Initially, to protect the business, suitable policies should be acquired. Dedicated servers may be targeted by hackers as it provides numerous benefits compared to another web hosting. Protecting the servers is the primary step. If not secured, it may results in loss of enterprise in an incurable manner. Below example shows the process takes place in a hacking system of client business.
Client “A” buys the web hosting package
The client uploads financial data to the server
Predatory hacker infiltrates poorly secured data
Subsequent damage could destroy the business of Client “A”
Hacker installs monitoring software and recovers all sensitive data
The following are the ways to secure dedicated server from the hacking:
Brute Force Attack is one of the basic malicious attacks on the secure dedicated server. To make any website accessible on the internet it should have some services open to the internet. These open points may become accessible to attackers. In these kinds of attacks, attackers try to access the secure dedicated server with an assumption of some random username and password. Limiting the login attempts to the website can block the IP addresses from which multiple attempts are taking place. Using SFTP/FTP server setting login attempts can be limited. This limit range can be basically between three to five times only. Always keep updating the security patches and updates for computer and browsers.
While connecting to the secure dedicated server, it is important to secure the connection. If your connection is insecure, there might be a threat to data from someone who is monitoring these connections.
Avoid using freeware as the development environments may not be secure. This increases the risk to a malware attack in free downloads.
Some security plugins are available like ‘iThemesSecurity’ and ‘Bulletproof Security’ which addresses the security threat present in every platform which can threaten your website. Also, if you have a business which relies on its website, you can consider investing in ‘SiteLock’ or similar. It provides daily monitoring, malware detection, virus scanning to protect your website.
The SSH listening port is set up on port 22 by default as it is an industry standard. So, it is advisable to change this port setting to something different than the default value. Most of the secure dedicated server hacking attempts that are made by robots which target port 22, so modifying this setting will make your server a difficult target.
To change your default SSH port, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps:
1. To open the configuration file to make changes, use the following command:
2. Find the following part in your file and replace port 22 with a new port
# What ports, IPs and protocols we listen for Port 22
3. Now, while requesting a new SSH connection on your machine, you need to indicate a new port by:
ssh root@YourServer.ovh.net -p NewPort
Please remember to reboot your server once you are done reconfiguring the port. Also, do not choose a port number that is already in use. Also, you may find that some services cannot be reconfigured to a non-standard protocol and so these services will not work.
You should regularly back up your data. Save your data in some backup storage so that in case of an attack, you can retrieve via different protocols like FTP, FTPS, NFS, CIFS. Also, it is important to outline a plan of data restoration in case of any such attack or hard drive failure.
For security reasons, distributed system developers receive software package updates very often. So, it is important to install all the updates to avoid hacking. Many of the tools used in creating the website may be open source software programs, and the code is easily accessible to everyone, like hackers. Hackers can find pores in the code, and take advantage of any security vulnerabilities present. Make sure you have the newest version of the platform and scripts installed to minimize risks. Also, make sure to update the package list and the packages on your secure dedicated server regularly.
If you have a web form that takes input from outside users to display information, there lies a risk of SQL injection. If the parameter field is left much open without much validity checks, someone can insert code into them and access your database. It is important as sensitive client information is often stored in the database. To avoid this, you can use parameterized queries and strict validation checks in the web form.
Additionally, developers, database administrators, and system administrators can also take care of the below-mentioned things for secure hosting.
14. Prevent Cross-Site Scripting
Avoiding the XSS can evade the user input. This means that when the application data is received make sure it is safe before processing to end user. Thereby the data is protected from being used in a harmful way when the webpage receives data. Restriction on the basic characters for coding like ‘<‘ and ‘>’ can prevent hackers from adding the codes to the web pages.
15. Using Content Security Policy (CSP)
CSP allows the individual to enter the valid domain so that the browser considers it as a proper executable program. The browser accepts it as not a malicious script or malware to effect client computer. Using CSP means adding a proper HTTP header to the webpage that provides a string of directives which directs browser about the safe domains and if any exceptions are present to this rule. Browsers which has CSP compatibility will execute the scripts loaded in source file received from the safe domains and ignores other scripts. CSP is designed to be backward compatible. Some browsers may not support CSP will also work with a secure dedicated server that implements it by ignoring it, functioning as well.
Whenever we install a distributed system or an operating system, a root access password is automatically created. It is very important that you should change this password for system safety. To change the password, you need to open an SSH connection to your secure dedicated server and use the below command:
Then you need to enter your new password twice. Please remember, while typing the password it will not be displayed due to security reasons. So, you will not see the characters that you have typed. For logging in to the system for the next time, you should use this new password.
A root user is created on every UNIX system, like LINUX. This has all the administrative rights on your secure dedicated server. If your server has critical information, it is not advisable to keep your dedicated server accessible through a root user, as it is risky and can perform any undesirable change on your server which may not be reversed.
You can disable this access via SSH protocol. To do this, Open an SSH connection to your secure dedicated server and enter the following command to open SSH configuration files.
Find the below section of code and edit PermitRootLogin property to ‘no’.
After saving and closing the configuration file, restart the SSH service to apply this change. And you can log in to the server using the user account you have created to ensure safety.
To perform everyday activities on the secure dedicated server, a user account with limited access also solves the purpose. To add a new user, enter the following command:
All the required information like username and passwords need to be provided. This user is allowed to access the system via SSH and the password set. If some activity requires administrative rights the below command can be used to access the root user rights:
Root user password must be entered for validation.
Most of the FTP servers have an option for the user named ‘Anonymous’. Determining the port for FTP and version of FTP software running will be easy with ‘Anonymous’ login. With minimal research security vulnerabilities in the software can be found by them.
Though anonymous access provided, restrict the user access permission to read-only and lock into the home directory. If there is any requirement for download access, keep those files in a dedicated SFTP outside your demilitarized zone (DMZ).
The website is managed by a series of files and folders on a secure server hosting account.
To secure hosting If the website is hosted on a windows server, then follow the below steps to change file permissions.
To secure hosting, change file permissions on a Linux operating system, permissions are saved in 3 digit format where each integer is between 0 and 7. Here, the first digit refers to the administrator or owner of the file, the second digit refers to the group of the file belongs to. And the third digit means to any other user whoever accesses the file. The permissions can be:
For example, a file provided with permission code ‘644’. Here, 6 means the owner has permissions to Read and Write (4+2=6), the group has 4 means Read permission only and another user also has 4 means Read permission only. The common rule for files and folders security is:
Protect the website from hackers with steps needed accordingly for the business to make profits.