Hackers are always on the hunt for servers that have vulnerabilities. So, if you are managing websites and dealing with servers, you will have to ensure that your servers are fully secured by utilizing various security measures.
You can minimize all the potential risks and ensure that your server and the data stored in it are safeguarded properly by taking the help of popular security tips. In this article, we will be discussing all the important security tips that will come in handy for ensuring your server is free from many online threats.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Tips to Secure Data on Your Web Servers
1. Establish a Secure Connection
When you connect with any remote servers, you will have to establish a safe and secure channel for communication. Utilizing SSH Protocol, it becomes easier to establish highly secure connections. In addition, unlike other platforms, like Telnet, SSH can access all the encrypted files in the transmission process.
By default, SSH will use port 22 to communicate with the servers. Everyone has an idea of this, including all the unethical and ethical hackers. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t configure these insignificant details that are seemingly important. However, when you change the port numbers, it reduces the vulnerabilities of the servers being hacked. Therefore, it’s important to utilize port numbers other than 22 such as 1024, 32, and 767.
2. Use SSH Keys Multi-Factor Authorizations
If you don’t want to use passwords, you can also protect your SSH servers using SSH keys. It is the right alternative to any other traditional logins. The keys will carry many more bits than a password and cannot be easily cracked by unethical hackers. The famous RSA 2048-bit encryption is equal to the 617-digit passwords.
3. Use SFTP ( Secure File Transfer Protocol)
When you transfer files from one server to another and don’t want hackers to steal or compromise your data, you must use SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol). It will help you encrypt the data files that you are sending and protect your data by authenticating it. SFTP makes use of two different connections, namely command channel and data channel, to transfer files securely. It will protect all the files during the transmission process.
4. Employ SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
SSL helps to safeguard any information transferred between two systems over the internet. It is generally used in both client-server and server-server interactions.
The program first scrambles all the data so that any specific sensitive information that includes client information cannot be stolen during the process of data transmission. The URL will have HTTPS that indicates that the data is secured.
Apart from encrypting data, it can also be used for user authentication. So, when you use a valid SSL certificate on your websites and servers, it will help you establish user authority. Many administrators configure their servers to interact with a centralized authority and use certificates like SSL that can authorize digital signatures.
5. Switch to Private Network Connections
Another best way to ensure that your communication is safe and secure by VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other private connections. There is software like OpenVPN and other private network connections that you can use on your servers. Open VPNs will help you access what happens in the outside world; therefore, exposing your servers to many vulnerable and malicious threats. However, it will restrict access to these malicious threat users when you use private networks or VPNs.
Private networks tend to use private IPs to create isolated interaction channels between the servers in the equivalent ranges. This permits many servers to present on the same account to share data and information without exposing it publicly.
If you are connecting with remote servers locally through private networks, it is advisable to use VPNs. A VPN will help to set up a fully secure and private connection.
6. Monitor Login Attempts
You need to use software that can monitor the login attempts on your server and help you protect your servers and websites against brute-force attacks. In general, these attacks use the hit and trial method to attempt logging into your servers. It uses almost all the letters and/or number combinations in the series form to gain access to your network systems.
The intrusion software will oversee all the required log files and identify the potential threats in login attempts. If these attempts exceed a specific set form, the software will block the IP addresses for a specific period.
7. Manage Users
Every server tend to have root users that can execute commands and programs. As the root users have the authority to execute commands and change the algorithm, it becomes quite vulnerable to the servers. This happens if any commands fail to get executed or if it’s in the wrong hands. Therefore, you must disable relevant authority access to root users using SSH.
As the root users enjoy significant powers, unethical hackers concentrate on cracking the passwords of a root user. Therefore, when you decide to disable users as a whole, you can put attackers in a very difficult situation and you might in turn save all your servers from any malicious threats.
You will have to come up with a limited user account for the root users as wellso that you can restrict outsiders from misusing any of the root privileges. This particular account will have restricted authority which would be supervised by you in order to perform any administrative works. They will have to use pseudo commands to perform their tasks.
