Solar VPS Blog

Hacking Prevention: How a VPS Can Reduce Hacking Risks

Hacking prevention is a very important element of smooth business operations.
Image by Javad Rajabzade from Pixabay

Nobody wants to put their business’ sensitive information and data at risk, but hacking scams are a real threat. While there will always be a possibility of hacking, phishing, forced entry, and brute force attack scams, business owners can do many things to protect themselves from these risks. Having strong passwords and antivirus software is an excellent starting point, but sometimes, these precautions alone are not enough to stop the bad guys. At Solar VPS, we want to help your business excel at security. All of our VPS plans are protected and secured to ensure you can efficiently and safely proceed in all your business matters.

What is a VPS?

When your business is accessing its hosting needs, the first thing to consider is a virtual personal server versus a cloud-based public server. A VPS is a virtual operating system that rests within a more extensive parent server system. Since it is not cloud-based, it is automatically more secure, as only designated users can access it. One way to imagine a VPS server working is as an emulation of a physical server. In other words, it can mimic other servers within one shared server. For their ease of use and secure connections, VPS control panels have become one of the most popular choices for servers. 

VPS Hacking Prevention

At Solar VPS, we want to help you protect all your business’s personal information. Not only do our VPS plans come equipped with standard top-of-the-line antivirus software, but we also implement regular security scans. In addition to these procedures, Solar VPS is here 24/7 to answer any of your questions related to security and smooth business operations. Let us help you succeed safely. 

What You Can Do For Hacking Prevention

In addition to Solar VPS’s numerous steps to ensure a safe connection, there are many things you as a user can do to reduce the risk of hacking. Hacking prevention happens on many levels, so it’s best when all elements work together to create a tightly woven, safe connection. Some of the most powerful steps of hacking prevention start with you as a business owner and a firm understanding of your Solar VPS connection. 

Keep Software Up-to-Date

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of hacking is to keep your software up-to-date. Solar VPS makes this easy with regular software updates to all of our plans. Outdated software is an easy target to infiltrate by all sorts of hacking and phishing scams. Schedule regular updates so you don’t have to worry about remembering to update your software. 

Monitor Your VPS Logins

Another critical step in security is monitoring your logins. By monitoring your logins, you can see everyone who has accessed your VPS within any given time. This also makes it easier to determine whether someone hacked into your system after the fact, although the point is to avoid this in the first place. Solar VPS makes it easy for you to track and monitor all of your VPS login activity so you can report any suspicious logins immediately. 

Control User Access

This idea goes well with the concept of monitoring your logins. This means you should only give people access to the files and applications that they need to perform their job duties. It also means making sure to properly remove people and change passwords after someone leaves your company. This is important, since upset employees who may have been let go could potentially leak sensitive data if not appropriately removed from these systems. 

Stop Brute Force Attacks

Hackers know the ins and outs of the computer world. This means they know how to detect weaknesses and when to use these against your company. Weak passwords are one way that hackers can gain access to your VPS account information. At Solar VPS, we also have included software that helps warn users about these brute force attacks. It can stop the attacks and warn you of suspicious activity to help keep your sensitive data protected. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Protect Against Malware

You should also invest in malware protection. Luckily for you, this comes standard with all of our Solar VPS plans. Malware protection ensures that no hacking attempts are being made through files already in circulation or installed on your computer. It serves as a warning signal for any suspicious activity. 

Perform Regular Backups

Another critical step is to regularly back up your information as a precaution should anyone hack your account. This will ensure that you still have all of your personal information and data necessary for business purposes. It will also make it easier to add additional antivirus software to protect against hackers while still performing daily operations. 

Contact Solar VPS Today

Solar VPS is here for all of your web hosting needs and business needs. We understand that you need fast, reliable, and secure connections to efficiently carry out your business operations. Security is a priority for all that we do at Solar VPS; you can rest assured knowing we have your back. Want to learn more about our services and what we can do for you? Give us a call today toll-free at (800) 799-1713 or follow us on our social media platforms for more information.

