Security exploits affect all Internet-connected servers.
Address discovered exploits immediately. Potential abuses include, for example:
- turning servers into spam factories,
- storage of files that are not yours,
- data theft,
- password theft, and
- system destruction for “fun”.
There are ways to reduce your exposure to security exploits.
Consider the following example. If thieves are going through a neighborhood, they are likely to try door handles and only actually attempt a theft if they come upon an unlocked door. Locked doors aren’t worth the effort. Similarly, many cyber attacks are simply passing attempts to log in to any server that they can reach. They try to connect on standard ports using a list of user names and passwords that can be downloaded from the “dark web”. So, by taking steps to “lock the doors” to your server, you are no longer an easy target and most attackers simply move on.
We recommend taking the following steps at a minimum to reduce your risk:
- Disable the root account for remote logins, because it can access everything (and it is also the most attempted user name).
- Disable services that you do not use or need.
- Only connect to your server remotely using SSH, and disallow telnet connections.
- Use a non-standard port to connect to your server via SSH.
- Place your server behind a firewall. Open ports that absolutely must be connected to the Internet, but close all others. Most Internet Service Providers supply a basic firewall, and you are able to purchase firewalls in stores, but these are not good options for commercial use. These devices come pre-enabled with remote access and default credentials that are in the user manual.
Unfortunately, a locked door doesn’t deter a thief with a key to the house. Similarly, a guessed password thwarts most cybersecurity precautions.
Make sure that you follow these guidelines when choosing a password:
- Use a strong password. A good password has at least 16 characters, including numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and special characters. Don’t use dictionary words.
- Change your password at least quarterly.
- Do not repeat passwords. Stolen passwords are added to an online database, making them forever vulnerable.
- If possible, use encryption keys instead of a user name and password to log into your server remotely.
Contact us today to evaluate your server’s vulnerability to exploits and to help you pick out a commercial firewall that is appropriate for your business.