Could You Identify a Social Engineering Attack?

Social engineering can allow a cybercriminal to access networks without being hampered by the security solutions that a business has in place. Through the manipulation of the human element of a company, its critical resources are exposed. In order to protect your business against the threat of a social engineer, there has to be an overall awareness in your company culture.

Why Social Engineering Works

One of the main reasons that social engineering can be such an effective tactic for cybercriminals is because, rather than telling the target what they want to hear, the target is told what they expect to hear. By coming forward under the guise of someone who should be coming forward, the cybercriminal is able to extract information from unwitting staff members, adding to their intel through intensive online research.

These are the key factors that allow these kinds of attacks to be as successful as they are. The methods used by social engineers aren’t the kind that immediately come to mind when one thinks about cyberattacks. Since the attack doesn’t typically resemble more well-known threats like ransomware, these attacks are often able to infiltrate their target without any suspicion. Additionally, there is an excess of information available online, known as open-source intelligence, that provides the social engineer with the knowledge they need to craft their approach.

This open-source intelligence can come from a variety of places, making the social engineer’s job that much easier. There is plenty of information readily available on the Internet, all it takes is looking in the right place.

Sample Information

While it’s no secret that there is a ton of information online, the true scope of what is available can be alarming when all laid out. The following information can all be found if one knows where to look, and is by no means a comprehensive list of what is there:

Technological Details

Considering how valuable a cybercriminal would find the details of what technology is used in a business, these details are remarkably easy for cybercriminals to find. Companies will often show their hand in online job postings, identifying the hardware and software that they use in order to find someone with the experience. This not only ensures that qualified applicants send in their resumes, it also allows cybercriminals to send in the exploits needed to take the company down. Social media posts can also share this information–the wrong picture could give access to networking hardware and other critical and sensitive data.

Employee Data

On the topic of social media, sensitive company information can easily leak through oversharing. Employee activities that are shared or tweeted can provide a cybercriminal with crucial insights. Images can create an even bigger problem. If not scrutinized before posting, you can inadvertently display key details, from the data on the screens to the model of the computer that holds the data.

Furthermore, employees using social media carelessly can deliver more invaluable data for a cybercriminal to leverage. Discussing work schedules or even sharing specifics of work experience can potentially put your business at risk.

External Companies

Unfortunately, social engineering attacks can leverage data that you have minimal control over against your business as well, as other companies and vendors you do business with may share their experience with you as evidence of their value. Furthermore, if your janitorial services and trash pickup providers aren’t secure, your data could be stolen after it has left your property.

So while it is absolutely critical to leverage cyber protections for your data’s security, including solutions like firewalls and authentication measures, your employees also need to have their eyes peeled for the threat of social engineering. Every business needs to have a plan to avoid and mitigate the threat of social engineering. Kite Technology can help. For more information, call 855-290-KITE.

 

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A Crash Course in How Web Servers Work

While many, many people use the Internet daily, for work, leisure, and communication, very few of them actually know how their devices are able to access the Internet in the first place. How does information from miles away make its way to your device? The answer is something called a web server. Let’s take a moment and examine how they do it.

Using the Internet seems simple enough: after typing in the URL (or uniform resource locator), your web browser displays the associated page–but how does this really work?
Well, let’s examine how you got to this article. Let’s assume, for a moment, that you are doing so on a workstation. When you saw the link to this blog and clicked it, your browser took the associated URL and analyzed its three parts.

The HyperText Transfer Protocol, or the part of the URL that says “http,” is how your machine reaches out to the web server that holds this website’s data. The middle part of the address, starting with “www” and ending with “.com,” is the server name that represents that particular IP (Internet Protocol) address. The rest of the URL is made up of a particular page’s filename, to inform the website what content needs to be viewed specifically.

Once this website’s host server received the request from the HTTP, it returned the HTML text for this requested page. Your browser then took that HTML text and converted it back into a viewable webpage, allowing you to read and understand these words.

Web servers are also responsible for managing the stored credentials that are allowed to access password-protected pages. Any time you’ve had to log into a website, you’ve essentially had to prove yourself to the web server before you were allowed access.

Of course, this is all assuming that the website is static, which is a technical way of saying that the site is only changed if the creator goes in and manually changes it. Dynamic pages, or ones that change based on input (for an example, think about Google’s results pages) operate on a different level, usually using things like CGI scripts… but that’s for another time.

If you have any other questions about the technology behind your business, or perhaps need some help with your solutions, reach out to us at Kite Technology Group.

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The Science of Motion Sickness: Why Reading in the Car Makes You Want to Spew

There are two types of people in the world; those who can read and accomplish work while on the go, and those who can’t. For the folks in the latter camp, it’s not that they don’t want to be productive while traveling, but rather, they physically can’t. This unfortunate condition is commonly referred to as motion sickness, and if you suffer from it, then it’s quite literally “all in your head.”

The thalamic portion of the brain is responsible for processing what’s going on around you and then sending signals about these experiences to your body so it can respond accordingly. Under normal conditions, this arrangement works nicely. For example, your eyes detect movement and informs your brain so that your body knows to keep itself upright.

However, when your body experiences motion sickness, your eyes focus on an object that’s stationary (like a book or a mobile device), while at the same time your eyes notice the movement that’s going on around you. These conflicting signals are then sent to the brain so it can sort out whether the body is or isn’t in motion. When these signals become too much for the brain to process, the brain gets overstimulated and releases chemicals into the stomach in order to cause nausea.

This negative reaction is presumably a natural defense mechanism, designed to get you to stop with the confusing behavior. While it’s annoying to experience these symptoms and have to put down your book or whatever it is you’re working on, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the human brain can’t handle a modern experience like traveling at highway speeds while reading text. After all, as far as the development of the human brain goes, only the most recent generations have had the capability of traveling at speeds made possible by the combustible engine, and even horses and wind sails make up a minute portion of the human experience when considering the grand scheme of things. All this to say, motion sickness is the result of the human brain not yet adapting and evolving to the place where it understands that a body in-motion-yet-not-in-motion is in no real danger.

Now that you understand the cause of motion sickness, for those suffering from this disorder, the followup question is, “How do I beat it?” Unfortunately, short of a brain transplant, completely overcoming motion sickness isn’t really a possibility. However, you can try a slew of remedies in order to stave off motion sickness long enough to perhaps get some work done. Such as:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Open a window for some fresh air.
  • On your device, make use of high-contrast or nighttime mode in order to prevent eye strain.
  • Try taking motion sickness medication such as Dramamine.
  • Utilize text-to-voice and audio books.

As you’ve realized by now, either you’re affected by motion sickness or you’re not. This is due to people’s brains having neurological differences, meaning that, if you don’t suffer from motion sickness, you’re just lucky like that. What are some ways that you beat motion sickness and stay productive while on the go? Share your advice with us in the comments below.

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