Computer servers must be the most protected and secured part of any computer system as they store all the valuable and vital data that you require to run a computer system, either it is for academic, business, communication, or any other field. So, today, we are teaching you how to secure your Windows Server from Hackers. If you have a new computer system, then you can protect your server from hackers. Hackers today are considered as the most notorious predators.
We will also share a hardening script for Windows Server 2016 and 2019 that you can download. However, protecting anything to the fullest is not possible, but different threats can be avoided with little effort. The best thing is that the windows server is as securable as any Linux box. In this blog, we shall guide you regarding quick security wins that you can make on your Windows Server by following this hardening guide.
- 1 13 Ways to Secure your Windows Server 2016/2019 Installation from being Hacked (Best Practices and Tips)
- 2 Keep the Admin Account Secured
- 3 Install All Required Operating System Components
- 4 Make use of privileges
- 5 Setup User Account Policies
- 6 Enable Windows Firewall
- 7 Disable unnecessary services and ports, not in use
- 8 Secure the Remote Desktop (RDP) service
- 9 Use Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption (Where Needed)
- 10 Keep Windows Server 2016 Updated with the latest patches
- 11 Enable Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)
- 12 Perform a Security Audit
- 13 Limit what can be Uploaded to the server
- 14 Use an SSL certificate (Where Needed)
- 15 Bonus Tip: Download and Install a Window Server Hardening Script
- 16 Conclusion: Is your Windows Server Safe from Hackers?
13 Ways to Secure your Windows Server 2016/2019 Installation from being Hacked (Best Practices and Tips)
You can follow different methods to protect your server from hackers and malware. Some Windows Server hardening tips are discussed below:
Keep the Admin Account Secured
In the windows server, the default superuser account is named “administrator.” Usually, all the brute force attacks aim towards this account. The admin user can never be locked when the account lockout policy is being applied to other users. You can secure your admin account in the best way is by renaming the “administrator” username to something else.
Install All Required Operating System Components
Windows want to install the full version of the Operating System by default but instead goes for a minimal custom install. The components that are not required must be left out. This is used to reduce the number of patches and updates as are necessary for maintenance and also minimize the attack surface.
Make use of privileges
In this, you need to adopt the following ways:
- You need to use role-based access control (RBAC) component or set up a group policy to specify access restrictions by your requirements
- You need to avoid potential security issues due to mishandling of access rights
- You need to provide to each user its minimum rights to carry out his or her duties (especially on the Operating System partition).
Setup User Account Policies
You are asked to set up user account policies if different users are accessing your server. These are as followed:
- You must not allow empty passwords
- You must enforce password with a minimum length
- You must have a complex password
- You must use the lockout policy
- You must not store passwords by using reversible encryption
- You must not force session timeout for inactivity
- You must always enable two-factor authentication.
Enable Windows Firewall
The first thing you must do after establishing your server is to put up a firewall. These are programs that are used to filter out information that goes in and out of your computer system.
Today many firewall applications are present on the internet from local computer stores, but even hackers who have less experience can get past these. To ensure proper security and protection, you must invest in an application that has a good reputation and is well developed
You can install a firewall application like any other program. They are sued to protect small scale servers; however, you need to get firewalls installed by a software security specialist if you are running different mainframes
You can use the windows firewall to filter out the network traffic that you do not trust. Moreover, it is challenging to work on the firewall at first but is worth the effort. So make sure never to disable the Firewall.
Disable unnecessary services and ports, not in use
You should only enable ports that are used by the installed components and the Operating system. You need to:
- Close remaining ports
- You must run a port scan of the computer system to confirm that all the non-functional ports are protected properly
- You must disable network services that you no longer use like Wi-Fi Bluetooth and much more. By this, you can prevent unauthorized access.
Secure the Remote Desktop (RDP) service
Most hackers use RDP to get an entry. You need to change the default RDP from 3389 to one in the 10000-65535 range to prevent unauthorized access
If you are using a dedicated IP address to connect, you can always use the advanced firewall option and lock down the RDP access to the particular IP address only.
Use Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption (Where Needed)
The windows Bitlocker drive encryption is used to secure the OS booting process and also prevent authorized mining of data. When the server is turned on even then, the Bitlocker drive encryption can work. Today it is considered one of the best yet useful hacking tool against malware hacking.
Keep Windows Server 2016 Updated with the latest patches
The most simple and easy way to keep your server secured is by keeping your windows up to date. You can do two things:
- Allow Windows to download and automatically apply the update
- Configure the windows update to notify whenever a new update is available.
Enable Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)
Microsoft baseline security analyzer is a free app. It is used to determine vulnerable security settings and missing security updates within the windows. It is not only used to list possible measures to harden the server but also provides detailed insights on vulnerable components and settings.
Perform a Security Audit
Today you can find many IT professionals that specialize in the internet and network security. If you have limited technical knowledge and an unlimited budget, then you can always hire a security specialist that can take care of your server against hackers. Depending on skill, such hackers are usually paid hundreds of thousands of dollars but are worth the pay. They are handy when you have valuable information on your server.
Limit what can be Uploaded to the server
To gather information, the server will need to accept data from the end-users. Although uploads are essential still need to limit the information that goes into the system. To do this, you need to format the forms correctly to make sure that the necessary data gets into the system.
Use an SSL certificate (Where Needed)
SSL is known as the Secure Socket Layer. SSL is an internet security protocol that is used to protect your server. It makes sure that all the information that goes in and out of your server remains private and inaccessible to third party users.
If you do not have an SSL certificate, then the hacker can quickly get all the information from your server.
Bonus Tip: Download and Install a Window Server Hardening Script
Well, if you are not a technically skilled person. We have the right solution for you. This involves downloading and installing a hardening script that has already been configured by an expert. After the installation of this script, your Windows Server will be protected from Hackers.
The most recent May patch for Windows Server has patched nearly three vulnerabilities that were publically available. These included:
The most popular feature is the “Exchange Server” which is the target of various hacker groups around the world. This was after Microsoft shared details on the “ProxyLogin” issue that was discovered in the code.
Conclusion: Is your Windows Server Safe from Hackers?
In this guide, we have explained various tips for you on how you can protect your Windows Server from Hackers and malware. You can bookmark this page because it is the best Windows Server 2016 hardening script. You can also download a hardening script provided, which will do all the hard work for you.