FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is quite a long standing internet protocol. It owes much of its success to client software such asÂ CuteFTP, which enable simple uploading and downloading of files.
However, the internet has changed dramatically since FTP was first devised. As a result, the standard FTP protocol has a few foibles that were not envisioned when it was first developed, but FTP clients such as CuteFTP are able to solve these and provide an all round solution for the modern IT professional.
One of the main problems regarding FTP is that it was never really designed to be a secure protocol, especially compared to modern internet security requirements. As a result, FTP can become vulnerable to malicious attacks, such as brute force attacks, packet sniffing, or port stealing.This is because standard FTP cannot encrypt its traffic, so information such as usernames and passwords can be read by anybody performing a packet sniffing attack on a network.
Need for Security
For some users, the need for security is an essential. Ensuring networks have password encryption,Â cable providersÂ have adequate firewalls, and systems are all running anti-virus software is now part and parcel of good network security.
Because users access FTP servers over the internet, they can be left exposed to attack, which is why FTP clients such as CuteFTP use secure versions of FTP that prevent such security problems.
Secure File Transfer Protocol
Secure File Transfer ProtocolÂ (SFTP) is technically not related to FTP. However, as it has a similar command set to FTP most people refer to SFTP as a secure form of FTP. SFTP can do pretty much everything FTP can, such as uploading and downloading files, and transferring data.However, many standard FTP clients canâ€™t talk to SFTP servers, and many SFTP clients canâ€™t talk to FTP servers. Fortunately, CuteFTP can, which makes it ideal for people concerned about security.
SFTP uses the Secure Shell Protocol (SSH) for uploading and downloading files and transferring information.Â SSH encrypts the client commands and the data, which prevents any sensitive information such as usernames and passwords from being read by anybody that intercepts the transfer, enabling peace of mind when transmitting over the internet or an open network.
This in essence turns the SFTP transfer into a perfectly safe and private data stream that only authorized users can gain access to.
While the main purpose of SFTP is to transfer data securely over the internet, it can also provide access to the file system on the SFTP server. Because SFTP encrypts the transfer connection between the userâ€™s computer and the SFTP server, any data transferred is as secure as other forms of data transfer such as HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure), which is often used by online banks and other organizations that require extreme security.
As an added measure of security, SFTP utilizes an encrypted fingerprint system, which ensures the SFTP connection is exchanging data with the right server. During the first connection, the SFTP server asks the client for confirmation before it provides a secure fingerprint key. Once the user confirms the server is the correct one, the SFTP server sends this fingerprint information, which enables a user to check each time he or she connects to the server that no unauthorized user is sitting between them and SFTP server and trying to intercept information.
Going secure with CuteFTP
CuteFTPÂ is an ideal client for use in secure environments. Not only does CuteFTP make use of SFTP and permit secure connections to SFTP servers, but it also makes use of other secure protocols too, including:
- FTPS -Â An extension of standard FTP, which provides support for TLS (Transport Layer Security) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) cryptographic protocols for encrypting data streams
- OpenPGP EncryptionÂ – an automatic encryption and decryption system for secure data transfer.
- HTTPS -Â A secure form of HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), which uses SSL standards.
- OTP –Â One Time Password authentication for secure logins.
Because of the security measures provided with the CuteFTP client, it is the ideal solution for all sorts of applications where security is a concern. CuteFTP enables easy, fast and secure file transfer, making CuteFTP perhaps the best FTP client for IT professionals and those serious about security.