Posts Tagged Cybersecurity

Different Areas Of Cyber Security

Cyber security strategies aim at protecting any user or organization’s inter-connected systems, hardware, software, and data from cyber attacks. Absence of stringent cyber security strategies can offer an opportunity for hackers to access the computer system and network and misuse organization’s data such as trade secrets, customer data, etc.

In order to formulate an efficient cyber security strategy, it is imperative to pay heed to all areas of cyber security.

Following are different areas of cyber security:

  • Critical Infrastructure Security: This area of critical infrastructure security consists of cyber-physical systems that modern societies rely on. Some examples of such systems include electricity grid, water purification, traffic lights, shopping centers, hospitals, etc. Hackers can attack the vulnerable infrastructure systems to gain access to connected devices. Organizations which are responsible for managing the infrastructure systems should perform due diligence to understand the vulnerabilities for society’s safety. Other organizations which are not responsible for the systems but rely on them for some part of their business operations should develop contingency plans to be prepared for any cyber attack or network breach that can be launched via an infrastructure system.
  • Application Security: It is one of the most important areas of cyber security strategies of an organization. The branch of application security uses both software and hardware methods to tackle external threats that can arise in development or implementation stage of an application. As applications are majorly accessible over network, they are highly vulnerable. Thus, it becomes highly important to include application security in cyber security strategy of an organization. Types of application security include antivirus programs, firewalls, and encryption programs. Application security techniques ensure that unauthorized access to applications is prevented. Also, these techniques can help organizations in detecting sensitive data sets and implementing relevant measures to protect these data sets.
  • Network Security: This area of cyber security guards an organization against unauthorized intrusion of internal networks due to malicious intent. Network security protocols inhibit access to internal networks by protecting the infrastructure. For better management of network security monitoring, network security teams use machine learning to flag abnormal traffic and issue threat alerts in real time. Common examples of network security protocols include multi-level logins, password security, etc.
  • Cloud Security: Cloud security is a software-based security tool that monitors and protects organizational or personal data stored in cloud resources. Increasing use of cloud services has made way for stringent cloud security strategies.
  • IoT Security: IoT devices can be highly vulnerable and open to cyber security attacks for numerous reasons including unawareness of users. Threat actors target IoT’s data centers, analytics, consumer devices, networks, legacy embedded systems and connectors. So, organizations have to implement stringent IoT security protocols.

For more information on different areas of cyber security, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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User & Entity Behavior Analytics: Definition & Benefits

User & entity behavior analytics (UEBA) is a type of cyber security process that understands how a user conducts normally. Further, it detects any anomalous behavior or instances, such as deviations from normal conduct. A simple example being, suppose a user downloads 10 MB of files everyday but suddenly downloads gigabytes of files on an instance, the system will detect this anomaly and update the user.

UEBA relies on machine learning, algorithms and statistical analyses to detect the deviations from established user behavior and determine the anomalies that can translate into potential cyber threats. UEBA also takes into consideration the data in system reports, logs, files, flow of data and packet information.

UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, instead it tracks all the users and entities in the system. The main focus of UEBA is insider threats.

Benefits Of User & Entity Behavior Analytics:

As the cyber threat landscape has become complex, hackers are now able to bypass peripheral security such as firewalls. Thus, it is important to detect the presence of hackers who have entered the system in a timely and efficient manner.

This makes user & entity behavior analytics an important component of IT security. Here are some benefits of user & entity behavior analytics system:

  • Detect Insider Threats: Insider threats such as an employee gone rogue, employees who have been compromised, people who already have access to organization’s systems, etc. can cause a serious threat to an organization’s security by stealing data and information. UEBA can help in detecting data breaches, sabotage, privilege abuse, and policy violations by analyzing a change in normal behavior of an employee.
  • Detect Compromised Accounts: There is a great probability that a user’s account may be compromised; the user may have unknowingly installed a malware on his system or a legitimate account may be spoofed. As soon as a compromised account performs an unusual action, it is detected by UEBA before it can cause major damage.
  • Detect Brute-Force Attacks: Scammers can target cloud-based entities as well as third-party authentication systems to launch an attack. UEBA helps in detecting brute-force attacks allowing the organization to block access to these entities.
  • Detect Changes In Permissions: Sometimes hackers create super user accounts to grant unauthorized permissions to some accounts. UEBA detects such changes in permissions to nip the attack before it is launched.

For more information on user & entity behavior analytics, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Types Of Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering is a broad term that is used to define a range of malicious activities that majorly rely on human interaction. These attacks often involve tricking people into breaking standard security protocols. The success of social engineering attacks is dependent on the attacker’s ability to manipulate the victim into performing certain actions or providing confidential information to the attacker. Social engineering attacks differ from traditional attacks as they can be non-technical and don’t necessarily require the attackers to exploit or compromise software or a network.

