Server Security

Server Security

With virtually every aspect of our lives (that is, those outside of our basic biological needs) integrated with the internet, having proper security for your server is a paramount necessity for protecting your identity, your finances & financial information, your computer, and your sense of safety while browsing.

 

Password protection is the first, best line of defense you can take.  The quality of your passwords leads directly to the level of difficulty it will take to be breached.  A good password should be at the very least 8 characters long and should contain a mix of letters, numbers, characters as well as upper- and lower-cases.  Try to avoid common words and number sequences such as 1234 or 4444, etc; the more common the password the easier a hacker’s algorithms can figure it out.  Also do not use personal information such as birthdays, addresses or social security numbers in your passwords as they may be easier for someone to crack as well as providing your hacker with more personal information that may lead to further penetration of your overall security, like a one-stop-shop for identity theft.  It will also help if you use different passwords, which can seem tricky and problematic to try and remember but there are many great password managers such as KeePass, RoboForm (Windows) or 1Password (Mac) that will keep your passwords protected and won’t force you to remember a plethora of codes.

 

Password managers are essential because as you won’t have to remember a slew of passwords, you can make them more difficult and effective; trying to remember many passwords means you’re likely to repeat passwords or bits of passwords, or personal items designed to make it easier on yourself, which can translate to ease of infiltration.  Lastly, on the password front, do not use “Password” as a password!  That should be obvious but unfortunately it isn’t.

 

Next, make sure your server is set up as a private, non-public server.  Keep your server locked with a strong password and be careful whom you let in; just because you practice safe internet use does not mean everyone does.  All it takes is one person to get in to compromise the integrity of everyone else and the whole of your server.  Also, do not use public computers or servers to access personal or sensitive information, i.e. looking up your banking information while signed in to the local coffee shop’s internet—an often used target for internet predators.

 

Use firewalls on your desktop and web browsing, and make sure they’re updated regularly.  .  Keep your operating system up to date and make sure they’re user initiated and non automatic.  In that same aspect, check with your firewall on the identity of any and all updates, software, downloads and plug-ins that may come up.  Many malware and viruses are masked with the appearance or similar names of many trusted applications.  If uncertain, it’s usually best to air on the side of caution and deny permission.  Be wary of cloud applications and servers or data hosting sites like Mediafire and filestube; while the sites themselves may not be malicious, they are prime bait for hackers and can, if breached, make access to your computer and server much easier.

 

Finally, exhibit some of the same advice from your childhood: don’t take candy from strangers, avoid dark alleys and make sure those portending to be authorities have the proper verification.  The internet is an amazing tool, but like everything else, there are going to be those who want to use it for malice, make sure you’re well protected.

 

This guest post was written by John Dayton

John Dayton has been a leading expert in server security for over 15 years. When he is not writing, he can be found at home with his family or providing consulting services to companies such as LWG. Click here to visit their website.