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Tips For Business Owners: How To Know If Your Phone Is Hacked?

Smartphones are nowadays an integral part of business operations. They are used to receive & send business mails, messages and getting business updates. Also, mobile banking applications & business specific mobile apps are being extensively used to manage operations of a business. As smartphones may contain important business and financial information, any kind of breach can leave you at a serious risk.

Hackers use numerous ways to get into your phone e.g. using public internet to download a program. They may make use of the applications downloaded on your phone to access files, passwords and other sensitive information. So, it becomes imperative to keep your devices safe from hackers. However, it is equally important to be able to recognize if your smartphone is hacked.

  • Decreased Battery Life: Though mobile applications, software and programs need to use phone’s battery in order to perform to their full capacity; there are chances that a smartphone is compromised by a malware if the phone’s battery decreases at a fast rate. This may be a sign that the malware running in the background is zapping phone’s resources and transmitting important information.
  • Performance Differences: If your device is operating slower, constantly freezing and applications are frequently crashing; there is a possibility that a malware is secretly running in the background. Also, the phone may turn on and off randomly or your applications can keep on running even after multiple efforts to close them.
  • High Data Usage: A smartphone that has been compromised by a malware uses a lot of data. Unusually high data usage may be due to the spy apps running in the background.
  • Unknown Calls Or Texts: Hackers may send links or strange codes to target your phone. Once you click on the link, the hacker will gain remote access to the information on your phone. Thus, it is important to check your phone bills regularly for calls or texts to unknown numbers as this can be a possible malware activity.
  • Unusual Pop-ups: If your phone is regularly disturbed by pop-ups, it’s likely that your phone has been hacked. These pop-ups may have phishing links designed to steal sensitive information or download more malware. Users should be careful when clicking the closing icon as these are designed in a way to trick users into clicking on the area that opens up another malicious site.
  • Unusual Account Activities: If your device has been compromised, hackers may have access to accounts linked to the device like social media apps, emails and other lifestyle apps. Thus, keep an eye on activities like password reset, unauthorized emails, etc.

For more information about safeguarding your computing devices and protecting your computer network, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Everything You Need To Know About Card Skimmers

Card skimmers are used to capture details stored in credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. They are generally attached to the card readers at sales terminals or ATM machines. When a customer slips his card into the compromised machine to make any financial transaction, these devices capture and store card’s information.

The threats of card skimming are evolving due to which banks and ATM manufacturers are devising ways to prevent this method of counterfeiting. Here are some points you should consider to secure yourself from card skimmers:

  • Check For Tampering: Before using an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the card reader spot, keyboard, near the speakers, at the side of the screen and other nearby spots. If anything looks different in terms of alignment or color, avoid using that ATM. Card skimmers may also be installed at ATMs or sales terminals of gas stations and shops. To detect a card skimming device, check if the credit card reader is protruding outside the rest of the machine.
  • Other Ways To Spot The Card Skimmers: If any part of a card reader is loose or moved, it can be a sign of card reader’s tampering. Also, scan the area for hidden cameras that may be recording you while you enter your PIN. So, it is always advised to cover your hand while you type the PIN. The keyboard and the card reader should always be in alignment to the color and style of rest of the machine. If the panels are broken or dented and if the security seal is broken, these are some obvious signs of tampering.
  • Use The Right Type Of Card: Banks are nowadays issuing credit/ debit cards with an indented chip. This is because the chip technology, in contrast to magnetic strip, makes it harder for thieves to skim your data. But the thieves can still steal your credit card information using shimmers. Shimmers are paper thin & undetectable models of card skimmers. These are more complex devices and have their own chips which can intercept card’s information.
  • Think Through Your Steps: The ATMs inside the bank are generally safer because of security cameras installed in the premises. Also, users should prefer alternative payment methods like transactions through Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc. These services tokenize your information and are much safer than using your actual credit card. In any case, if your card data does get stolen; report the theft to the bank as early as possible. Keeping an eye on your debit and credit card transactions is a great way of spotting unauthorized activity at the earliest.

