Archive for February, 2016

Importance Of Browser Sandboxing

February 26, 2016

With increase in online threats through various mediums, it is crucial to configure web browsers to have a safe and secure internet browsing environment. Web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Internet Explorer, are the most frequently used ones and it is important to have their settings right so as to prevent viruses, malware, phishing and other cyber-attacks. One of the methods to safeguard your PC from cyber threats is to use “Browser Sandboxing”. It refers to adding an additional security layer between the operating system and online programs by providing an isolated virtual environment for the applications to run without affecting the functioning of the computer.

How Does Browser Sandboxing Work?

A sandbox is a form of software that controls the execution of the online applications and programs that may present a security risk. Apps running within the sandbox have limited access to your computer and the files stored in it, therefore, they cannot make any permanent changes or install malicious programs in the system. Though the exact working of browser sandboxing varies with different programs, it mainly serves the following purposes:

  • Execute unknown and potentially dangerous programs in a controlled setting, either automatically or manually.
  • Prevent damage from browsing malicious websites while browsing the internet or downloading applications.
  • Stop the existing malware on the computer from gaining access to your confidential information, such as log in credentials, online banking details, credit card numbers etc.

Why Should You Use Sandboxing?

Much of the malware that infects your computer comes from internet browsing. Malicious websites are designed in a way that simply passing over the mouse over an advertizement or image can activate and download the malware. In addition, man-in-the-middle and denial-of-service attacks put your online identity at risk. Sandboxing helps to keep you and your computer protected throughout the browsing session. You just need to activate the sandbox before beginning to use the internet and exit afterwards to discard all the changes that may have been made to the computer.

Another benefit of browser sandboxing becomes evident when a computer has multiple users. Each of them may download programs, games, apps or adjust the browser’s settings according to their preferences. This may lead to accidental downloading of viruses, spyware, bots and other forms of malware. By placing the computer in a sandboxed mode, you can easily undo these changes to restore the computer to its original settings. You can also uninstall the apps along with the hidden viruses without leaving behind any residue files.

We, at Centex Technologies, offer efficient cyber security solutions to business firms across Central Texas. For more information, feel free to call us at (855) 375 – 9654.


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How To Detect And Prevent Keylogger Attacks

February 22, 2016

Keylogger, or keystroke logger, is one of the most feared computer security threats in the present times. It is a type of software program that attempts to intercept a user’s personal information by tracking the input from the keyboard. The data stolen can either be stored locally on the user’s computer or sent out the hacker’s system through a remote server. Most keyloggers have rootkit functionality, i.e. they are able to remain undetected in the computer system, working in the same way as Trojan programs. They can be used for various purposes, such as to steal confidential financial details and passwords or simply to monitor the online activity of the employees.

How Does Keyloggers Infect A Computer System?

Keylogger software can be installed on a computer through a number of ways. It can either come as a part of an application downloaded from a malicious source or website scripts that exploit browser vulnerabilities. Attachments in emails, text messages, IMs, social networking websites or peer-to-peer networks can also infect your system. Hardware based keyloggers can be installed by a hacker who has physical access to the target computer.

Keylogger Prevention Tips

  • Be Cautious While Opening Attachments: Files received through emails, IMs or social network should be opened cautiously. More importantly, you should not view or download any attachment received from an unknown sender. These may be embedded with malicious software comprising a keylogger.
  • Install Antivirus Software: Make sure you install and constantly update anti-virus software on your computer system. These applications identify most of the keyloggers as a threat and ensure complete protection against them.
  • Use A Firewall Always: In order to steal information, a keylogger needs to transmit information from the computer to the hacker. The bandwidth used in this process is usually undetectable in the network usage. Installing a firewall is a great line of defense against most keyloggers as it closely monitors your computer’s activity. If any program attempts to send out information, it will either display an alert or ask for your permission to do the same.
  • Use Virtual Keyboard: As far as possible, you should use a virtual keyboard for all the sensitive information you need to enter, such as credit card numbers, bank account details, passwords etc.
  • Change Passwords Frequently: Changing your passwords at frequent intervals will help to minimize the occurrence of a keylogger attack. With this, the information stolen will no longer be useful to the hacker.

