5 Hosting Security Flaws Not to be Avoided
Website security is crucial for the success of online business. Whether it’s a small blogging site or a big ecommerce website, security is a necessary requirement for all the online businesses. Now these days, hackers are using more sophisticated tools to reap maximum benefits from attacks against websites that store important data or give them access to large numbers of visitors.
By understanding various online security problems, you can reach the half way to solve it. I’m sure a few questions might be popping in your mind, like why security is considered a complex problem, what are these security threats, and how to secure your website from these threats? In this article, I’ll try to answer all these questions.
Why security is considered a complex problem?
There are lots of people, known as hackers or cyber criminals, whose prime motive is to harm your computer or website. They do this either for their fun or for actual theft. According to the key findings of WhiteHat Sentinel Report 2015:
1. 86% of all websites had at least one serious vulnerability, and most of the time, far more than one — 56% to be precise
2. On an average, 61% of security vulnerabilities were resolved, but doing so requires an average of 193 days from the first notification of customer
3. Insufficient protection of the transport layer is the most likely vulnerability across vertical industries including health care/social assistance, retail trade, financial/insurance and information technology, with a range of 65–76% likelihood.
4. Considering sites in retail trade, health care and finance were found to be “always vulnerable,” their remediation rates are relatively low at 21%, 20%, and 27% respectively.
Above statistics give a clear idea of omnipresence of cyber security threats. The biggest challenge of online security is that security threats keep changing. Hackers always try to find out new and more damaging security threats and the old security solutions are unable to stop these threats, which results in a huge loss of money and reputation of online businesses. This is why; cyber security is considered a challenging and complex problem in this digital era.
What are the main security threats?
Now these days, identity theft is a common security threat. Name, address and personal information of your customers (like credit card numbers, user ID, and passwords) need to be protected with extreme care from the felons who can steal this for their personal benefits.
Malware, graffiti or codes can be uploaded to the server to cause havoc annihilation among trusted clients who have accounts on that network. Once hackers gain access to the account, anything could be possible — stealing all important data or launching DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that can result even hijacking of the entire server. Further, the problems from spammers are not small. By misusing a network using spam can lead to the blacklisting of DNS server from major email providers.
How to secure your website from these threats?
In order to save your website from above mentioned security issues, you can follow some security tips. Let’s have a closer look-
1. SFTP or Secure File Transfer Protocol
Whether you are searching a good web hosting provider or have already rented one, the first thing needs to be considered is SFTP or secure file transfer protocol. It is a network protocol for transferring, accessing and managing files on remote systems. It allows online businesses to securely transfer funds, billing data and data recovery files. The secure file transfer protocol uses secure shell (SSH) to transfer files. All the data and commands are encrypted to prevent sensitive information like passwords from being exposed to the network in the plain text. This security layer should be provided to the consumers of hosting networks as a drawn-out security protection.
2. SSL & SSH certifications
Hackers or eavesdroppers always try to find out new procedures to get easy access to personal information of customers as well as owners. To ensure maximum security, integration of the SSL certificate into a website is essential. It is public key cryptography tunneling protocol that provides a secure path between browsers and web server. If you are an ecommerce site owner, you should focus on SSL certification. Unlike SSH, SSl doesn’t need any authentication. It’s simply implemented for transmitting sensitive information in a secure way, such as credit card numbers and other personal data. One can easily check whether his/her web hosting server uses SSl or not by simply looking at the locked padlock icon in the address bar or the use of https instead of simply http. While SSH uses port 20 to perform authentication in a connection, SSL uses port 443 to offer secure encrypted environment that can easily ensure the prevention of unwanted attacks or information theft.
3. Backup & Maintenance
Backups and server maintenance are important to reinforce security. Most of the hosting servers provide tools in the control panel to backup the site data on their consumers. It’s a responsibility of webmasters to make sure their data is properly backed up for further use. Also, you should check whether your web hosting site secures all its data on a regular basis or not. In this way, if you fail to restore your website data, you can request a copy from your hosting server.
In case of server maintenance, it should be checked for any published security protocol. A reliable firewall can also decrease the probability of security attacks on the server and the websites hosted on that network. The proper use of the firewall can restrict or block certain IP addresses that are known as security threats. Moreover, you can use some third party software to prevent the DoS attacks and ensures maximum web hosting security. If you are aiming to build a profitable business structure, you can also follow few security tips for your server.
4. Password Protection
Any password, whether it is for a web hosting company or for clients, should be changed within certain time duration. Password protection should be maintained in different access levels of web host servers as well as in its all provided accounts with them. A long length alphanumeric string is a good password. The company should advise its clients to change their password in the given time period or in case of any security vulnerabilities. Webmasters should not share or use their administrative password in any unknown online forms or website.
5. Some Others Precautions
Identity verification of the consumers is very essential. Before account activation, a proper phone call to know the customer’s information is a good security policy. Proper documentation of the customers should also be gathered for further verification of customers, if necessary. Web hosts can prevent the creation of any fake account with a strict verification procedure. It is also advised that if security breaches are detected in any user account, then without further delay it should be blocked until the damage is repaired otherwise all the accounts on that network could be affected.