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Make sure your protected when you are on the internet

7 Most Important Cyber Security Topics

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Is your network secure?

If you’re interested in a career in Cyber Security, it’s important to keep these 7 topics top of mind, as you will be working in them almost daily. In this blog post, we define the 7 most important cyber security topics, and give some high-level tips around each one.

Password Security

Passwords are how we are linked to everything on the Internet. A weak password has a higher chance of being attacked, whereas a strong password has the least likely to be attacked.
The first thing is never to choose a password that is listed as a common password. This includes the following:
●     qwerty.
●     password.
●     111111.
●     12345678.
●     abc123.
●     1234567.
●     password1.
●     12345.
Online security is top priority
These passwords will more than likely see your account hacked.
A strong password contains up to 16 characters, a symbol, uppercase characters, lowercase characters, and numbers.
Keeping your account password secure is the first step in securing your digital life, but it’s not the only way an attacker can get into your account.

Malware

Malware is known as bad software or malicious software that comes from the Internet. The trick about malware is that you can just be checking your email and malware automatically comes on your system.
There isn’t much that can be done to stop malware, other than making sure that your system is secured with some sort of anti-malware agent to prevent attackers from stealing account credentials or personal information.
There are tools to help you delete malware from your system, those include the following:
●     Malwarebytes
●     Avast
●     Norton
●     McAfee
●     Windows Defender
There are others on the market as well including ClamAV, Panda Cloud, AVG and others. Each anti-malware agent can use a certain amount of resources and some are better at detecting malware than others.

Privacy

Privacy is becoming a bigger threat to cyber security and similar to malware, it controls or works on your system while you are doing something else like checking your email, or even typing up a document.
Websites and Apps thrive on data login credentials and history to see keep track or suggest new products or trends for you. This data is a goldmine for a cyber thief.
There are many ways to stop this from happening to you and your computers.
Privacy issues online
  1. Install an AdBlocker on your favorite browser. These AdBlockers contain code that stops ads from appearing on websites, which don’t install cookies to your system. A cookie is a hidden object that you download, while most are safe and don’t have any evil intentions, there are some out there that are bad. Some AdBlockers include:
    1. AdBlock Plus
    2. AdBlock
    3. NoScript
    4. Ghost
  2. Install and use a VPN, a VPN is a virtual private network, it is used as it says, to put you in a private system in a virtual environment. Popular VPN’s include:
    1. NordVPN
    2. IPVanish
    3. CyberGhost
  3. Deleting cookies and cache every week will also help with privacy concerns. There are tools that can be found that can do this for you
    1. CClenear
    2. BleachBit
    3. Onyx

Data Breaches

These over the last few years have become some of the most strong cyber attacks around, where companies who hold your data are hacked and attacked. Many companies now are dealing with data breaches from video game companies to credit card companies.
Due to all the data breaches on the network, it’s important to hide and keep yourself secured.
As a person you can not stop data breaches from happening, the main thing to understand is if you are a victim of a breach, contact the company that the attack happened to. Those companies have in place a contingency plan that will notify you on.

Safe Computing

It’s very easy to keep your habits and computer safe from attackers, as well as from other hackers. The best is to find good Internet security software, but understand it will not help you with everything.
As the user, you still need to control what others see you online as. This includes scanning your computer or viruses, or even malware.

Scams

While not as big as it used to be, there are online scammers out there. These scammers usually work right after some major events, including a natural disaster.
Typically, an attacker will call you representing the American Red Cross, and he or she asks for a donation for some event that happened. Usually, these phone calls are not legit. This person is looking for your credit card so they can purchase things, or even ruin your credit.
Scams come in many different ways including social media chats and phishing emails where it looks like they are coming from a legit company but they are not. It is very tough to catch these types of criminals as you don’t know if the person on the other end is legit or fake.
The best way to find out if it’s a scam is to ask questions.

