How to Improve Server Security

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The first thing you usually do once your servers are up is to load them with what you need, including apps and infrastructure.  But if you fail to check on the security needs of your infrastructure, you will always be with the potential of suffering a breach, which will have serious consequences on your website and anything affiliated to it.

This is why we consider that you should never overlook the need for such security protocols.  The following are some tips for improving your server security, including how to install a certificate on CentOS. We recommend you set up these protocols before or during the installation of your applications.

Install Firewalls

The purpose of a firewall is to control what services are public within the network. In other words, a firewall will block or restrict access to all ports, except those that should be presented publicly.

Typically, a server has public, private, and internal services.  You do not want an anonymous visitor breaking into a private service. A firewall can be configured to allow public services to stay public while restricting private services according to different criteria. Internal services can be completely blocked from the public.

To better program your firewall, it is important to make a thorough service auditing. We will expand more on this later.

Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are available in certain users or servers.  Basically, a virtual private network provides a secure and private tool for communication.  They help establish secure connections between remote computers and enables you to configure services as if they were in a private network.

VPN allows a safe connection between computers, avoiding the risk of a message being intercepted by a third party.  So, using a VPN ensures that you access a network that can only be accessed by a certain group of people who get clearance.

SSH Keys

As an alternative to password-based logins, SSH keys are a pair of cryptographic keys that can be used to authenticate an SSH server instead of a login.  Prior to authorization, two keys are created: a private key, which is kept secure by the user and a public key which can be shared with anyone.

Once you have installed SSH Keys, you will notice that every login or any kind of authentification is encrypted.  Remember that, in modern times, any malicious user can attempt to enter your information by trying and trying passwords.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

The purpose of a public key infrastructure, or PKI, is to create, validate, and manage certificates for encrypting communication and identifying individuals.  These certificates can be SSL or TLS and they can be used to authenticate different entities to each other.

An SSL/TLS encryption ensures that data managed within your website is encrypted.  In other words, establishing a certificate and managing them for your servers allows each part of your infrastructure to validate the identity of other members and encrypt communication.

Perform a Service Auditing

A service auditing refers to discovering what processes are running in your infrastructure. You analyze your systems to check on some available attack surfaces and locking down components the best that you can.

The default operating system usually runs certain services when booted. When you perform this analysis, you get to know what services are running in your system, the ports that are being used for communication, and the protocols accepted.

Some Other Useful Tips

  • Use complex passwords with numbers, symbols, and capitals. Make them more than 8 characters.
  • Do not use the same password for all roles or accounts.
  • Do not use public computers to access sensitive information.
  • Use a web application firewall.
Finish Your Project Faster with CodeIgniter

Finish Your Project Faster with CodeIgniter

Coders and software developers are always on the hunt for something new, something that will make their job of developing websites and html easier. And why wouldn’t they? Coding is no easy task. It’s more than just inputting lines of alphanumeric characters on a blank screen and expecting results to show up. It’s hard work.

CodeIgniter helps make that hard work a little less hard.

CodeIgniter is a web framework software that uses PHP to help develop websites. It’s open-source, which means it can be used by anyone for any purpose. It was first released on February 28th, 2006, by EllisLab.

Here are a few reasons why CodeIgniter is the best web development software out there:

1. Simple and easy to understand: Especially for new users or coders, CI is easy to use and not complex at all. In comparison to other software, CI is the quickest to be learned and can help you change your website’s framework and write new libraries without any real effort.  Here is an overview.

2. Multi-functional: CI comes with a number of built-in libraries, like email, validation, uploading, sessions and calendar. You can also create your own libraries so that facilitating cookies, strings or forms is easier than ever.

3. Helpful community: The best thing about open-source software is that there are always other users out there. In CI’s case, there are over 57,000 registered users on the forums. This makes Q&A sessions extremely convenient. Finding an answer to your question has never been easier!

4. Documentation: Documentation is very important when it comes to coding frameworks. CI takes it one step forward and provides documentation from a company and not just its users, making it all the more helpful.

5. Excellent security: Encryption of cookies, handling session data and dealing with SQL queries is so simple! You never have to worry about security when it comes to building your app, because CI takes care of it all by itself.

However, CodeIgniter does come with its share of cons. New versions take a long time to be developed and released, which can hinder development progress for many users. There is always scope for improvement in the libraries and framework, especially as the years go by. There’s no built-in ORM (object-relational mapping).

At the end of the day, it’s all about comparing the pros with the cons. CodeIgniter definitely has more of the former than the latter. Make sure this framework is economical for you, and if it is, go for it. You won’t regret your decision.

What is Code Igniter and Why Should You Use It

What is Code Igniter and Why Should You Use It?

What is CodeIgniter?

It is a powerful open-source web development framework for building dynamic websites in PHP and is loosely based on MVC (model-view-controller) architecture but can also be modified in order to use Hierarchical-model-view-controller that allows web developers maintain modular grouping of the controller while arranging models and views in a sub directory format. In CodeIgniter, controller classes are necessary but the models and the views are optional. This particular framework stands out for its speed and is also lightweight.

Reasons to use CodeIgniter

1. Easy to extend and understand. CodeIgniter is easy to setup and start running. Its also very easy to change the behavior of the existing libraries, create new libraries and to change the overall behavior of the framework.

2. All tools a developer needs are presented in a single small package. Some of the inbuilt libraries that come along with this framework include, the calendar, zip encoding, sessions, uploading, unit testing and email. The framework also includes several default helpers like file handling, forms, arrays, cookies and more. In addition to that, a developer has the ability to create their own custom libraries and helpers.

3. MVC architecture. Nowadays most large and scale-able applications are developed using the MVC architecture which ensures good code separation and helps keep things clean. It is also very easy to manage the project using this framework since the logic part of the project is separated from the actual views and models.

4. No installation required. CodeIgniter does not require any server modifications in order to get the framework up , a developer just needs to upload files to the server and kick off testing and developing. This is of much help to most of the people who are not big fans of the Unix command line.

5. Little or no server requirements. This framework can work on with both PHP4 and PHP5 and makes it easy to develop seamlessly between the two environments.

6. Database abstraction. Like other modern frameworks, CodeIgniter enables one to create inserting, updating and deleting statements without the need to write SQL statements. It has the ability to handle multiple databases within a single application and can connect to most major databases out there such as MySQL, MySQLi, Oracle, SQLite, ODBC, PostgreSQL and MS SQL. It enables developers to manipulate the databases using it’s database forge library.

7. Presence large active community. CodeIgniter forums have over 60,000 registered members and is always active in case one has a problem and needs quick and free help. Without any confusing chat channels and mailing lists on their website, one can receive quick answer to the question posted.

8. Excellent documentation. CodeIgniter’s documentation is by far much better than any other frameworks largely because it developed by a company and not a community.

9. Inbuilt security tools. It allows developers to implement security measures as required in an app. Upsetting of all global variables is done by default such that a developer doesn’t need to remove slashes while retrieving data from the database. Cookie encryption, session data handling and automatic SQL queries escaping can be enabled within the framework.