One of the biggest challenges of the world today remains the growing concerns of cybersecurity as we continue to embed a large part of our lives and economies on the Internet. In recent times, with innovations such as cloud computing, and IoT still on the rise, it is expected that cybersecurity challenges will continue in an upward elevation as more sensitive information is uploaded by individuals, organizations, and governments likewise. An added incentive for cybercriminals includes the ease of executing such attacks based on one’s technical abilities.
These days, stealing a thousand dollars may not require a gun, and as such, most cybercriminals see little wrong in their criminal exploits online.
As depicted in the pictorial diagram above, cybercrime accounts for over 80% of all cyber-attack motives, leaving only 8.6% to cyber espionage, and a little over 4.6% to cyber warfare.
Owing largely to these growing numbers, it has become of paramount importance to secure server resources as a step towards mitigating security loopholes.
What then can you do to mitigate these security challenges?
As mundane as this may sound, the simple act of creating a backup for your information will go a long way to ensure that you do not suffer insufferable losses in the event of a cyber-attack. In the simplest of terms, do not put all your eggs in a basket. Always ensure to create a backup for your files, and secure your backup drives as well. Ensure to have a periodic backup of all your information as some of these attacks may pose difficult to detect from regular traffic. Typical examples of such include layer 7 DDoS attacks and SYN flood attacks.
Also, keep your backup drives in a different location from the backup source. This is to avoid losing both main, and backup drives in unforeseen circumstances such as flood, fire, and even armed robbery.
Also, note that some files need to be backed up in multiple areas. This ensures that delicate information can never truly be lost. It is worthy of note to put into consideration extra security precautions if you have multiple backups.
It is also advisable to make use of server hosting companies with efficient backup options, firewalls, SSH keys, and other techniques, this is especially applicable to individuals who operate an off-premise server.
Users and Permissions
Most users tend to make use of their administrative access accounts whenever they intend to access their servers, and this is a dangerous practice.
An administrative account may be likened to a root account in the Linux operating systems. In these accounts, you possess total control, and the ability to modify any aspect of your server. While this is not necessarily a bad idea, in the long run, there’s a tendency for a cybercriminal to get hold of your account details to your detriment. Thus, it is advised that you create an account with partial control of your server such that you can use an administrative/root account only when it is called for. This is in order to drastically mitigate the actions of a cybercriminal should he/she access your account.
It is important to note that the increased use of a root account exponentially increases the risk of the said account being compromised. You honestly do not want a cybercriminal with full access to all functions of your server. Talk about a bad dream.
SSH Port & SSH Keys
Secure Shell/Secure Socket Shell (SSH) ports are supposedly secured ports, however, most hackers understand the intricacies of such techniques, and would in many cases, launch brute attacks on the traditional SSH ports on your server, sometimes churning out with your login details especially weak login details like passwords.
One way to effectively secure your server involves switching your SSH Port number from the original universal number 22 to a random number. That way, prospective cybercriminals will fail to target the right port, thus eliminating the chances of a brute force attack on your SSH Port even if you use a password as your login option.
Also, it is essential to make use of SSH keys rather than passwords in securing your server from potential attacks. This is because passwords are susceptible to brute force, and dictionary attacks, and there is the danger of being unable to remember a password used, using an easy-to-guess password, or using the same password for most of your everyday password authentication needs. Also, there exists the risk of a potential cybercriminal listening in on your network to grab your password details.
These pose a threat to the security of your server, thus, it is advised that you make use of SSH keys.
Firewall, Fail2ban, DDoS Protection.
Firewalls represent a timeless solution with regard to server security as they provide a miniaturized access list which aides control over incoming and outgoing traffic. While the Windows operating system presents a more rigid inbuilt firewall system, Linux servers possess much more flexibility in this regard. A typical example would be the additional utility ‘Iptables’ which provides an extremely flexible firewall that can be tweaked based on an impressive number of criteria.
Fail2ban, on the other hand, represents a cybersecurity technique which bans IP addresses after a set number of failed login attempts. These login attempts usually amount to a maximum of four tries, as it is generally expected that a user will not need to try to log in more than thrice on his/her server.
Fail2ban monitors incoming traffic, especially login requests, and outrightly bans failed login requests at your perusal.
You may implement this technique with some others to gain effective resistance to cyber-attacks.
DDoS attacks remain one of the most frequently used attacks by cybercriminals. It is especially annoying since these types of attacks may sometimes be executed by newbies just for the fun of it. To avoid being a victim of DDoS attacks, you may need to enforce certain procedures such to curb the risks of a DDoS attack. Some of such procedures include Blackhole routing and Network diffusion.
DDoS attacks remain one of the most frequently used attacks by cybercriminals. It is especially annoying since these types of attacks may sometimes be executed by newbies just for the fun of it.
DDoS attacks can be particularly frustrating given that they are quite difficult to spot as the aim of the attacker is to appear as seamless as possible with respect to regular traffic.
DDoS attacks may be classified into three (3) broad types. They are:
application layer attacks;
These are the three broad classifications of DDoS attacks which encompass all DDoS attacks. Some of the notable attacks include:
Some effective methods used to curb the risks of DDoS attacks include:
Black Hole Routing: In the event of a DDoS attack, one effective technique towards reducing the damage may include the implementation of black hole routing. This simply involves actively creating a black hole and redirecting all traffic to the server to this hole. That way, damages can be mitigated until a lasting solution is bought forth.
Web Application Firewall: Web Application Firewall (WAF) represents yet another technique that can be used to reduce the effects of a layer 7 DDoS attack. Thus, the user implements the WAF between the origin server, and the internet, causing the WAF to act as a proxy server which aids the mitigation of cyber-attacks on the server.
Anycast Network Diffusion: Network diffusion technique involves putting DDoS in check by diffusing/spreading the incoming traffic through multiple channels. It is a DDoS protection technique used in large capacity networks thanks to the infrastructure available. By reducing the traffic through set channels, it ensures continuous service regardless.