How the Grinch Stole the Retail Industry's Christmas… And Keeping the Grinch Out of Your Cloud Data

IT breach You have probably heard by now that the Grinch was busy this Christmas. A total of six major retailers, including Target and Neiman Marcus, were successfully infiltrated by malware, and massive amounts of user data were stolen. This trend is not just ominous for consumers. It highlights the sophistication of malware, the boldness of hackers, and the continuing threat to all businesses, especially SMB. The reason that SMB are more vulnerable to attacks is that they may not have as many goodies for cybercriminals to grab, but they often don’t have proper protections in place, and a single hack is more likely to drive them out of business. How serious is the threat for businesses? PCWorld tells the story of an executive at a Chicago manufacturing company that barely escaped a loss of hundreds of thousand dollars to controllers of malware. A virus downloaded to the CFO’s computer used standard phishing protocol to steal from the business. When the CFO browsed to the company’s bank account, she was redirected to a fake but otherwise identical site owned by the hackers. A message informed her to call customer service about a problem with the account. When the CFO called the number, she was asked a handful of “verification” questions. Moments later, $300,000 had been withdrawn by a third-party. Luckily, the company responded swiftly, and the bank was able to retain the funds. Despite the happy ending to the Chicago firm’s hack, many small-to-medium businesses do not fare as well. PCWorld cites statistics from the National Cyber Security Alliance that demonstrate how prevalent and damaging hacking is for SMB:
  • 31% of companies breached in 2012 were small businesses
  • 20% of the hacks were successful
  • 60% of the companies successfully hacked were bankrupt within half a year.
Who was behind the attack? A teenager? Web security company IntelCrawler (watch out for their super-creepy 404 error message page) investigated the incident, which according to Target impacted 70 million of its shoppers. Its findings revealed that BlackPOS, a pre-packaged and relatively unsophisticated piece of malware designed by a Russian teenager and purchased by the attackers, was used to infiltrate both Target’s and Neiman Marcus’s systems. Originally called KAPTOXA  (Russian slang for potato) and responsible for all six additional retailer attacks, the software first appeared online in 2013 and has been used for breaches of retailers based in Australia, Canada, and the United States. A report published in Slate revealed that the teenager, who used the screen name ree4, sold KAPTOXA (aka BlackPOS) to more than five dozen hackers, most of them based in Eastern Europe. It further clarifies that the attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus were launched separately: it now seems likely that the only link between them was the malware that was used. In fact, according to The New York Times, Neiman Marcus was breached in July but only became aware of the issue in December. What was taken & why it happened According to Wired, the Target hack began on Black Friday and collected information from the retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) devices. For over two weeks, it transmitted data from credit and debit cards belonging to over 40 million people to the owners of the malicious software. The hackers also received contact information for 70 million customers. All told, 11 GB of data were taken before the company was able to identify and block the intrusion. Avivah Litan, an analyst for Gartner, calls the incident “a big failure of the whole industry.” The retail giant, along with T.J. Maxx and several other retail stores and credit card processing companies, was the target of broadly destructive hacking in 2005. However, according to the analysis in Wired, the security mechanisms in place at retail stores were not substantially improved following that widescale incident, an assertion expected to be used in class-action lawsuits against the “big-box” store. Ensuring strong security In a climate in which retailers are being successfully targeted by hackers, security has become a concern of all organizations. A nonprofit called the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) was created in 2008 with the specific goal of educating the public and industry professionals about proper security precautions to keep users safe. The organization both provides information on sound security practices with regards to web hosting and best practices for businesses to maintain and improve their systems. Similarly, Microsoft provides a security checklist, a list of considerations for organizations with regards to their own cloud systems, so that security is a top priority. Although the checklist is geared toward governmental agencies, its basic parameters are of use to businesses as well:
  • Privacy – Ideally a provider will encrypt your data, make it anonymous, and make your locations of remote access inaccessible.
  • Integration – In the case of a hybrid solution, you can make use of integration with security tools you have in place for your other systems.
  • Certification – If you have specific compliance concerns, check with your provider to make sure they are certified to meet your needs. Develop a system of metrics so you can analyze and track your cloud hosting environment. Consider the process required of your users to enter and leave the system.
  • Access – Your system should have protections (of course) to guard against malicious intrusion. Specifically consider safeguards in place for your databases.
  • Software – How does your platform keep your code from becoming corrupt? How are people vetted for managerial positions in which they might have greater access to your code? How do they test or model for security threats?
  • Location – The country in which your provider is headquartered will affect the laws surrounding your data.
  • Rights – Are you the owner of the data on your systems? Do you want to encrypt it, and do you have encryption keys that you want to use? Do you have a backup of the data? What is the process for purging the backup?
Today, malicious IT attacks are a concern for any organization. In the case of SMB, protection is especially critical, with 3 out of every 5 small business hacks resulting in bankruptcy. A cloud solution that use strong security parameters, as established in Microsoft’s checklist, can safeguard companies from harm.