Your organization’s servers play an essential role. These computer systems provide shared resources and services to employees in your network, who typically connect to servers through computers or devices. A server’s services can include web applications, databases, email systems, file storage, and more. Additionally, your servers may help with centralized management and the control of valuable files and sensitive assets such as proprietary data.
Cybercriminals are also aware of how important your servers are. Nowadays, a hacker can use increasingly sophisticated techniques, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Remote Code Execution (RCE), or Man-in-the-Middle (MitM), to attack your servers. The probability of a successful attack grows when you make mistakes such as using inadequate antivirus tools, unpatched software, or poor passwords to protect your servers.
Further reading: What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)? Learn how MDR analysts identify sophisticated adversary behavior, prevent breaches, and accelerate incident response activities.
The cost of a server attack can be high. Your organization may suffer a loss of data, finances, operational capacity, and reputation. Your carefully cultivated business relationships may also be impaired, depending on the gravity of the attack. Fortunately, robust server security protocols can significantly mitigate the risk of a costly attack on your servers.
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Server security is the process of safeguarding your servers from malware, unauthorized access, data breaches, misuse, disruption, and other types of threats. The goal of server security is to optimize the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the resources your servers share and the services they provide.
Server security includes a combination of technical and administrative measures, such as using cybersecurity software, complex passwords, disabling unnecessary services and ports, and optimizing user privileges on a need-to-access basis. Learn more about password best practices and how to choose strong passwords. Monitoring and logging tools can also help detect and respond to security threats.
But server security is about more than technical measures. To achieve a secure server, modern organizations employ security assessments, risk assessments, and security policies that highlight and fix potential vulnerabilities. In short, a combination of top server security tools and practices helps optimize server security.
Organizations are rapidly shifting to the cloud because of its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness in the era of digitization. Cloud server security is defined as the measures and protocols that shield data and information stored on cloud servers from unauthorized access, misuse, malware or online attacks. The main components of cloud server security are as follows:
Read the related article: What is Cloud Security?
Server security hardening is the process of improving the security of a server by lessening its attack surface and minimizing the risk of security breaches while still maintaining its functionality. The attack surface of a server, of course, is the number of ways a threat actor could potentially gain access to the server and exploit security flaws.
To harden a server, security professionals can remove unnecessary services and protocols, implement robust authentication methods, apply encryption measures, and monitor server activity.
Server security hardening is an ongoing process. It’s necessary to regularly assess and update your security measures. As new threats and vulnerabilities emerge, fresh policies can reduce your server attack surface.
You must adopt a holistic approach to protect your servers from unauthorized access, misuse, and disruption. Start with a checklist that ensures your organization’s security goals are aligned. If you want to know how to secure a server, start here:
Outdated software can negatively impact server security in various ways:
Ensure that your security team patches your software regularly. Upgrade software that’s no longer supported by the developer to avoid using any obsolete and potentially vulnerable software.
Weak passwords are highly problematic for server security. Hackers can use techniques such as brute force attacks and dictionary attacks to breach servers with weak or repetitive passwords. Hackers can also use weak passwords that were reused for multiple accounts to gain access to other accounts in an attack called credential stuffing. It’s also easier for hackers to utilize social engineering attack techniques to guess weak passwords.
Ensure that your organization uses long and sophisticated passwords. A password manager can help your team set complex passwords and keep track of them too.
Old accounts with active login credentials can be potentially used by a threat actor to access your organization’s server. A stolen password to an old account that was reused can also be exploited to breach server security.
Review your accounts and ensure that all old accounts are fully deactivated. Ensure that active accounts are secured with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Organizations should properly test new code before installing it to update software. They should also ensure that the code is downloading from a trusted source and isn’t part of a Trojan horse attack. A patch management service can help optimize this process.
Threat actors often look for open network ports to gain unauthorized access to a server and steal or leak data. They use various port scanning techniques to find them. Vulnerable services on open ports are especially susceptible to hackers.
We recommend that you segment your network, close unnecessary ports to minimize your server’s attack surface, and use firewalls and other security tools to defend your open ports. Please also monitor your server for suspicious activity.
Old hardware can pose similar problems as outdated software. For example, old and unsupported hardware may be vulnerable to security flaws that are rectified in the latest version of the product. Old hardware may also suffer from performance or compatibility issues that negatively impact server security.
Improve your server security by reviewing your hardware. Upgrade hardware as necessary to more secure equipment.
Malware, such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, bots, and rootkits, can infect a server and damage valuable data. Some kinds of malware, like ransomware, can exploit vulnerabilities to target servers. For example, ransomware is attacking vulnerable servers from Microsoft by using the ProxyLogon vulnerability.
Threat actors can use your SMTP server with an open relay to send spam and possibly get your server placed on a DNS denylist. Check your Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) documentation to learn how to close your open relay.
