Knowledge Base

Understanding software vulnerabilities and protecting your account

Vulnerabilities in web applications are an inescapable reality. This article discusses software vulnerabilities and how you can minimize them to help keep your account secure.

About vulnerabilities

At A2 Hosting, security is very important to us. We make every effort to secure our servers at the operating system and networking level. However, individual customer accounts sometimes contain software vulnerabilities that expose them to attack.

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of attempts to compromise our customers' sites. The majority of these attempts are broad in scope and automated, rather than focused attacks on a specific site.

Hackers and spammers are the main perpetrators of these attacks. They want to take over vulnerable web sites to send spam, distribute malware, or incorporate the hosting account into a botnet and launch attacks on other sites and servers.

Software vulnerabilities are the gateway that allows malicious actors to gain access to an underlying hosting account.

Why vulnerabilities exist

Many customers use a content management system (CMS) or blogging application, such as WordPress or Drupal. Many others use an e-commerce application, such as Magento or PrestaShop. Any software program of significant size contains bugs, and web applications are no exception.

Malicious actors are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit these popular web applications. Similarly, the developers of these applications are constantly providing security patches to fix vulnerabilities. As a result, there is a constant race between application developers and malicious actors—one side wants to keep their applications secure, while the other side wants to compromise those same applications for nefarious purposes.

What you can do to protect your account

You play a major part in ensuring that your site remains as secure as possible. The most important thing you can do is regularly update any web applications you use (such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal). Doing so ensures that your site has the latest security patches.

When a software vulnerability is discovered, malicious actors immediately begin searching the internet for sites that use the affected application. The sooner you can update your site, the less chance that someone will be able to exploit a vulnerability and compromise your account.

What A2 Hosting does to protect your account

As mentioned previously, A2 Hosting provides security at the server level. This means we ensure the operating system is up to date with the latest security patches, and we proactively monitor network connections and performance.

In addition, for shared and reseller hosting customers, A2 Hosting has a partnership with Patchman to provide additional security. Patchman automatically fixes software vulnerabilities in many popular web applications, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. For more information about Patchman, please see this article.