Posts Tagged Cybersecurity

The Risks Of Cloud-Hosted Data

With the increasing need of improving efficiency and reducing latency, most organizations are opting for cloud-based services. However, there are some risks associated with using third party cloud hosting services. These risks may have an impact on various aspects of business which could have financial, legal and technical implications.

Some of the common risks associated with cloud-hosted data are:

  • Consumer Visibility & Control: As the operations of an organization are transitioned to the cloud, it results in shifting of some responsibilities to CSP (Content Security Policy), which may lead to organization losing visibility or control over certain operations and assets. For example, network based monitoring and logging, limits an organization from accessing the details about its own application or data which should otherwise be easily accessible to the IT department. Thus, it is important to thoroughly ask the cloud service provider about various cloud hosting models and the level of control available before transitioning the operations.
  • Unauthorized Use: In order to inculcate user-friendly approach, some cloud hosting service providers may allow self-service to the users. This gives end users the authority to add more services without seeking necessary permission from the IT department of the organization. The lack of extra security increases the chances of addition of malicious links or code in the application and use of unsupported software, which can lead to enormous security breaches. This makes it important to understand access levels and service specifications provided by cloud hosting company.
  • Cloud Data May Be Compromised: Most of the business applications use APIs (Application Programming Interface) to manage and interact with the cloud services. If there are any vulnerabilities in API security, hackers may access and attack cloud resources and data of an organization. Compromised organization assets can be further used to perpetrate attack against other linked customers.
  • Exploitation Of Software Vulnerabilities: A shared cloud hosting service is simultaneously used by different organizations. Thus, it is important for the service provider to maintain clear separation between the resources of different cloud hosting users. If the infrastructure fails to maintain this separation, it leads to the risk of cloud data leakage. This loophole provides the hackers a chance to access the cloud resources and assets of an organization to launch a successful data breach.
  • Stolen Credentials: If organization’s credentials are compromised, hackers can easily take over the entire application which could result in Identity Theft attacks, deleted information, defamation of application interface, etc.

The risks associated with cloud-hosted data may lead to financial losses. Also, the cyber-attacks resulting from these risks mark a blow to the reputation of an organization. Thus, it is important to choose a cloud-hosting model and service provider after thorough diligence.

For more information on managing the risks of cloud-hosted data, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Understanding Eye Tracking Technology

Eye tracking defines the process of identifying where we look, in technical terms, it is referred as tracking the “point of gaze”. It also involves recording what do we ignore, when do we blink and how does our pupil react to different stimuli. The technology is being widely used in different sectors including healthcare, business marketing, website usability research, etc.

Concept Of Eye Tracking Technology

An “Eye Tracker” is used to collect the data related to movement of the eyes. It consists of two basic components; namely a light source and a camera. The light source is used to direct infrared light towards the eyes. This causes detectable reflections in the pupil and cornea of the eye. The reflection vector is tracked by the camera to record the eye movement.

Infrared light is used as it offers better accuracy as compared to visible light. Light falling in visible spectrum range tends to generate uncontrolled specular reflection. On the contrary, infrared light enters the pupil directly, while it bounces off the iris. This generates clear demarcation of the pupil adding to the accuracy of reflections. Also, the infrared light is not visible to the human eye and thus, it doesn’t generate any distraction to the user while his eye movement is being tracked.

Types Of Eye Trackers:

  • Screen-Based Eye Trackers: They are mounted either below or close to the screen. They allow the respondent to be seated comfortably in front of the monitor and record eye movement from a distance. Although the devices record eye movement within certain limits known as head box; they still allow freedom of movement to the respondent. The devices are used when observing results for a screen-based stimulus such as magazines, books, pictures, videos, websites, etc.
  • Head-Mounted Eye Trackers: These include mobile device trackers which are fitted near the eyes (commonly mounted in eyeglass frames). Thus, they allow greater degree of freedom of movement to the respondent. However, high degree of movement may result in shifting of the glasses while recording the eye movement. This type of eye tracker devices are used when observation has to be made for objects or tasks in real life or virtual environments such as usability studies, product testing, etc.

Business Applications Of Eye Tracking Technology:

  • Market Research: Eye tracking helps in measuring attention to brand or products. Thus, business owners use the technology to evaluate their products, designs or buying behavior to optimize overall customer experience.
  • Usability Research: The technology is being extensively used to measure user experience offered by a website. It helps the developers and business website owners in recognizing the areas that attract user attention or areas that need to be improved.
  • Packaging Research: Before a product is launched, thorough research is done to design a package that can get enough visual attention on store shelves. Eye tracking technology is usually used for designing the packages and understanding customers’ preferences.
  • Advertizing: Eye tracking is being used by business marketing professionals to measure the effectiveness of design concepts & placement of advertizement posts (print media and online).

