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How to Prevent A Botnet Attack?

The word ‘Botnet’ is derived from combination of two words – ‘Robot’ & ‘Network’. It can be defined as a number of computers that have been infected by malware such that they can be remotely controlled by the hackers to form a network which is then used to launch attacks on other users. The hackers exploit the resources of infected machines to launch different attacks such as DDoS, data breaches, etc.

How do Botnet Attacks Work?

A botnet attack is launched in three steps:

  1. Finding vulnerable devices
  2. Spreading malware in these devices
  3. Gaining control over devices

Cybercriminals or hackers use three different ways to infect and gain control of devices to form their Botnet or ‘Zombie Army’.

  • Installation of a malicious software
  • Launching a direct hacking attack
  • Using an automated program to monitor the internet & locate vulnerable devices

If an infected device is connected to a system, hackers can spread the malware laterally and gain control of other devices linked to the same network. Once the devices have been infected, they are either controlled using either remote software or Control-And-Command software. These controlled devices are then used to act according to the hacker. Some common actions performed using botnets include sending spam emails, launching multiple server requests, creating internet traffic towards a website, and increasing the number of downloads for a software or application.

In order to prevent a botnet attack, it is first important to understand different types of botnet attacks.

Types of Attacks Performed Using a Botnet:

As a large number of devices are a part of a botnet, the hackers have access to a large bank of resources such as computation capacity, storage, etc. It equips the hackers to launch different types of attacks such as:

  • Phishing Attack
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks
  • Bruce Force Attacks
  • Cryptocurrency Mining
  • Browser Add-on Installation
  • Personal Information Theft
  • Device Bricking

Tips to Prevent Botnet Attacks:

Before understanding ways to prevent a botnet attack, let us first look at why it is challenging to prevent or protect yourself against a botnet attack.

  • As a large number of devices are connected to a botnet, it makes it difficult for cyber security tools to screen out potentially lethal access requests sent to a website or API.
  • IoT devices with IP addresses are more vulnerable than computers and can be easily manipulated by hackers to become a part of botnet. These devices are used to launch slow attacks and are more difficult to detect.
  • Botnets are continuously modified to exploit new vulnerabilities making it difficult to understand the behavioral pattern.

Here are some tips to prevent botnet attacks:

  1. Up-To-Date Devices: Botnets are designed and modified to exploit existing vulnerabilities in software or app. So, make sure that every device connected to your network installs a software update or security patch. Software updates are launched to fix vulnerabilities in previous versions. This helps in preventing a botnet attack by closing the backdoor or software vulnerability.
  2. Network Monitoring: Use advanced analytics to regularly monitor incoming and outgoing traffic & compare it with normal network behavior. This helps in detecting unusual activity or anomalous behavior which can be a sign of a botnet attack. Early detection helps in implementing effective measures to combat the attack.
  3. Monitor Access or Login Attempts: Botnets are commonly used to launch ‘Bruce Force Attacks’ by testing multiple usernames and password combinations to gain unauthorized control of user accounts. Monitor the failed login attempts to detect & prevent a botnet attack at the nascent stage.
  4. Manage Admin Access: Exercise thorough consideration when granting admin access. Understand the role of an employee and analyze if he needs admin access to perform his duties. Limiting admin access helps in reducing the risk of both internal as well as external attacks.
  5. Cybersecurity Hygiene: Establish strong cybersecurity hygiene across your organization. This can be achieved by educating employees about cybersecurity best practices such as the use of strong password, multifactor authentication, avoiding link clicks or downloads from unknown sources, etc.
  6. Be Cautious: Look out for early signs of a botnet attack. Some of these signs include slow speed of device, change in homepage of browser, random pop-ups, etc. If any of these signs are spotted, run a thorough scan of the system and install a good antivirus software to remove any malicious software already installed or running on your device.

To know more about botnet attacks and ways to prevent a botnet attack, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

How To Tell If Your Device Is Affected By Cryptojacking?

