The Building Blocks of Websites and How to Protect against Cyber Crimes

Written By

Capsicum Group

In today's digital age, website development is rich with user-friendly online tools that allow even the most nascent user to embark on building and hosting a website. However, amid this accessibility, it’s also crucial to understand the players involved in web development in order to protect against cybercrimes. As a first step, let’s start by identifying the three key players involved in building a website: Hosting Providers, Registrars, and Registrants. 

Hosting Provider, The Digital Landlord: They provide space for your website, and its content, to reside on the internet. A Hosting Provider such as, Host Gator, BlueHost, IONOS, DreamHost, provide the server space and digital infrastructure (i.e. plumbing, electricity, HVAC) to ensure the website is operational.

Regarding the security of your website, Hosting Providers are responsible for implementing security measures to protect their facilities.  Security measures may include firewalls, frequent code reviews, and regular updates to prevent unauthorized access, data breaches and other cyber vulnerabilities. Capsicum Group (Capsicum) proactively works on these security measures to ensure a robust perimeter and safeguards against malicious actors and viruses.

Registrar, The Custodian of Domain Names: When you decide on a name for your website (e.g., you need to register it with a domain Registrar. A Registrar is responsible for managing the Domain Name System (DNS),  the sale of domain names and the assignment of IP addresses to ensure each domain’s uniqueness. A Registrar is the equivalent to a post office, in the same way that a post office manages addresses and mail delivery, a DNS registrar manages domain names and their associated IP addresses, ensuring that when a user types in a website name, they are correctly routed to where that website is being hosted. 

You can also think of the Registrar as a middleman between the end user and the DNS. 

In safeguarding against cybercrimes Registrars implement security protocols to protect domain registrations from unauthorized transfers or hijacking attempts, such as domain hijacking or domain theft. In these domain attacks the malicious actor’s objective is to change the domain owner’s account credentials to gain control over the domain and redirect web traffic so that the IP address points to the hacker’s site instead of the original domain. For example, let’s say you are running for Mayor, if a malicious actor gained unauthorized access to the campaign website and pointed the IP address to nefarious content it could greatly harm the Mayor’s campaign. A real-world example is the 2016 attack on the DNC website. In order to mitigate these risks, Registrars often employ Secure Transmission Protocols, such as HTTPS, ensuring that communication between users and the registrar’s website is encrypted to protect sensitive information. A secure and reliable Registrar is essential for maintaining the integrity of your website's identity on the internet including address certificates.

Registrant, The Website Owner: The Registrant is the individual or entity that owns and controls the website, making decisions such as the domain name, website building tools (i.e. Squarespace, WordPress, etc.) and annual renewal. Website owners are also responsible for creating and managing the website content, ensuring it complies with legal and ethical standards. 

As the responsible party for the website, Registrants must stay vigilant with regular software updates and security assessments, and strong passwords. Being aware of cyber-attacks such as phishing, denial of services, brute-force, SQL injection and other common online scams can allow you to add an extra layer of protection.

Preventing and uncovering cybercrimes requires collaborative efforts between Hosting Providers, Registrars, Registrants, and Security Analysts such as Capsicum. One can think of the structure as Hosting Providers implement security measures to protect the server infrastructure while Registrars secure domain names against unauthorized access and Registrants maintain the integrity of their websites. Simultaneously, Security professionals tie all of this together by making sure that updates are timely, patches are performed, code is strong, and that anti-virus applications are in place. When a breach does occur, security providers address the incident by remediating, identifying the threat actors, and determine the scope of the incident

In the occurrence of a cybercrime, such as a phishing attack, these parties must work together to investigate and mitigate the threat.  Hosting Providers may assist in identifying vulnerabilities on the server, implementing proactive measures on the front end in attempts to mitigate an attack. Registrars can help track down the source of unauthorized domain transfers and Registrants can take steps to restore the website's security and determine protective steps for moving forward.

At Capsicum Group, we specialize in addressing cyber fraud and enhancing cybersecurity for our clients. We offer a range of proactive and reactive cyber security services tailored to meet the unique needs of both businesses and legal professionals. These services encompass security assessments, incident response retainers, compliance audits, technology and systems design, forensic investigations, and much more. By partnering with Capsicum, clients can fortify their defenses, support victims of cybercrimes, proactively mitigate cyber threats, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Our comprehensive approach helps legal professionals stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and contributes to creating a safer digital environment for all.