For more information about IT security and methods to safeguard your financial information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

App Access: Threat To Privacy

PDF Version:  App-Access-Threat-To-Privacy

What Is An Evil Twin Attack

With the advancement of technology, there has been a rise in the use of wireless connectivity solutions. It has found applications in restaurants, coffee shops, offices and shopping malls. However, wireless connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi is inherently less secure. It is largely unprotected from threats that can result in theft of credentials and sensitive information. The unprotected access points expose your connection and personal data to cyber-attacks such as ‘Evil Twin Attack’.

Understanding An Evil Twin

An evil twin is a rogue wireless access point that appears as a genuine hotspot offered by a legitimate provider. It typically clones the MAC address, name and service set identifier (SSID) of the network. This makes it hard for the users to differentiate between original and fake access point.

An attacker can conveniently create an “evil twin” within the smart phone or other internet-capable device using some easily available software. He discovers the radio frequency of a legitimate access point and uses the same to send out his own radio signals with the same name as original access point. This enables the attacker to eavesdrop on the network traffic, capture traffic or plant malware on the system.

Implications To Cybersecurity

Once the fake access point is set up, it poses as a local hotspot. The attacker positions himself near the end-user so that his signal is strongest within the range. The strong signals tempt users to connect manually to the evil twin for internet access. Also, it can be a case where the end-user’s computer automatically chooses that connection. This allows the hacker to intercept user’s sensitive data that is being shared between user and the host. Thus, he can obtain sensitive information or login credentials resulting in identity theft or financial loss of the end-user. Attackers are also using social engineering to clone a login page through which credentials can be stolen.

Ways To Prevent Evil Twin Attack

To avoid evil twin network connections, following tips should be considered by end-users:

  • Refrain from using public hot spots for online shopping or banking.
  • Users should disable auto connect feature on all wireless devices.
  • Connect via a virtual private network (VPN) to compress all traffic while using a public access point.
  • Before connecting, ask the owner of the area for official name of the hotspot and security key, if any. Type the incorrect key intentionally; evil twin hotspots will grant access irrespective of the key.

Companies should also incorporate measures to protect corporate data from evil twin attack:

  • Instruct employees to use Wi-Fi Intrusion Prevention Systems (WIPS) to prevent their systems from connecting to unauthorized duplicate access points.
  • Protect company’s wireless connections with Personal Security Key (PSK) and provide its details to employees and customers.

For more information on IT security solutions for your business, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Safe Internet Access For Kids

Giving your child access to using internet may be required for educational purposes but it is equally important to ensure how safely the internet is being used by them. Children can often come across dangerous online content which gives rise to the need for equipping yourself with necessary knowledge about online threats for your kids. They can browse through a lot of stuff either accidently or on purpose.

Following internet safety tips can help your child to manage online risks and enjoy safe use of internet:

  1. Achieving Internet Safety For Kids: Children, these days, are spending longer hours using online media for entertainment and education. Kids are more curious to explore further and trust whatever they see. This makes them susceptible to a lot of sensitive content. These unique set of problems require careful monitoring to help your kids achieve internet safety.
  2. Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity: Mostly children are not able to spot various scams and fall for unnecessary schemes. They are at an age which makes them unable to understand the difference between an ad, a spam or any other malicious attack. It is important to be aware of the sites that your child is visiting and tracking their online behavior. Also, there are various parental control apps to help parents monitor their kid’s internet usage in a better way. The apps keep a track of the online sites visited by your child. They also keep a control on internet connection time, block malicious websites and report any unusual online activity.
  3. Communicate With Your Child: Talk to your kids about the scams that they might be facing on internet and help them to understand the basics of cyber security. Emerging online threats and safe browsing on internet are other important topics that you should discuss with your kids. It is important to help them know about the implications of a virus to assist them in developing a better understanding on safe online browsing. Also, spending time online with your child can teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
  4. Make Sure Your Child Is Anonymous Online: It is important for kids to understand that they should not reveal any personal information such as address, phone number, or school name or location on social platforms. Exercising restraint is beneficial for their internet safety. Strictly instruct them not to post or trade any personal pictures. Inform them to use a screen name instead of real name. Make sure to let your kids know that they should never share passwords with anyone. Children should not agree to meet in person with anyone they met online without parent’s supervision and they should never respond to any threatening email or message.

For more information on keeping your child internet safe, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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