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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

Tokenization and Encryption

PDF Version: Tokenization and Encryption

Ways To Keep Your Business & Home Networks Secure

The ongoing digital revolution across multiple sectors has been a lucrative target for hackers for the past few decades. Follow these simple yet profound tips to keep your work and home networks secure.

  1. Maintain a CMDB of your entire IT Infrastructure – Businesses are advised to create and maintain a list of their IT assets, hardware, and software in a CMDB (Configuration Management Database). Configuration Management Database helps IT teams to quickly manage and configure the hardware and software assets the business requires. Security frameworks such as ISO, NIST, and even CIS benchmarks are driven by IT Asset CMDBs. An automated system for scanning and finding IT assets, as well as in-depth information on those assets, is your best choice for ensuring your IT asset inventory is up-to-date, accurate, and thorough.
  2. Continuous surveillance and monitoring – IT department must keep track of all the assets as soon as they connect with the enterprise network, as vulnerabilities in them can allow a cyberattack to take place. Asset discovery solutions provide device detection features; allow IT teams to detect and identify rogue and unknown assets across the IT infrastructure. Hence, it also eliminates blind spots. This is especially essential as people connect work laptops to home networks, where a range of unprotected personal and IoT gadgets can act as entry points for malware and fraud.
  3. Update, upgrade and upscale your IT infrastructure – Security disclosures, vulnerability bulletins, and other technology vendor upgrades must all be kept up to date. Unpatched appliances are a typical attack vector for cybercriminals. Organizations have been frequently breached months or years after a patch is released because updates were not implemented as part of a managed program. Keep your software up to date and, if feasible, keep up with all the newest software patches.
  4. Implement access control and IAM (Identity Access Management) – IT Teams can reduce the risk potential as they adopt the principle of least privilege. Here, users are only assigned the permissions they need to do their work tasks. This should also apply to removing access to facilities such as Local Administrator access. Review and restrict the use of highly privileged accounts such as Domain Administrator and Global Administrator.
  5. Securing data from malicious entities as well as disasters – A security compromise can result in data loss and damage; thus regular backups are essential. Backups provide infinite scalability and remove additional infrastructure expenditures. Cloud is an excellent choice for data backup. Predictable storage costs and negligible downtime allow data to be accessed and restored immediately, ensuring business continuity.
  6. Educate and train the people – Let it be your family members at home or your employees, colleagues in the business; educate them all about end-user security awareness. However, the majority of people are unaware of how to see a threat and fail to notice a fraud attempt when they encounter one. You can limit risk and reduce occurrences by educating people about the hazards of cyber-attacks, what to look for, and how to report a probable attack.
  7. Strengthen your Incident response strategies – The best strategy to ensure timely corrective action after facing a cybersecurity incident is to have an IR (Incident Response) plan. Following a breach, a good IR identifies the procedures and actions that the staff should take. The Incident responder also assists in the coordination of resources to quickly restore operations. The incident response plan should specify responsibilities and provide step-by-step technical instructions for repairing the vulnerability. It must also include assessing the damage, recovering any lost or damaged data, and documenting the occurrence. The impact of an event will be minimized and the business will be protected from unnecessary harm and costs if everyone is on the same page with a plan of action and access to a central data repository.

Seek a consult with Centex Technologies for complete IT security audit of your business. Contact at (254) 213 – 4740.

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