Category Archive Information Security

ByJayanthi

Definitions: What is “Deep web?”

Coming close on the heels of my previous post –  “Dark web“, we will be defining “Deep web” in this blog post.  Similar to “Dark web, the “Deep web” cannot be searched by traditional search engines as well. So, what is present in this “Deep web”, which sounds so similar to “Dark web”?  Here are a few features of the “Deep web”:

1. They cannot be indexed by popular search engines as well.

2.  The “Deep web” has content that you do not want everyone to see. The “Deep web” contents are:bank account statements,  contents of your email , medical information, academic information, databases and any dynamically generated information.

While “Dark web” is associated with illegal content, “Deep web” does not have that connotation.

3. In addition, it does not require special browsers to view it.

As seen in the previous blog post, surface web(the place where we mostly interact like Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels), the “Deep web” and the “Dark web” are best represented by an “iceberg”. The iceberg is the perfect representation of the amount of information that is visible to us (which is hardly any!)

Join me as I uncover more of the tangled web in Information Security! 🙂

 

 

ByJayanthi

Definitions: What is “Dark web”?

“Dark web” which is not to be confused with “Deep web” is that part of the web which cannot be accessed by traditional search engines likes Google, Bing or Yahoo. In addition to this, it can only be accessed by special browsers like ‘Tor – the Onion router’ or ‘I2P'(Invisible Internet project). The “Tor router” enables anonymized browsing of the “dark web”.

“Dark web” domains end with “.onion” and are purposefully hidden from popular search engines. They are used to host a number of illegal activities.

 

Images source: Google images

ByJayanthi

Social media security!

Continuously toying with a new idea for the technical blog post for several weeks, I couldn’t help but post about “Social media security” finally!

We live in an era where “sharing is caring” and the more we share with our friends and well wishers, the happier we are. Contrast this is to the time, when snail mail was sent and received only in  totally sealed envelopes that nobody could see! As times have changed and social media plays a huge role in most of our lives for different reasons, it is but necessary to adopt some safety standards as we share and care.

As an ardent follower of Information security practices I see how simple data sharing can potentially open the doors for invisible hackers. My InfoSec brain is, tuned and wired differently and I see social media broadcasts in a totally different way! This post lists certain vulnerabilities that social media presents and some common ways to avoid it.

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ByJayanthi

Wireless security

Look around you and you see everything has become wireless and more mobile than 10 years ago. Wireless technologies have seen increased growth as being tied to desktops, landline phones have become passé. We see laptops with Wi-Fi connectivity that gives one the ultimate freedom to do business or do casual browsing on the go. In addition to this we also have numerous wireless devices such as the wireless mouse, wireless speakers, wireless headphones and wireless cameras. Another interesting development on the wireless front is the wireless POS terminal that again gives more convenience to the end user and the merchant. Given all these wireless developments, it is but necessary to secure them, using good policies and adopting latest standards.

We start our discussion on wireless security by first seeing the working of the WLAN, security issues with wireless networks followed by the countermeasures that seek to block these security issues.

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ByJayanthi

Intrusion Detection systems

 

‘Perimeter security’ is placing defenses around an organization’s perimeter thereby ensuring that an organization’s chances of being compromised are minimal. Some of the components that are used to ensure perimeter security are routers, VPN, IDS, IPS, firewalls and so on. We will see one type of perimeter security device the ‘IDS’ or ‘Intrusion Detection system’ in this post.

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ByJayanthi

What is Steganography?

Steganography is the procedure by which files or information can be transmitted secretly by embedding them in images or audio files. Cryptographic concepts can be used to supplement steganography by first encrypting the message and then hiding it in the image.

For the ordinary user only an image is visible but to the sender and receiver, a message is hidden in the picture which  can be unearthed only by using special steganographic tools.

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ByJayanthi

Don’t cry….

….just remain vigilant about security issues surrounding you! The ‘Wanna Cry’ ransomware is the talk of the world having affected 150 countries including India, Spain, Britain, parts of Europe and crippling 2,00,000 systems globally.

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ByJayanthi

Definition: Risk analysis

Risk analysis is a tool to implement risk management. Before we go onto see the definition of risk analysis, recall that a vulnerability is “weakness” in the system and the “risk” is the threat agent exploiting the vulnerability.

Some examples of the three concepts working together are when a vulnerability like an unpatched application is exploited by a threat agent like a malicious user to create risk. This risk can only be reduced by applying the patch to the application.

Risk analysis is done by the following steps:

a. understanding the vulnerabilities within the organization

b. assessing the value of the assets in the organization

c. calculating the value of safeguards that have to be implemented

d. Is the value of safeguard greater than the value of asset? If so, look for cheaper safeguards but equally effective safeguards.

While risk can only be reduced/mitigated or transferred, it cannot be entirely avoided. It is always good to remember that there is no such thing as 100% security!

 

ByJayanthi

Definitions: Top-down approach to security

The top-down approach to security is when an information security program moves ahead with management approval. The appropriate security funding is secured and there is a proper plan and direction towards the program. This approach is more efficient and generates better results. In short, the top-down approach is a more active and serious approach to security.

In contrast, the bottom-up approach to security is a reactive approach to solving information security concerns. Only after there has been a data breach or several hacking incidents does the company decide to act. This approach will only generate “stop gap” results and not long term results.

ByJayanthi

Firewalls!

Irrespective of our profession we have all encountered the term “firewalls” in our life. We are all glued to our laptops or mobile devices and are constantly engaged in business or personal conversations all the time.  These digital and electronic conversations will sooner or later bring the malicious part of the Internet into play. We come across viruses/malicious traffic/ worms/phishing scams all out to steal our personal and business information. Firewalls are a type of countermeasure to stop these elements.

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