Posts Tagged VPN

Public WiFi Security

PDF Version: Public-WiFi-Security

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Enterprise Network Security: Zero Trust Security Or VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Networking. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic in real time and disguise your online identity. This makes it difficult for third parties to track your online activities and steal data.

How Does VPN Work?

A VPN hides an IP address by letting the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. This states that when surfing online with VPN, the VPN server acts as the source of your data. Due to this, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties cannot see the websites you visit or data you send or receive.

Benefits Of VPN:

  • Secure Encryption: VPN ensures secure encryption of data transmitted and received. User requires an encryption key to read the data. This makes it difficult for the hackers or third parties to decipher the data, even if they corrupt the network.
  • Disguise The Location: VPN servers act as a proxy for you on the internet. This ensures that the actual location of the user is not determined. Additionally, most VPN services do not store activity log which further ensures that no information about user behavior is passed on to hackers or third parties.
  • Secure Data Transfer: As the trend of working remotely is gaining popularity, secure data transfer has become immensely important. Organizations can make use of VPN servers to ensure the security of data being transmitted and reduce the risks of data leakage.

Zero Trust Security

Main tenet of “zero trust security” is that vulnerabilities can appear if businesses are too trusting of individuals. This model maintains that no user, even if allowed on the network, should be trusted by default because it may lead to end point being compromised.

How Does Zero Trust Security Work?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an important aspect of Zero Trust Security model. ZTNA uses identity based authentication to establish trust before providing access while keeping the network location (IP address) hidden. ZTNA secures the environment by identifying anomalous behavior such as attempted access to restricted data or downloads of unusual amounts of data at unusual time or from unusual location.

Benefits OF Zero Trust Security:

  • Increased Resource Access Visibility: Zero Trust Security model provides organizations better visibility into who accesses what resources for what reasons and understand the measures that should be applied to secure resources.
  • Decreased Attack Surface: As Zero Trust Security model shifts the focus to securing individual resources, it reduces the risk of cyber-attacks that target network perimeter.
  • Improved Monitoring: Zero Trust Security model includes the deployment of a solution for continuous monitoring and logging of asset states and user activity. This helps in detection of potential threats in a timely manner.

Zero Trust and VPN are both types of network security and although they seem to have different approaches, these can be used in conjunction for a comprehensive security strategy. Organizations can use Zero Trust concepts and VPNs to delineate clear network perimeter and then create secure zones within the network.

At Centex Technologies, we recommend network security protocols and solutions to formulate an effective network security strategy. For more information, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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What Is An Evil Twin Attack

With the advancement of technology, there has been a rise in the use of wireless connectivity solutions. It has found applications in restaurants, coffee shops, offices and shopping malls. However, wireless connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi is inherently less secure. It is largely unprotected from threats that can result in theft of credentials and sensitive information. The unprotected access points expose your connection and personal data to cyber-attacks such as ‘Evil Twin Attack’.

Understanding An Evil Twin

An evil twin is a rogue wireless access point that appears as a genuine hotspot offered by a legitimate provider. It typically clones the MAC address, name and service set identifier (SSID) of the network. This makes it hard for the users to differentiate between original and fake access point.

An attacker can conveniently create an “evil twin” within the smart phone or other internet-capable device using some easily available software. He discovers the radio frequency of a legitimate access point and uses the same to send out his own radio signals with the same name as original access point. This enables the attacker to eavesdrop on the network traffic, capture traffic or plant malware on the system.

Implications To Cybersecurity

Once the fake access point is set up, it poses as a local hotspot. The attacker positions himself near the end-user so that his signal is strongest within the range. The strong signals tempt users to connect manually to the evil twin for internet access. Also, it can be a case where the end-user’s computer automatically chooses that connection. This allows the hacker to intercept user’s sensitive data that is being shared between user and the host. Thus, he can obtain sensitive information or login credentials resulting in identity theft or financial loss of the end-user. Attackers are also using social engineering to clone a login page through which credentials can be stolen.

Ways To Prevent Evil Twin Attack

To avoid evil twin network connections, following tips should be considered by end-users:

  • Refrain from using public hot spots for online shopping or banking.
  • Users should disable auto connect feature on all wireless devices.
  • Connect via a virtual private network (VPN) to compress all traffic while using a public access point.
  • Before connecting, ask the owner of the area for official name of the hotspot and security key, if any. Type the incorrect key intentionally; evil twin hotspots will grant access irrespective of the key.

Companies should also incorporate measures to protect corporate data from evil twin attack:

  • Instruct employees to use Wi-Fi Intrusion Prevention Systems (WIPS) to prevent their systems from connecting to unauthorized duplicate access points.
  • Protect company’s wireless connections with Personal Security Key (PSK) and provide its details to employees and customers.

For more information on IT security solutions for your business, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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Reasons To Use VPN

PDF Version: Reasons-To-Use-VPN

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Security Risks Concerning Virtual Personal Assistants

VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) software application follow commands of a user intelligently and performs a variety of tasks such as searching information on the web, scheduling an appointment, monitoring health data, initiating online shopping, searching for addresses & location, etc. Also known as Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPAs); Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, etc. are the most commonly used ones.

Although Virtual Personal Assistants are of great use, there are certain security risks concerning them. Here we have discussed the most prominent security threats associated with VPAs

  • Eavesdropping: A VPA is programmed to follow voice commands. So, it passively listens to everything being said, if the user forgets to turn it off when not in use. Thus, it ends up collecting user’s voice data without his knowledge. This recorded data always poses a risk of hijacking because cybercriminals might collect & use it unlawfully.
  • Vast Exposure Of Personal Information: VPAs resort to different databases on the web in order to respond to user’s query. Although it is highly convenient, it can pose a serious security threat.
  • Data Theft: VPA keeps a track of the user’s activity and stores that information on the device as well as a remote database. When an VPA hijacker gets hold of this information, he can extract the data and exploit it to offend the user.
  • Voice/Audio Hijacking: This technology recognizes voice to take commands. Even though it understands different words & their pronunciations, it does not distinguish the voices of different users. This can be used against the user, as an impersonator might command the VPA to perform tasks that may harm the user. Even if it recognizes the user’s voice, there is a possibility that a cybercriminal might use the actual user’s voice recording and issue commands to the VPA.
  • Remote Malware Downloading: A compromised VPA might be instructed to visit certain sites containing a malicious link. Once clicked, this link installs a malware in the device which continues to operate & damage the device remotely without the user’s knowledge.
  • Undertake Tasks Autonomously: Users might register automated commands with a VPA. This can be exploited by the hijacker to victimize the user.  For example, the user may direct his VPA to pay his phone bill every month. The VPA further takes the command and connects it to an authorized payment gateway. If the VPA is compromised, the hacker might dismiss the bill payment and transfer funds to his remote account.

There is no denying the fact that virtual personal assistants provide numerous benefits. However, it is important to stay cautious in order to avoid security risks.

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

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