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Stages of Malware Lifecycle

PDF Version: Stages-of-Malware-Lifecycle

Honeypots For Cyber Security Intelligence

The honeypot acts as a decoy, diverting hackers’ attention away from the real target. It may also be used as a reconnaissance tool, with the adversary’s methodologies, capabilities, and sophistication assessed through intrusion efforts. Any digital asset, such as software programs, servers, or the network itself, can be used to create a honeypot. It is carefully constructed to resemble a valid target, with structure, components, and content that are similar to the actual target.

Honeypot intelligence is important in assisting businesses in evolving and improving their cybersecurity strategy in response to real-world threats. It also helps in identifying possible weak spots in existing architecture, information, and network security. A honeynet is a collection of honeypots that are designed to appear as though they are part of a genuine network, replete with various systems, databases, servers, routers, and other digital assets. The cybersecurity team can track all the malicious traffic inside this isolated network while preventing the movement of the attacker outside.

Examples of Honeypots deployed in IT infrastructure

  • False/apparent looking database: In this type of honeypot, a decoy database is created with a motive to mislead the cyber attackers. These databases include dummy information that resembles the actual database, however sensitive business information is missing from the decoy database. The honeypot database has some system vulnerabilities and weak system design, SQL injections, etc. These vulnerabilities pose as a soft target & attract the hackers.
  • Spam honeypot: Spam honeypots work by accepting all the emails without filtering out the spam mails & other proxies. The program opens the mails to reveal their IP address of the spammers so that it can be blocked by the IT team for protecting the network systems.
  • Fake email address: In this case, a fake email address is created which is not visible to legitimate users. The email address can only be reached by automated address harvesters. Thus, the cyber security team is not required to analyze every email and can rest assured that all the emails received on this address are spams and sent by cyber attackers.
  • Spider honeypot: The motive of spider honeypot is to identify spiders – automated web crawlers. A net of web pages and links is created which is concealed from legitimate search engine web crawlers. Only automated and malicious web crawlers can access them. This helps in identifying how bot crawlers work to develop a way to block them.
  • Dummy malicious software: A dummy software or an application programming interface (API) is created to attract the malware attacks. This helps in studying the vulnerabilities that are exploited and the techniques used by the attacker. The information is then used by the cyber security team to develop an effective anti-malware system.


Classifying Honeypots by their Complexity of interaction with hackers

  • Low-interaction honeypots: This type of honeypots is not designed to behave like production systems but can be scaled, if needed. Although they fail to hold the attention of cyber attackers for long but are useful in causing a distraction for some time.
  • High-interaction honeypots: These honeypots are more sophisticated and pose as actual network target. They have the capability to engage the cyber attackers for a longer period and are used to study the malware attacks to improve cyber security practices.
  • Pure honeypots: Pure honeypots are full-fledged network systems and are designed with mock information, user data, etc.

Advantages of deploying Honeypots

  • Recognizing threat actors: Since honeypot systems are only accessible to malicious actors, it makes it easier for the cyber security teams to identify and block them.
  • Break down attacker chain: While the attackers might be crawling through your organization’s network, honeypots can be used to stop these crawlers and trap them from moving further.
  • Adaptation and evolution of ML-AI algorithms: Honeypots assist in studying the mode of action of cyber-attacks and help in adapting ML-AI algorithms to protect against modern attacks.
  • Insider & Outsider threat detection: Honeypots are unique systems that not only help in recognizing malicious actors but also insider attackers.

Risks

  • Hackers might detect a decoy and try to deceive with fake intrusion attempts in order to divert the attention of SOC Analysts away from actual attacks on legitimate system targets.
  • False information is conveyed to the honeypot by hackers to enable them to conceal their identities and confuse the detection algorithms and analytical models.

Honeypots are just one part of a larger cybersecurity posture. When used alone, the honeypot will not be able to safeguard the company from a wide range of dangers and vulnerabilities.

Centex Technologies provides cyber security solutions to businesses. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740.

Cyber Security Checklist For Business Organizations

Cyber security is a vast and dynamic domain. As new cyber security challenges emerge rapidly, it may become overwhelming for business organizations to keep up. To combat this, business organizations should implement a cyber- security checklist. A comprehensive cybersecurity checklist assists firms in adopting a cybersecurity-focused workplace culture as well as strengthening their cybersecurity posture for complying with various regulations.

1.    Communications channels to be encrypted

Spam filtering technology in email servers automatically detects and eliminates emails that look to be phishing scams from employees’ inboxes. When communicating work-related information and passwords, use an encrypted email or messaging service to reduce the likelihood of the communication being intercepted and decoded. Employer-issued devices should never be linked to a public network. Also when viewing websites, employees should use security mechanisms and protocols.

2.    Decentralize your cybersecurity strategy

Allowing the CISO to control and oversee user rights can help prevent specific departments from getting access to information they don’t need. Organizations that provide identical rights to all users are more prone to attacks.

