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Category: Cybersecurity Page 1 of 3

How to Prevent A Botnet Attack?

The word ‘Botnet’ is derived from combination of two words – ‘Robot’ & ‘Network’. It can be defined as a number of computers that have been infected by malware such that they can be remotely controlled by the hackers to form a network which is then used to launch attacks on other users. The hackers exploit the resources of infected machines to launch different attacks such as DDoS, data breaches, etc.

How do Botnet Attacks Work?

A botnet attack is launched in three steps:

  1. Finding vulnerable devices
  2. Spreading malware in these devices
  3. Gaining control over devices

Cybercriminals or hackers use three different ways to infect and gain control of devices to form their Botnet or ‘Zombie Army’.

  • Installation of a malicious software
  • Launching a direct hacking attack
  • Using an automated program to monitor the internet & locate vulnerable devices

If an infected device is connected to a system, hackers can spread the malware laterally and gain control of other devices linked to the same network. Once the devices have been infected, they are either controlled using either remote software or Control-And-Command software. These controlled devices are then used to act according to the hacker. Some common actions performed using botnets include sending spam emails, launching multiple server requests, creating internet traffic towards a website, and increasing the number of downloads for a software or application.

In order to prevent a botnet attack, it is first important to understand different types of botnet attacks.

Types of Attacks Performed Using a Botnet:

As a large number of devices are a part of a botnet, the hackers have access to a large bank of resources such as computation capacity, storage, etc. It equips the hackers to launch different types of attacks such as:

  • Phishing Attack
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks
  • Bruce Force Attacks
  • Cryptocurrency Mining
  • Browser Add-on Installation
  • Personal Information Theft
  • Device Bricking

Tips to Prevent Botnet Attacks:

Before understanding ways to prevent a botnet attack, let us first look at why it is challenging to prevent or protect yourself against a botnet attack.

  • As a large number of devices are connected to a botnet, it makes it difficult for cyber security tools to screen out potentially lethal access requests sent to a website or API.
  • IoT devices with IP addresses are more vulnerable than computers and can be easily manipulated by hackers to become a part of botnet. These devices are used to launch slow attacks and are more difficult to detect.
  • Botnets are continuously modified to exploit new vulnerabilities making it difficult to understand the behavioral pattern.

Here are some tips to prevent botnet attacks:

  1. Up-To-Date Devices: Botnets are designed and modified to exploit existing vulnerabilities in software or app. So, make sure that every device connected to your network installs a software update or security patch. Software updates are launched to fix vulnerabilities in previous versions. This helps in preventing a botnet attack by closing the backdoor or software vulnerability.
  2. Network Monitoring: Use advanced analytics to regularly monitor incoming and outgoing traffic & compare it with normal network behavior. This helps in detecting unusual activity or anomalous behavior which can be a sign of a botnet attack. Early detection helps in implementing effective measures to combat the attack.
  3. Monitor Access or Login Attempts: Botnets are commonly used to launch ‘Bruce Force Attacks’ by testing multiple usernames and password combinations to gain unauthorized control of user accounts. Monitor the failed login attempts to detect & prevent a botnet attack at the nascent stage.
  4. Manage Admin Access: Exercise thorough consideration when granting admin access. Understand the role of an employee and analyze if he needs admin access to perform his duties. Limiting admin access helps in reducing the risk of both internal as well as external attacks.
  5. Cybersecurity Hygiene: Establish strong cybersecurity hygiene across your organization. This can be achieved by educating employees about cybersecurity best practices such as the use of strong password, multifactor authentication, avoiding link clicks or downloads from unknown sources, etc.
  6. Be Cautious: Look out for early signs of a botnet attack. Some of these signs include slow speed of device, change in homepage of browser, random pop-ups, etc. If any of these signs are spotted, run a thorough scan of the system and install a good antivirus software to remove any malicious software already installed or running on your device.

To know more about botnet attacks and ways to prevent a botnet attack, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

How To Stay Protected Against Clop Ransomware?

Clop ransomware is a member of the CryptoMix family known to infect Microsoft Windows operating systems. The Russian word ‘clop’ translates to “a bug” in English. The APT group known as TA505 uses ransomware widely as a final payload to target a system’s whole network, as opposed to a single machine. This virus functions by encrypting a file and appending the extension “.clop.” After successfully encrypting the file, the virus generates “ClopReadMe.txt” and places a copy in each folder. This file also includes the ransom note.

It was recently uncovered that the threat group had stolen 2 million credit card numbers via POS malware and threatened to demand a $20 million ransom from a German business as well.

How can individuals stay protected from Clop Ransomware?

  1. Be cautious when using computers. Lack of information and negligence are the fundamental reasons for computer virus infestations. So be careful when browsing the internet and downloading, installing, and upgrading software.
  2. Always open email attachments with caution. If the sender’s email address appears suspicious or unusual, do not open the attachment.
  3. Only use direct download links from authorized sources, as malicious programs are commonly distributed via third-party downloaders and installers. Updating software packages are required to keep installed software up to date and secure. The most secure method is to use tools or created features provided by the official developer.
  4. Using pirated software with software cracking tools is illegal and should never be done. You essentially steal intellectual property from software developers and do not pay them. Furthermore, because these tools are regularly used to transmit malware, the risk of malware infection is high.
  5. Blocking a C2 (Command and Control) connection in the middle of an infection chain can prevent malware from propagating. To accomplish such activities, use web filters. One of the most important tactics for preventing ransomware from infiltrating a machine or network is to deploy an effective endpoint security solution.
  6. If the machine has already been infected with the Clop ransomware, run a Windows antivirus tool to remove it. Install and run a reliable antivirus and antispyware software regularly; these capabilities can assist you in detecting and eliminating malware before it causes any harm. If Clop is already p in your system, we recommend running a scan with any NGAV (Next-Generation Antivirus) solution to eradicate the malware.

