Verizon Removes FTP Access For Security… Well, Security Of Its Revenue At Least

from the lame dept

It’s really amazing that companies don’t recognize that taking away features to charge for them almost never goes over well. Adding features that can be charged for will work, but removing features that were free and widely used is rarely a good idea. It appears that Verizon is still learning that lesson. The company apparently provides some hosting space for all of its customers, and until recently allowed subscribers to access that space via FTP. However, it recently announced that it was doing away with FTP access and instead, users were now forced to make use of Verizon’s own clunky web tools interface. That’s quite a nuisance for some users.

But where this gets more interesting is that it appears Verizon is simply lying about the reasons why. The company is telling users it’s for “security” reasons. But… while it’s discontinuing FTP for its regular subscribers, those who pay up for a higher level hosting plan (starting at $5.95 per month) seem to still be able to use FTP. In other words, it’s only a security problem if you’re not paying — suggesting that the “security” is more about Verizon’s revenue than the security of your content. And while it’s true that unencrypted FTP can have some security issues (mainly on untrusted networks), there are ways to deal with that with secure, encrypted FTP offerings.

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Companies: verizon

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Comments on “Verizon Removes FTP Access For Security… Well, Security Of Its Revenue At Least”

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Spaceboy (profile) says:

So my question to Verizon is –

What is different about the FTP access your paying customers get when compared to those you just cut off for ‘security reasons’? What upgrades did you make to your FTP system that warrant cutting people off and charging for them? What specific security threats were you unable to counter that forced this decision?

Ven says:

One nit pick

In today’s world all networks should be considered untrusted. Even if your laptop says that it’s connected to your home wireless network you may not be. I say shame on any hosting company that is allowing any administrative access over an unencrypted link.

I wonder if Verizon is allowing paying customers a migration period to a new solution while free customers have just be cut off?

Anonymous Coward says:

Who are they to claim their proprietary tools are safer than the widely known and used FTP protocol (which can be secured through SSL/TLS)? Can we have access to their “secure tools” code? Most likely not.

But it’s easy to lie to your customers when:
– Most don’t know any better
– Most don’t have an alternative provider to sign up with (even though there are tons of cheaper hosts out there)

They simply feed of the ignorance of their “newb” users to make more money. Anyone with half a brain would just move to a 5$/month host, not like there’s a shortage of those out there.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

FTP is a real security problem

The fact that Verizon still allows it for some users gives lie to their own reasons, however…

FTP is a true security problem, and removing it is the Right Thing To Do. Forcing users to use a web interface instead is totally bogus. SCP gives all the functionality of FTP without the security problems.

Verizon seems a bit confused about this issue, but the issue is very real. Anyone running servers should not, under any circumstances, have an internet-facing FTP server.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 FTP is a real security problem

Verizon filter port 80 to force you to use their hosting.

And this is advertised as ?Internet service?? Why on earth do you blockheads put with this?

Maybe you should all just pay for ?Facebook access? and then go and live inside a happy walled-garden community with your ?Friends?.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: FTP is a real security problem

Just because some hosts offer it doesn’t mean they all do. Google “shared hosting SSH access” and see how many offer it. Only the newb ones do, or the ones with extremely good system administrators that actually monitor the servers. Not Verizon’s case, obviously.

That being said, I work for 3 web hosting companies. None of them offer SSH access for shared accounts. You want SSH? Get a VPS. There’s no point in offering SSH access. It requires more work from your employees and down the line, it’s a security issue.

My ISP used to offer free hosting with SSH, 10+ years ago. As soon as it was abused, they killed it. If you don’t keep you systems up to date and well protected (and even if you do) there are still tons of escalation exploits that don’t get patched. You can lose your system faster than you enabled SSH.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 FTP is a real security problem

I would never pay a dime for a shared host that didn’t offer SSH. Sorry, but I have better things to do than to push and pull files to make minor edits – I’ll stick with vi over SSH kthanks. I also have cron jobs on other servers that access content on shared hosts over SSH using public key authentication.

Maybe no ssh is fine for the web design folks and other computer illiterate, but the rest of us need terminal access.

Furthermore, I don’t think laziness or incompetence are particularly good reasons for not allowing user SSH access.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: SCP = FTP over SSH!?

No it isn?t. SCP has nothing to do with FTP. It lets you do secure copying of files over SSH.

SSH also offers SFTP, which gives you FTP-style directory-browsing and upload/download functions, but since it runs over SSH, it 1) only needs one open port (port 22), and 2) is far more secure.

FTP over SSL/TLS is a complicated fudge that is more trouble than it?s worth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: FTP is a real security problem

Honestly, I’ve been running servers for a long time. FTP with TLS has always been my first choice. However, there are basic rules to follow. Change the default port, disable all administrative privileges, and make sure e very account is chroot’ed. Also have scripts parse your logs and firewall repeat offenders. But I guess a big hosting company with lots of resources can’t be bothered securing their systems if they can make extra money out of the whole thing.

vastrightwing (profile) says:

Money grab

They’ve sucked up the $0.20 (that’s twenty cents or 20/100 of a dollar, since we all know about Verizon math) text messaging revenue, so they need a new source of revenue. This is about all the customers using IP cameras out there which upload images to a FTP site. Now what are these people going to do? Pay Verizon more in order to continue.

Moshe Feder (profile) says:


As a Verizon customer, this is disappointing but not surprising.

When Andrew Cuomo was NY State attorney general, he raised his political profile by scare mongering about child porn on Usenet. The result was that Verizon dropped not just for the offending news groups but all support for NNTP. Did they cut their price to compensate for dropping this long-standing service?

What do you think?

Anonymous Coward says:

Wow can you be more of an ass hat hater. There is a major security risk leaving grandma and the other little 12 year old working on bieber fansite pages having ftp access. Verizon doesn’t need these completely clueless consumers who are using coffee cup ftp on malware infected pc flooding their network with random ftp traffic and causing a DoS. If you want decent hosted you should never look at your ISP in the first place. Go somewhere like bluehost or here is an even mroe novel concept, rent a server somewhere.

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