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Public WiFi Security Challenges And How To Prevent The Damage Arising From It

Free Wi-Fi access sites found at restaurants, airports, cafes, hotels, bookstores, and even odd retail outlets are usually frequented by people to use their devices or to connect with internet. However, this liberty comes with a cost, and few people are aware of the dangers of using public WiFi. Learning how to defend against the risks that come with utilizing such sites can go a long way toward keeping data on devices safe and secure.

Security Challenges of using a Public WiFi

The lack of authentication required to establish a network connection makes free WiFi hotspots desirable to users and particularly enticing to hackers. This gives the hackers a fantastic opportunity to acquire full access to unsecured devices on the same network. Instead of communicating directly with the hotspot, you may end up providing your information to the hacker, who may then pass it on.

While working in a free Wi-Fi arrangement, the hacker may have access to every piece of information you send out on the Internet. While using free Wi-Fi, sensitive information such as emails, credit cards, and even security passwords might be exposed. An unencrypted WiFi connection can also be used by hackers to propagate malware. A hacker can swiftly infect a machine with contaminated software if users share data across a network.

Some of the infamous security challenges users face using a Public WiFi: –

  • Compromised Personal Information such as Login credentials, Financial information, Personal data, Pictures, etc.
  • Advanced cyber-attacks on individuals’ devices, businesses, automobiles, smart gadgets, etc.
  • MitM (Man-In-The-Middle) attacks to breach the privacy of communication.
  • Network connections using weak or no secure encryption mechanisms.
  • Sniffing and intercepting the network packets i.e. the communication channels breaching confidentiality.
  • Distributing and injecting malware into devices and network systems.
  • Hijacking the devices and networks using Public WiFi to connect to the internet.

How to prevent or reduce the damage arising from using Public WiFi

A. Transport-level SSL Security

Even if users do not have access to a VPN application for daily Internet browsing, they can still secure their communications. For those websites, being visited regularly or that need one to input credentials, “Always Use HTTPS” option should be selected. Hackers are aware of how people reuse passwords and thus a user’s login and password for some random forum might be the same as the bank or workplace network, which they may exploit.

B. Keep the Public Sharing option Off

Users are advised not to disclose anything when using the Internet in a public area. They can deactivate sharing on WiFi using the system settings the first time they join an unprotected network.

C. Connecting to the Internet using VPNs

When connecting to a business network through an insecure network, such as a WiFi hotspot, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection is essential. Even if a hacker manages to get in the middle of the encrypted connection, the data is heavily secured. Because most hackers are looking for a quick buck, they are more likely to throw away encrypted stolen data rather than decode it.

D. Turn Off the WiFi when not in need

Even if users are not connected to a network, WiFi technology still communicates between any networks within their range. There are security mechanisms in place to keep this tiny communication from compromising the users’ devices. It is strongly advised to keep the WiFi turned off if users are only working on a Word or Excel document or any offline application on their devices.

E. Follow the security guidelines provided by the Security Vendors

Even those who take all feasible measures when using public WiFi can occasionally encounter problems. Hence, it is critical to have a good Internet security program installed on the devices. These programs can scan files for malware regularly. They can also scan new files as and when they are downloaded. The best consumer security software often includes business protection features, allowing users to safeguard themselves while simultaneously protecting their servers at work.

There will come a point in every business traveler’s life when the only connection available is an insecure, free public WiFi hotspot. Being equipped with the right security solutions will help the user avoid being a victim of a cybercrime.

Centex Technologies provide state-of-the-art cybersecurity and internet security solutions to businesses. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454.

Data Backup Tips For Businesses

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Top 5 Infamous Social Engineering Attack Techniques A Business Should Be Aware Of

What is it that makes Social Engineering harmful to your organization?

Social engineering can be defined as any activity persuading a person or a group of people to do or act on something that isn’t always in their best interests. Criminals using social engineering attacks always attempt to exploit human nature for their vested interests. Unlike the usual black hat hackers who breach systems using technology, these attackers strive to affect victim’s judgement through their verbal and written communication skills.

Social engineering attack techniques that are detrimental to businesses

Cybercriminals utilizing social engineering have a range of approaches, just as they do with other types of cyber assaults. The most infamous and most harmful social engineering attacks having the potential to cripple your businesses are listed here: –

Emails with ransomware or scareware embedded in it – Many top executives and leaders of businesses receive emails containing 3rd-party vendor compliance documents with urgency to download the files. As soon as the files get downloaded, certain malicious scripts get executed in the background without your notice. Now, it doesn’t matter whether you fill and upload the document and send it across to the attacker’s duped email. The attacker has already gained access to your computer by the malicious document sent in your email. Scareware social engineering attacks are aimed to terrify you into complying by bombarding you with false alarms, made-up threats, and “urgent” cautions. Typically, these bogus warnings instruct the victim to download and install specific software in order to eliminate the threat.

