Security and RSS

The sad news about RSS is that some people only use this tool to stuff keywords into the feed, which is known as RSS spam. The truth is that these spammy blurbs are not just terrible for search engines that are trying to place the feeds but it could also be a security issue for many.

As the popularity of RSS increases so does the security issues. While publishers are enjoying the wonders of producing real time news to their readers, hackers are keeping an eye on this technology as well. The sad news is that RSS even in the raw form may be vulnerable to hacker attacks. The most vulnerable aspect of RSS is the launching of pod casts. The enclosure field is used to launch the pod cast which is not normally a huge problem as the tag is not seen in the RSS feed, however, the tag is used most commonly to link images, MP3 files, and documents just like is seen with attachments in email messages.

Distributing these files via RSS has helped with syndication but it also has its issues. For individuals that accept to download the attachment the risk is always there for getting viruses and spyware. This means that any person is at risk if they download an attachment even found in an RSS feed.

The sad news is that the main reason this can be a security issue is that news aggregators, readers, and pod catchers will automatically download the information found in the enclosure field even if the file is not recognized. This means that you are taking a huge risk of getting a virus.

RSS developers are aware of the risks involved with the enclosure field, but they are not working to stop the problem by adding screening to the RSS feed. Screening, authentication, and filtering added to the RSS feed can greatly reduce the risks of dangers to your computer.

It is very sad that there are security issues but if we pay attention to the type of RSS feed we use and ensure there is some type of screening, the risk will be lowered. Pay close attention to your RSS reader and you will be safer in the long run.

Always use a reader that has added a security feature such as screening all downloads to ensure dangers are not automatically downloaded or you could be in real trouble with realizing it.