The Central Texas IT Guy

Web Development Austin, SEO Austin, Austin Search Engine Marketing, Internet Marketing Austin, Web Design Austin, Roundrock Web Design, IT Support Central Texas, Social Media Central Texas

What Is Monti Ransomware?

Monti ransomware is a form of malicious software that encrypts files on an infected computer, rendering them unavailable to the user. It is a member of the Dharma ransomware family, which is known for its ability to encrypt files on an array of operating systems. The Monti ransomware encrypts files with a difficult-to-crack encryption, effectively holding the files until a ransom is paid.

Once a machine is infected with Monti ransomware, the user will receive a message with instructions for paying the ransom.

How Monti Ransomware Affects Systems

As is the case with the majority of ransomware, the Monti ransomware is primarily distributed by phishing emails or by exploiting unpatched software vulnerabilities. Sometimes, it can be transmitted via malicious websites or file downloads. Monti ransomware is not limited to Windows-based machines but may also attack Mac and Linux systems.

Once ransomware has been installed on the victim’s computer, it will search for and encrypt files with particular file extensions. A new file extension, such as “.monti” or “.id-.[random string], will be appended to the encrypted files. The victim will then be given with a ransom message containing instructions on how to pay the ransom in order to regain access to their files.

Preventing Monti Ransomware

Preventing Monti ransomware involves taking several steps to protect a computer and its data. Here are some measures that can help with it:

  • Updated and Patched Software: Unpatched software vulnerabilities are frequently exploited by ransomware. Updating your software reduces the chance of exploiting these vulnerabilities.
  • Email Attachments: Be wary of email attachments, as the Monti ransomware frequently spreads via phishing emails with infected attachments. Do not open or download attachments unless you are sure they are secure.
  • Use Antivirus Solutions: Antivirus systems can identify and fight ransomware before it may infect a machine. Use reliable anti-virus software and ensure that it is always up-to-date.
  • Regular Data Backups: By regularly backing up your crucial files, you can avoid losing them in the event of a ransomware attack. Ensure that you keep your backups in a secure area, such as an external hard drive or a cloud storage service.
  • Use robust passwords: The Monti ransomware can spread via brute-force assaults on weak passwords. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible, and use strong, unique passwords for all accounts.

What To Do If Your System Is Attacked By Monti Ransomware

If you are infected by Monti ransomware, you must immediately act to reduce the damage. You can do the following:

Disconnect from the network/internet: Remove your computer from the internet or internal network to prevent ransomware from spreading to other devices on the network. You may disable the network cable or switch off Wi-Fi on your system to disengage your system from the network.

Check for malware: Typically, the Monti ransomware appends the “.Monti” extension to encrypted files and puts a ransom letter titled “FILES ENCRYPTED.txt” on the desktop.

Restore your files: You can restore your files from a recent backup if you have one. Ensure that the backup is clean before restoring it to prevent reinfection.

Seek professional help: Contact a reputable cybersecurity organization or IT professional to set up a computer network or restore a computer system/network.

Reinstalling OS: Depending on the severity of the ransomware infection, you may need to reinstall the operating system to fix the damage it caused. Make a backup of any vital files before reinstalling.

To know more about how to protect your computer network from cyber-attacks, consult with Centex Technologies. You may contact Centex Technologies offices at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.


How To Configure A Firewall To Secure Your Business Server?

A firewall acts as the first line of defense against network intruders. It works by filtering packets of incoming and outgoing data based on preset security rules. These rules are also termed as firewall configurations. The efficiency of its configuration governs the efficiency of a firewall. The configuration rules should be set to be strict enough to block malicious traffic but lenient enough to allow unobstructed data flow essential to run the website operations.

Follow these steps to ensure effective firewall configuration to secure your business server:

Secure The Firewall: The first step is to secure the firewall to prevent hackers from gaining administrative access. It is important to refrain from using a firewall that is not secured, as it can do more damage by acting as an entry point for hackers. Simple ways to secure your firewall are –

  • Regularly update the firewall to the latest versions released by the developer.
  • Delete default user accounts set by the developer and change default passwords using password reset best practices.
  • Create different accounts for users who will manage the firewall and allow permissions based on their responsibilities instead of creating shared accounts.
  • Pre-define trusted subnets from within the organizational network and allow changes from these subnets only. This helps in reducing the attack surface.

Define Firewall Zones & IP Addresses: In order to define firewall zones, first identify the assets that need to be protected and group them based on the sensitivity or risk level. Place grouped assets together in network zones. For example, group together all servers that provide services over the internet, such as VPN servers, email servers, etc., in one network zone that allows limited inbound traffic from internet. This is usually known as DMZ or a demilitarized zone. Create as many zones as logically possible. Now establish IP address scheme that compliments the zone architecture of your network. Use this as the basis to create firewall zones.

Configure ACLs: ACLs refer to access control lists. They are the defining rules of the traffic that will be permitted to every interface and sub-interface of the firewall. An ACL should include well-defined specifications such as source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and deny all button to block all unapproved traffic. Make sure to apply both inbound and outbound ACLs to every interface and sub-interface. Also, refrain from granting public access to firewall administration interfaces to prevent outside threats.

