Posts Tagged Security

Cybersecurity Trends For 2019

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How To Stay Anonymous Online

Internet has become an integral part of daily life because everything possible is seemingly available online. This is the reason, why there is a constant risk of your privacy being hacked by cyber criminals. Not only can they track your online presence but also snoop away on everything you do.

This constant tracking imposes the need of staying anonymous online. Following are some ways through which you can achieve the desired anonymity:

  • Hide Your IP: The best way to stay unidentified online is to hide your IP with an anonymous VPN service. This way a virtual IP replaces your real IP address and prevents cyber criminals in gaining a sneak peek of your online activities.
  • Keep Your Web Searches Private: Conducting searches on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. collects a lot of information such as your IP address, searches made, device used to make the search, location, etc. This is the reason why users are now opting for alternate search engines which do not track the search history and retain their privacy.
  • Block Third Party Cookies: Advertizers often use third party cookies to keep a track of your browsing habits. However, it is possible to hide them by blocking third party cookies within the browser settings. If you want to delete the cookies and other browsed information, you may use programs like CCleaner./li>
  • Use HTTPS: In order to prevent sensitive information from being intercepted Transport Layer Security (TLS) is extremely important. However, every website does not support a TLS connection and in that case HTTPS can help. It helps in keeping the internet traffic secure & private by enforcing TLS connections on the websites you visit.
  • Opt For Anonymous Email Communication: There are two ways to ensure email anonymity in a situation where you want to send somebody an email without letting them know your email address. You can use an alias which is essentially a forwarding address and allows the recipient to see your forwarding address only. The other way is to use a disposable email account which can be done by creating a new email account which you can use when you need. Another alternative to is to create a temporary forwarding address. This address gets deleted after a specific time, so it is best to use it while signing up on untrusted websites.
  • Encrypt Your Emails: Encrypting your emails can help you prevent unauthorized access by a middleman. There will be a limiting control as only you will have a private key for it.
  • Enable Privacy Settings: Your social media profile speaks volumes about you and hackers usually resort to a victim’s social media accounts to garner their private information. So make sure that you enable your privacy settings and hide personal information from public view.

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

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Security Risks Associated With Your Smart TV

Gone are the days when your TV sets were just used to watch regular TV shows. Smart TVs rule the market nowadays and can be used to play games, browse internet, download and access apps, etc. Since smart TV sets can be connected with internet, pen drives, webcams, gaming consoles and other devices, they are susceptible to a number of security risks.

As per Statista, there will be an estimated number of 759.3 million TV sets connected to the internet globally by the end of 2018. The figures are startling, and they necessitate the need to cognize people about security and privacy threats associated with smart TVs. Although there has been massive increase in number of IoT devices being used, the question that arises is whether devices such as your smart TV are safe to use or not?

Following are some security risks associated with your smart TV:

  • Hackers can gain access to data i.e. photos and other information through storage devices such as USB or your smartphone connected to the smart TV.
  • Your data is also at risk if you operate social and communication apps such as Skype on your smart TV.
    Once your smart TV is connected to Wi-Fi then there is risk to your personal information/ browsing history etc.
    Smart TV can also be used to target you with instant advertizing messages.
  • Your smart TV can be used to launch a botnet attack.
  • You might have to make subscription payments through your smart TV for viewing different programs, web series or videos. However, your financial information can be tapped and is at risk in case your smart TV is hacked or is compromised.

Preventive Measures To Be Taken

  • Update Regularly – The first and foremost thing is to buy a smart TV of a reputed brand. They usually take measures to protect privacy of their users. It is also important to regularly update the TV’s software to prevent security & privacy issues.
  • Use Firewalls – All devices that are connected to internet should be protected by firewalls. The smartest move is to install a router based firewall or any other firewall which your television set supports.
  • Camera Security – Disconnect your smart TV from plug as well as internet when not in use. Also to prevent the problem altogether, cover the smart TV camera with a piece of opaque tape.

It is important to stay vigilant to protect yourself from such vulnerabilities. For more information about IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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What Is Vishing & How To Avoid It

Vishing is the term used for voice or VoIP (voice over IP) phishing. It is a social engineering attack that is launched with a primary goal to extract user’s confidential information and is usually done using an automated dialing and voice synthesizing equipment.