3.    IT strategies must be separated from Cybersecurity strategies

Cybersecurity threats are increasingly complicated and incident reaction times are more rapid. At the company level, the CISO should evaluate cyber threats and build mitigation and response plans.

4.    Effective and efficient incident response process

An incident response strategy can assist staff in detecting, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity problems with more efficiency. The incident response rules should be followed by all organizations. The strategy should spell out how to document and respond to cyberattacks.

5.    End-user cybersecurity awareness training

A single mistaken click on a phishing email by distracted or anxious personnel might disclose vital information. Employees should be taught not to read emails from unknown senders or click links inside them. Leadership should be notified of any possible phishing assaults.

6.    Implement ZTNA

The Zero Trust Network Access security paradigm is intended to instill in an organization’s culture a “never trust, always verify” mentality. By default, network administrators and IT employees are instructed to deny access to all devices in this cybersecurity architecture. Two-factor authentication is encouraged by a Zero Trust policy.

7.    Strong and complex credentials

Passwords must be made up of a random sequence of alphanumeric and special characters. Also, store encrypted passwords only.

8.    Automated updates and upgrades

Updates to operating systems are frequently applied to mitigate or eliminate vulnerabilities in older versions. Malicious software created for a certain version of the operating system will be discovered and deleted by the operating system in a future update when devices are upgraded. Antivirus software may be programmed to update automatically whenever a new version is published, improving the likelihood of protection from malware and other sorts of cyber-attacks.

9.    Data backups

Employees must be able to restore their data from previous save points if their hard disk has to be reset. IT department should be in charge of data backups, and backup logs and tests should be performed regularly.

10.  Access to critical systems to authorized security personnel only

No employee should be able to make changes to the company’s network and devices’ system details and configuration. Security threats are addressed by reducing the number of network administrators. Auditing and removing accounts from employees who have transferred workstations or are no longer employed by the company is another great practice.

11.  Activate automated locking features

This stops onlookers from seeing what is displayed on the gadget. Users can remotely access the computer when it is logged in, which is why it should not be used unless it is under the direct supervision of an employee.

12.  Device disposal and data-purge

When sensitive data is no longer needed, it should not be discarded. To delete all data from the hard disk, it should be entirely formatted. Any linked data may be entirely retrieved via a SATA connection without the hard disk being physically destroyed. Before destroying the drive, make sure the data on it is backed up.

13.  Periodic cybersecurity evaluations and assessments

To identify new hazards, systems and software should be reviewed regularly. Some upgrades may cause systems to malfunction or expose them to risks. When evaluating a network, it’s essential to talk to an impartial cybersecurity professional who can give knowledgeable suggestions.

14.  Employ 3rd-party security services

Leaders across organizations are advised to leverage the services from MSSPs (Managed Security Service Providers) to strengthen the cybersecurity posture of their organizations.

Centex Technologies provides cyber security solutions to businesses and also assists in formulating cyber security strategies. To know more about cybersecurity, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740.

Cybersecurity Leadership Principles For Secured Business Operations

Businesses becoming more reliant on the internet and digital platforms must examine cyber resilience from a business standpoint. The leadership must look at the cybersecurity posture of the various operational risks. They must also develop a flexible attitude in terms of how they would respond to and recover from a significant cyber incident. The ideas that follow help organizational leaders outline a plausible course of action balancing short-term goals along with the medium to long-term requirements.

Encourage a cyber-resilient organizational work culture

Businesses must establish plans to maintain durable and sustainable networks while also taking advantage of the benefits that digitalization may offer. Following important measures assist executives in instilling a cyber resilience culture throughout the organization and wider ecosystem: –

  1. Enforce the cyber-resilience governance in place
  2. Designing infrastructure for disaster flexibility
  3. Exceed the call of duty hours and deploy 24/7/365 security team
  4. Employee habits and behaviors that assists in being flexible and proactive in responding to cyber threat should be strengthened

Concentrate on safeguarding the most vital capabilities and services

The leaders are advised to identify the possible repercussions of a crisis on revenue, workers, customers, and the availability of key services. Business executives must have a holistic and systemic perspective of their critical services, applications, suppliers, and assets. The important steps listed below assist executives in maintaining their company’s cyber health and protecting critical capabilities and services: –

  1. It is necessary to ensure strict digital hygiene
  2. It is important to keep crucial assets safe, isolated, and air-gapped
  3. Keep a watch out for any strange activity around the most valuable assets
  4. Automating cybersecurity helps to reduce the fatigue of Security teams

Risk-informed decisions and judgments during and after the crisis

Enterprises should realize that their business risk posture has shifted dramatically and, following the crisis, has to be restored to an acceptable level. Leaders may balance risk-informed choices by taking following important steps: –

  1. Transition the switch to a zero-trust approach to supply chain security
  2. Define and utilize useful cyber-resilience measurements
  3. Concentrate on cyber-threats that are vital to operations

Revise and rehearse your response and continuity strategies

Veteran cyber-resilience leaders and CEOs use their previous crisis expertize to respond to cyber-attacks. The important steps listed below assist leaders in maintaining business continuity through the volatile and dynamically changing period: –