The best way to protect an organization from social engineering attacks is to educate the employees about different types of social engineering attacks. Here is a list of most common types of social engineering attacks –

  • Baiting: A baiting attack is conducted by the attackers by leaving a bait such as a flash drive, USB, or CD at a place, where it is likely to be found by an employee. The device is loaded with malicious software. The success of such attacks depends upon the notion that the person who finds the compromised device will plug it to a system. When the device is plugged to a system, the malware is installed. Once installed, the malware allows the attacker to gain access to the victim’s system.
  • Phishing: It is one of the most common social engineering attacks. The attack involves the exchange of fraudulent communication with the victim. The communication may be in form of emails, text messages, chats, or spoofed websites. The communications may be disguised as a letter from a financial institution, charity, employment website, etc. The communication contains a link and the victim is lured to click on the link to install a malware on his device. In other form of phishing attacks, the link may be used to collect victim’s personal, financial or business information.
  • Pretexting: This type of attack occurs when the attacker fabricates a situation that forces the victim to provide access to sensitive data or a protected system. Some common examples of pretexting attacks are the attacker pretending to require financial details of the victim to validate victim’s identity or the scammer posing as a trusted person such as IT employee to gain victim’s login details.
  • Quid Pro Quo: In such attacks, the scammer requests sensitive data from the victim in exchange for a desirable compensation. For example, the scammer may set up a form asking the users to fill in their information in exchange for a free gift.

For more information on types of social engineering attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Establishing Data Loss Prevention Policy

A data loss prevention policy defines how an organization can share data while ensuring the data being shared is protected. It also lays down the guidelines for using the data for decision-making without exposing it to anyone who should not have access to the data. In general terms ‘Data Loss Prevention Policy’ can be broadly defined as processes that identify confidential data, tracks data usage, and prevents unauthorized access to data.

Why Is It Important To Establish Data Loss Prevention Policy?

Before understanding ways to establish data loss prevention policy, it is important to understand the need for the policy. As the organizational setup has changed with an increase in number of remote employees and employees accessing the data on different devices, the risk of data loss has also increased.

Under these circumstances, there are three main reasons for setting up a Data Loss Prevention Policy:

  • Compliance
  • IP Protection
  • Data Visibility

Once the need for Data Loss Prevention is clear, it is time to understand the best practices to establish the policy.

Best Practices To Establish Data Loss Prevention Policy

  • Take time to understand and get an insight into the data. Classify the data according to its vulnerability and risk factors. Once classified, identify the data that needs to be protected and fabricate the data loss prevention policy around this data type.
  • Establish strict criteria for choosing data loss prevention vendors. Create an evaluation framework with right set of questions to choose effective data loss prevention solutions for the organization.
  • Identify the people who will be involved in the data loss prevention process and clearly define their rules. It is necessary to segregate the responsibilities of every individual and clearly convey the responsibilities to avoid data misuse.
  • Start by choosing the data set with highest level of priority and risk. Once an effective policy is set up to secure most critical data, build up on this policy to further secure other data sets as per their level of priority.
  • Educate all the employees on importance of data, sources of data loss, need for data loss prevention policy and steps to be taken in case of a data loss or breach.
  • Document the data loss prevention policy and make sure that every employee has a copy for reference.

For more information on establishing data loss prevention policy, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Simple Guide To Threat Detection & Response

What Is Threat Detection & Response (TDR)?

Threat detection & response is an application of big data analytics, where data analysis is conducted across large and disparate data sets to find anomalies, their threat level and response actions required to tackle these anomalies. TDR facilitates security professionals to detect and neutralize attacks before they can cause a breach.

What Is The Need For TDR?

Following are some reasons that emphasize on the requirement of TDR:

  • The large amount of data has made it difficult for cyber security teams to investigate and act on cyber attacks across widespread networks and operating environments in an effective and efficient manner.
  • The cyber threats have become more evolved and stealthier. They implement advanced evasion techniques such as making use of native OS tools. These techniques enable them to infect the systems without alerting the cyber security team.
  • Cyber attacks are directed by human operators, who are efficient in testing and adapting different pathways, if encountered by an obstacle. Thus, once inside the network, they are highly efficient in surpassing security systems.

In these circumstances, TDR helps in forming strong line of defense in layered next-generation security system.

  • The analysts and threat detectors uncover the attacks by looking for suspicious events, anomalies and patterns in regular activity. These anomalies are then tested to see if they involve malicious agents.
  • The human insight is coupled with AI technologies such as AI-guided detection. This makes it easier to analyze a large amount of data in a short period and efficient manner.
  • The TDR system does not only find the hidden threats, but also works towards finding a response to neutralize it.

What Is TDR Framework?

The TDR framework consists of four pillars:

  • Observe: What do you see in the raw data?
  • Orient: What is the context or how does it map against existing attack TTPs (tactics, techniques and protocols)?
  • Decide: Is it malicious, suspicious or benign?
  • Act: Mitigate, neutralize and re-enter the analysis loop

What Are The Components Of TDR?

TDR has five core components:

  • Prevention: Effective prevention requires the knowledge about the location of critical data and computational resources over the network. It involves effective and regular configuration of technology and access controls. Maintaining efficient prevention techniques reduces the number of security alerts generated on a daily basis.
  • Collecting Security Events, Alerts And Detections: Security data may be collected and reviewed by adopting any of these methods; Event-centric, Threat-centric, or Hybrid.
  • Prioritizing Signals That Matter: Once the events are detected, it is important to prioritize them to find actual threats. Apply well-managed security filters to separate security incidents from event logs.
  • Investigation: After isolating the key signals, measure them against industry frameworks and models for further investigation. The aim of the investigation is to check if the signal is indicative of an actual attack and where does it fall in the attack sequence.
  • Action: This involves identifying and implementing relevant response for containing the threats.

For more information on threat detection & response, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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