Posts Tagged IT security

Guide To VPN Routers

A VPN router is a routing device that helps in enabling network communications within a VPN environment. It connects & communicates between multiple VPN end devices that are located at separate locations.

These routers are specifically designed to protect your system from a cyber-attack. This is made possible because all the devices connected with a VPN router are protected by a Virtual Private Network
.

Methods Of VPN Router Setup

  • There are 3 main methods and one can go with any one of these:
  • Buying a pre-configured VPN router
  • Using a VPN enabled router that supports OpenVPN
  • Flashing a non VPN compatible router with new firmware to support VPN.

Benefits Of Using VPN Routers

  • Easy To Install – They are very similar to regular routers apart from the fact that in this case internet connection is routed through the servers of a private network. Setting up a VPN router completely negates the need of installing VPN on multiple devices separately. It can be done all at once because as soon as the VPN router is installed, you can easily connect your devices with it.
  • Less Expensive – It is always beneficial to set up a VPN router due to the twin benefit it has. Firstly, buying a VPN router is a better deal than taking separate internet subscriptions for each device. So it can help you save costs and also ensures complete security at the same time.
  • Device Friendly – You can connect multiple devices with the VPN router i.e. your smart TV, smartphone, laptop, etc. So configure the device which you have and connect it to the VPN router for added security. In other words, it requires a one-time effort in setting it all up and then you are ready to go.
  • Ensures Security – Installing a VPN router secures all the devices on the network. It adds an additional layer of privacy and maintains anonymity of all your online activities. This way it is hard for cyber criminals to break through a network secured by a VPN router.

Things To Consider When Setting Up A VPN Router

  • Cost – You’ll need to buy a decent router and VPN subscription. However, the cost of a VPN router may vary depending upon the option you choose.
  • Speed – It is one very important factor that needs to be considered to ensure that there are no server overloads, network disruptions or snags etc.
  • Features – The way you plan to use your VPN router determines which firmware & VPN service you need to go with. Although it is very important to make sure that it is up to date, fast, reliable, secure and enforces policy based routing.

For more information about VPN routers, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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What Is Packet Sniffing?

Information is often broken into smaller units when it is transmitted over the computer network. These small units known as data packets are fragmented at the sender’s node and are reassembled in their original format at the receiver’s node.

Every data packet has to cross a number of traffic control devices such as routers & switches. However, the data packet is susceptible to the risk of being captured each time it crosses these control devices. This act of collecting data packets illegally by hackers is known as packet sniffing. Hackers often use specialized devices
known as packet sniffers to do so.

How Does A Packet Sniffer Work?
A packet sniffer can exist in the form of software or hardware specifically designed to collect the data being transmitted over the network. They intercept & log network traffic with the help of wired or wireless network interface it has an access to. Hackers might use it to capture:

  • User names
  • Passwords
  • Downloaded files
  • Emails
  • Audio & video activity
  • Other sensitive information

An illegal packet sniffer is installed somewhere on the network without the knowledge of an IT administrator to gain unauthorized access to confidential information. Hackers also use sniffers to eavesdrop on unencrypted data to spy and checkout information being exchanged between the two parties and use it for their benefit.

Types Of Packet Sniffing

There are 3 types of packet sniffing, let us understand how they work:

  • IP Sniffing – It uses the network card to sniff all information packets that correspond with the IP address filter. These information packets are all used for analysis and examination.
  • MAC Sniffing – It also works through a network card and sniffs away the information packets that correspond to MAC address filter.
  • ARP Sniffing – In this type of sniffing, information packets are sent to the administrator through the ARP cache of both network hosts. The traffic is forwarded to the administrator directly instead of sending it to the hosts.

How To Protect Yourself From Packet Sniffing?

  • Use VPN – VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections provide complete privacy and secure your computer’s internet connection. It makes sure that all the data you are sending and receiving is encrypted & secured.
  • Always Check the HTTPS – Make sure that the websites that you visit have an HTTPS in its URL. Having it in the URL ensures that the website is safe to use.
  • Be Cautious – The risk of packet sniffing rises when a device is connected to a public Wi-Fi network. So be highly cautious of the websites you visit when you are on that network. Avoid doing financial transactions, entering sensitive information etc.

Other Ways

  • Scan your network
  • Use the Antisniff tool
  • Log out when you are done

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

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What Is M2M Communication?

World has become a global village where technology has made communication process more effective & easy. It has brought along a revolution & transformed a lot of things around us. One such thing is M2M communication.

M2M communication refers to Machine-to-Machine communication. It involves a set of machines connected with each other that communicate or exchange information without any human interaction. Such communication between machines has become easier with the rise of wireless technology. As per Strategy Analytics, by 2020 the global M2M industry size will grow to around 200 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

Examples Of M2M Communications

  • Manufacturers can receive notifications & alerts from devices in operation whenever they need servicing due to M2M tools. The machine itself tells you when it needs repairing.
  • Inventory information sent out by vending machine.
  • ATM machines dispensing cash.
  • The air conditioner automatically switch’s down when the room temperature reaches the set point.
  • Wearable devices that track down the number of steps you take & also monitor your heart beat.

