Archive for September, 2020

Everything You Need To Know About Click Fraud

As the number of organizations investing in digital marketing is increasing, there has been an increase in fraudsters trying to take advantage of digital marketing platforms to drain revenue from such organizations. Click fraud is an example of frauds based on digital marketing and occurs on PPC online advertizing.

Let Us Understand The PPC Concept-

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is an online advertizing campaign. An organization contacts relevant websites, bloggers, influencers, etc. to place its ad on their page to attract target audience. When a user clicks on the advertizement, he is redirected to the landing page of the advertizing website resulting in higher lead generation. The website that places the ad on its page is paid a certain amount for every user that clicks on the advertizement.

What Is Click Fraud?

A click fraud is a technique that is used to falsely increase the number of clicks on a PPC ad. In other words, a click fraud or ‘invalid clicks’ (as termed by Google) is when a paid advertizement is intentionally clicked repeatedly. Higher the number of clicks on the ad, higher is the amount paid by the advertizer to the host website (where the ad is posted). The aim of a click fraud is to either generate higher revenue for the host website or drain revenue from the advertizer. One of the common techniques employed in click frauds is the use of click bots.

What Is A Click Bot?

A bot is a software that operates on the internet and is used to perform repetitive tasks. Click bots are used by the fraudulent websites to repetitively click on advertisements posted on their website in order to increase the number of clicks.

How Does Click Fraud Impact The Advertizer?

A click fraud impacts an advertizer in numerous ways:

  • It costs an advertizer higher PPC cost.
  • It drains a business of investment money that could be used for other business development tasks.
  • It results in inaccurate results from PPC campaign data analysis leading to misinformed critical marketing decisions.

How To Fight Against Click Fraud?

  • It is common for competitors to launch click fraud attacks to impact each other’s marketing campaign. In order to avoid this, search Google for keywords relevant to your niche and identify your competitors. After identifying the major competitors, use tools like ClickForensics, AdWatcher or ClickDefense fraudulent ad clicks.
  • Closely monitor your campaigns using different tools. It will give you a fair idea of how the campaign is performing in relevance to your campaign goals.
  • Some websites may offer low PPC rates; however be vigilant to choose high-value sites. Thoroughly research the websites to find a relevant & suitable site that is full of potential customers.
  • Employ bot management to identify fraud bots and block them from an application/website.
  • You can also invest in fraud prevention software that are specifically designed to spot and avoid click frauds.

For more information on Ads management and click-fraud prevention, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Role Of IoT In eCommerce

PDF Version: Role-Of-IoT-In-eCommerce

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Comprehensive Guide To Cloud Migration For Businesses

In order to build an understanding of Cloud Migration for businesses, let us first acquaint ourselves to the term. The term Cloud Migration is used to define the process of moving & organizing different applications, organizational data and other resources from an on-premises data center to the cloud. Cloud is a computing model which stores the data on internet through a third-party cloud computing provider who manages & operates data storage as a service.

Once a business decides to migrate its data to cloud, the foremost step is to choose an appropriate strategy. Different strategies suit different situations/businesses. Here are the strategies a business can choose from:

  • Rehost Or Lift-And-Shift Model: It is the simplest model where an existing application is shifted to a new environment without making any modifications to its integrity. It is suitable for businesses that are new to cloud storage as it offers quick implementation & low cost benefits.
  • Re-Platform Or Lift-And-Optimize: It requires the business to make minimum changes to an application’s code or architecture when moving it to cloud. It allows businesses to make few optimizations while maintain the integrity of the application.
  • Repurchase Or Drop-And-Shop: Under this strategy, a business replaces its existing applications with new ones available on the system. It saves the cost for developing a unique system, as businesses can integrate into an established system for a seamless migration.
  • Refractor Or Re-Architect: It is a time-consuming but long term solution as businesses are required to rebuild their applications. It could involve automatically scaling certain apps or integrating new features such as server-less computing.
  • Retain Or Hybrid Model: Applications and data can be split up between two sources (cloud & on-premises for an increased security. However, it requires training on new applications or splitting of teams.

After choosing a suitable strategy, businesses can start with the stepwise process of cloud migration.

  • Assess: Businesses should analyze the resources (including time & money) required for cloud migration. It is important to consider if any training would be required after cloud migration, costs involved and if it would make sense for the business.
  • Pilot Testing: Start by implementing cloud migration to a small amount of sample data and test this system with a small team. Use the feedback to decide if it would be beneficial to scale the system to multiple teams or to the entire organization.
  • Initiate: Once the testing phase succeeds, it is time to start the actual migration process. The time consumed in cloud migration depends upon the type of strategy chosen by the business.
  • Organize: After the data movement is complete, it is important to know how much data has been moved and how to keep it organized. This helps in preventing any data loss.
  • Optimize: Identify if any immediate steps can be taken to improve the system and how will they impact the business.

For more information on cloud migration for businesses, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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What Is Maze Ransomware?

Maze is a sophisticated version of Windows ransomware that was discovered in May 2019. The ransomware was previously known as ‘ChaCha ransomware’. The goal of the ransomware is to crypt the files it finds on an infected system and demand a cryptocurrency payment in exchange of safe recovery of the encrypted data.

What Makes Maze Different?

Like other ransomware, Maze is capable of spreading across a corporate network and infecting all the computers connected to the victim network. It encrypts the data files in order to render them useless safely recovered.

However, what sets it apart from other ransomware is its ability to steal the data on infected systems and send it to servers controlled by the hackers. This allows hackers to threaten the victim organization to release its documents in case the ransom is not paid.

Thus, even if an organization uses a back up to retrieve the files, it is still obliged to pay the ransom to prevent public release of its documents.

The Maze hackers maintain a website where they list their clients (term used for victims who fail to pay the ransom). The website includes details such as name of the victim, when their computer systems were infected, links to download stolen data as “proof” and convenient buttons to share the details of breach on “social media”. The hackers have no reservations about offering uncensored downloads of stolen data that can damage an organization’s reputation.

How Does Maze Ransomware Work?

Maze ransomware makes use of different techniques to gain entry into a network. Some techniques include-

  • Use of exploit kits such as Fallout and Spelevo
  • Remote desktop connections with weak security
  • Email impersonation (the email contains a word attachment that uses macros to run the malware in the system)

The malware is a 32 bits binary file that is usually packed as an EXE or DLL file.

The malware encrypts the files in an easy step-by-step process:

  • Locate the file using “SetFileAttributesW” function & “FILE_ATTRIBUTE_ARCHIVE” attribute.
  • Reserve memory to the file with a call to “Virtual Alloc”.
  • Open the file with read and write permissions.
  • Get the file size with the “GetFileSizeEx” function.
  • Create a file mapping.
  • Generate a random key of 32 bytes with the function “CryptGenRandom”.
  • Generate a random ‘Initialization Vector (IV)’ of 8 bytes with the function “CryptGenRandom”.
  • Reserve 264 bytes of memory with the function “VirtualAlloc”.
  • Generate a new random extension for the victim file.
  • Crypt the file.
  • Write this new block with the key and IV to decrypt at the end of the file.
  • Rename the file with the function “MoveFileExW”.
  • The image of the file is unmapped, and handles closed.
  • The process is repeated with new files.

When all files are crypted, the wallpaper of the system is switched with a note to inform the user about the attack.

Maze also has a chat function to contact the hackers and receive the information about payment details.

For more information on IT security, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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