Posts Tagged Cyber Attack

Understanding Graphical User Authentication

With continuous growth in the number of cyber-attacks, user authentication has become one of the most important aspects in information security. User authentication is accomplished through passwords that should be entered by a user in order to prove his identity and gain access to a computer or communication system. Traditionally, text based passwords are used for authentication. However, text passwords are highly vulnerable and pose as an easy target for hackers. Thus, modern authentication techniques based on graphical methods are now being used to combat hacking practices.

Graphical user authentication is an attractive alternative to alphanumeric passwords. To setup a password, the users have to select an image at a series of subsequent screens. The images are presented specifically in a graphical user interface. As a large number of pictures are presented at every screen; the number of possible combination of images is extensive. This offers better resistance to dictionary attacks as compared to text-based password approach. Also, the graphical password approach is considered to be more user friendly than a text based password.

Due to the advantages that graphical passwords offer, there is a growing usage of these in workstations and web log-in applications. Graphical passwords are also being applied to ATM machines and mobile devices.

Categories of graphical password techniques are:

  • Recognition Based System: In this technique, the user is presented with a set of images and is challenged to identify a single or more images that were selected during the registration stage. The user has to identify the pre-selected images in order to be authenticated. Such recognition systems are also called search metric systems. To use graphical recognition schemes, the system is required to retain some information from user specific profile data. This helps the system to know which images belong to a user’s portfolio and display them at the time of login authentication.
  • Recall Based System: In recall based techniques, the user is required to create a drawing to set up the password. The recall based passwords are typically drawn on a blank canvas or a grid. At the time of login, the user has to reproduce the drawing that he created during the registration process. These graphical based systems are referred to as draw metric systems because user authentication is based on using the drawn image as a reference.

Following are some points that should be considered before implementing a graphical password:

  • The password contains image as a reference and encryption algorithm.
  • The login contains username, images, graphical password and related methods.
  • SSR shield for shoulder surfing.
  • The grids contain unique grid values and grid clicking related methods.

For more information on graphical user authentication, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Features Of Data Protection Solution

Data is one of the most important business asset. During the course of business, there may be instances which can lead to data breach or complete data loss. Such occurrences can result in huge financial losses and litigation for an enterprise. This makes investing in state-of-the-art data recovery and protection solutions as one of the most important tasks for an enterprise.

Comprehensive data protection solutions enable enhanced data backup and data recovery. These solutions help in eliminating accidental data loss, recovering quickly from ransomware, virus or other malicious attacks and preventing data corruption.

Some of the main features that you should look for in a data protection solution for your organization are:

  • Incremental Forever Backup Solutions: This type of backup technology requires only one initial full backup. Once the full backup is completed, it is followed by an ongoing sequence of incremental backups. These solutions are useful in reducing the amount of data that goes around the network and the length of backup window. It is an optimized process of data restoration as only the latest version of backup blocks are restored.
  • Instant Recoveries: There are a variety of new technologies that allow data to be restored almost instantly from backups that are both local and in the cloud. It is a feature that allows a backup snapshot to run temporarily on secondary storage so as to reduce the downtime of an application.
  • Cloud Data Backup: Cloud backup solutions offer many advantages such as accessibility, file recovery and ability to tackle corrupted documents. It is commonly used in cases such as long-term retention, disaster recovery or even application testing. Cloud backup can replace on-site disk and tape libraries or they can also be used to store additional protected copies of data.
  • Orchestration: Today’s advanced orchestration tools have made it possible to automate the entire recovery process. Also, orchestration provides coordination across many automated activities. It mainly enforces a workflow order to automated tasks and enhances data security with identity & access management policies. Additionally, orchestration eliminates the potential for any errors in provisioning scaling and other cloud processes.
  • Deep Application Integration: It is important to ensure that the protected data can be accessed instantly without cumbersome consistency checks or other processes that may delay data access. Some of the basic requirements for a deep application integration are appropriate business rules and data transformational logic, adequate connectivity between platforms, longevity and flexibility of business processes, flexibility of software, hardware and other business goals.

For more information on Data Protection Solutions, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Ways To Spot Phishing Emails

PDF Version: Ways To Spot Phishing Emails

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More About Industrial Espionage

PDF Version:  More-About-Industrial-Espionage

 

 

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More About CryptoWall Ransomware

In the wake of rising cyber-attacks, it has become important to be constantly vigilant as well as make efforts to protect data from CryptoWall and its variants. Detected in early 2014; CryptoWall is a nasty ransomware and some reports suggest CryptoWall 3.0 has caused damage of over 325 million dollars since its appearance. It encrypts the files available on the system and the cyber-criminals demand ransom to decrypt these files. The ransomware has been updated time and again and the threat hovers around in 2018 as well.

How Does It Work?

CryptoWall 3.0 uses RSA-2048 encryption to lock away your files and forces you to pay the ransom in order to decrypt them. Some variants of the ransomware have add-on features such as CryptoWall v4 not only encrypts the files but also the filenames thus disabling you to look up the filename to check if you have a file backup available. Whereas CryptoWall v5.1 is based on the HiddenTear malware that uses an AES-256 encryption which is quite different from its previous versions.

The ransomware can be distributed through a variety of ways, some of which have been listed below –

  • Phishing Emails: Often the target victim is sent an email containing malicious files hidden in a zipped folder. As the victim opens the files, the malware is installed in the system. CryptoWall then scans the system for data files and encrypts them.
  • Exploit Kits: The exploit kit takes advantage of the vulnerabilities in the operating system, applications used or websites visited to install the malware and thereby launch a ransomware attack.
  • Advertizements: Malware can be installed into the system through malicious internet advertizements that are hacked by the cyber-criminals. These advertizements run JavaScript in the browser to download the malware. Most of the times the victim fails to notice that a malware has been injected into the system.

CryptoWall hides inside the OS and injects a new code to explorer.exe that installs the malware, deletes the volume shadow copies of your files as well as disables window services. It then runs throughout the system and communicates with Command and Control Server to receive an encryption key to encrypt the files. The encrypted files become inaccessible and can only be decrypted using the encryption key.

Post encryption, the victim gets a ransom note with instructions to pay certain amount of bitcoins as ransom to decrypt the files. However, most of the times it is a trap. A report by the CyberEdge Group reveals that only 19% of the ransomware victims actually got their files back.

How To Protect Against CryptoWall Ransomware?

  • Update your Operating System timely and keep the applications patched
  • Install an anti-virus scanner and update it regularly
  • Use a firewall as it may prevent the connection between CryptoWall and home base
  • Be wary of emails sent from unknown sources and never click on the links attached
  • Always keep a backup of your files at a source other than your system

For more information about IT Security, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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