Mobile Protection

Like scams, the same goes for protecting your mobile device, as well as protecting the data that is on the device.
While you can not protect the individual applications, you can protect what content and data you give to these companies.
On certain devices (Android) there are ways to protect to have anti-virus and anti-malware to help protect the actual mobile device. iPhones do not have this capability as they are secured by Apple’s network code.
In many ways, you have to treat your mobile device as an extension of your desktop computer.
If you are looking for a cybersecurity program in San Diego, or network security training in San Diego, ICOHS College offers those programs. The college is an academic partner of CISCO, Microsoft, VM Ware IT Academy, EC-Council and CompTIA offering courses including the Certified Ethical Hacker. Apply for the next session today!

 

 

 

 

 

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Network Security vs Cybersecurity – Explained

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Difference between Network Security and Cybersecurity?

Similarities and differences between cybersecurity and network security are closely related.
Information security, network security, cybersecurity: the industry is flooded with terms to describe how companies protect their network data. While the experience of wading through a mixture of terminology to describe a specific operation or function is not limited to the network industry, the use of several terms complicates the process of developing an effective approach to secure data within the company.
In particular, confusion reigns over the differences between network security and cybersecurity. What is the difference between them? How are they alike? Let’s try to clear up the confusion.

What is cybersecurity?

 
Technically speaking, cybersecurity considers the security of the entire cybernetic continuum. In other words, it cares about protecting data within a company’s network computing space. In practice, this includes ensuring where data is stored, where it is handled and where it is transported. Simply put, cybersecurity refers to data protection, both at rest and on the move.
In practical terms, cybersecurity can be considered as the security of all computing space, from the information asset to the information user, including all intermediate components. The user does not need to be a human; As a result, cybersecurity also covers communications between data processing systems. That said, when IT professionals speak in terms of cybersecurity, they are usually more concerned with the security of the data that is stored and not transmitted.
In order to have a successful cybersecurity approach, there should be multiple layers of protection. People on the network must understand data security principles like not opening sketchy emails, backing up their data, and choosing strong passwords for their accounts. On top of that, there should be a policy on how cyber-attacks would be handled. People, processes, and technology should all be on the same page in order to achieve the highest level of cybersecurity.

What is network security?

 
In the company’s modern computing infrastructure, it is likely that the data is in motion and at rest. This is where network security comes into play. While technically a subset of cybersecurity, network security primarily deals with the company’s network infrastructure. It deals with topics such as securing the contour of the network; data transport mechanisms, such as switches and routers; and those pieces of technology that provide protection for data as they move between computing nodes. It delves into the details and security of every single gateway in a network that could be vulnerable to attack. Types of network security include antivirus software, email security, firewalls, and more.
Of course, all this raises the question: if network security is simply a subset of cybersecurity, why even subdivide the domain? One of the reasons is that cybersecurity tends to consider security, including the evaluation of technologies such as encryption. Encryption is important, but it does not necessarily have to do with the problems, companies face in protecting the network.
In addition, it is not always networking security versus cybersecurity, since the two complement each other in the data protection continuum. If one thinks in terms of data protection both at rest and in motion, then network security covers the data that travels through the network, while cybersecurity is concerned with protecting data at rest.

The critical difference between network security and cybersecurity

 
Where cybersecurity and network security differ is mainly in the application of security planning. A cybersecurity plan without a network security plan is incomplete; however, a network security plan can be independent.
Looking at this in another way, network security is a subset of cybersecurity, which, in turn, is a subset of information security, another separate issue. However, if you evaluate your security needs, the planning should be reduced to the lowest level. At each level, procedures and tools must ensure that access to confidential information is controlled and measures are taken to detect and mitigate any infringement that could lead to the disclosure of such information. Ultimately, the survival of a company could depend on the success in creating such a framework.
ICOHS College offers IT programs and courses that include education on cybersecurity, like the CompTIA Security+ certificate. CLICK HERE to learn more!
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10 IT Buzzwords That You Need to Know in 2019

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2019’s IT Buzzwords You Need to Know

There is no denying it; our world is advancing, and rapidly as a matter of fact. Along with technological advancements comes an entire slew of new words, vocabulary, and terminology.

