Security is by far one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a web host. With so many possible threats online, it is not as hard as on might think for a security lapse to occur. Security is not something that should be taken lightly by the consumer or the web host, as there are several threats that could result in serious financial turmoil. The following are three threats in particular that are becoming increasingly common, and that are responsible for a large portion of the security issues involved with web hosting.
Credit Card Fraud
The internet is a massive virtual marketplace, swarming with merchants, customers, and people who would like to take advantage of both the merchant and the consumer. The people looking to exploit any security fault they can are commonly referred to as “hackers.” Hackers see the web as an opportunity to prey on the weaknesses of other individuals and companies. A vulnerable website makes an ideal target for these hackers, especially if the website is engaged in daily e-commerce. Many of them have access to highly advanced applications that are capable of telling them if there any “loopholes” they can exploit. Any online store they can find with a single security lapse will become a feeding ground for them, resulting in thousands of dollars stolen form your customer’s credit cards. Once the hacker has the credit card details of your customer’s, the situation becomes progressively worse. Of course, the customer is going to be inclined to believe that you are the thief, and they will not want to accept the fact that you are actually the victim. This kind of situation can result in lawsuits, and even the loss of your online business!
Then there is the possibility of a horrid “DDoS attack.” A DDoS attack is a security exploit that is normally employed by criminals that are members of or have control of “botnets.” DDos stands for “Distributed Denial of Service.” A bot ring is a group of hackers, or programmed computer’s that are set up to carry out a specific task. A DDoS attack is executed by a botnet that continually floods the network with DDoS requests. As the network is flooded with requests, it slows down until ultimately traffic screeches to a halt. Even though the DDoS attack is one of the oldest online security exploits, it is still extremely difficult to prevent because of it’s organic and seemingly genuine nature. Once the server’s traffic has been affected the hacker then takes control of the server, using it as a puppet to find other vulnerable servers. Once the hacker has gained control over several servers, they then begin their attack on the target of their choice. To prevent your business from being a victim of one of these attacks, make sure you discuss this threat with any prospective web hosts, to be sure they are aware of this threat.
Then there are the threats that pose a virtual risk to the web hosting providers. Hackers may attempt to attack a web hosts server or network with a malicious application designed to retrieve crucial information. This malicious software is called “malware” ( a combination of the two words). While server’s generally have more stringent security measures in place, they are still susceptible to the same threats that a personal computer may be faced with. You can avoid these kind of security lapses by ensuring that your prospective host takes the proper precautions to defend against all forms of malware. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the security measures they have in place, before hand. It is important to remember that once the web host’s server is compromised to malware, every bit of information on the server can be accessed, including your web site’s financial data.