Data Security For Small Business

Businesses of all sizes may use Internet to access and use different computer-based or cloud hosted tools and databases to work efficiently. This makes it important for businesses to have data security as a part of their overall strategy. Small organizations may safeguard their on-premise data by fulfilling these five requirements:

Gathering, categorization, and storage of data

Create a centralized list of various kinds of data collected, collection procedures and storage facilities available and in use. Verify whether the collected data is stored safely and is secured by various authentication mechanisms. Sensitivity of every kind of data varies on the basis of a lot of parameters. Email lists, for example, must be protected, but their level of confidentiality is far lower than that of customer records, such as Credit Card information. By classifying data according to confidentiality and the consequences if their privacy is compromised, you may obtain a sense of what your security program requires.

Law of the land

Depending on your sector of work and your business location, you may be subject to legal compliance
obligations. These are the rules that govern how you get, manage, store, and transmit sensitive data. These
may alter based on your industry, geography, and who or where your customers are. Business owners must
clearly describe the infractions and their repercussions, which must be read and understood by all workers.

Threats and dangers

A risk assessment aids in the discovery of flaws in the security implementation strategy. Determine what forms of personal data are regulated and what efforts are being done to ensure compliance. It’s important to examine the risks that unregulated PII poses to reputation, competitiveness, security, and other factors. From the most likely to the least likely, threat sources are rated. Controlling procedures and precautions are examples of risk management approaches you may apply. Insider threats are sometimes disregarded because they aren’t always carried out maliciously. Negligent behaviors and errors, which are also insider risks, can lead to a data breach or data destruction. The outcome usually costs regulatory fines, reputational damage, and financial loss to the business. Security solutions to protect against both unintentional and intentional insider attacks is a must.

Data retention and disposal

Data is stored and saved by any business for a certain period of time as deemed fit to their business application and compliance requirements. While saving as much data as possible may seem like a good thing, confidential data can become a security risk if left unmanaged. Examine your organization to discover what data may be deleted. Customers who have moved away, or had their service terminated, as well as old personnel data, are just a few examples. People who have asked for their personal information to be removed and data discovered on unused devices or in accounts that have been abandoned. Data, especially PII, accumulates over time, “cleaning your house” can both save you money and reduce your risk.

Policies should be reviewed, updated, and upgraded

Examine your entire security program to determine which safeguards need to be updated. Similarly, make sure you’re using the most up-to-date technology and solutions to safeguard sensitive data. Setting up SOCs and NOCs, as well as developing holistic IT strategies, can help firms stay one step ahead of attackers. As a result of the introduction of new data privacy legislation, your policies may need to be revised. Examine your internal security policies and develop policies that include best-practice security procedures. Maintaining compliance with the SOC2 framework and CIS benchmarks criteria helps ensure the security of the data you store and handle.

Centex Technologies provide data security solutions for businesses. The IT security specialists work with clients to provide customized security solutions for their business. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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How To Identify Signs Of A Phishing Attempt?

Organizations of all sizes are subjected to regular, highly sophisticated phishing attempts. Expecting IT and security teams to identify and combat all phishing attacks solely through technology is impractical. Phishing can take many forms, but it is essentially any email attack that is aimed to get the recipient to take a specific action. Phishing emails are now being meticulously researched and concocted to target specific receivers. So, how can you raise awareness about it and train your team to recognize a phishing email?

Phishing emails frequently include a variety of red flags that, if detected by the receiver, can prevent the attack from succeeding. A few red flags as mentioned below suggest the authenticity of any email: –