Pretexting to gather more information – Attackers impersonate law enforcement agencies, government officials, and likewise, which are otherwise trustworthy entities. They do this to deceive their potential victims into providing their personal information like unique identification numbers, user credentials, bank account details, and likewise. Pretexting can also be used to collect non-harmful information yet PII data, such as your mobile phone number or postal address.

Phishing and its various types – Phishing attacks via emails persuade consumers to click on a malicious link or file in an email. Even the most unskilled cybercriminals can easily locate and acquire phishing kits. These are collections of harmful software used to carry out these sorts of assaults attacks. The attacker intends to send emails to a large number of people in the hopes that some of them will get through spam filters and technological safeguards. A tiny fraction of recipients may fall for the trap if the emails are delivered.

In one example, attackers posing as Microsoft employees sent out emails requesting personal information to “re-authorize” some old Office software. Even down to the business insignia, the request appeared quite plausible.

Attackers can pose as IT department officials and request that you confirm your login by clicking on a link that takes you to a fake “official” page. The website, however, takes your credentials as you arrive. Phishing using phone calls is known as ‘Vishing’, while text message scams are known as ‘Smishing’.

Physical social engineering or Tailgating – The fraudster in this case follows authorized people directly into a protected location, avoiding security precautions like swiping an identity card. This is particularly frequent in organizations that need keycard permission.

Watering hole – The cybercriminal conducts research about the firm or industry they are targeting and uses this knowledge to locate websites they visit, such as discussion boards or forums. This is where the name originates from, attackers locate and prey on the target’s “watering hole.” The attacker then identifies and exploits vulnerabilities in the website in order to inject malware. After then, merely visiting the compromised website would infect visitors with malicious code, potentially granting the attacker access to the victim’s account. Users may not be aware they have been hacked.

Centex Technologies provide state-of-the-art cyber-security solutions for businesses. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454

What Is Security Service Edge And What Are Its Advantages?

SSE (Security Service Edge) improves the security strategy posture of any organization leveraging cloud services. It secures access to the enterprise internet and various cloud services that employees use in their daily operations. It is a crucial tool in strengthening cloud and networking security capabilities. SSE is often offered in a cloud-based service model. However, nowadays it is also available on a hybrid on-premises or agent-based solution model. A few cloud-based components of SSE include access control and threat prevention solutions. These tools ensure data and application security.

How does SSE differentiate from SASE?

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) combines the networking and security technologies that enable secure and quick enterprise operations on the cloud. SSE is a very important SASE component that combines all security essential services. These may include ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access) and CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) to ensure providing SWG (Secure Online Gateway) for enterprise networking assets. The networking component of the SASE framework is the WAN Edge Infrastructure. This focuses on establishing network connections through modifying network infrastructures in real-time. A few of the SSE security services are: –

  • CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) – CASB helps businesses connect over to their sensitive assets on the cloud in a secure manner. It addresses the loopholes in data visibility, securing the data, and complying with the regulatory standards. CASB uses the UEBA (User and Entity Behavior and Analytics) to discover the risks and threats affecting the enterprise cloud instances.
  • SWG (Secure Online Gateway) – It is a checkpoint that prevents illegal traffic from intruding on an organization’s network. It links the user and the website to provide end-to-end security. URL filtering and harmful content inspection are just a few of its benefits. An SWG enables users to visit safe and pre-approved websites that protect them from online-based cyber risks.
  • ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access) – Zero Trust is applied in a granular, adaptive, as well as context-aware manner. It secures the private applications installed across multiple clouds and corporate data centers. It strengthens the security perimeter by providing dynamic and policy-based digital transformation.
  • DLP – Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools implement data protection and inadvertent leakage rules in real-time. This limits the inadvertent access flow of sensitive information outside the organization.
  • RBI – Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) is a robust web threat prevention system that isolates web browsing activities. It defends users from all kinds of malicious code that might be buried in a website. This prevents any malicious code from ever touching the end user’s devices.
  • FWaaS – Firewall-as-a-Service is available on a cloud platform that protects data and applications via the internet. SSE uses it to collate, inspect and analyze traffic from on-prem and off-prem data centers. This provides an entire network of visibility and management. It also ensures uniform policy enforcement across the entire cloud infra.

