Posts Tagged Network Security

What Is Deep Packet Inspection?

21 February, 2017

Deep packet inspection (DPI) can be defined as a technology that is used to scrutinize the contents of the data packets being sent and received on a network. It is a type of packet filtering that is mainly applied to verify if the data is free of Trojans, viruses, malware etc. and is being transmitted in the right format. The technique allows the users to identify, categorize, block or reroute data packets that contain a malicious code.

Deep packet inspection combines the firewall technology with intrusion detection and prevention systems. It is mainly used by internet service providers to monitor network traffic and allocate bandwidth according to the contents of the data packets.

How does deep packet inspection work?

When you share information over the internet, it is converted into a packet with a header that describes the origin, source and type of data. The content of the data packet is usually not monitored. However, when a network provider uses deep packet inspection, the content is thoroughly scanned and recorded to ensure that it is in compliance with the security protocols. This could be related to the presence of a malicious code or suspicious software.

Benefits of deep packet inspection

  • It can help to protect against denial of service (DoS) attacks, differential denial of service (DDoS) attacks and buffer overflow attacks.
  • Deep packet inspection is used by many cyber security agencies to monitor web traffic, online user activities, regulate malware threats and protect extensive local or wide area networks.
  • The ability of DPI devices to inspect data packets meticulously helps to prevent malware from breaching or manipulating a network.
  • The data provided by deep packet inspection can also be used for network analytics and bandwidth management.

Potential misuses of deep packet inspection

Despite its numerous advantages, deep packet inspection has many limitations as well. Some of these have been discussed below:

  • DPI helps to prevent various hacking attacks but it can be also be used to exploit the same vulnerabilities to breach the security of the target network.
  • It requires frequent updates and patch installations to function in an optimal manner.
  • It can be used by hackers to track user information anonymously.
  • DPI slows down the computer which affects the performance of other applications.

Centex Technologies is a renowned IT security consulting firm in Central Texas. We can help you improve your organization’s network infrastructure. For more information, feel free to 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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What Are DDoS Attacks And How Can You Prevent Them?

February 27, 2015

A ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ (DDoS) attack can be defined as an attempt made by the hackers to make a system unavailable to the users. This is usually accomplished by interrupting the functioning of the host network or a server to which the system is connected. Unlike a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, DDoS uses multiple remotely monitored computers to overpower the target system and making it unable to respond to the requests of legitimate users.

In a DDoS attack, the hacker begins by exploiting certain vulnerability in a particular computer. Using this, the attacker can easily identify and infect the other connected systems. These computers, also called as zombies or bots, are then directed to launch a flood attack towards the target systems.

Tips To Prevent DDoS Attacks

  • Buy More Bandwidth: This is one of the easiest techniques to ensure that you are protected against DDoS attacks. With this, you can easily distribute your traffic to different servers and create a lot of space to handle the persistently increasing users. Purchasing more bandwidth can allow you to handle more requests, thus, tackle low intensity outbreaks.
  • Restrict Connectivity: If you have multiple computers that directly connect to the internet, you must properly configure routers so as to restrict connectivity. For instance, if you need to receive some information from the client’s system, you can configure it to pass from some selected ports through the firewall.
  • Buy Intrusion Detection System (IDS): These are the software applications that are attached to the network in order to monitor all the malicious activities. If anything suspicious is detected, the IDS alerts the network administrator so that preventive measures can be taken well before time.
  • Encode Your Website Efficiently: If you have programmed your website in an efficient way, the botnets need to be more sophisticated to be successful in the attack. Thus, you must make sure that your web pages are properly encoded and involve minimum server requirements to load.

DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common due to the vulnerabilities in most of the devices. Cyber criminals are finding it very easy to implement these attacks, particularly against small businesses. Following the above mentioned tips can help you to create a resistant web network that is capable of preventing or mitigating the effects of a DDoS attack.

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What Is Botnet And Rootkit Security Threat?

February 23, 2015

Cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to access computer systems for unlawful purposes. Two of such threats to network security are Botnets and Rootkits, which can infect your computer before you even realize that you are a victim of cybercrime.

Botnet

Botnet simply means a group of bot infected computers. In a botnet attack, the owners of computers do not know that a bot has infected their system and the bots remains dormant till the time they receive a command to perform particular action by their controller or botmaster. The bots are commonly transferred to computers through unprotected internet ports or other malicious downloads.

The number of computers in the botnet can range from just a few to thousands or even more. Botnets are often used in Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, spreading virus and spam, and stealing sensitive data such as bank account or credit card details.

Rootkit

A rootkit is referred to as software that can be installed on a computer system without the user being aware of it. It can either come as a part of a larger software package or installed by an attacker by convincing you to inadvertently download the bug. This allows the hacker to take control of your computer system or network.

It is not always necessary that rootkits are malicious, however, they may hide such activities. The cybercriminals can alter your system programming, access important data, and carry out many other tasks on your computer while being hidden. Rootkits are also used for some genuine purposes such as observing illegitimate activity and preventing misuse of an organization’s network by the employees.

How to protect your PC for Rootkit and Botnet?

  • Make sure you create strong passwords that are difficult to be cracked by the hackers. It should include a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, special characters and numbers. Do not allow your internet browser to remember passwords.
  • Installing an anti-virus software can also help to avoid attacks by obstructing the malicious users from accessing your network.
  • The anti-malware programs should always be authentic and reliable. They should be constantly updated to search for any viruses or bugs in your system.
  • Always be cautious while using emails and internet. Hackers usually deliver malware in the form of images, videos, links or pop-ups on your computer screen.

Following good cybersecurity practices can help you protect your network and stop the hackers from taking control of your computer system.

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