As a form of cybercrime, “cryptojacking” includes the illegal use of victims’ equipment (personal computers, mobile phones, tablets, and even servers) to “mine” for bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. A victim’s computer may be infected with cryptojacking software via phishing, code download from fraudulent websites, or other malicious techniques. Cryptojacking can also occur via code embedded in digital advertizements or web pages that are only activated when the victim visits a particular website.

Why should you be worried about hackers cryptojacking your devices?

A sluggish computer and a larger electricity bill are classic indicators of cryptojacking attacks on a personal laptop used at home. Targeted crypto mining on a massive scale might cause severe damage to a business. System failures and downtime impair sales and corporate productivity and transform expensive, high-performance servers into costly, low-performance servers. As computational resources are diverted from their intended use to suit the needs of cryptocurrency miners, operational costs inevitably increase. Furthermore, the presence of cryptocurrency mining software on the network is indicative of more serious cybersecurity concern.

How to tell if your devices have been Cryptojacked?

The objective of cryptojacking is to mine more cryptocurrency while going undetected for as long as possible. Cryptojacking malware is made to utilize as much power as it requires while remaining undetected. There are several indicators that cryptojacking malware has been installed on your computer. Some of these are:

  • Slower working of devices

The efficiency of computing devices is lowered by cryptojacking. Be wary of gadgets that operate slowly, crash, or have particularly poor performance. You should also pay attention to decreased system performance. Batteries that deplete more quickly than they normally would are another sign.

  • Increase in heat dissipation by the processor and CPU fan

If your computer gets too hot, which might be the result of a cryptojacking website or software, the fan will speed up to cool things down. A cryptojacking script may be present on a website or computer if the user notices that their device is overheating and the CPU fan is constantly operating at a greater speed.

  • Heavy utilization of CPU or computational resources

If your CPU usage goes up when you visit a site with few or no media files, this could be a sign that cryptojacking scripts are running. You can test for cryptojacking by keeping an eye on how much the CPU is being used. You can use the Activity Monitor or Task Manager to check this.

  • Quicker battery discharge

Due to an increase in CPU utilization and fan speed, the power consumption of devices and computing systems increases dramatically. This causes the battery to deplete faster. Therefore, if you observe that the device’s battery is draining quickly, this could be a symptom of cryptojacking

  • Increased electricity costs due to cryptojacking

An increase in power consumption by the infected devices leads to higher electricity usage. An unexpected spike in electric power consumption can also be a possible indicator of devices being infected by cryptojacking malware

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity and network security solutions to businesses. For more information, you can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Guide to Cloud Security Controls

As the majority of business operations and data are moving to cloud servers, it becomes imperative to secure cloud servers. The key difference between cloud security and traditional IT security is that the responsibility of securing the server is shared by the cloud service provider and the IT team of the business organization availing the services.

Before discussing cloud security controls, first, it is necessary to understand the importance of cloud security.

98% of business organizations have experienced cloud data breaches since 2020. Source: IDC

Two major factors cause cloud data breaches:

  • Misconfigured cloud security controls
  • Human error

What are Cloud Security Controls?

Cloud Security Controls refer to the set of security processes or measures implemented by an organization in tandem with the cloud service provider to secure the data stored on the cloud server. These security controls help protect the cloud environment against multiple vulnerabilities and mitigate the effects of cyber security attacks if any.

The term Cloud Security Controls includes best practices, procedures, and guidelines laid down for cloud security.

What are the Key Elements of Cloud Security Controls?