How can businesses stay protected from Clop Ransomware?

  1. Make a list of your resources and data, identify software/hardware that is legitimately necessary for business objectives, and audit incident and event logs.
  2. Manage software and hardware configurations. Allow admin rights and access only when necessary for an employee to accomplish his tasks. Keep a watch on the network’s services, protocols, and ports. Configure the security settings on routers and other network infrastructure devices. Make a software allow list that only allows legitimate and pre-approved programs to run.
  3. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments. Patch operating systems and software both physically and remotely. Install the most recent software and application versions to address zero-day vulnerabilities published by threat actors.
  4. Put measures in place for data recovery, backup, and asset protection. Set up MFA (Multifactor Authentication), ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), and PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege).
  5. Stop phishing emails through sandbox analysis. Install the most recent security updates on the system’s email, endpoint, web, and network layers. Also, implement sophisticated detection methods to identify early warning signals of an attack, such as the existence of suspicious tools on the system.
  6. Employees should be subjected to regular security training and review. Perform penetration testing and red-team drills.

Centex Technologies provides cyber security solutions for businesses. For more information about how to stay protected, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

How to Protect Your Business From APT Malware?

Businesses must protect themselves from the most advanced malware attacks by organized threat groups nicknamed by many cybersecurity vendors as APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats). Malicious programs and software propagated by APT groups are designed to break into computer systems and steal data. APT malware can be difficult to detect and often go undetected for long periods. Hackers often use it to gain access to confidential information.

How would security personnel know whether the organization has been attacked by an APT group? 

Multiple signatures and behavioral changes indicate that organizational network infrastructure has possibly become a victim of an APT malware attack. Some of the common indications are as follows: –

  1. Unexplained or sudden changes in the behavior of computer systems or networks.
  2. Unauthorized access to or use of computer systems or networks.
  3. Unexpected or unexplained emails, attachments, or websites.
  4. Use of malicious software, such as viruses, worms, or Trojan horses.
  5. Suspicious or unauthorized network traffic or communications.
  6. Unusual patterns in file downloads or access.
  7. Changes in system configurations or settings.
  8. Suspicious or unauthorized use of privileged accounts.
  9. Tampering with or destruction of computer systems or data.
  10. The appearance of phishing or other social engineering attacks.

Advice for Security personnel to mitigate APT malware attacks

The most important thing is to have a plan before the attack. Security professionals need to have a plan for responding to the attack, recovering business-critical data, and preventing future attacks. SOCs (Security Operations Centers) should also have a backup and disaster recovery plan. All mission-critical data must be backed up regularly. There must be a plan in place to recover the corporate data if the primary systems or servers are damaged or destroyed. Security personnel is advised to follow the below-mentioned mitigation steps if the APT malware has infected the network systems of an organization:

  1. Disconnect all the corporate devices from the internet.
  2. Reboot those devices in safe mode.
  3. Run an anti-virus scan.
  4. Remove any infected files detected.
  5. Restart corporate devices in normal operating mode.
  6. Connect the devices to the internet.
  7. Run an anti-virus scan again.
  8. Remove any infected files detected.
  9. Now, restart the devices in safe mode.
  10. Run an anti-virus scan again.
  11. Remove any infected files detected.

How to proactively protect businesses and prevent APT malware attacks? 

Businesses can follow several best practices to protect themselves from APT malware. One of the most important steps is to install up-to-date security software on all devices and to make sure that all software is regularly updated. Businesses should also create strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. It is also important to be aware of phishing attacks and to never open emails or attachments from unknown sources. Finally, businesses should regularly back up their data. Here are a few tips to help security professionals protect the business from APT malware:

  1. Keep the software solutions and applications up to date. The software upgrades must be regularly checked to ensure the software is patched to recently disclosed vulnerabilities. The operating systems and other security solutions must be upgraded to the officially supported maintenance version offered by the vendor.
  2. Deploying a network and a web application firewall can help protect your business from network-based malware attacks by blocking unwanted and malicious traffic.
  3. Using strong and unique passwords and credentials are of utmost importance and a basic security best practice. Employees are advised never to use the same credentials for multiple accounts.
  4. Ensuring employee and staff cyber security awareness and education programs help the employees become aware of the risks of APT malware. They must be trained to thwart such attacks.
  5. Back up data in DR (Disaster Recovery) servers that are off-site and located across different regions in the world. This can help protect corporate data in the event of data loss or a malware attack.

Cybersecurity strategies for business leaders

There are many ways in which businesses can protect themselves from APT malware. One of the best ways to prevent an APT attack is to have a comprehensive security plan in place. This security plan should include measures such as firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection systems, and email security. Businesses should also keep their software up to date. Out-of-date software is more vulnerable to attack. Employees should also be educated about APT attacks. They should be aware of the signs of an attack and know what to do if they think they are being targeted. Businesses should also have an incident response plan in place. If they are attacked, they will need to know how to respond. This plan should include steps to take to secure the network and how to investigate the attack. Following the Defense-in-Depth approach, the security leadership can also take steps to proactively protect the network infrastructure from future cyberattacks. Leaders are advised to stay calm if they are hit by an APT malware attack. Attackers or cyber criminals take the advantage of unnecessary panic. Stay calm and take the necessary steps to recover the system and protect the data.

Centex Technologies provide cybersecurity and computer networking solutions. You can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

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.

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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