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Security Risks Can Ruin Potentially Great Web Hosts
2018-11-05 by  Andre Smith

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Keeping up with the core pillars of solid web hosting in the realm of speed, reliability and safety make up the ideal focus of an average hosting company. Ideally, these companies would be able to handle both the visible side of dealing with customers as smoothly as they handle solving issues behind the curtain. In the real world that certainly isn't the case. The average response time for an abuse report has reached three days, a startlingly sluggish response speed to take care of urgent malware reports.

A slow response versus no response

Most of the reports are filed by security researchers tasked with keeping an eye on the evolution of digital threats. ZDNet reported that of the over 600 web hosting providers who were notified of a breach or potential security threat, only 16 per cent offered a response within six hours. Worse yet, only 13 responded within an hour, which make up an underwhelming two per cent of those contacted. The very worst case scenarios included companies who failed to respond for a massive 19 consecutive days, while others took nearly two weeks to respond as well.

It paints a fairly dire picture of the state of web hosting security. Many of these reports are auto-generated by trusted sources before being sent off to companies who seem nonplussed by the idea of ignoring them despite the threats they may pose. For example, popular web host GoDaddy Inc. failed to respond to a large number of reports to the tune of hosting 402 active malware campaigns as reported by the same study.

New threats emerge yet companies fail to react

It's not as if the threats being detected are strictly defined and ancient loopholes that require a basic bit of attention, as shown by a recent breach in VistaCP's security that may have led to the theft of admin passwords and the organisation of DDOS attacks through compromised users. While the initial security flaw led to password theft, those who took advantage of those stolen passwords went a step further and installed a new malware strain known as Linux/ChachaDDoS. Unsurprisingly, this strain focuses on the denial of service attacks, though it is capable of performing other unauthorised actions.

It doesn't paint the brightest picture of the internet's future, which is especially troublesome when paired with potential increases to overall web traffic speed that could theoretically make malware attacks propagate even more quickly than they already do. Dealing with the cost and manpower required to handle emerging threats is just one of many parts of the greater whole of web hosting, which makes its negligence all the more confounding.

While a shift to no contract broadband offers potential flexibility and other advantages to the end user, the same prospect doesn't always work out for month-to-month web hosting solutions. While not exclusive to GoDaddy as a platform, their revenue has taken a hit and suffered a drop in shares of around four per cent. While not directly tied to its lax malware removal policies, its potential reputation for slow responses and outright ignoring burgeoning threats cannot be helping its image and may be contributing to its downturn.

As it stands, investing in web hosts who do not adequately respond to security threats only encourages them to continue ignoring issues as they arise while exposing the rest of the internet to threats that should have been removed before ever reaching a set of human eyes. No company will ever respond to every new malware outbreak the moment it lands, yet anyone could certainly do better than purchasing web hosting services from an outlet that takes almost three weeks to take down offending content.

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Andre Smith

Andre Smith

Andre Smith is a marketing specialist, blogs about IT (cloud computing), small business and human resources.

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