Cloud security controls should provide the following key capabilities:

  1. They should allow centralized visibility of the complete cloud infrastructure. Due to different access levels, different services or apps within a cloud server can have different configurations. This makes it difficult to keep track of all the configurations and best practices required for cloud security. Implementing tools such as Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) can help overcome this challenge by providing a centralized view of the cloud server configurations, reviewing configurations, and detecting security loopholes.
  2. Cloud security controls should be capable of using threat intelligence data to identify existing cyber threats from their attack patterns. This enables the cloud security controls to identify attacks at the nascent stage and respond automatically to mitigate the threat.
  3. Cloud security controls should be automated for better efficiency. Cloud servers have highly dynamic environments and cyber criminals also keep updating their attack mechanism regularly. Automated cloud security controls help in keeping track of the changes in the environment in real-time without intervention from the IT team. Automation allows cloud security controls to detect threats, respond autonomously, and update themselves to change security policies when a new service or configuration is added to the cloud server’s environment.
  4. To ensure maximum security, it is important to integrate cloud security controls with security features offered by the cloud service provider. Businesses using SaaS (Software as a Service) should implement cloud security controls to regulate user access. This helps in ensuring data or software is accessed by authenticated users only and identifying the security risks related to the data or application.

Different Types of Cloud Security Controls

Based on the nature of the operation, cloud security controls can be categorized into four types:

  • Deterrent Controls: These security controls do not perform any action to secure the cloud server environment but act by issuing a warning to potential threat actors. For example, conducting a background check on employees to intimidate them from launching an insider attack.
  • Preventive Controls: The purpose of these controls is to manage and protect vulnerabilities within the cloud server. Some examples are disabling inactive ports, authenticating cloud users, etc.
  • Detective Controls: These controls utilize detection and monitoring tools to detect approaching cyber-attacks and intrusions.
  • Corrective Controls: These controls are implemented to limit the damage caused by a cyber-attack.

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity solutions to business. To know more about cloud security controls and how to protect your cloud applications, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454

Tips To Spot A Fake Android App

With a rapid upsurge in the number of smartphone users, businesses are increasingly providing mobile apps to their users. However, this increased use of smartphone apps has also garnered the attention of cybercriminals. They are finding different ways of targeting mobile phone users, the most common one being the use of fake apps. As Android devices capture 70% of the worldwide smartphone market, cybercriminals are targeting devices with fake Android apps.

What Are Fake Android Apps?

Fake Android apps are Android mobile phone programs that replicate the appearance and functionality of an authentic or popular app. The app duplicates the user interface of the genuine application to the point where users cannot distinguish between the two.

What Is The Purpose Of Fake App?

The underlying motive of a fake app is to attract users and trick them into downloading this compromised version instead of the legitimate app. The fake app may be infected with malicious code designed specifically to perform multiple functions such as, stealing mobile data, stealing financial data, introducing bugs to slow down mobile performance, aggressively displaying ads during use, etc.

How To Spot A Fake App?

Downloading a fake app can cause numerous damages to the victim such as financial loss, data loss, personal information theft, etc. So, it is important for mobile users to be vigilant and spot a fake app to avoid falling victim to hackers.

Here are some tips to spot a fake android app:

  • Check The Name: Every legitimate and popular app may have multiple fake alternatives. This is why, when a user searches for an app, he receives multiple results with similar names. So, check the correct name of an app before downloading it. Scrutinize the name for any spelling errors or jumbled words. Also, pay attention to the logo of the app.
  • Check Developer’s Name: Before downloading an app, research it to know the name of the developer of the original app. Knowing about the company that presents the app will make it easier to spot a fake app.
  • Read The Reviews: Take out some time to read the user reviews about an app. This will help in knowing about the experience of other users who downloaded the app. Be wary of downloading the app, if you see any reviews claiming to experience problems with device performance after downloading the app. This may be an indicator that the app contains embedded malware.
  • Read App Description: Another way to spot a fake app is to read the app description. In case the description contains misspelled words, grammar errors, or appears to be generated by a bot; it is advised to be cautious.
  • Permissions: Apps usually ask for permissions to use certain device functions to operate. But fake apps may ask for function permissions that are not required to the perform original functions of the app

Centex Technologies provide complete cybersecurity solutions for businesses. To know how to protect your businesses from cyber-attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Top 10 Ways To Secure Data in Cloud Storage

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