For those unfamiliar with the advancements that have been taking place, a lot of the viral words of 2019 may seem like jibberish. We are here to break down some popular information technology (IT) buzzwords into manageable pieces so that they are easier to understand and conceptualize.

IT does not need to be an overwhelming or challenging topic; deeper explanation with clear wording can help. The same goes for 2019’s IT buzzwords; once broken down into bite-sized, easy to understand bits, their meanings become evident.

Viral words of 2019

The pace of IT developments are progressing rapidly, so it can feel difficult to keep up with all of the new accomplishments and advances.  This shortlist runs you through the IT buzzwords of 2019 you should know to be up-to-date with some of the most recent tech evolutions.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Sometimes referred to as merely ‘AI’, artificial intelligence is a term that can be seen extensively amongst tech news and other scientific developments. In short, artificial intelligence represents any machinery or software that is capable of human-like results and functions.

Artificial intelligence machines and software are sometimes even capable of learning as they operate, through a system of what is called artificial neural networks. The function of these self-learning devices is termed machine learning and it continues to pop up more and more in modern technological set-ups. Machine learning and artificial neural networks can be utilized to produce highly accurate results in an absurdly fast manner, as well as recognizing threats and challenges that would have gone overlooked by other, less complex networks or by human eyes.

Artificial intelligence can also refer to robots that are capable of learning as they operate. For this reason, there are some individuals that actually fear the future capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), but for the time being it seems the applications of these devices are especially beneficial and advantageous.

Present-day examples:

Personal assistant programs (Alexa, Siri, Echo)

Social media face recognition software (Facebook)

Ridesharing applications (Uber, Lyft)

Email spam filters

 

Blockchain

There is a highly likely chance you have heard of Bitcoin. This buzzy term has grown to become the world’s most successful, albeit fragile cryptocurrency that has either garnered extreme enthusiasm, a complete dislike of, or indifference towards.

With cryptos such as Bitcoin growing to such mass popularity and profitability, there had to be a standard set into place. This is where the term blockchain comes into play.

Blockchain is, for example, what keeps Bitcoin traders from getting ripped off, by monitoring every transaction and maintaining strict records of all exchanges of Bitcoin. Everyone can see this transaction history, which is open source and available to anyone who wishes to glance upon the comings and goings of this cryptocurrency. Additionally, blockchain is naturally encrypted, which gives users a further sense of security.

This unique and clever system prevents counterfeit Bitcoin from being traded, which increases the cryptocurrency’s reputability and trustworthiness, but blockchain is not only limited to Bitcoin. In fact, this system can be set into place for any cryptocurrency and is often the structure of choice opted for. This new database is even being considered for use in banking and medical storage. Blockchain allows successful Bitcoin traders and other crypto collectors to rejoice, so be it that their trades are going well.

 

Mobile-First

Mobile-first is not exactly a new concept, and not as much a buzzword as it is a business model and developmental concept. In a world where the internet was first designed for desktop and then laptop use, it was not until the last decade with the release of the iPhone, one of the world’s most popular smartphones, that mobile compatibility became a high priority.

What mobile-first refers to now is a business model in which websites, applications, and other programs are developed first for use on mobile devices, and then afterward produced for computer use.

Even if companies are not agreeing to mobile-first philosophies, they are at least almost always assenting to mobile inclusive developments, because those that choose not to include mobile visitors in their demographics are asking to go out of business in this modern world.

Present-day examples:

These mega-companies are only a few that have taken on the mobile-first mindset.

Lululemon

Walmart

Domino’s

bareMinerals

 

3D Alteration

Since the arrival of 3D printers, this practice, sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing, has taken a number of industries by storm. Items and objects are produced through the generation and build-up of one layer after another, leading to a multi-dimensional final result that is tangible, unlike the 2D nature of most printed copies.