  1. Develop a thorough crisis management strategy
  2. Keep the reaction and resilience plans up to date and revamp them as required
  3. Get ready to adopt the changes

Collaboration throughout the cyber security ecosystem should be strengthened

Leaders in the public and private sectors must encourage collaboration and actively participate in projects to ensure that steps are made to protect the broader ecosystem from existing and potential cyber threats. Furthermore, businesses must set clear expectations with suppliers about their cybersecurity controls in order to encourage regulatory alignment in terms of 3rd party assurance. They should also advance a variety of community initiatives to raise cybersecurity risk awareness throughout the supply chain. Following important measures assist leaders in building a collaborative culture inside the organization and across the ecosystem: –

  1. Boost overall situational awareness
  2. Motivate people to work together
  3. Take a holistic strategy to manage cyber risks

Business leaders may better satisfy their duties to sustain their organization’s security posture and ensure business continuity if they follow the guidelines set up in cyber-security plan. Businesses can create smarter, quicker, and more connected futures with strong cyber-risk management and cyber-resilience strategies, promoting corporate development and efficiency.

Centex Technologies helps business leaders understand and implement necessary cybersecurity principles. To know more about cybersecurity, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740.

Training Employees To Reduce Cybersecurity Risks

The use of IT and cyber technology in business operations is expanding. As a result, the number of phishing attempts on enterprises has also skyrocketed. In the fight against cybersecurity attacks, inadequate cybersecurity awareness training continues to be a major issue for businesses.

Firms are recommended to take following proactive measures to stay protected against cyberattacks:

  • Identifying cybersecurity risks: Workplace culture, people profiles, job tasks, and other variables can impact risk factors.
  • Educating employees: Commit to a range of methods for keeping employees informed about cyber security attacks and what they can do about it. This necessitates a mental shift: instead of perceiving the person who opened the phishing link as the center of failure, recognize that the security and training framework surrounding that individual has failed.
  • Invest in reducing Cybersecurity risks to strengthen the overall security posture: Change has to start from the top. Put a monetary value on everything, from the cost of losing access to mission-critical data to the risk of being held liable for losing consumer information.
  • Avoiding social engineering assaults using employee training: Social engineering strategies include sending questionnaires to employees and encouraging them to provide personal information. Appropriate training will help employees to identify if they are being targeted.
  • Practice thwarting social engineering attempts right from their onboarding phase: Several social engineering attack scenarios must be simulated, and the employee must be tested as a result. From the initiation phases, password security, phishing, and social engineering assaults must all be addressed. Most importantly, employees have to not only understand the compliance and regulations but also why the best practices are so vital.
  • Rewarding employees motivate them: Giving out rewards for detecting genuine network attacks and weaknesses is an excellent illustration of this.
  • Evaluating employee security awareness: Corporate assessments and committee meetings have the unexpected effect of improving cybersecurity awareness.
  • Trust & encourage open communication in work culture: Employees should not be hesitant to report system issues. They should be encouraged to share their knowledge with others. If everyone is on the same page, it will be much easier to raise awareness about cybersecurity issues.
  • Discuss about updates and news in Cybersecurity domain everyday: Employees must pay attention to latest developments at cyber security front. Make sure employees are informed about any new crypto-malware or exploits that might cause phones or devices to crash with a single message.

How to plan a curriculum that trains employees to reduce cybersecurity risks?

Employee cyber security awareness training plan must include the following aspects:

  1. Phishing emails that are dummy; just to check employees’ alertness levels
  2. Blog articles, workbooks, documents for self-learning and updating themselves
  3. E-learning that is customized as per the business, sector, and vertical requirements
  4. Quizzes and short questionnaires to check the skills evaluating employees’ security awareness

Each of these characteristics helps employees have a better understanding of how security methods and tactics work, as well as how security mishaps might develop.

How does training employees with security awareness reduce cybersecurity risks to businesses?

Cybersecurity awareness training benefits stakeholders across the business in the following ways:

  1. Increasing the cyber-resilience of the organization
  2. Helping develop a security-conscious workplace culture
  3. Taking steps to reduce human error and solve the security problems
  4. Increasing audit findings and demonstrating regulatory compliance
  5. By generating a yearly, bi-annually, and quarterly schedule of events, detecting areas of overlap, and recognizing user weariness, corporations save time and money when planning a security awareness campaign.

Cybersecurity awareness training should begin at the outset of a company and not be hurried. Before starting their new positions, employees and candidates must complete network security training to guarantee that they understand how to use technology and stay secure online. It’s not enough to be aware of dangers; you must actively seek out and monitor them. Users must be educated and informed about network security methods and solutions to get the most out of them. It’s more important for digital and e-commerce businesses to create awareness and educate staff on cybersecurity risks and trends. Employees and workers who refuse to keep up should be dismissed, and cyber awareness training programs should become necessary to stay safe and secure online.

Centex Technologies provides advanced cybersecurity solutions to businesses. To know more about cybersecurity, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

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