Posts Tagged Cyber Security

Everything About Jigsaw Ransomware

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Internet Security Myths

In the wake of high rising cyber-attacks, everyone is equally susceptible to risks. Cyber security is a major threat but people often lack the knowledge of ways & methodologies to protect themselves from hackers. This has muddled up their idea about internet security & cyber-attacks. Let’s debunk certain myths regarding cyber security and the actual facts behind them.

  • Myth – Only Big Corporations Are Targeted, My Personal Computer Faces Absolutely No Risk.
    Fact – It is a complete myth that cyber criminals would not be interested in hacking your personal information. They usually keep an eye and watch out for people who seem to be an easy prey. Reason being, companies do take certain security measures and also have dedicated IT teams to keep a check over cyber security which makes it difficult for hackers to infiltrate into the network. However, cyber criminals do not have to make much efforts to break into the network and steal private as well as confidential information stored on an individual’s personal computer. So it is important to keep your files and data safe on your devices by using a variety of security measures. Set difficult passwords and keep changing them from time to time. Also make sure that you unplug your webcam as well as switch off the broadband connection when not in use.
  • Myth – If A Computer Is Not Connected To Internet Then There Are No Chances Of Getting Attacked By A Virus.
    Fact – This is far from truth. Virus can be injected into the PC while software update or through USB drives which might have been exposed to malware. This poses a serious cyber security threat.
  • Myth – I Have A Strong And Complex Password, So My Information Is Safe.
    Fact – Sometimes people set passwords which may seem difficult to them but in reality they aren’t as   complex and can be easily hacked by cyber criminals. So make sure that you set a password which has more than 15 characters and is formed by using a combination of alphabets (both upper & lower case), numbers as well as symbols to increase the difficulty level. Also nowadays, most devices allow use of biometrics i.e., fingerprints, face scan etc. to access confidential documents as they add a layer of security.
  • Myth – There Is No Risk As I Have Installed An Anti-Virus Software.
    Fact – An anti-virus software only protects you from virus. However, you may be exposed to a variety of other cyber security threats. So it is important to update the anti-virus software and also you will need firewalls to protect your personal information from being hacked.

Cyber criminals often resort to identity thefts or sell your personal information further in the dark market to be used against you. So it is better to stay safe than repenting it later. Therefore, gather complete information about internet security and take all necessary steps to protect yourself from a cyber-attack.

To know more about IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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Cyber Dating Scams

In this era, where everything is just a click away, more and more people are in search of companionship and are trying to find it online. However, this has significantly increased the number of cyber dating scams. They seem more like a bait that victimizes people looking for friendship on the web. Cyber criminals often lure innocent people who not only suffer a heartbreak but also lose thousands of dollars in this process.

How Does The Scam Work

Also known as ‘catfishing’ the fraudsters create fake online profiles to trick people into a relationship.  Generally, the scammers reach out their potential victims through online dating websites, email, dating apps, phone, social media etc. They often fabricate their identity and invest a lot of time to show genuine interest and make things look real so that the victim falls into the trap. Once they have gained your trust they take advantage of your emotions only to exploit you financially.

Warning Signs To Look Out For

  • They claim that they feel strongly for you, just after you have had few conversations with them.
  • They ask for some money or your bank account details.
  • Are not ready to meet you in person and often break promises that they make.

How To Avoid Such Scams

  • Stay Alert – It’s okay to be paranoid and a bit skeptical when you are dating someone online. This will help you avoid a cyber dating scam as you will think practically and not let yourself from being misled.
  • Search Around – Check out the profile as well as images of the person you meet online. Try to run them through a reverse image search engine. If you find that the images are stolen then it’s best to avoid them. Go through their social media profiles, LinkedIn profile and gather as much information available about them online. If there is a difference in information available on various platforms then there are high chances that the person is a scammer.  Also, checkout certain websites such as Romance Scams, Scamalytics etc. that have a huge database containing the list of such scammers along with the email address that they commonly use to con people.
  • Do Not Handover Your Credentials To Anyone – No matter how close you are to the person you have met online, never share your login credentials and passwords with them. Also prefer not to share your photographs and videos, if you have never met them in person and your relationship is at early stages as they can be used by the fraudster to blackmail you in future.

