Anytime you host content uploaded by a third party, you run the risk of exposing your server to malicious files or even to hackers who exploit weaknesses in a user’s account. One possible way to avoid this situation is to host the third-party content on an entirely separate server. The question is: are there any downsides to this form of content hosting?
The answer can be somewhat complicated. First, it is important to note that simply using a subdomain (such as dave.davessite.tld) does not provide any security by itself, unless the subdomain points to a separate server, separate hosting account, separate VPS, or a content delivery network (CDN). Second, the type of file matters. Scripts, for example, could still potentially cause harm to your primary server even if hosted on the secondary one. True static content, such as images and videos, may be significantly safer.
Using a Content Delivery Network
Since hosting files on a separate server can be costly and require is own additional maintenance, many website owners may explore the possibility of using a CDN. A content delivery network is a service that specializes in hosting content, especially static content, and distributing it across a global network of servers. In addition to the security benefits, it is potentially faster, more reliable because of the redundancy, and reduces bandwidth costs.
One way to make your content appear as though it is still hosted on your site is to use a subdomain. You can easily setup a subdomain in a hosting control panel, such as cPanel, by editing the DNS for your domain. WebHostingBuzz provides this functionality for all hosting accounts.
I found this great article today in the SANS Internet Storm Center Reading Room and thought I would post a link to share with our readers.
PCI DSS and Incident Handling: What is required before, during and after an incident.
It can not be stressed enough how important it is to follow PCI-DSS when credit cards come even remotely close to touching your servers. It is a comprehensive standard and can be very expensive to comply with. The cost of a breach is almost always greater than the cost of compliance!
In my previous post (Complex Passwords for Complex Security) I detailed the importance of complex passwords. After posting, I thought of all the passwords we have to remember, and felt like I should post an addition to it. By no means do I condone writing down passwords, but having worked in an office IT enviornment I know for a fact it happens. So instead of ignoring the problem, I thought it would be helpful to at least offer some advice to make it as secure as possible.
To continue this week’s security focus, today we’re going to talk about how to securely delete sensitive data off of old hard drives. All businesses must make it a top priority to protect their customer’s private information because in many states, the data they store becomes their liability if mishandled. There is a proper way to sanitize hard drives that significantly reduces your liability if there is a policy in place to address data destruction and the company follows it to a T.
There are hundreds of ways to make your site or network more secure. These can involve expensive hardware, complicated software, and a LOT of research and time to develop and implement. What’s a low-cost way to beef up your security? Complex passwords! This is a great way for a smaller company to step up a notch in security, and its an easy way for a larger company to add one more roadblock for those malicious “black hats.”
I was at a brand new Taco Bell this afternoon with my girlfriend when I noticed an interesting problem: the new drink dispenser had four drinks per spout, with a button that selected the drink you wanted dispensed.
I’ve obviously been in a security mindset too much recently, as when I saw it, I immediately turned to my girlfriend and asked, “What happens when you press two buttons at once?”
If you are wondering what this has to do with IT or web hosting, here’s your answer: that same question is the first one that pops into the mind of someone trying to break into your systems.
What happens when I do this? Does it break? If not, does it do something unintended? If so, can I make it break because of that unexpected outcome?
These are questions that need to be considered when you are designing software for the web. If you can look at a piece of software and see a possibility for unintended results, you should try to find a way to prevent those results from occurring.
All too often, unexpected input or output can cause serious damage to your systems. This is why data validation and verification is such an important tool for programmers to use wherever possible!
Did It Break?
Did the fountain dispenser break when I pushed two buttons at once? No, it actually did not dispense anything at all. But you can be sure I tried all combinations of buttons and even pressing three or all four at a time, just to see what would happen.
Whoever designed the system considered that some moron would try to press two or more at once and did a good job at preventing it from causing damage to the system!