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Online shoe giant Zappos.com recently announced that its website was hacked, exposing the names, e-mail addresses, addresses, phone numbers and partial credit card numbers of its nearly 24 million customers. Sadly, this security breach could have been prevented if the company had not used an open source framework to develop its website.

dzine it has been warning clients of the security risks associated with open-source designs for the past five years and, in most cases, our staff recommends against the utilization of an open source framework to build website applications.

Large company websites, developed using free open-source software, are popping up everywhere. In fact, website development firms have become breeding grounds for websites developed using the three largest open source content management systems.

Open source content management systems (CMS) are good starting points for small to mid-sized websites because they can help to lower development costs dramatically. However, large websites, particularly those that store personal credit card information, should never be built using a free open source platform.

In the case of Zappos.com, the illegal, unauthorized access was the work of hackers and the company has since reset customer passwords and has urged customers to change login credentials on any other sites for which they use the same password and username.

If your website's core programming functions are open source, anyone can learn the programming code that runs your site, including hackers. In fact, hackers are constantly discovering new exploits to these open source platforms and they often post these exploits on public forums for other hackers to use. The result can be devastating.

Zappos.com uses Drupal's Free CMS, which has been known to have exploits because of public access to the system's core programming code.

When it comes to large websites, no amount of savings on a development project is worth putting your customers' personal information at risk. Avoid using open-source platforms at all costs and if your website is currently built on an open-source framework, contact a website development firm that can offer personalized application development services to redevelop your site.

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