Benefits Of M2M communication

  • Reduced Costs – M2M communication enables automation and allows businesses to reduce operational costs. It helps in saving time & effort resulting in better efficiency.
  • Prompt Action– It is easier to gather data when machines are connected to each other. This enables a prompt action to the request made.
  • Open New Avenues – M2M will open up numerous opportunities. With more machines being connected to each other it is possible to provide new service based offerings.
  • Improved Customer Service

Applications Of M2M Communications

M2M communication is presently being used in the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing
  • Billing
  • Telemedicine
  • Security
  • Robotics
  • Industrial
  • Traffic Control
  • Banking

Security Risks

  • Access Point Attack
  • Denial Of Service Attack
  • External Interface Attack
  • Device Triggering Attack

Difference Between IoT & M2M?

Often used interchangeably, M2M communication & IoT are not the same.

  • M2M communication uses point to point communication between machines, sensors & hardware. While on the other hand, IoT relies on IP based networks and sensors.
  • M2M is deployed in a closed system whereas IoT connects to a larger network.
  • M2M communication does not rely on an internet connection. However, Internet of Things (IoT) as the name suggests requires a strong & active internet connection.
  • Where IoT uses IP protocols, M2M uses non-IP protocols.
  • M2M refers to the communication between machines. IoT on the other hand involves communication of machines with humans as well as machines with machines.
  • M2M communication has a long way to go. With the advancement in technology we will be able to use M2M communication systems in a better and more effective way. That day is not far when every sector of the industry will recognize its importance and leverage more benefit from it.

For more information related to M2M communications & IT security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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What Is W-2 Phishing Attack?

W-2 phishing was launched with an intention to swipe away your tax refund. More than 100 employers became victim of W-2 phishing attack in first 10 weeks of 2017, putting 120,000 taxpayers at risk of an identity fraud. As per statistics by IRS Return Integrity Compliance Services, reports of W-2 phishing emails increased by 870% in 2017 and the figures are quite alarming.

How Is It Launched?

The cybercriminal shall send an email in which he might impersonate himself as the CEO of the company. The email contains an urgent request to send employee tax information. On receiving the email, the concerned employee often sends the file and hands over confidential & personal employee information to the fraudsters.

W-2s are important forms that are attached when one files their tax return. It contains a person’s confidential information such as name, address, income, social security number etc. Employee’s sensitive information is acquired from W-2s to commit an identity fraud.

Following are some ways in which this information can be misused –

  • Your social security number can be used to claim a duplicitous tax refund.
  • Take a loan on your name
  • Open up a new credit card
  • Make payments from your account

Ways To Protect Yourself From W-2 Phishing Attack

  • Raise Awareness – Since W-2 phishing attacks are on rise it is important to keep your staff aware about the phishing scam. Make sure that you educate your employees on regular basis about the recent phishing scams. It is important that your staff that deals with all the financial statements and tax information is aware about the W-2 and other similar threats.
  • Set Relevant Policies – To protect your company from such attacks, it important to set up some secretive policies and communicate them to your employees. There should be policies that decide what kind of requests should be catered to through an email. For e.g. when there is a policy that top executives would never ask for sensitive information via email, then the concerned employees would not be deceived by any fraudulent email asking for employee credentials. Also it is important to be vigilant when responding to any email.
  • Flags Spam Emails – If you are able to identify a W-2 phished email then flag it and forward it to your employer and other concerned employees to prevent them from falling into a trap.
  • Verify The Sender – Make sure that your employees do not revert to an email sent from an untrusted source. Follow a practice of reconfirming the request of sending any confidential information with the concerned executive once, before actually sending it.It is important to stay alert about such attacks to take preventive measures well in advance.

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

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Ways In Which Hackers Can Hack Your Facebook Account

With more than 2.19 billion users worldwide, Facebook is one of the most popular social media website that comes with a promise to reconnect you with your family and friends. Given its high rising popularity, cyber criminals are targeting Facebook users each day.

In order to protect your Facebook logins from being compromised, it is first important to understand ways in which hackers can hack your Facebook account. Here we have listed few ways to help you gain an insight over this.

  • Facebook Phishing – It is one of the most common way for hacking a Facebook account. The hacker creates a fake login page that replicates a real one. The victim is then sent an email in which he/she is asked to login through that page. Once this is done, the hacker steals away victim’s username and password. They may use a person’s personal information to either harass them or earn money.
  • Mobile Hacking – Millions of people operate their Facebook accounts on mobile. A hacker can hack your Facebook account easily if he is able to gain access to your mobile phone. It can be done by using mobile spying software or by simply accessing the device.
  • Keylogging – A person can unknowingly fall victim of keylogging. In this attack, a program is installed on a person’s computer. When once this is done, it taps everything that a user types on one’s device. The login credentials are then sent to the hacker on his email address.
  • Man In The Middle Attack – This can happen when the victim and attacker are on the same network. The hacker alters the communication between server and user, steals away user’s credentials in between the channel and hacks victim’s Facebook account.
  • Browser Stealing – A lot of people store Facebook passwords in the browser which can prove to be really dangerous. No matter how convenient it seems, storing passwords in browser often opens up doors for hackers to hack your account. The only way out is to either avoid saving passwords in browser or use password manager. They can also launch a USB attack with an auto installed program that steals away all the passwords saved in browser.

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

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