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Why Students Are Easy Targets For Cyberattacks

The Internet has given rise to diverse learning opportunities for students. It has taken down the location barriers and has made it easier for students to connect with their peers, consult subject experts, and use online study material on a global stage. While this has increased their exposure to a wide range of opportunities, it has also piqued the interest of cybercriminals.

Why Are Hackers Interested in Students?

A major misconception in reference to cyber security is that hackers are motivated by financial gains alone and thus target large organizations only. While direct financial gains are the major motivating force behind cyber-attacks, the attackers may target individuals for other motives, such as identity theft, personality maligning, stalking, etc. These motives may or may not end in financial gains.

These are some of the reasons why hackers target students are:

  1. Easy Target: Students pose as easy targets for hackers. They are not highly aware of the latest cyber threats, making them easy prey. Additionally, school networks are protected by IT professionals. However, it is not practically possible for school IT professionals to protect the student-owned device. With inadequate security measures, student devices are at a high risk of cyber-attacks.
  2. Multiple Devices: Students generally use multiple internet-accessing devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops, and smartwatches. As the number and types of devices increases, it enlarges the attack surface for hackers. This increases the probability of becoming a victim to a cyber-attack.
  3. Social Media: Students share pictures, routine activity, and life updates on social media. This offers hackers an opportunity to track their activity and steal personal information. This information can be used to build fake profiles and launch attacks such as identity theft, stalking, cyber-bullying, etc.
  4. Clean Credit History: Students have a clean credit history. Hackers target students’ credit history and use it to get credit approvals, take out loans, etc.

How Do Hackers Target Students?

Hackers use diverse types of cyber-attacks to target students. Common cyber-attacks targeting students are:

  1. Data Theft: Students enter their details when logging in to online learning portals, shopping sites, etc. Hackers target such portals to get information and further use for malicious activities.
  2. Phishing: Phishing attacks are launched by sending an authentic-looking email or message containing a malicious link. Once students click the link, they are directed to a malicious website where their information is collected or malware is downloaded on their system.
  3. Scholarship Scams: Hackers design fake websites or pages that promise students a scholarship in exchange for a fee. This type of attack is used to steal both financial and personal details entered by the students.
  4. Filesharing Risks: Hackers trick users into using free Peer-to-Peer filesharing services that expose the device to viruses or malware.
  5. Webcam Hacking: This is a spyware or stalking attack. Also known as Camfecting, hackers encourage students to download malicious links containing spyware. Once installed, hackers gain access to the webcam of the infected device.
  6. Social Engineering: Social engineering attacks are performed by monitoring social media activity or hacking social media accounts. This type of attack is aimed at tarnishing reputation or blackmailing.

Contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454 for information on how to safeguard personal devices and online accounts from cyberattacks.

What is Data Masking & How To Implement It?

A data breach is one of the most common cyber attacks experienced by organizations. A data breach costs the loss of finances, reputation, and credibility to the organization. As per a survey, in 2021 average data breach costs was $4.35 million, which was a 12.7% increase from 2020.

Such an increase in the number of data breaches has made it essential for organizations to implement data security strategies such as data masking.

What Is Data Masking?

Data masking can be defined as the process of masking the original data and creating its replica by using different characters and symbols. The replica of the data is similar in structure and format to the original data; however, the data values are different.

Types of data that can be protected using data masking include:

  • Personally Identifiable Information
  • Protected Health Information
  • Credit Card Information
  • Intellectual Property

Organizations can use different types of data masking techniques to secure data.

Types of Data Masking:

  • On-the-Fly Data Masking
  • Dynamic Data Masking
  • Static Data Masking
  • Deterministic Data Masking
  • Statical Data Obfuscation

Why Do Organizations Need To Implement Data Masking?

Data masking is an essential cyber security strategy that offers the following benefits to organizations:

  • It is essential to comply with regulations such as HIPAA.
  • Data masking minimizes exposure of sensitive data.
  • Allows organizations to decide how much data they want to reveal.
  • Ensures transparency of applications allowing data masking based on the user level.

While the benefits of data masking emphasize the importance of including it in the cyber security strategy of an organization, its efficiency depends upon the techniques used to implement data masking.

How Can Organizations Implement Data Masking?

There are multiple ways for organizations to implement data masking in their cyber security strategies. Some ways of data masking are:

  1. Data Pseudonymization: In this data masking technique, cyber security professionals identify the sensitive information in the dataset. The sensitive information might include details such as name, email, contact information, financial information, trade secrets, etc. After identification, the data is replaced by pseudo value while rest of the data remains same. This allows de-identification of data that can be reversed, if needed.
  2. Data Anonymization: This technique allows the cyber security teams to secure sensitive information by using data encryption methods. After encryption, the identifiers that connect data to any user are deleted to prevent hackers from gaining access to the masked data or user activity.
  3. Data Shuffling: Under this technique, the values of data entities in the columns of a data set are shuffled either vertically or across different columns. In simpler terms, no change is made to the data values, however the value of an element is assigned to another element and vice versa. The purpose of data shuffling is to ensure permutation of data elements in a way such that no correlation can be derived among the data elements.
  4. Tokenization: Tokenization is done by replacing actual value of data elements with values that look similar but do not have any actual meaning. For example, in a data set of employee salaries, the values of salaries may be replaced with tokens of numerical values that are not actual salary amounts.
  5. Averaging: This technique is used when it is required to maintain actual total value of a column in the data set. The values of individual elements are replaced with an average value such that the sum of all values in the column still remains same.