Configure Other Services: Check if the firewall you are deploying has add-on capabilities to act as DHCP server, NTP server, or Intrusion Prevention Server. In such case, make sure to configure these services. Additionally, configure the firewall to report to your logging server.

Test The Configuration: Run vulnerability scanning and penetration testing to make sure the firewall is blocking traffic as per ACLs. Create a backup of the firewall configuration for future reference. Make sure to run regular tests to ensure the efficiency of the firewall.

To know more about protecting your business network from cyberattcks, contact Centex Technologies. You can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.


How To Prevent Lateral Movement Of Cyber Attacks?

Spreading malware or virus across the network is a technique used by cyber attackers to spread their attack surface. By preventing lateral movement, organizations can limit the scope of a cyber-attack and minimize the damage caused.

Lateral movement cyberattack comprises the following steps:

  • Initial compromise to gain access
  • Reconnaissance to figure out the level of access and find targets
  • Privilege escalation to gain a higher access level
  • Lateral movement to infect targeted devices or apps

Preventing lateral movement is an ongoing and multifaceted effort that requires a constant focus on improving security measures to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats. Here are some steps to prevent lateral movement during a cyber-attack:

Limiting Access To System

The first step in preventing lateral movement is to limit access to critical systems and sensitive information. This can be done by implementing access controls, such as strong authentication mechanisms like Multifactor Authentication, and restricting user privileges.

Segmenting Networks

Segmenting a network prevents attackers from gaining access to other subnetworks. Segmenting can be done by implementing firewalls and routers to isolate different parts of the network.

Adopting Zero Trust

A Zero-trust architecture enhances security measures by assuming that any network traffic, whether internal or external, may pose a potential security risk. The system verifies and validates each access request which prevents system intrusion.

Network Traffic Monitoring

Monitoring network traffic can be done by implementing intrusion detection systems (IDS) and security information & event management (SIEM) solutions. These solutions can analyze network traffic, detect suspicious activity, and alert security teams.

Patching and Updating Systems

It is essential to regularly patch and update all systems and software to eliminate vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to move laterally.

Implementing Least Privilege

By implementing the least privilege to user accounts, attackers will have limited access to systems and data, reducing the potential damage of a successful attack.

Using Endpoint Protection

Endpoint protection solutions (like antivirus/ firewall software) on all devices connected to the network can help prevent lateral movement by detecting and blocking malicious files and programs.

Conducting Security Audits

Security audits can help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network, and the results can be used to improve the security posture of the network and prevent lateral movement.

Training Employees

Employees should be trained on best practices for security, such as how to create strong passwords and how identify phishing emails.

To summarize, preventing lateral movement is vital for safeguarding against cyber-attacks. It’s crucial to adopt a comprehensive security approach and consistently assess and enhance the network’s security posture.

At Centex Technologies, we offer cutting-edge solutions to protect your business from evolving cyber threats. To know more about cybersecurity solutions, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Top Ways to Integrate Cyber Security Automation in An Organization

PDF Version: top-ways-to-integrate-cyber-security-automation-in-an-organization

Apple Expands End-to-End Encryption to iCloud Backup & Photos

Apple has been at the forefront of providing solutions to protect its users from cyberattacks. In the latest update issued by Apple, the mobile device manufacturer has extended its cyber security measures to cover services and apps including iCloud Backup and Photos.

The security update will also extend the protection blanket to iMessages, Notes, and Apple ID. With this update, the end-to-end encryption capability of iCloud will extend from 14 to 23 sensitive data categories. This update will help businesses to adopt Apple devices for multiple business activities.

Let us understand some important aspects of this security update.

  1. Contact Key Verification for iMessages: iMessages is an in-built messaging app for Apple devices, commonly used for communication with financial institutions and subscription platforms. The app’s messaging often includes sensitive information such as ‘One Time Passwords’ for financial transactions, making it important to secure. Apple offers end-to-end encryption for iMessages, which has been further enhanced by the addition of iMessage Contact Key Verification. This feature allows users to confirm the identity of the person they are communicating with by comparing a verification code using FaceTime or a secure call and also alerts both users if a breach occurs.
  2. iCloud Data Security: Apple offers Advanced Data Protection (ADP) to users to ensure the security of their cloud data. Users, who opt for ADP, can enable end-to-end encryption of data stored in their Cloud such that it can only be decrypted on the user’s trusted devices. ADP earlier included end-to-end encryption for sensitive data categories such as Health data. However, the latest cyber security update extends the end-to-end encryption to a number of sensitive data categories like iCloud Backup, Photos, and Notes. Some categories containing sensitive data such as iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar have not been included in the update as these apps often operate in coordination with other global systems.
  3. Security Keys: Apple ID offers two-factor authentication since 2015. Under this authentication process, the user can set two different authentication methods such as device password and a trusted mobile number for verification at the time of signing in to the Apple ID or account recovery. The new update takes the security feature a notch up by allowing the users to choose a hardware security key as one of the authentication factors. The hardware security key may be NFC key, or any other third-party hardware. The authentication process will require the user to insert the hardware security key into the device in order to log in. This will further prevent hackers from gaining access to the second authentication factor for ID access.

Centex Technologies provides IT security solutions for enterprises. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.



© Copyright 2022 The Centex IT Guy. Developed by Centex Technologies
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)