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.