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Cyber security: 5 easy tips to protect your server against hackers

Server hardening best practices for Windows and Linux

Mar. 10, 2018 -

This week one of my clients was hacked and asked me for emergency assistance to help secure their server infrastructure. It was a web server that ran WordPress websites on Apache (with PHP/MySQL), including a few webshops with customer data. This hack could easily have been prevented with the following best practices, is your server secure?

The data centre is where your server lives. Even though it may be physically secure, you should check upon its software too!
The data centre is where your server lives. Even though it may be physically secure, you should check upon its software too!

1) Install less software

Cyber security is difficult enough, you should make it easier for yourself by installing less software. Fewer programs, services, plugins, mean less things to worry about. In cyber security terminology this is called reducing the attack vector.

Reduce your attack vector by:

2) Close all network ports, filter those you can't block

Firewalls are used to filter network traffic and are available as standard system software on most operating systems. Limit the openings hackers have to your server.

Firewall configuration should:

3) Hide all version information

The software your server runs is versioned, often a number indicating the exact date when it was build. Hackers can use this version information to lookup known security problems, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses.

Stop helping hackers by removing version information from:

4) Use certificate/key authentication instead of passwords

If password-based logins are allowed, hackers can repeatedly attempt to access the server. With modern computing power it's easy to automate this guessing by trying combination after combination until the right password is found (brute forcing).

Secure authentication by:

5) Check and update regularly

Most hacking is automated these days, bots are constantly scanning every server and website for exploitation opportunities. It's not a question IF they will find you, but WHEN.

Take care of your server by

Check upon your server regulary - or find somebody that does this for you.
Check upon your server regulary - or find somebody that does this for you.

Conclusion

If you implement these measures you can greatly improve the cyber security of your server. Protecting your server means better safety for your business, your organisation and your customers' data.

No (sane) security consultant will offer you guarantees, given enough resources and determination, hacks will always be possible. Be prepared by making backups and encrypting your data.

Hopefully these tips will help you, if you need additional help you can find my contact information here reach or check out my cyber security services.

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