For more information on latest trends in business technology, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

 

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What Is Cognitive Computing?

PDF Version: What-Is-Cognitive-Computing

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Tips For Business Owners: How To Know If Your Phone Is Hacked?

Smartphones are nowadays an integral part of business operations. They are used to receive & send business mails, messages and getting business updates. Also, mobile banking applications & business specific mobile apps are being extensively used to manage operations of a business. As smartphones may contain important business and financial information, any kind of breach can leave you at a serious risk.

Hackers use numerous ways to get into your phone e.g. using public internet to download a program. They may make use of the applications downloaded on your phone to access files, passwords and other sensitive information. So, it becomes imperative to keep your devices safe from hackers. However, it is equally important to be able to recognize if your smartphone is hacked.

  • Decreased Battery Life: Though mobile applications, software and programs need to use phone’s battery in order to perform to their full capacity; there are chances that a smartphone is compromised by a malware if the phone’s battery decreases at a fast rate. This may be a sign that the malware running in the background is zapping phone’s resources and transmitting important information.
  • Performance Differences: If your device is operating slower, constantly freezing and applications are frequently crashing; there is a possibility that a malware is secretly running in the background. Also, the phone may turn on and off randomly or your applications can keep on running even after multiple efforts to close them.
  • High Data Usage: A smartphone that has been compromised by a malware uses a lot of data. Unusually high data usage may be due to the spy apps running in the background.
  • Unknown Calls Or Texts: Hackers may send links or strange codes to target your phone. Once you click on the link, the hacker will gain remote access to the information on your phone. Thus, it is important to check your phone bills regularly for calls or texts to unknown numbers as this can be a possible malware activity.
  • Unusual Pop-ups: If your phone is regularly disturbed by pop-ups, it’s likely that your phone has been hacked. These pop-ups may have phishing links designed to steal sensitive information or download more malware. Users should be careful when clicking the closing icon as these are designed in a way to trick users into clicking on the area that opens up another malicious site.
  • Unusual Account Activities: If your device has been compromised, hackers may have access to accounts linked to the device like social media apps, emails and other lifestyle apps. Thus, keep an eye on activities like password reset, unauthorized emails, etc.

For more information about safeguarding your computing devices and protecting your computer network, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Everything You Need To Know About Card Skimmers

Card skimmers are used to capture details stored in credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. They are generally attached to the card readers at sales terminals or ATM machines. When a customer slips his card into the compromised machine to make any financial transaction, these devices capture and store card’s information.

The threats of card skimming are evolving due to which banks and ATM manufacturers are devising ways to prevent this method of counterfeiting. Here are some points you should consider to secure yourself from card skimmers:

  • Check For Tampering: Before using an ATM, check for some obvious signs of tampering at the card reader spot, keyboard, near the speakers, at the side of the screen and other nearby spots. If anything looks different in terms of alignment or color, avoid using that ATM. Card skimmers may also be installed at ATMs or sales terminals of gas stations and shops. To detect a card skimming device, check if the credit card reader is protruding outside the rest of the machine.
  • Other Ways To Spot The Card Skimmers: If any part of a card reader is loose or moved, it can be a sign of card reader’s tampering. Also, scan the area for hidden cameras that may be recording you while you enter your PIN. So, it is always advised to cover your hand while you type the PIN. The keyboard and the card reader should always be in alignment to the color and style of rest of the machine. If the panels are broken or dented and if the security seal is broken, these are some obvious signs of tampering.
  • Use The Right Type Of Card: Banks are nowadays issuing credit/ debit cards with an indented chip. This is because the chip technology, in contrast to magnetic strip, makes it harder for thieves to skim your data. But the thieves can still steal your credit card information using shimmers. Shimmers are paper thin & undetectable models of card skimmers. These are more complex devices and have their own chips which can intercept card’s information.
  • Think Through Your Steps: The ATMs inside the bank are generally safer because of security cameras installed in the premises. Also, users should prefer alternative payment methods like transactions through Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc. These services tokenize your information and are much safer than using your actual credit card. In any case, if your card data does get stolen; report the theft to the bank as early as possible. Keeping an eye on your debit and credit card transactions is a great way of spotting unauthorized activity at the earliest.

For more information about IT security and methods to safeguard your financial information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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