A number of materials can be created through 3D alteration, from metal, plastic, food, and housing to even human tissue. Due to its wide range of applications, both wealthy companies and startups have turned towards this technology to produce their desired results.

Present-day examples:

Nike

Ford

Boeing

MakieLab

DIY Rockets

General Electric

 

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is a web of connections between machines, computing devices, people, and even animals that interact amongst one another to produce specific functions. Unique identifiers are created (UIDs), which then make it possible for data to be transmitted across networks without the need for human interaction with other humans or with computers.

This interrelatedness between machines and man has expanded across a multitude of industries, from wearables and mobile devices to auto, home, and environmental applications.

Present-day examples:

Home security systems

Smart electronic appliances

Household and commercial lights and thermostats

Speaker systems

Vending machines

Cars

 

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a method of data analysis in which computers become more capable of solving complex problems through the utilization of quantum bits, known as qubits. Compared with classic electronic selections that use the two defined states of either 0 or 1 known as binary digits or bits, this alternative is much more versatile but it presently has its limits.

As technologies continue to advance into the future, it can be expected that further applications for quantum computing will become a reality. Companies such as NASA are already interested in quantum computing in order to map mass amounts of data, such as information they compile pertaining to the universe. It doesn’t get much more vast than that!

 

Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR)

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are closely related terms. Augmented Reality is, in some ways, a more simplified version of Virtual Reality, in which computer-generated aspects such as GPS data, various sounds, and videos are implemented alongside aspects of the real world. Probably the most accessible example of AR would be an application such as Pokemon Go. This game uses user location and positioning in order to create the map of the game, while applying its own computer graphics, such as when various Pokemon appear onto the screen.

Virtual Reality takes AR a step further by greater interacting with user senses. With Virtual Reality, you can essentially feel as if you have stepped into a completely different world, a digital yet highly real feeling version of whatever you would like to experience.

VR typically requires the consumer to wear sound-canceling headphones along with VR goggles. Sometimes arm toggles are also used to control the hand movements within the virtual world. The combination of these elements furthers the gamer experience by blocking them away from the outside world as much as possible.

In addition to providing an intriguing and realistic gaming experience, VR is also utilized for simulations in occupations that require expert training such as flying planes, surgery, and other complicated processes.

 

Immersive Experience

Related to VR and AR, these two aforementioned terms are actually considered a part of the immersive experience. An immersive experience is any type of circumstance that completely encompasses and engulfs the senses, as to take you away from reality for a moment and leave you feeling as if you actually exist within another world.

In truth, immersive experiences do not only need to relate to technology. Any event or undergoing that places you into what feels like an alternate universe for a moment of time is, by definition, an immersive experience. Attending an art show or concert, exercising, or focusing in a classroom can all fall under this category of being immersive.

 

Data Mining

Data mining is mostly how it sounds; this process is the discovery of the paradigms existent amongst mass amounts of data and information. Data mining alone does not involve the actual process by which data is mined, rather it is the overall concept. Instead, techniques used to mine data are described differently.

Some common techniques used in data mining include personalization, artificial intelligence (which we discussed earlier on), machine learning, and actionable analytics.

 

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is not only a tech concept but is also tied in with political and governmental aspects. This term is the belief that all data and information available on the internet should be treated in the exact same manner, regardless of the government organization or the internet provider connected.

All tied into the idea of internet privacy, companies and government organizations can collect and track data to then pay money in order to prioritize their Internet traffic over another’s.

What this means, is that if an internet provider were to begin their own movie or music streaming company, the advertising and promotion of that service would then take priority over other established providers such as Netflix or Spotify, leading to a biased selection for potential customers.

Discussions about net neutrality are especially prominent currently in the United States, so those who reside in the US are encouraged to read more about the topic and gain a greater education on what it means to be net neutral.