  1. Addressing, greeting, and context of the email: When reading a phishing mail, the first thing that generally raises suspicion is the words, tone, and figure of speech. In most of the mails, someone impersonating as a coworker may suddenly becomes overly familiar, or a family member may become a little more professional.
  2. Unfamiliar looking email ids, URIs: Looking for suspicious email ids, URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), and domain names is another simple approach to spot a potential phishing scam. It’s recommended to double-check the originating email ids against previous similar correspondence done. If the email contains a link, hover the pointer over the link to see what pops up. Don’t click if the domain names don’t match the links.
  3. Threats or high level of importance: Any email that threatens unpleasant repercussions should be viewed with caution. Another strategy used by criminals is to convey a sense of urgency to encourage, or even demand, urgent action from the receiver in order to confuse them. The fraudster expects that by reading the email quickly, the content will not be thoroughly reviewed, allowing additional phishing-related irregularities to go undetected.
  4. Attachments are the root cause of all evils: Be wary of emails with attachment(s) from an unknown sender. When the recipient did not request or expect to receive a file from the sender, the attachment should not be opened. If the attached file contains a file extension that you have never heard of, be cautious. You can flag it for an anti-virus scan before opening it.
  5. Irrelevant follow-ups: In a follow up email of some previous correspondence, if the correspondence requests something unusual, could be a sign of fraudulent communication. For example, if an email purports to be from the IT team and requests you to install a program or click a link to patch your asset whereas all patching is typically handled centrally. It is a strong indication that you’ve received a phishing email and should not follow the instructions.
  6. Concise and precise: While many phishing emails will be crammed with information in order to provide a false sense of security, others will be sparse in order to capitalize on their uncertainty. A scammer may send an email impersonating a familiar connection with some irrelevant text, for example – “Are you up for a profitable business venture with me?” and an attachment “Business Proposal”. These kinds of emails are usually sent to 9 to 6 working professionals who are looking to make side-income apart from their primary profession.
  7. Recipient didn’t initiate the email thread: As phishing emails are unsolicited, a common red flag is to inform the receiver that he or she has won a reward. The recipient can be lured to qualify for a prize if they reply to the email, or will receive a discount if they click on a link or open an attachment. There is a significant likelihood that the email is questionable if the receiver did not initiate the dialogue by opting in to receive marketing materials or newsletters.
  8. PII (Personally Identifiable Information) requested: When an attacker creates a false landing page that users are directed to via a link in an official-looking email, often some sort of credentials, payment information, or other personal information is asked.
  9. Grammatical errors: The use of poor grammar and spelling is another prevalent symptom that raises a red flag. As most firms have the spell check feature turned on in their email client, you’d expect emails from a professional source to be free of errors in language and spelling.

Sifting through the numerous reports to eliminate false positives is difficult and cumbersome. So, how can a business prevent phishing emails and spot phishing attacks? One strategy is to give priority to notifications from individuals who have a history of correctly recognizing phishing messages. These prioritized reports from employees help the SOC (Security Operations Center) team quickly respond to possible phishing attempts. This reduces the risk to individuals and business partners who could fall prey to such phishing campaigns.

To know more about various cyber-attacks and methods to prevent them, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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What is LockBit Ransomware?

LockBit is a ransomware family that is part of a RaaS (Ransomware-as-a-Service) operation associated with LockerGoga and MegaCortex. LockBit has been seen in the wild since September 2019. The group previously advertised their services on hacking forums. They started advertising an affiliate program as “LockBit 2.0” in June 2021 via their own website on the dark web.

LockBit is initially deployed manually by an attacker that has already gained access to a victim system, but will quickly begin spreading to other systems by itself. The LockFile payload is known for its fully automated attacks and quick encryption. It prevents victims from accessing their files on an infected system by first encrypting the files adding a .lockbit extension to them. It then instructs the victim to pay a ransom in order to regain access to those encrypted files. The malware is capable of automatically spreading to other systems via SMB (Server Message Block) shares and executing PowerShell scripts. Victims regain access to their files by paying the ransom. They then obtain a custom decryptor that decrypts the locked and encrypted files.

This threat group uses a double extortion technique, threatening to release the stolen data if the ransom is not paid. Experts believe LockBit is part of a ransomware cartel involving collaboration between multiple ransomware groups, including Maze and Ragnar Locker.

So, how would you protect yourself from getting infected by the LockBit ransomware?

5 proactive and protective best practices helps you and your firm stay resilient against any cyber attack:

  1. Social Engineering Awareness: The users and employees must be provided end user security awareness training periodically. Organizations can release advisories and suggest best practices. Users must be demonstrated how to identify, block and report malicious emails. They must be able to differentiate between legit and illegit, email senders and user profiles on social media based on a list of Red Flags provided to them.
  2. Credentials policy and 2FA/MFA: Usernames and passwords must be configured in a manner that they cannot be guessed easily by the attackers. Use alphanumeric characters and keep the minimum length to 16. Threats ranging from account breaches to ransomware infections can be prevented if only the administrators pay attention to credential policies. You can check haveibeenpwned.com and follow NIST’s guidelines to set secure credentials. Use random password generator and check the complexity score of your password at passwordmeter.com. Enabling MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) & 2FA (2-Factor Authentication) will prevent brute force attacks on your account. This adds more authentication layers on the top of your initial password-based logins. Alternatively you can implement biometrics and / or physical USB (Universal Serial Bus) key authenticators.
  3. ACL (Access Control List): Grant or assign the privileges or access on a Need-to-Know basis only.! Deployment of IAM (Identity and Access Management) strategy prevents accidental information modification from unauthorized employees. This also limits the scope of access for hackers having stolen the employees’ credentials. Enable a systematic deprovisioning process for employees leaving the company. Revoking the access rights of people who have left the organization is a crucial security responsibility that must be completed on the LWD (Last Working Day) & not get delayed.
  4. Fail-safe Backups: You can encrypt the data in upload it in cloud or keep in offline storage. Choose the CSP (Cloud Service Provider) that provides military-grade encryption. Implement, deploy & launch backup & disaster recovery mechanisms to protect your data.
  5. Holistic IT Strategies: Maintaining your organization’s credibility is very important. Comply to various regulatory standards & frameworks to protect highly sensitive business information. In-house SOC (Security Operations Center) team can monitor the real-time activities of users, services, and applications in your IT environment. Alternatively, to facilitate inadequate budgets & lack of resources, you can hire an MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider). They help you to outsource your security logging & monitoring requirements. They prevent, detect, analyze, & mitigate security risks, threats, vulnerabilities, & incidents for your business. Protect your data & devices with various security solutions such as NGAVs (Next-Gen Anti-Virus), DLP (Data Loss Prevention), XDR (Extended Detection and Response), Honeypot and likewise. Training and securing your users and employees would give hackers a hard time targeting your IT infrastructure.

