Archive for April, 2017

Securing Your FTP Server

28th April, 2017

File transfer protocol (FTP) has become one of the most popular and convenient ways of sharing data within a network. Considering its extensive usage, FTP security has become an important concern for the IT professionals. A poorly configured server can act as a critical flaw in the cyber security of an organization.

Given below are some tips that you should follow to secure your FTP server:

Define user accounts and permissions

Each user on the FTP server should have a separate account and login directory. This will help to ensure that the files are accessed only by the authorized users. In case you want to create directories that can be shared by multiple users, you can explicitly state the permissions for each of them. Also, access should be allowed according to the specific duties to be performed by the employees. For instance, if one needs to simply read a file, permissions to share, modify or delete it should be disabled.

Enable logs

When you enable logs in your FTP server, you can have a complete record of the IP addresses and users who accessed the server. Maintaining a log will help you to identify the traffic patterns, unauthorized login attempts and any potential security threat.

Limit the number of incorrect logins

Make sure you restrict the number of invalid logins that a user can make. After the set limit has exceeded, the account gets locked and needs to be activated again. This reduces the likelihood of a brute force attack, in which the hackers gain access to a network by guessing multiple password combinations. Ideally, you should set the permissible login attempts between 3 to 5.

Enforce password compliance

Weak passwords are often the biggest loopholes that allow the hackers to access the FTP server. You should enforce strong password policies and make sure that all the users comply with it. The password should consist of 8 to 10 characters comprising of uppercase and owe case letters as well as alphanumeric characters. You can also implement a policy that requires users to change their passwords after a set period of time.

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

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Protecting Yourself Against Cyberstalking

26th April, 2017

Cyberstalking is a common type of cyber crime that involves using electronic means of communication, such as IMs, emails or social media, to stalk the victim. The stalker may send threatening messages, make false accusations, spy the victim’s internet activities, steal his identity or simply make unwanted advances to stay in contact.

Given here are some tips that should be followed to protect yourself against cyberstalking:

Be Careful While Sharing Information Online

It is important to be cautious when you post anything on social media or share information through emails or IMs. It is very easy for the hackers to gather details about you such as name, residence, places of interests, friends and likes/dislikes.

Google Yourself

Search your name on Google to see what results are being displayed. It is quite possible that hackers have created fake profiles in your name. You can also search your phone number to detect any unwanted information about you. Delete or report all the incorrect or unauthorized information you find about yourself on the internet.

Password Protect All Accounts

Create strong passwords for all your online accounts specifically online banking, email and social networking profiles. The security questions you choose should be complex so that the correct answers cannot be guessed by the stalker. Avoid using your name, date of birth, phone number or other such trivial details in your password.

Stay Vigilant

In some cases, the cyberstalker may attach a web-enabled device to the victim’s computer system to monitor his activities. A software program or application may also be installed that transmits all your sensitive information to the stalker. Therefore, make sure you stay vigilant and perform a regular check to identify any such threats. Always log out of the computer system and lock the screen when you are away.

Review Your Privacy Settings

Social networking websites constantly keep on changing their privacy policies so you should keep a check on your account settings. Limit the number of people with whom you are sharing your information. You can even block some people from seeing your posts or photos. Accept friend requests from only those people whom you personally know and trust.

For more information on how to safeguard your identity over the web, please contact us at Centex Technologies (855) 375 – 9654.

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Why Zero Knowledge Encryption Offers Best Cloud Security

17th April, 2017

Cloud computing has provided a convenient way to store, access and share data over the internet. However, password leaks and security breaches in the recent years have led to many apprehensions about the use of cloud services. The lack of compliance standards and stringent security policies in the cloud make your data vulnerable to many online attacks.

What Is Zero Knowledge Encryption?

Zero knowledge encryption is one of the most secure ways to protect your information stored in the public cloud. It offers complete data privacy, ensuring that no one can access your files, not even the cloud service provider. It also known as personal encryption or private key encryption.

How Does It Work?

When you upload any data to the cloud, it is encrypted on the client side. The key to decrypt the data can be accessed by the authorized user. Even the company providing the cloud services cannot access the data because the information gets encrypted before it reaches their servers. The decryption key is stored in the cloud server in a hashed format which is known only to the user.

The reliability of zero knowledge encryption is assessed on the basis of 3 principles:

  • Completeness – Assuring that the cloud service provider is properly following the security protocols.
  • Soundness – Double checking that the account can be accessed only by entering the right password.
  • Zero Knowledge – Verifying that the decryption key is known only to the user.

Advantages Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • It offers the highest possible control over your data stored in the cloud.
  • Zero knowledge encryption allows you to use the popular, convenient and user-friendly cloud services in the most secure way.
  • It minimizes the likelihood of a data breach as all the information is stored in an encrypted format. Even if the cloud server gets compromised, your data will still be safe because only you have the decryption key.

Limitations Of Zero Knowledge Encryption

  • In case the user forgets his account password or decryption key, there is no way to retrieve the files stored in the cloud.
  • The privacy of data becomes your responsibility. You will be held liable for any loopholes in its security or unauthorized attempts made to access the files.

For more information on zero knowledge encryption and cloud security, feel free to contact Centex Technologies. We can be reached at (855) 375 – 9654.

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What Is Synthetic Monitoring And Why Do You Need It

10th April, 2017

Synthetic monitoring, or active monitoring, is a technique used to test the performance of a website or application by analyzing its interaction with simulated users. It provides insights about downtime during the critical business transactions and issues being faced in navigation paths that a real user is expected to follow. This type of testing is usually performed by businesses who are expecting to receive huge website traffic during an upcoming sale or holiday season. Synthetic monitoring allows them to estimate the amount of traffic and HTTP requests the existing website or application can process efficiently.

How Does Synthetic Monitoring Work?

In synthetic monitoring, the tester creates scripts simulating a navigational path or action that has to be followed by a robot user. The script defines the activity to be performed during the test, i.e. log in to the website, visit a specific page or carry out a specific transaction. The test is executed through a pre-decided browser, server and geographical location. The script makes an HTTP request to the website just like an actual visitor would have made. When this occurs, the tester records the response time of the website and any other issues encountered such as increased load time or server error. The data obtained is then analyzed and evaluated.

A typical synthetic monitoring test answers the following questions:

  • Is the website performing well?
  • What is the average load time?
  • Are all transactions being carried out smoothly?
  • In case there is a website downtime or slowdown, what is the reason?
  • Is the website ok to go live?

Why Do You Need Synthetic Monitoring?

  • Identify and detect issues beforehand

With synthetic monitoring, you can simulate user interactions with your website and identify the performance issues well before they impact the user experience. You can easily find the root cause and fix it beforehand.

  • Prepare for peak traffic

If you are launching a new feature in the application or a section in the website, you can proactively test the way it will respond to multiple user requests. This will help to ensure optimal website performance.

  • Test from the end users perspective

By testing your website and applications from different browsers, geographical locations and internet service providers, you are better able to evaluate realistic user experience. It provides insights into the critical performance parameters that prepare your website for diverse user scenarios.

For more information on synthetic monitoring and its benefits, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.

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