Archive for April, 2019

What Is Scareware?

Scareware is a malicious software that tricks the users and directs them to a malware infested website. It usually comes up in the form of a pop-up and appears as a legitimate warning from an antivirus company. The pop up displays the information that users must purchase the software to fix the problem. Scareware creates a perception of threat and manipulates users to buy a fake software. The fake software could be a spyware which collects user’s personal data for further gains.

How Is It Conducted?

Step 1: A pop-up appears on the website with a note that a virus has been found in the system and a software needs to be downloaded in order to get rid of it.
Step 2: Once the user clicks on the download button, a scareware attack is launched & a malware is installed on the user’s system.
Step 3: The cyber-criminal gains access to the victim’s private data and exploits it for his benefit.

Ways In Which Scareware Can Infect The System

  • Through a greeting, lottery or news alert email
  • Advertizements
  • Pop-ups with a message like- scan your system or a virus has been detected in you system
  • Affected websites that take advantage of software vulnerabilities

What Can A Scareware Attack Do?

  • Trick you to pay money for a fake antivirus software
  • Control your device and use it for sending spam
  • Access your confidential bank details and record your keystrokes

Ways To Protect Yourself From A Scareware Attack

  • Typically, a scareware gets into your system though a pop-up. You can minimize the risk of scareware by turning on the pop-up blocker.
  • It is always advisable to use the latest version of the browser; so make sure that your browser is regularly updated for any security patches.
  • Make sure that you install a reputed antivirus software on your system and also keep it updated.
  • Restart the computer if your system is responding slowly or you come across something unusual.
  • Prefer reading emails in plain text.
  • Never open emails sent from unknown sources.
  • Do not click on any link on an unsecured webpage. Chances are that the warning pop-up is a malicious link that will install virus in to your system.
  • Never allow the browser to save your login details and passwords.

In order to protect yourself from such cyber-attacks, it is important to understand how they operate. Also, be wary of clicking on any pop-up while browsing.

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

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Tips to Secure Data Access

PDF Version: Tips-to-Secure-Data-Access

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Understanding LeakerLocker Ransomware Attack

LeakerLocker is a ransomware that affects mobile devices running on android platform. Unlike other mobile ransomwares that encrypt user data, LeakerLocker Ransomware doesn’t encrypt your data but locks your screen. Cybercriminals claim that the user’s private & confidential information will be transferred to their secure cloud and sent to the victim’s phone contacts if he fails to pay a ransom amount.

The mobile malware research team at McAfee identified the LeakerLocker ransomware on July 7, 2017. It was spotted that the ransomware was spreading via two apps:

  • Wallpapers Blur HD
  • Booster & Cleaner Pro

The apps function like any legitimate app; however once installed, a malicious code is loaded via a command-and-control server. When the access permission is granted, the code collects sensitive data from the user’s phone and blackmails him against it.

What Type Of Data Is Collected?

  • Personal photos
  • Contact numbers
  • Sent and received SMS
  • Phone call history
  • Facebook messages
  • Chrome history
  • Full email texts
  • GPS location history

How To Protect Your Device From LeakerLocker Ransomware?

  • Install An Antivirus Software: Protect your phone from any ransomware attack by installing a reputed antivirus software. These software scan the websites as well as apps to ensure that they are safe and do not contain any type of malware.
  • Update Your Phone: Make sure that you check your phone for android system updates available and download them regularly.
  • Back-up Your Files: It is important to back-up your files regularly to recover them in case of any data loss. You can back-up the information to the cloud or store your data on an external hard drive.
  • Don’t Download Apps From Unknown Sources: Whenever you download an app, make sure that you download it from a trusted source. Avoid downloading third party apps as they may pose a security threat. Also change your system settings and disable them to perform unofficial app installations.
  • Ignore Pop-Up Installations: Be wary of pop-up installations and avoid installing an update or plug-in.
  • Know Before Clicking On A Link: Make sure that you do not click on any links which you receive via an email or text from an unknown source.
  • Check The App Reviews: Read the reviews before downloading any app and also ensure that it is from a reputable developer. Do not download the app if you find something suspicious in the comments

For more information about ransomware attacks and ways to protect yourself from them, call the team of Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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Security Risks Concerning Virtual Personal Assistants

VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) software application follow commands of a user intelligently and performs a variety of tasks such as searching information on the web, scheduling an appointment, monitoring health data, initiating online shopping, searching for addresses & location, etc. Also known as Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPAs); Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, etc. are the most commonly used ones.

Although Virtual Personal Assistants are of great use, there are certain security risks concerning them. Here we have discussed the most prominent security threats associated with VPAs

  • Eavesdropping: A VPA is programmed to follow voice commands. So, it passively listens to everything being said, if the user forgets to turn it off when not in use. Thus, it ends up collecting user’s voice data without his knowledge. This recorded data always poses a risk of hijacking because cybercriminals might collect & use it unlawfully.
  • Vast Exposure Of Personal Information: VPAs resort to different databases on the web in order to respond to user’s query. Although it is highly convenient, it can pose a serious security threat.
  • Data Theft: VPA keeps a track of the user’s activity and stores that information on the device as well as a remote database. When an VPA hijacker gets hold of this information, he can extract the data and exploit it to offend the user.
  • Voice/Audio Hijacking: This technology recognizes voice to take commands. Even though it understands different words & their pronunciations, it does not distinguish the voices of different users. This can be used against the user, as an impersonator might command the VPA to perform tasks that may harm the user. Even if it recognizes the user’s voice, there is a possibility that a cybercriminal might use the actual user’s voice recording and issue commands to the VPA.
  • Remote Malware Downloading: A compromised VPA might be instructed to visit certain sites containing a malicious link. Once clicked, this link installs a malware in the device which continues to operate & damage the device remotely without the user’s knowledge.
  • Undertake Tasks Autonomously: Users might register automated commands with a VPA. This can be exploited by the hijacker to victimize the user.  For example, the user may direct his VPA to pay his phone bill every month. The VPA further takes the command and connects it to an authorized payment gateway. If the VPA is compromised, the hacker might dismiss the bill payment and transfer funds to his remote account.

There is no denying the fact that virtual personal assistants provide numerous benefits. However, it is important to stay cautious in order to avoid security risks.

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

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