’, ‘.org’, ‘.net’ etc.

Centex Technologies provides comprehensive cyber security solutions to the business firms in Central Texas. For more information, you can call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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Securing Your Home Network

May 13, 2016

Home routers are an easy target for the cybercriminals, on account of their poorly configured security settings.  Once the hackers are able to breach the network, they can track, block, redirect or tamper with the user’s online activities. They may also infect the system with malware and make it a part of the botnet so that it can be used to initiate hacking attacks on other computers. It is, therefore, important to have a secure network to avoid or minimize the consequences of a hacking attack.

Given below are some tips to increase the security of your home network:

Change Important Default Settings

When a router is initially set up, it has a default IP address and log in password. Hackers are very well familiar with these default credentials and may use them to gain access to your network. Therefore, you must change the IP address to something which is not commonly used. You should also change the service set identifier (SSID), a unique name for your wireless local area network. A default SSID or one that includes your personal information can be easily breached, so make sure it is lengthy as well as contains both numbers and alphabets.

Turn Off Remote Access

Most routers come with a remote access feature, which allows you to access your network from any location. Though it may be useful for the authorized users, the hackers may also be able to log in without having to breach the login credentials. Thus, you must disable remote access on your router or use proper restrictions and change the default port number to something that cannot be easily cracked.

Enable MAC Address Filtering

MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering allows you to limit the number of devices that can access your home network. Create a whitelist of the MAC address of all your devices so that only the authorized users can use the internet. In such case, even if the hacker has your username and password, he will not be able to connect to the network.

Encrypt Your Network

There are many options for you to encrypt the information shared over your network. The most basic form of encryption is WEP. Though it can be easily cracked, WEP encryption is compatible with most hardware devices. On the other hand, a stronger type of encryption, WPA2, is a good option to access internet securely on latest devices.

We, at Centex Technologies, provide complete network security solutions in Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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How To Defend Against Botnets

May 7, 2016

Botnets are a group of malware infected computers that are controlled by cybercriminals. They use a specially designed malware program, known as bot, to breach the security of the targeted computers and gain access to its administrative accounts so that they can be managed from a remote server. The network of compromised computers is then used to send out spam emails, initiate denial of service and phishing attacks as well as commit financial frauds. The bots usually remain undetected and operate in background programs, making it difficult for the users to remove the malicious program from their computer system.

Below are some tips to protect against botnets:

  • Be Careful With Pop-Ups And Suspicious Links: Make sure you do not click on pop-ups that appear randomly on a website. Most of the ads that show a warning message or prompt you to download an anti-virus software are laden with malware which can compromise the security of your computer. Also, avoid visiting websites that appear to be fake as they can download malware the moment you open them.
  • Do Not Open Email Attachments: You should not click on or download email attachments from unknown senders. Most of these contain malware disguised as an important document, such as a tax form or sales invoice. As soon as the user attempts to open the file, the malware gets activated.
  • Switch Browsers: Another effective technique for protecting against botnets is to use a browser other than the popular ones. Most malware are designed according to the security configurations of the browsers used by most people. Switching your web browser can lower the risk of botnet attack to a great extent.
  • Improve System Security: Install anti-virus, spyware and anti-malware software on your computer to scan as well as remove any potentially malicious programs. Make sure you subscribe to automatic updates or install the newer versions to avoid making your system an easy target for the hackers. USB flash drives and other removable storage devices should be used cautiously as they can easily transmit malware. Also, disable the auto run feature on your computer to avoid installing software and programs from unknown sources.
  • Use Secure Credentials: Use a difficult username as well as strong password and keep them in an encrypted format. For better security, you can adopt 2 factor authentication so that even if the hacker is able to breach your password, he will not be able to gain access to the account.

We, at Centex Technologies, can help to improve the cyber security at your business firm in Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.

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