Centex Technologies assists businesses by providing different data security solutions. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Expert Tips for Safe Internet Banking

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What is RMM Software?

RMM refers to Remote Monitoring & Management, also known as Remote IT Management or Network Management. It is a software used by IT teams to access, manage, and monitor network and endpoint devices remotely. The endpoint devices include computers, laptops, mobile devices, etc. connected to the network.

The rapid change in the business workforce has enhanced the need for RMM software. Increased number of remote teams has resulted in a decline in compliance to cyber security protocols at endpoints, making the organizations more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

This alarming number makes it imperative for IT teams to gain thorough visibility across remote networks to monitor and manage the network channels and endpoints for reducing cyber security risks.

Components of RMM Software

The functioning of Remote Monitoring & Management Software is facilitated by two key components – Agents and Center.

Agents are the components installed on every device connected to the network, including desktops, mobile devices, routers, etc.

The Center is the centralized component of RMM software that is installed on the server.

The center issues monitoring & management functions to the agents, who follow the instructions to execute the functions.

Functions of RMM Software

The defined functions may vary as per the configurations & capabilities of individual RMM software, but let us talk about five core functions delivered by every Remote Monitoring & Management Software.

  1. Remote Access: Gaining remote access to the devices connected remotely to a network is requisite to manage and monitor these devices. RMM software does the needful by providing remote access to IT professionals enabling them to monitor and troubleshoot without being onsite.
  2. Monitoring: Regular network monitoring is essential to identify vulnerabilities that can expose the network to cyber-attacks or lower its efficiency. RMM software monitors the network and endpoints for vulnerabilities and unusual behavior, such as outdated software, high CPU usage, etc. It also generates alerts to notify the IT team of required actions.
  3. Management: Managing a network involves multiple tasks such as installing updates, configuring devices, managing user access, etc. Remote Monitoring & Management software provides a platform for remotely managing a network and its devices. It is capable of automating routine management tasks such as installing system updates, rebooting machines, etc., based on permissions granted to the software.
  4. Support: RMM software provides tools such as a share screen that allow the IT team to provide support or troubleshooting assistance when required. These tools allow the IT team to gain complete control of the systems making it easier to understand the technical issues and provide effective solutions.
  5. Reporting: RMM software generates network reports to help the IT team build trends and spot diversions from regular network activity to locate potential risks. The reports provide a deep insight into access requests, activity logs, network performance, etc.

Benefits of RMM Software

In addition to the basic functions, RMM software offers an array of benefits:

  1. Regular monitoring of the network and endpoints by RMM allows for the timely detection of vulnerabilities. This allows the IT team to manage the vulnerabilities before they act as backdoors for the cyber-attacks.
  2. RMM software allows the IT team to manage technical issues endpoint users face in real-time. This helps in lowering the downtime for users.
  3. Organizations can expand their teams globally as IT teams are capable of monitoring & managing clients and users irrespective of location.
  4. Regular monitoring & management of network and endpoint devices helps in increasing productivity by offering preventive maintenance.

To know more about RMM software, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

How Does SandStrike Spyware Attack Android Devices?

SandStrike is a type of spyware that attacks different kinds of data on an Android device, like call logs, contacts, etc., to spy on and track the activities of its victims. The spyware is sent out using a VPN app infected with malware.

Let us understand the stepwise process of SandStrike spyware infection:

  1. The spyware exploits people’s religious faith to target them.
  2. The threat actors build authentic-looking social media profiles on various platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.
  3. The pages share religion-oriented posts to grab the attention of firm believers of the religion.
  4. After gaining the victim’s attention, the threat actors share links for watching more videos around religion-focused topics.
  5. Generally, the links lead to apps such as Telegram channels or VPN apps owned by the cyber threat artists.
  6. The idea is to use VPN apps to bypass Government’s cyber security and watch religion or faith-oriented content that is otherwise banned by the Government.
  7. These links are injected with malicious code for SandStrike spyware.
  8. When victims click on the link to download the VPN app, the spyware is automatically downloaded and installed on the target device.

Users rely on VPN to seek privacy & security to hide their internet activity. However, the threat actors cunningly trick users and use the VPN to intercept the same. Once the SandStrike spyware is installed on the target device, it starts spying through the infected device.

What Type of Data Does SandStrike Target?

SandStrike spyware targets diverse types of data including, but not limited to:

  • Call logs
  • Contact list
  • Messages
  • Personal data
  • Search history
  • Saved financial details
  • Login credentials

In addition to scooping through the data on the device, the spyware also monitors the user’s activity to collect information that can be used for social engineering attacks.

The spyware collects all the data & sends it to remote servers owned by the threat actors. The cybercriminals use this data for financial gain by selling it on the dark web or using it to fabricate severe cyber-attacks such as identity theft, ransomware, etc.

How to Stay Protected Against SandStrike Spyware Attacks?

While antivirus and antimalware programs may not provide effective protection against spyware, a few best security practices can help protect your devices.

  1. Be cautious before clicking on social media and email links.
  2. Download VPN apps from the original developer’s link in the Google Play Store. Make sure to check the reviews, number of downloads, correct spelling of app name, and correct name of the developer before downloading the app.
  3. Refrain from saving your financial information on your browser or payment apps for easy payments.
  4. Download the latest updates for your operating system and apps on the device.

To know more about enterprise cybersecurity solutions for your business, 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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