An FTP server offers files available for download through an FTP protocol. It is quite a common practice to facilitate the remote data which is shared between systems. It has core importance in the FTP architecture and helps to exchange files over the net. You can find various online FTP servers with our list that you can use to download free software, games, movies and ISO files.
FTP Clients such as FileZilla Client, WinSCP, Core FTP and FTP Voyager help to facilitate the transfer of file across the net, if you are sending your files using this then they either get uploaded or downloaded to the FTP server. When uploading, these are transferred from the personal system to the server.
Are these Free?
Most of them can be used for free.
It is being used in different well-known departments such as transcription and printing services, IT development and architectural and design firms.
How does an FTP server work?
As mentioned above with this you can download and upload files. Its administrator has the power to restrict access to download various files and from different folders residing within its server. These files can be retrieved by common web browsers but there’s a little twist, they might not support protocols such as FTPs. Now, when you have this connection you can easily resume any download which has been interrupted.
If any client wants to establish a connection with this server, the username and passcode are sent using USER and PASS commands, as the server accepts them, the client received an acknowledgment and the session can begin. Failure to open ports 20 and 21 prevents full back and forth transfer from occurring.
If you do not have login credentials then it can provide with connection but it can authorize these to have limited access. Moreover, they provide anonymous access as well with which you can anonymously get files but prohibits uploading to FTP servers.
Now, other than this it is used for offsite backup of critical data. If for you security is not a bigger issue then these are inexpensive solutions for both transferring of data and backup operations.
But, when simple login and authentication features are not sufficient to provide enough security then two you would find two secure file transfer protocol alternates namely; SFTP and FTP/S. If you are not aware then these are additional security options like data encryption.
Importance of implementing FTP Security
With its help, you can transfer files between the client and server without much of a hassle. First and foremost is that you need to know and understand the risk which you might encounter when you use it to be sure that your security policy describes how to minimize it.
Remote command capability can also be used to submit commands to the server. It is great to work with remote systems or to move files between different systems. However, it’s used across net or other networks which are not trustworthy and expose you to various threats and security risks.
It can be useful when you need to transfer sensitive data like trade secrets that might not by covered by any specific data privacy rule but can be quite devastating once they get into the wrong hands. Therefore, businessmen may use this to transmit their files which carry trade secrets or other information whereas a private user might want to encrypt the communication too.
How To Find Online Publically Available FTP Servers (List for Games, ISO, Movies and Software)
The web is not a safe place if you are not ready for it. Servers are an entry point to all the data you hold and if you leave it insecure people can simply just search it and get access to it. It is like having a house with open doors.
There are search engines such as Shodan available that you can use to find IP addresses of servers that are public facing.
MMNt is a website developed by Russian ethical hacking researchers that crawl the web for any open FTP server. They provide information in categories such as:
- Android APK
- ISO images
Alternatively, you can also create your own crawler script in Python (if you have the right IDE setup) that will do the exact same however, you will need a lot of computing power for the crawling bot.
4 Reasons why FTP is classed as insecure online
Though it might be providing you with security in many ways, it is a threat to your business as well.
- Security Vulnerabilities
It lacks security controls to handle cyber threats. It was not designed with a secure file transfer in mind.
3 Examples of this:
- IDs and passcodes which are used to login FTP servers and send files are not protected always.
- Encryption needs IT expertise thus making it difficult and a lot expensive to safely send files.
- The clients are free and common, providing each security theft with tools to breach systems.
2) Not much control over the data
It sends files on the basis of a first come first basis therefore you cannot:
- Create enforceable policies to schedule transfers that are above lower-priority work,
- Server channels of transmission for sensitive transfers based on business requirements.
Not enough logging capabilities
You cannot fix what you can’t see and with this, you shall discover failures as it cannot:
- Notify you when any kind of delay or even failure occurs.
- Route all such notifications to members of the team so that the issue can be quickly resolved.
- Present with log file activity.
The data Recovery process is not ideal
Using this you are probably in a fire-fighting mode due to:
- It is not able to recover back any failed connection automatically therefore you would have to manually restart the process.
- It does not come with any checkpoint restart therefore you have to resend the files without the fact of how much was sent before.
- The worst part is that failures need to be discovered which means there would be a delay in resending the affected files.
- If there are any kinds of errors then they shall need many calls and emails with different parties to correct them.
6 Security Tips to Lockdown your Secure FTP Servers
Passwords are paramount – make them strong
A strong password is what keep you protected from all the ban-handlings therefore it needs to be 7 characters in length and must have numeric and alphanumeric characters, including at least one special character. Moreover, change it after every 30 months which is around 90 days. Make sure that the last 4 passwords are not used again and store them using strong hashing encryption algorithms such as SHA2.
Stop making everyone Administrators
Server administration needs to be controlled tightly. Make sure to restrict their duty to certain users and require them to use multi-factor authentication. Store your passwords in the AD domain or LDAP server but don’t I repeat store them on the server. Don’t make use of common admin user IDs such as “root” or “admin” as this is the first thing a security theft shall try.
Follow best practice documentation
- Keep your software up to date.
- Implement good key management.
- Lock down ports that you do not need.
- Require re-authentication of sessions that are inactive.
- In case you are working with the US government data then you only need to use FIPS 140-2 validated encryption ciphers.
- If you have any scripts that communicate with your FTP server, make sure the coding standard is high and follows security guidelines.
Apply Server Hardening Techniques
For this keep in mind the following things:
- Make sure to not use any version of SSL or TLS 1.0
- Use Elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithms.
- Do not use any Explicit FTPS unless and until you force encryption for authentication and data channels.
Disable Standard FTP and use FTPS
If on your server standard FTP is running then you need to disable it as soon as possible. It has been in the market over the past 30 years and does not meet the standards of modern security threats. FTP lacks privacy and integrity and it becomes a lot easier for the security theft to have hands on your data. We recommend that you switch secure alternates such as SFTP, FTPS, or even both.
Utilize Privileged access management
It is always risky to create OS-level user accounts for trade partners as it creates a pathway to get access to other resources. Make sure that user credentials are kept far away from the FTP app. Do not give permission to any anonymous user or shared accounts. So what can be done is, set rules such as usernames should be 7 characters and account needs to be disabled after 6 login failures or 90 days of inactivity automatically.
FTP servers are very useful methods for having a backup or sharing files within your team or even providing them elsewhere. If you leave your ports open or the IP not behind a firewall then you will be exposed on the web. There is however a positive side that you can use a Public FTP server list with IPs to access content that may be free with an alternate way of download.
Disclaimer: We do not endorse or encourage to download of copyright material or anything of such matter illegally. Always respect your laws and the author of files.