Website security is getting increasingly challenging with ‘innovative’ attacks emerging every day. But, thankfully, as threats increase, so do the security measures. Diksha P Gupta from Open Source For You spoke to Ritesh Sarvaiya, CEO, Defencely.com, to understand the website security scene in India, and the online threats that will affect Indian SMEs and SMBs. Read on…
Please share some details about what Defencely does with respect to cloud security?
Modern day attackers can plant a cookie attack, a sniffer, misleading information or anything that can put visitors or customers who visit your website, at risk. So, it becomes extremely important for website managers to be aware of these constantly evolving threats. It is your responsibility to make sure that your security parameters are all up to date, and we at Defencely.com can help you to make your website secure, as we have done for global technology giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, PayPal, etc.
Defencely.com currently focuses only on Web applications, penetration testing, and vulnerability reporting and fixing. The first phase of the company’s operations commenced just three months back. We are primarily focusing on Open Web Application Security Project methodology. In fact, we provide the industry’s early stage testing services; 80 per cent of our work is in manual ‘Search and Report’ mode and 20 per cent via the automated tools.
How do you see the cloud security space evolving in India?
As far as cloud security in India is concerned, it has immense scope. India has only about five to 10 recognised cloud security companies that deal in all kinds of cloud application testing. Though Indian companies do focus on cloud security services, this sector, so far, has not been organised because of India’s cyber laws, which according to me, are not up to the mark. India has ample talent in this domain but it is not utilised so far. We aim to utilise these brains in this niche field and bring them together under our banner to become the world’s biggest cloud security company. Having said that, I am hopeful that the future of cloud security in India is pretty bright.
India is going online and there is growing awareness about security. But are Indians, particularly the SMEs and the SMBs, aware of the concept of website security?
India is going online at a faster pace than we expected and there is a lot of scope in that domain as well. Hundreds of e-commerce start-ups are being launched, which is a clear indicator of the growth in the online activity of Indians. Overall, it is a good scenario, but one cannot deny the fact that growing online activity also increases the threats. We at Defencely.com are serious about this issue, and we aim to be involved particularly with SMBs and SMEs to create awareness about the virtual losses that they may have to face because of not securing their websites. Let’s imagine a scenario where an e-commerce portal gets compromised because of some zero day vulnerability, and hackers misuse the entire database of the portal, including the financial information and personal details of its buyers. Despite being technically sound, small and big online companies overlook the importance of online security. To a lot of online companies, the term ‘hacking’ means email or credit card hacking. But hacking has evolved and is a million dollar business at present. It is high time that Indian SMBs and SMEs get aware of such threats and start taking appropriate Web security measures. Modern day security services are complete packages of security.
What are the most common vulnerabilities that websites are exposed to, in the modern day world?
Some of the most common threats to most Web applications are:
(a) Injection vulnerabilities and cross-site scripting: These are two of the most commonly found vulnerabilities that can occur in any website or Web application. There are various forms of injection attacks, including SQL, operating system, email and LDAP injection, and they all work by sending malicious data to an application as part of a command or query.
(c) Broken authentication and session management: Application functions related to authentication and session management are often not implemented correctly, allowing attackers to compromise passwords, keys and session tokens, or exploit other implementation flaws to assume other users’ identities.
(d) Insecure direct object references: A direct object reference occurs when a developer exposes a reference to an internal implementation object, such as a file, directory, or database key. Without an access control check or other protection, attackers can manipulate these references to access unauthorised data.
(e) Security misconfiguration: Good security requires having a secure configuration defined and deployed for the application, frameworks, application server, Web server, database server and platform. All these settings should be defined, implemented and maintained, as many are not shipped with secure defaults. This includes keeping all software up to date, including all code libraries used by the application.
In order to prevent all these threats, developers need to have specific knowledge of how to code Web applications, keeping Web vulnerabilities in mind.
Can you share some tips to ensure website security?
It is sad to see websites getting hacked, by and large, on a daily basis. There are numerous steps to ensure a website’s security. When was the last time you moved your files from their default locations to new ones? When was the last time you moulded your HT Access file, or when was it that you noticed your Web mail ID generating spam mail? When was the last time you scanned your website to check if it was affected with any new online threats? Such factors, among many others, play a vital role in shaping your website’s security. I guess the best way to get started is to hire an online security company. There are some companies that don’t charge a lot to trial-level users.
How is Defencely contributing to increasing awareness about website security?
Defencely doesn’t limit itself to just providing cloud security services, but has a lot more to offer. Timely reporting of security vulnerabilities is what the core team at Defencely aims at. Paypal’s recognition of Defencely being one of the top 10 cloud security companies isn’t the only achievement of the firm. Several other giants such as FaceBook, Apple, Zynga, SoundCloud and iFixit have applauded Defencely for its dedicated work.
With social media being integrated in the websites, does that increase the challenges of administering website security?
Most of the social media websites spend millions of dollars to keep their security at very high levels, because of which IT guys do not have to worry about anything specific.
Why do websites get hacked?
Although there are no specific patterns that hackers follow, there are a few common loopholes that often get exploited.
a) Zero day vulnerabilities: Regardless of whether you have a blog or own a successful Internet business, how often do you consult with a cloud penetration services company for an assessment of your business’s online security? ‘Zero day vulnerabilities’ are explained as those unattended website details that were ignored during the development of the website. Once the website is launched and running, the owner tends to ignore reallocation of key directory files and many other sub-domain URLs, a practice that could be harmful to the business’s integrity.
b) Exploitation is a hacker’s favourite tool: Seeing today’s cloud security scenario, you should know that many websites are not actually hacked, but exposed through exploits. If the website is lacking security because of weak iFrame modules, improper implementation of user info security parameters, failure in redirecting users to secure pages, or the implementation of outdated SSL certificates, the attacker simply has to misuse that information – in other words, the process is called exploitation.
c) Technically incorrect: The third category actually involves brute force hacking. We are talking about password cracking, decryption, fuzzing and sending out information to servers. Such forms of hacking are most severe and highly dangerous for any Web business owner. In all scenarios, your best bet is to consult with a credible security services company to shield you from such unforeseen incidents in the near future.
SQL injection is also one of the major threats to a website. Does Defencely offer a specific solution to SQL injection attacks?
Fixing SQL injection is part of the bundled services that we provide at Defencely.com. Once we scan the website with our high-end scanners, we immediately come to know where there are higher chances of SQL injection on a client’s Web application; and as a remedy, we patch it immediately, to keep the client’s website secure from this threat.
A Peek Into the Profile of Hiren Shah, President, Co-Founder
Hiren Shah is an IT veteran and has over eighteen years of experience with multiple entrepreneurial ventures, investment portfolios and growth-oriented companies. He is actively involved with–QualiSpace.com, a leading domain name registrar and a web hosting company helping various corporates in establishing online presence. He is also involved with Infraster.com, a remote IT Infrastructure management company which takes care of IT Infrastructure remotely covering management, migration and monitoring of servers and various other IT start-ups covering reselling of online web services products. Hiren’s core expertise in dealing with web infrastructure and data centres has helped Defencely ride the crest of success.