It is important to be aware of such scams at the first place in order to avoid falling into the trap. For more information on various cyber scams and ways to avoid them, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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Better Alternatives To Setting Passwords

Till date, passwords were the most widely used way for authentication and to keep critical information secure. However, given the present scenario and state of cyber security it can be stated that traditional password systems have not been able to meet the security challenge. As per a report by Verizon, 81% of data breaches in 2017 were either due to stolen or weak passwords.

What Is The Problem With Passwords?

First, passwords are not secure at all. A weak password can easily be guessed or hacked by the cyber attacker leaving the user’s confidential information at risk. Secondly, a strong password is formed by the combination of alphabets, numerals and symbols. With an intention to set a strong password that is not very easy to hack, people complicate it too much and quite often forget it (now that’s a valid paradox).

Thirdly, employees often expose the organization to risk due to their carelessness. Writing the passwords and sticking them up on their desks in order to remember and keep them handy is the most common mistake and is a serious security threat. Also, it is very difficult to remember so many passwords for different login credentials which is why an alternative to setting passwords is required.

Better Alternatives To Setting Passwords –

Biometrics
– With things like Apple Touch ID, Face ID passwords, unlocking using fingerprints etc. biometrics has gradually ingrained itself into our lives. It is an excellent alternative to using passwords as it involves our unique biology which makes it difficult to forge or hack. From fingerprints, eye retina scans, face scan etc. are all widely being used by people today. Also with time, more and more devices are becoming compatible to biometric verification.

Two- Factor Authentication
– It provides an added layer of security. It uses a piece of information that only the user knows apart from the username and password. Either a one-time password that is sent to the user on their mobile phone or a specific user information that only he/she knows makes it difficult for cyber criminals to hack the password.

Heart Rate – Another safe alternative is using a security technology that resorts to heart rates of a person. Now this is something that is quite difficult to hack as each person has a unique heartbeat.

Security Tokens – There are two types of tokens – soft and hard security token. They are not connected to a network and generate one time passwords instead making them a great alternative.

With the evolving technology, there has been a paradigm shift in techniques that are opted to protect the confidential information. As predicted by Bill Gates in 2004 at a RSA Security Conference, passwords would soon become extinct as people are now opting for other alternatives which seem to be safer somehow.

For more information on IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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All About Spoofing Attacks Launched Through Emails

Spoofing is nothing but a form of cyber-attack in which the hackers camouflage their identity. The term spoofing means to deceive or trick and involves presenting a deceptive thing in the right & truthful way. In this, the hackers disguise their identity to beguile the user and inject malware into their systems. The most common way to launch a spoofing attack is through emails.

How Do Cybercriminals Spoof Emails –

The hacker generally spoofs the email address to makes it look genuine. They work on “From” field such that the sender’s name and email address appear to be legitimate & authentic. This is done so that the receiver opens up the mail thereby giving hackers an opportunity to inject virus.

Another high end attack called BEC (Business Email Compromise) is being initiated by the cyber attackers. It is generally targeted towards executives at the top level in order to gain access to their company’s confidential & sensitive information. The primary loophole is in the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) technology, as it does not verify the sender’s email address. Cybercriminals generally use services of a free SMTP server available online to spoof the email address in order to dupe the target user and steal their private & confidential login credentials.

Ways To Spot Spoofed Emails –

  • The best way to spot a spoofed email is by closely looking at the sender’s name and email id. Do not click any link in a mail that has some strange content that you are wary & suspicious of.
  • Gmail provides an additional security feature and allows the user to check ‘mailed-by’ and ‘signed-by’ fields apart from sender’s email id. If the fields are incomplete then there is high probability that the email is spoofed.
  • If the content in the email is strange and weird then ask for a confirmation by replying the email. Now the best part is that the reply you send is directed at the original address. If you get a genuine reply then its fine. Otherwise, you will get to know if the email was fake or genuine.

What To Do If You Detect A Spoofed Email –

  • If you spot a spoofed email then immediately inform your internet service provider.
  • Next change the passwords for all your email accounts.
  • Ensure that you have enabled sender & recipient filtering options.
  • Make sure that you do not respond to any email you receive from that fake email id in future.

How To Prevent A Spoofing Attack –

  • Don’t open emails that do not contain the sender’s name or are sent from an unknown source.
  • Update your system regularly.
  • Install a good anti-virus software.
  • Enable the feature that allows you to filter blank senders.

Other Common Types Of Spoofing –

  • Caller ID spoofing
  • GPS spoofing
  • Referrer spoofing
  • DNS spoofing
  • IP address spoofing

For more information on IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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