For more information on various ransomware attacks and IT security measures to be adopted by businesses, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740

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Tips on Securing Remote Work Space

PDF Version: Tips-on-Securing-Remote-Work-Space

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Online Payment Security Risk

The advent of ECommerce digital technologies and the sales revenue generated by such businesses has benefitted global economies but attracted a lot of adversaries well. This has exponentially increased the rate at which PSPs (Payment Service Providers) are attacked. Risks and threats need to be identified, quantified & measured so they can be dealt with proactively.

5 common hurdles encountered in online payments systems:

  • Chargebacks: The “card-not-present” transactions indicate a fraudulent usage of payment networks and data theft. However, fraud-monitoring tools detect the same but deploying EMV (Europay, MasterCard® & Visa®) embedded chip & biometric authentication technologies are advisable. Too many chargebacks not only damage the business reputation but often the merchant closes its accounts. Deploying effective customer service and customer checks substantially reduces frauds and chargebacks.
  • Domestic and international transactions: National banking infrastructures require Private PSPs to enable cross-border transactions facilitating global trade. Government-led initiatives & mandates have regularized payment processors which were initially slow levying expensive transactions service charges. Managing credit risk, liquidity of assets, outsourcing business and professional services, and cost-to-benefit analysis for MNCs (Multi-National Companies) is now easily handled by transnational PSP systems.
  • Cyber-attacks: PSPs face DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), phishing, vishing, smishing, e-skimming, etc. attacks. It is advised to subdue the application, network, data, & infrastructural security risks by following Defense-in-Depth and Depth-in-Defense approaches. Enforce the Security CIAAAN and comply with various physical, technical, tactical, operational procedures. Getting complied with regulatory compliance frameworks and standards increases your business reputation and customer acceptance. Implementing PCI-DSS, GDPR, ISO’s OSI model, HTTPS-SSL-TLS ensures the Credibility of your firm’s Security posture to your partners, merchant vendors, & customers.
  • Domestic & foreign currency payments: Merchants initially required different bank accounts and business entities as per the national/regional market. But nowadays, PSPs facilitate merchants, retailers, and customers paying in regional currencies increasing multi-currency, cross-border transactions.
  • Technological workflows: With digitization, integrating various technologies across the world to function & operate with common objectives faces a few difficulties as well. Payment processors need to deploy good security mechanisms which of course is expensive for merchants to bear its costs. The PSP has to roll out its own hardware and software that facilitates secure payment transactions between merchants, retailers, & customers. The seamless, safe and secure payment experience has its costs that the end-users have to bear.

5 Best practices to deal with online payment security risks:

  • Educate employees: Employees and partners need to understand the bigger picture of business risk. Everyone must take moral ownership to keep the risky online payment business safe and secure in their individual capacities. User awareness training must be conducted to prevent the staff from getting targeted by social engineering attacks.
  • Prevent, detect, and mitigate risks: Ensuring cybersecurity and secure data practices is the first step to preventing imminent risks. Detection & mitigation is strengthened by deploying in-house SOC (Security Operations Center) and/or NOC (Network Operations Center) or outsourcing them to MSSP (Managed Security Service Providers).
  • KYC and compliances: Complying with the various regulatory standards & compliance frameworks shows credibility to business partners, merchants vendors, clients, customers, and likewise. Adhering to Data privacy laws is very much recommended.
  • Conducive company policies: The online payment shipping, returns, refund amount, data privacy policies must be well stated over the online platforms that the Users use every day. Satisfaction, convenience, and security of customers must be prioritized.
  • Risk modeling: Risks & threats must be assessed beforehand. The relevant BCP (Business Continuity Plan), as well as DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan), must be clearly defined. Frauds must be dealt with strict legal actions to instill fear in fraudsters and maintain or improve business reputation in the market.

To know about Online Payment Security solutions for business, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740

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