Popular IT Buzzwords You Need to Know in 2019: Conclusion

Popular IT buzzwords of this year need not be overwhelming. In reality, for the average individual, these terms aren’t necessary to understand in great depth and detail but the general concepts can be valuable to grasp. Aside from this minute list of terms to know, with all of the tech advances happening each day it merely is not possible to keep up, but one can do their best and try to be as educated as possible.

Have you been looking for IT schools or career colleges in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational school and affordable school for IT offering programs to become a computer network technician, IT network specialist, or IT systems administrator.

Do any of these career paths sound right up your alley? Our dedicated IT educators are passionate about assisting students in the fulfillment of their career goals. Reach out to us today and request more information.

Prevent a Botnet Cyber Attack

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Now, more than ever, it is vital to maintain cybersecurity. With hackers and threats becoming stealthier and stealthier by the day, malware, viruses, spyware, botnets, and more have become so intricate and complex, they can be difficult to detect by even the best professionals and cybersecurity specialists.

Although a cyber attack is not altogether fully preventable, there are protocols and measures to take that can minimize the chances of such an occurrence. Botnets, in particular, are immensely tricky to discover and then completely eliminate, and for this reason, it is important for anyone intending to enter a career in IT to be fully aware of the presence of this type of cyber threat.

Those who do not intend to enter into an IT-related profession can, too, benefit from this knowledge – recognizing the existence of botnets is valuable information for any individual that regularly works on their computer or surfs the internet.

In this article, we will explain in detail about botnets and how they create cyber attacks, as well as ways in which they can be prevented as best as possible, so that you can minimize the chances of being affected by such a security breach whether at home, in a public area, or at your place of employment.

 

What Are Botnets and How Do They Create Cyber Attacks?

Unlike many cyber-attacks that are generated by stealing and destroying sensitive data by finding weak points in technical computer aspects, botnets are a unique and extremely next-level type of threat. This is because not only does a botnet produce an attack, any system that has been compromised becomes an attacker as well.

Essentially, with botnets, the victim also becomes the perpetrator, usually without the knowledge of the computer owner or manager. For those who are concerned with cybersecurity, the idea of this transfer of roles can actually be perceived as quite terrifying.

A botnet is basically short for a “network of bots,” which, simply put, is what a botnet represents accurately. Botnets infect various computers and software, essentially producing an army of bots that are willing and ready to infect other devices and continue spreading dangerous and risky cyber intruders.

A “bot” is the term used for the type of software program that is run by any device or network that is affected by a botnet. All of the bots and botnets are monitored by a bot-master system, an overseer that observes and counts how many devices have been infected and what the roles of the attacking bots are.

The master commands and orchestrates the movement and undertakings of all the bots, and sometimes another buffer layer is added on in order to manage and oversee some of the more complex and large-scale threats. As the bots continue to infect one computer after another, they report back to their bot-master a count of devices affected, which the master then logs.

Additionally, botnet managers are ready to always update any software that needs to be fixed, removing bugs, glitches, and more. Although this is a common practice in many tech-related systems, to think that such an intricate organization exists amongst a network with very poor or even evil intentions, is unnerving.

Mainly what makes these botnet armies so challenging to detect, has to do with the fact that bots are always running in stealth mode, meaning that they can easily be brushed under the rug.

Furthermore, bot-masters and bot-managers are constantly changing roles as well as countries of origin, in order to provide another layer of undetectability.

In summary, a computer or device is infected by a bot in three organized steps:

  1. The bot-master sends instructions out to bot-managers as to which devices will be infected. The bot-manager or managers then instruct their bot-children to do the real damage.

 

  1. The bot-children are sent on their way as an infection module, one that is fit with the vital task of discovering servers that are non-patched, gluing onto them their latest infectious copy. Each bot is given a special identification number, which the bot-master has constant records and access to.

