Showing posts with label rss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rss. Show all posts

Monday, 26 September 2011

RSS and Related Security Issues For Business People

While RSS is a very simple way to expand your business and nothing complex is involved in RSS feed systems, you should never underestimate the security issues in any digitized systems, not even in really simple technology like RSS. A business company should always be aware of possible security risks in any system they are employing to help them in their tasks.

Most of you might believe there would not be much security issues in RSS feeds and feel that you need not worry about any cases of exploiting of your system but that's just a myth. Malicious attackers can inject scripts inside the feeds and affect thousands of feed readers with even a single vulnerability discovered in the popular RSS reader or aggregators.

Bad HTML or javascript can be injected as malware inside the feeds and if your business is gathering content from other sources and adding them to feeds, your feeds are likely to be affected by such malwares. Such scripts are generally injected in the feed titles, descriptions, links and other components of the RSS feeds. The scripts injected can exploit the possible vulnerabilities in the RSS readers of your subscribers leading to possible control of your subscriber's PC by the attacker. This can open possible backdoors by the installation of trojans or keyloggers using the proper exploits such as browser exploits, activex exploits, etc. and let the attacker steal the data by using possible local zone security attacks which can be the worst thing you can imagine happening to your business as customers are the life blood of every business and you engage customers everywhere. And if your customers are affected, then ultimately your business will be affected. Hence extreme care should be taken while importing content from other sources to develop your RSS contents.

Many times business owners like to include the comments from subscribers in the RSS contents and mostly they hardly watch the actual content in those comments. There is always a possibility of injection of malicious scripts in those comments as well. So proper filtering and stripping mechanism has to be employed before storing new contents to your RSS feeds rather than just storing those comments in the feed contents. The HTML tags such as script, embed, object, etc. are the ones that must be stripped out in most cases to avoid possible security issues. Also, using safe and secure RSS reader or aggregator is a good approach to RSS security. So you should choose the most secure RSS reader or aggregator from the available ones and suggest those to your subscribers. Also, make sure that your customers and employees use the latest and patched version of the reader so that maximum level of security is ensured.

In many cases, the RSS generators and other services in the RSS servers are also prone to security attacks and the attackers might be able to gain certain level of privilege in the system. In such case, the attackers can replace the original RSS feeds with their own affected version of RSS feeds which will then be delivered to your customers affecting your customers and your business as well. This can be devastating as this might lead not only to the script injections in the feeds but also stealing of many sensitive information from the server. For example, if your RSS server is used to host your business website or maybe for file sharing, the critical data related to them might be compromised as well. So proper security assessment of the server and network from the security professionals is necessary before taking your system live for production usage.

As a business owner, you must understand that security is a necessity in any system, be it a physical system or be it a digitized and online system and RSS is not an exception to this. If you want to succeed as a business owner, you should never underestimate the need of security and privacy and you should employ proper level of security as discussed above in the RSS system. Security in RSS system will ensure gaining of customers and expansion and promotion of your business so do not miss security practices in your RSS feed contents.