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SFTP File Transfer Protocol

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SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is the advanced version of FTP(file transfer protocol) which ensures security while transferring files between the organizations/computer. It is also known as SSH(Secure Shell). It works on port no. 22 and uses the client-server model

Features of SFTP :

  • It encrypts the data.
  • It executes the command.
  • It secures and compresses the data for transmission.
  • It provides authentication to username and password.
  • It improves uploading and downloading files functionality.
  • It also provides authentication to the public key.

Working :
SFTP ensures data security by applying SSH Message Authentication Code(MAC) to data packets. Firstly, a safe and secure connection is established by SFTP then it provides an advanced level of protection for data transferring. The authentication of users to the file being shared on SSH data stream, everything is encrypted by SFTP. If any unauthorized person or third party tries to access the data, it will be incomprehensible or unreadable due to encryption. 
For example–  In WhatsApp, Messages are end to end encrypted.




Advantages of SFTP :

1. Speed and Efficiency –
It can transfer large and bulky files in one go. Data will be transmitted quickly as well as efficiently.

2. Lower down risks while exchanging data –
SFTP sends the data in encrypted form so no unauthorized person can access it. It also provides host authentication for checking whether the server is right or not.

Encryption and Decryption

Encryption and Decryption

3. Power data accessibility –
Data is easily accessible, as SFTP provides both- users to the server as well as server to server facilities.



Disadvantages of SFTP : 

1. Difficult to manage –
Due to too many protection features, it becomes harder to manage.

2. Security threat –
SFTP is not fully secured. It can be easily attacked by cyber attackers. Even the passwords and user IDs are not always protected.

Configuration of SFTP :

Configuration of SFTP for windows –

  • In most windows OS, SSH is preinstalled, else first install SSH in your system from open source.
  • Open the control panel and search for “Window Defaulter firewall”, then click on “Advanced settings”.
  • A new popup will open, click on “Inbound rules”.
  • Now click on “ New rule” in the right corner.
  • At last, select an SFTP client to use. Generally, window SFTP clients use WinSCP, FileZilla, Cyberduck.

Configuration of SFTP for MacOS –

  • In all Mac devices, SSH is preinstalled.
  • Now for opening the SFTP port, MacOS firewall settings are accessed by System Preferences >Security & Privacy >Firewall>Firewall Options.
  • FileZilla and Cyberduck are available for SFTP clients.

Configuration of SFTP for Linux –

  • For installing SSH on ubuntu write “sudo apt install ssh” in the command prompt.
  • For allowing SFTP port no.22 write the “sudo ufw allow ssh” command.
  • FileZilla and many open sources are available for Linux SFTP clients.

How to secure SFTP server – 

  • Use a strong password(by using capital letters, small letters, special characters  Ex-Geeks123_45#@$Cn#)
  • Keep a check on the account consistently if there are any unnecessary activities contact your administrator and change the password.
  • By using a strong algorithm.
  • Use file security to secure your data
  • SFTP server can be secured by using blacklists and whitelists.
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Last Updated : 05 Nov, 2021
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