Vishing works just like any other phishing scam. The imposter generally pretends as someone from the bank or as a government representative seeking information. Sometimes, the fraudster may even use voice to text synthesizers or recorded messages to masquerade himself. The attack is launched with an intention to gain access to a person’s PIN number, credit card details, passwords, social security number etc. In most cases, the scammer is successful in making the victim part with their credentials.

When a vishing attack is launched, either of these things happen 

  • A person will receive a call. On answering that call, an automated voice system will ask the victim for their personal information.
  • Sometimes, a fraudster will call the victim and inform that they should call their bank to avail some offer or to provide certain information. The victim then hangs up the phone to dial bank’s number but fraudster doesn’t and keeps the lines open. Victim hears a spoofed dialing tone and some other scammer answers the phone call. They impersonate their identity as bank official to steal the required information.

How Do They Obtain Your Number?

There are several possibilities by which the fraudsters obtain your number. Some of which are

  • Using stolen phone information
  • Auto – generated numbers
  • Numbers and details compromised in a previous data breach

Techniques Used By Them

  • Impersonate As Genuine Callers – There is high probability that these scammers already have your personal information and address you as genuine people over the phone.
  • Holding The line – Sometimes, cyber criminals hold your call. They then direct your call to another scammer when you call them back.
  • Sense Of Urgency – The most common approach is to incite fear in the mind of a person. The caller makes the victim believe that their money is in danger. He/she then acts hastily without thinking much and commits the mistake of sharing their confidential information with the fraudster.
  • Phone Spoofing – The number from which the call comes seems to be genuine and so you believe what the caller says, often ending up in sharing your login credentials or passwords.

How To Avoid Them

  • Never Share Your Personal Information Over The Phone – If you pick a call that seems to be from a legitimate caller, never share your personal information over the phone in the first place. No bank or government institution will ask you to provide your credentials over the phone. In case they do, then ask the caller’s name and tell them that you would call them back after some time. Search for the bank’s official number and inquire from them about the call.If you sense something suspicious then there are chances that the call was a vishing attack launched at you.
  • Use A Caller ID App – There are numerous apps such as Truecaller that allow you to know the callers identity. It has billions of spam numbers locked in their database and if you come across such a number then you can also add it to their spam database.

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

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Watch Out While Giving Permissions To Apps On Your Mobile Devices

You might have encountered pop-ups asking for permission to access certain details whenever you install an app on your mobile phone. We generally accept to grant access and that’s where we expose ourselves to cyber vulnerabilities & threats.

Permissions That Can Have Serious Repercussions –

  • Location – All apps generally ask for permission to track your location. If you install an app that contains malware and if you give app permission to track your location, then cyber criminals can keep a check over your movement.
  • Contacts – Some apps require you to allow them to gain access to your contact list. With this, you allow the app to see who all are in your “contact list” and what are their contact details. Apps can further use this information to market themselves. If hackers access this information, they can misuse the phone numbers, email ids of contacts known to you.
  • Gallery – If you download an app that asks for permission to peek through your gallery, then ensure that it is from a trusted source. One needs to be wary of giving permissions to such apps as cyber-criminals can use your photographs or even ask for ransom to exploit you.

Here we have listed certain ways to stay safe while giving permissions to apps on your mobile phones –

  • Read the app description thoroughly and make sure that you comprehend on each and everything before actually installing the app on your mobile phone.
  • Make sure that you download the app from a trusted source. If you are not sure, send an email to the developer and ask them about reasons why they require permissions. Download the app only if you are satisfied with their answers.
  • Check out whether the permissions asked by an app are required or not. For e.g. if you download an app that monitors your eating habits and it asks for permissions to access your gallery, then it is better to give it a miss because gallery has nothing to do with your eating regime.
  • The best way to ensure about authenticity of an app is to read the reviews of other people who have downloaded it. Read them thoroughly to gain an insight of complains or positive feedback about the app.
  • Manage your account permissions using permission manager apps. They help you manage the permissions and disallow them to gain access to other apps that contain your personal information like gallery, contacts etc.
  • Keep your phone updated and install a good anti-virus.
  • Do not download the app that asks for too many permissions than what are generally required.

It is extremely important to audit the app permissions every now and then to ensure that your personal and confidential information stays safe and private. For more information on IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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