 

  1. An infected system that has been entered by a bot then mutates into a bot itself but in such a stealthy, unnoticeable manner. This then adds to the bot-army, which is also a system of zombie machines, also known as machines that can’t quite think for themselves or protect themselves and are intruded upon by outside influences.

 

The typical goal of a bot-master is to steal data or disrupt computer systems, and due to a large number of forces that team up, it is often that hackers overseeing a botnet system can accomplish their malicious undertakings with speed, success, and ease once the initial programming is conducted.

Some commonly found bots and their intentions are:

  • CCBot: collects credit card info
  • idBot: collects password and user id information
  • SpamBot: collects address books for email spamming
  • BrowseBot: collects browsing trends for advertisers
  • ChatBot: monitors communication trends by collecting chat transcripts

Although this is only a handful of the many present bots throughout the digital world, it can clearly be seen how potentially compromising many of these bots can be.

Hackers who have developed and implemented botnet systems are often in for a great reward with very few consequences and low potential risk. This is a major reason why hackers have turned towards botnets in this modern era of computers where it is possible to do so.

 

Common Botnets and Their Impacts

Throughout modern digital history, there have been strings of botnet attacks, some of which rose to significant fame due to their detrimental impact that was rather difficult to detect.

BredoLab is one of the newest botnet armies, and it has impacted more than 20 million machines globally. Its intentions were to produce email spam that extended out on a mass scale, but it also involved viruses and spyware. Law authorities have reportedly gotten rid of this botnet, but it is suspected that variations of the same infector are still floating around and have access to sensitive data.

Conficker, another common botnet, was once upon a time considered a virus, but it was also able to enter devices remotely so that they could be controlled. Through file sharing and those fragile aspects, Conficker was able to impact the entire fleets of machines, producing the zombie-like army that is standard for botnet breaches. It is said to have affected more than 10 million devices worldwide.

 

Understanding How Botnets Can Be Better Prevented

As we mentioned, it is unfortunately quite challenging to detect the presence of a botnet, and often once it has become observable, the bot has dragged your device into its zombie-bot army where it has potentially infected other machines.

Much like Malware, Botnets do produce certain symptoms, which can better assist in the detection of such threats. If you find that your computer begins to run slowly, gives error messages, has a fan that starts up out of nowhere, or starts acting strangely, then there is a chance that your device is infected with some type of botnet or other Malware.

Although not perfect, some preventative measures can be implemented in order to better protect your devices against botnet attacks.

 

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself as Best as Possible

Here’s how you can better monitor your networks for botnet infiltrations:

  1. This may seem obvious, but always install extremely reliable and powerful antivirus software onto your devices immediately. Be sure that the settings of your chosen software are turned on for auto-updates. That’ll give your computer the most recent protective technology available at all times.

 

  1. Be extremely cautious about what files, links, images you click on, open up, or download. The internet is full of potential threats, and just because you might believe a specific website or file is safe, it very well could be dangerous without your knowledge.

 

  1. Never ever click on links or files that are sent from unrecognizable or questionable email addresses. This is one of the most common ways that botnets enter devices turning them into members of the zombie army.

 

Final Thoughts of Understanding Cyber Attack Botnets and Preventive Measures

Even if it is not possible to avoid all cyber attacks and threats, there are measures that can be taken in order to minimize any potential negative impacts. If you are a regular internet browser or computer user, in this day and age it is important more than ever to have the right securities set in place to better protect yourself and your sensitive or even confidential information from ill-intentioned hackers.

If you are located in the San Diego area and are interested in entering a career in IT as well as learn about cybersecurity and attack prevention, at ICOHS we offer three comprehensive programs: Computer and Networking Technician Certification, It Network Specialist, and IT Systems Administrator.

ICOHS is a non-profit, vocational college that intends to provide a unique and deeply personalized learning experience for students passionate about their field of study. If your passion or interest in IT, reach out to ICOHS today and request more information.

 

 

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