Why dedicated server security matters
With an alarming rise in cyber-crime server security has taken on a whole new significance and should be a prime concern for those using dedicated servers. In the last couple of months, we’ve seen two global cyber-attacks in the shape of WannaCry and Petya, both spread through networks exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems. These attacks will become more frequent as hackers look for weaknesses in servers to disseminate their ransomware and malware.
Updating software and security patches should be a regular operation whether your server runs Linux or Windows. When you use outdated software it doesn’t have the latest security patches that keep your data safe; regularly keeping the kernel up to date and your server management software patched puts you one step ahead of the hackers and bots that are constantly scanning for vulnerabilities.
Using secure encryption keys is a must; these act to authenticate SSH connections as an alternative to password-based logins which can be hacked. It is almost impossible to crack cryptographic keys due to the nature of the mathematical algorithms used in encryption technology. Using public key encryption and SSL certificates also keep communications to and from the server secure and offer peace of mind for the client.
Firewalls should also be employed to protect the server from brute force bot and DDOS attacks. Blocking or restricting access to ports that should not be publicly available is good practice. A properly configured firewall should restrict access to your data and cloud-based software and only leave services you need to remain open.
Database maintenance is an essential component of server security, there are several scripts you can run to automatically check and repair databases. This serves to protect them against SQL injection which could result in rogue code running on your dedicated server. The server could be distributing malware or sending spam without you even knowing about it.
Tools can also be employed on servers to scan and detect rootkits or modified binaries; for example, RKHunter is a popular Linux-based program that does exactly that. There are also a number of server-based malware scanners that should be activated for that extra layer of protection.
With a few steps and a little extra vigilance, a dedicated server can be secured to prevent it becoming another statistic or accessory to cyber-crime.