For more tips on preventing keylogger attacks, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.


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How To Avoid Security Pitfalls While Staying Constantly Connected

February 15, 2016

In this digital age, staying constantly connected to the internet has become quite important. However, every new technology comes with its own set of security risks. If you do not take the requisite precautionary measures, your device may be targeted by cybercriminals to carry out hacking or malware-based attacks.

Here are some of the tips to avoid security pitfalls while browsing internet on a mobile device:

  • Be Cautious While Using Public Wi-Fi: If you are using a public internet connection or Wi-Fi hotspot, never access any website that requires you to enter sensitive information such as your bank account details, credit card number, password etc. Most hotspots do not use WPA or WPA2 protection, hence, the information you share over these connections is not encrypted. This may lead to session hijacking and all your personal data can be accessed by a cybercriminal.
  • Do Not Follow Links: You should never click on any attachment or link embedded in email from an unknown sender. It may be a malicious code that redirects to a spam site in order to infect your system with a malware or steal your personal information. Instead, manually type in the URL to make sure you are visiting a legitimate website. Also, do not click on ads that appear as pop-ups on websites.
  • Look For HTTPS: If the information shared between your device and the website being browsed is in a plain format, it can be accessed by anyone who manages to breach your internet connection. When you access a website, verify that its URL begins with ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP’.  A padlock icon will also be displayed in the address bar which indicates a secure connection.
  • Improve Device Security: Keep all the mobile applications software updated with the latest patches. You can enable automatic updates or regularly check if any upgraded versions have been released. Enable your device’s firewall to monitor incoming and outgoing connections as well as detect any unusual activity. You should also install anti-virus software and frequently update it to stay safe against commonly found malware.
  • Get A VPN: Another way to be safe while on a public internet connection is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It acts as a barrier between your device and the web by routing your traffic in an encrypted format through a secure network. VPN helps to protect your identity and privacy online.

For more cyber security tips, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.


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Smartphone Security Tips

February 5, 2016

Keeping your smartphone properly secured is extremely important. Considering the wide range of tasks you carry out through your smartphone, right from social networking and banking to online shopping, following the right security measures has become a pre-requisite. It will help you protect your device against different forms of malware attacks.

Here are some tips to keep your smartphone secure:

  • Use A Screen Lock: This is probably the most basic and often overlooked security tip. Make sure your phone screen is locked at all times, either with a PIN or password. Create a password that is difficult to crack in case your phone is lost or stolen. You can also use a pattern lock but keep your screen clean to avoid leaving fingerprints.
  • Protect Sensitive Data: Even if you have used a strong password, the data stored in your device is still at risk. A cybercriminal simply needs to plug-in a USB cable to connect the smartphone to a computer and access the files stored within. To avoid this, you should keep all your important files and folders password locked or encrypted. With this, the user will be required to enter a pre-set code before the file can be viewed or copied.
  • Set up locate and remote wipe: Most smartphones allow the users to locate the device in case it is lost or stolen. They can even remotely wipe the information stored in the phone or simply change the PIN/password to lock the thief out of the device.
  • Download Apps From Trusted Sources: Allow apps from only genuine sources to be downloaded and installed in your smartphone. Also, check the app’s ratings and reviews before downloading, particularly if it is not so well-known. Read its privacy policy to know what phone features and data the app needs to access.
  • Turn Off Wi-Fi And Bluetooth When Not In Use: Ensure that your phone’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and all other wireless protocols are switched off when you are not using them. Else, put your phone in a non-discoverable mode to avoid making it vulnerable to a hacking attack. Also, turn off automatic connections to open Wi-Fi networks to leak out your smartphone’s useful data.
  • Install Security Software: Download a credible and trusted security app to protect your smartphone against malware and viruses. Make sure you frequently update the virus definitions. Some applications also offer additional features such as remote wipe, app lock, data backup etc.

For more smartphone security tips, contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.


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