Your adversaries can use a DoS attack to overwhelm your server with traffic and deny access to your site. A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is even more threatening because it is coordinated. You can mitigate the risk of such attacks by using firewalls, limiting the number of connections to your server per IP address, or investing in a cloud-based DDoS protection service.
Hackers attack servers by injecting malicious code to take advantage of flaws in web applications in an XSS attack. XSS attacks are preventable, though. The right tools can help you find vulnerabilities to patch them.
An SQL injection attack is similar to an XSS attack. Here, attackers exploit vulnerabilities in a server’s database to drop malicious code or steal data. Scanning for vulnerabilities and patching them is a common way to reduce the risk of an SQL injection attack.
Attackers use tools to guess different password combinations to your server until they find the correct password in a brute force attack. Brute force detection tools can alert you to such attacks. In addition, complex passwords, robust lockout policies, login attempt limitations, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) can mitigate a brute-force attack on a server.
Outdated software can carry security vulnerabilities that threat actors may utilize to attack a server. Similarly, software that’s poorly configured during an update can be vulnerable to an attack too. Regularly download the latest patches for your software and install them correctly to prevent hackers from taking advantage of software flaws.
Create regular backups to improve recovery time in the event of an incident against your server. Keep one backup copy off-premises and two on-site on different mediums. Please test your backups. Consider investing in an additional air-gapped backup to have data that’s offline and inaccessible to threat actors through a network.
As mentioned, you must regularly update your operating system and other key software. Install the latest security updates immediately and ensure that you’re downloading them directly from the source.
One of the best ways to reduce your attack surface is to limit server access to only those who need it. With fewer people accessing your server, the chances of unauthorized access reduce significantly.
Maintaining server logs can help improve traceability and accountability. Monitor your server logs frequently for red flags. Your server logs will also help investigate incidents and develop a more secure server.
Utilize server security tools such as anti-malware software, DDoS protection, and vulnerability monitoring systems to improve server security. We also recommend that you utilize the cloud-based Malwarebytes Nebula platform for top server endpoint protection.
Not only is Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection for Servers lightweight, but it uses Machine Learning to deliver accurate verdicts in an easy-to-use cloud-based dashboard.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can enhance server security by encrypting data in transit and shielding it against interception. A VPN can hide IP addresses, making it more challenging for an attacker to locate a target. A VPN can also add an extra layer of authentication between the client and the server. Try a private VPN download today to gain security and privacy benefits.
As mentioned, you must use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect your servers. Additionally, reset the passwords periodically to prevent stolen old credentials from being utilized by an attacker.
Utilize a cryptographic network protocol like SSH (Secure Shell) to establish a secure connection. SSH encrypts data, offers different authentication methods, provides secure file transfers, enables access control, and more. You can also use a proxy to hide your IP address, filter traffic and content, and log traffic for security.
Don’t rely on regular antivirus software to protect your servers. Use advanced antivirus technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to block threats proactively. For example, Malwarebytes users are protected from a backdoor specifically targeting Microsoft SQL servers, since our AI module wasted no time detecting this as Malware.AI.4207982868.
Consider investing in our AI-powered business endpoint security to gain real-time protection from malware, ransomware, zero-day exploits, phishing and other endpoint threats that can compromise your server security.
Applying security procedures can ensure that the best security practices are followed and that everyone in your company is aware of their obligations. In addition, regular security assessments can detect weaknesses and risks to your server.
The ability to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data stored on a server will be impacted by evolving threats and new technologies in the future:
In the future, businesses must adopt more advanced server security measures, including better risk assessments, improved threat monitoring, and greater incident response planning, as server security risks rise.
A security server is a kind of server that’s configured to enhance network security. The characteristics of a security server depend on its implementation. A security server may function as a firewall, filter cybersecurity attacks, authenticate access, offer VPN support, encrypt data, etc.
Establishing a secure connection to a server is an important way to protect your sensitive data. You can use various technologies such as SSL/TLS encryption, message authentication codes (MACs), authentication tools, or a firewall to secure your connection to a server. Please also keep your software updated to plug vulnerabilities that a hacker may exploit to intercept data.
Proactively patching software vulnerabilities helps prevent breaches. Learn more about Malwarebytes Vulnerability and Patch Management tool.
The most common way for an organization to check server security is to complete security audits. A cybersecurity team can identify and remediate vulnerabilities, typically with penetration testing. Your network team should also keep software updated, use strong passwords, utilize encryption, and monitor your systems for suspicious activity.
In a nutshell, a proxy server functions as an intermediary between a computer and the Internet. Depending on the nature of the proxy server, it can mask your IP address, filter traffic, cache content, implement security policies, etc.
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