SSE resolves the security problems posed by remote work, digitization, and cloud transition. SSE assists enterprises in the following ways:

  1. Security control management & administration simplification – Cloud and on-premises infrastructure must be managed using a patchwork of varied and separate security policies. These policies might be different across the various cloud service providers and on- premises tech stacks. SSE reduces the cost and complexity by facilitating the implementation of policies across on- premises, on-cloud, as well as remote work environments.
  2. VPNs to facilitate remote work – Remote employees have to use business-sensitive apps in extremely sensitive circumstances. The ZTNA feature from SSE allows for granular resource access. This allows an additional configuration that ensures specific degrees of access for each user.
  3. Malware threat prevention, detection, and mitigation – Many contemporary attacks utilize social engineering tactics to target a cloud provider’s capabilities. This involves imitating user behavior with authentic credentials. SSE’s SWG acts as a cyber-barrier that monitors traffic on the web as well as blocks any illegal access.
  4. SaaS apps access control – Security teams require entire visibility as well as control over the sensitive data stored on the cloud platforms. This includes preventing emerging threats on cloud-native attack surfaces. SSE’s CASB enables multi-mode support. This can be ensured by implementing granular regulations to monitor and limit access to authorized and unauthorized cloud services.

Organizations require secure usage, sharing, and access to data that sits outside of the perimeter security. SSE is here to provide functionalities to offer a consolidated and unified approach to data security, endpoint security, cloud security, web and application security, and likewise.

Centex Technologies provide cyber-security and IT security solutions for enterprises. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454

What Is A SIM Swap Scam And How Would You Protect Yourself?

The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is a tiny integrated circuit card that goes into your phone. It contains multiple identifying numbers and keys that the phone uses to communicate with the mobile phone network. Some mobile handsets have an eSIM, which is a built-in SIM card.

How does an attacker swap the SIM cards?

Many businesses have used 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) to improve the security while allowing system access. The use of an SMS as the second component is by far the most prevalent. After giving their login and password, the user will be required to input an OTP provided through SMS. The SMS code is the second element. In a SIM-swap attack, the threat actor’s goal is to get possession of a SIM to receive the SMS codes delivered to the victim. This is done with an aim to be successful in bypassing the 2FA system’s protection.

Swapping any Subscriber Identity Module card is a legitimate customer service operation. Hackers take malicious advantage of this. Threat actors using social engineering techniques impersonate the victim to the mobile phone company’s customer service staff. A SIM-swap attack begins with victim research and phishing attempts to obtain the personal information that may be used to effectively impersonate the victim. Hackers often impersonate genuine customers and supply the necessary information by self-help applications or portals to request the SIM swap.

What all can an attacker do after swapping the SIM cards?

Threat actors may be able to acquire access to the targeted users’ email, bank accounts, and social media accounts. This allows them to commit additional fraud as well. Taking control of the SIM may also make it easier to change passwords. They could possibly use the ‘Forgot Password’ function of online accounts that rely exclusively on the supply of a 2FA code through SMS.

How would you ascertain whether a SIM-swap attack is happening with you?

Keep an eye out for the following signs that you are being personally targeted for a SIM-swap attack:

  • Prior to the SIM-swap attack – The threat actor must mimic you, so they may contact you and ask you to exchange codes or SMS messages from your cell phone carrier. They will relay these codes to your telecom service provider to impersonate you to their customer support representatives.
  • During the attack is occurring – Your mobile phone’s network data connection is lost, and you neither receive any phone calls nor any messages via SMS. This is because your mobile phone number has now been transferred to the attacker’s swapped SIM card.
  • After the attacker successfully swapped the SIM(s) – If the attacker modifies sensitive credentials, you lose the account access of your email, bank, and social media accounts. As the thieves continue to mimic you, you notice unexpected transactions on your bank records or unusual behavior on social media.

If you see any of these signs, call your mobile phone provider right away to see if a SIM swap has occurred and to get it reversed. Also, contact your bank to have your online account password changed.

How to prevent SIM-swap attacks from happening?

When selecting a 2FA solution to protect their businesses, Security Managers may avoid SMS-based solutions and instead use a smartphone app. Google or Microsoft Authenticator generates OTP codes on the smartphone and is thus not vulnerable to SMS redirection.

Individuals may defend themselves from SIM-swap attacks by declining to provide any PII data to anyone who calls you claiming to belong to a mobile phone operator. If in doubt, hang up the phone first. Search out your mobile phone company’s contact information, then call back to ask them to confirm why they were calling. Never give out one-time passwords over the phone; they are meant to be typed into web pages or applications. It is advisable to choose an app-based authenticator rather than SMS. Also do not click on links received in SMS messages since it is easy to impersonate the sender of an SMS.

Centex Technologies provide complete IT infrastructure and Cybersecurity solutions for businesses. For more information on how you can protect your systems, 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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