Therefore, it becomes easier for you to monitor and administer the tasks they perform in the limited user account.
8. Establish Password Requirements
One important thing to ensure is to set password requirements and regulations that your team must follow who are working with the servers.
Don’t allow anyone to use default and easy passwords. You will have to enforce a minimum length and complexity of the passwords when setting them up. Ensure a lockout policy if anyone is inputting the passwords wrong three to five times. Also, don’t allow storing passwords if you are using any reversible encryption. You can also enforce session timeout if there is inactivity for more than five minutes or so. Moreover, it is advisable to secure your servers with a two-factor authentication system.
9. Set up Password Expirations Policies
When you are setting up any password expiry policies, you will have to follow a certain routine set when you are creating such requirements. For example, if you are putting out advanced security levels, you can set a 90-day password expiration policy which would be mentioned in the terms and conditions. This will make your servers more secure and authenticated.
10. Use Passphrases
Many reasons prove the importance of using passphrases in your server passwords. First, it helps you in elevating server security. Second, when finding out the differences in passphrases, we see that the passphrases are usually quite long enough and have spaces in between wordings. Therefore, you might often consider them to be a sentence that becomes difficult to guess or crack. However, you need not have to follow the same.
For example, you can keep a password passphrase like this: I am!Digitally177Equipped.
This example is actually a password; it contains symbols, letters in uppercase and lowercase, and unique characters.
Furthermore, you can keep easy passwords so that you can remember them. For example, you can use any random combination of words and make it difficult for anyone to crack.
11. Software Updates and Upgrades
When you are using servers to communicate, you must regularly keep an eye on all the updates and upgrades which would enhance the security firewalls of your server. It helps to avoid hackers and fix all the loopholes that might make your servers vulnerable to threats. You will have to get rid of the outdated services that have many weak points. Hackers can easily access your data and then steal the same data to their advantage . This might happen if you use the old security models or firewalls. Ensure that you are keeping all the things updated. You must also ensure that you out up better defenses for your system qns must keep up with updates and upgrades.
Automatic updates are always the best way to make sure that no updates are missed from the user’s end. However, you can allow the users to change the updates if they are finding it risky. Before you start with the back-end production updates, you must examine how the updates are performing in the given testing environment of the concerned computers.
You must also update your CMS (Content Management System), like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc., regularly. If you are using plugins with your CMS software, then those plugins also need to be updated. Every new update release will have security patches that can fix all the known security concerns.
12. Remove Unnecessary Services
You can improve your server’s security by minimizing attack vectors.
In cybersecurity, it means that you can install and maintain only basic requirements that are necessary to ensure seamless operations. For example, you can enable network ports utilized by the operating systems and other installed components.
The fewer the number of components that you have in your system; the better would the security controls be properly placed in your system. For example, when you are using Windows operating system, you need to operate with limited system components. Similarly, when you are using the Linux Operating System, you must have minimal installation components.
As many Linux distributions receive incoming connections through the internet, you can configure firewalls to permit specific ports and restrict unnecessary connections.
Check for all the dependencies before installing software so that you can ensure that you don’t add anything that is not required.
13. Hide Server Data
Make sure that you don’t provide much data about the underlying infrastructure of your server. You don’t have to expose every piece of information to the public. The less information you have about your servers in public domains, the better it is from the security perspective.
Also, you can hide the version details of the updates or upgrades installed on the server. By default, the sensitive information is revealed and hackers can use the information to breach and take authority of the server. You can remove this data by removing it from the headers of the HTTP requests.
14. Service Audits
Another important tip for you to secure your server is to make regular service audits. This will ensure that the server works correctly and the protocols run perfectly fine. In addition, ensure that you are aware of the right specifics to configure the cyber-attacks that your system might easily face.
You can follow the tips mentioned above to ensure that your server is safe and well-protected. You will be more confident while offering services to the consumers when your server is well-backed with the use of the right security measures.
Also, many security measures can be included in the server during the initial development phases. In addition, some security measures can regularly be installed on the server as updates or upgrades. Also, make sure to perform periodic maintenance checks on the servers to determine if it’s appropriately performing.