Your server may be secure, but how secure is your data?

Friday 3rd January 2014 at 12:33pm by Richard Davey

Across the web on any site that stores the personal information of users, you often see a FAQ item or paragraph in the T&Cs addressing data protection and data security. This is followed by a paragraph such as "Our servers are hosted by X, one of the worlds largest hosting companies and backed up on a daily basis. They are hosted in secure data hosting centres with keycard protocols, biometric scanning protocols, round-the-clock surveillance, etc. etc."
 
This all sounds good and well, but is only half the story. It doesn't matter how strong the security is on the server if the site is badly coded, or if the system administrators or users have easily hackable credentials.
 
Sometimes a system 'flaw' is intentionally created, such as the recent hacking of Snapchat in which a feature was exploited and negatively publicized worldwide. Snapchat should have put extra precautions in place, but this is a good example of how shortcuts are taken and how easily data can be compromised.
 
So next time you're considering using a service online, be wary and consider the consequences of giving your personal information to a company who doesn't respect good design and development practises, or passes the buck of data security to the hosting provider!
 
This post was written by Richard Davey, a Web Developer and Director of Two Superior Studios Limited, who has a BSc (Hons) and MRES in Web Technologies and Security, and is also a professional member of the British Computer Society.

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