Troubleshooting Syspeace

An interesting support case came to our attention recently.

A customer claimed that Syspeace wouldn’t block according to the rules.

The bruteforce attacks would continue , even after they should have been blocked.

We checked the ususal culprits (verify that the .Net is fully patched, that the customer is running the latest Syspeace version, verify that logging is enabled and that the firewall is turned on )

The rules were added as expected in the firewall but they didn’t have any effect.

After a lot of troubleshooting the root-cause was found.

The customers server did indeed have the firewall enabled but only in one of the firewall profiles (public, private, domain) and unfortuantely, the network used was not the one the firewall was enabled for, hence, nothing was blocked as expected. The rules were added but did not take effect in the expected amount of time

So, as a general troubleshooting tip , check how your firewall is enabled and verify that it indeed is the correct network profile in there, or, enable the firewall for all three profiles.

The usual troubleshooting tips we give are described in the manual in the troubleshooting section

1. Make sure you’ve enabled the firewall (as described in Firewall), firewall enabled, prefferably on all profiles.

2. Make sure you’ve enabled the auditing (as described in Windows login detection prerequisites).

3. Verify that the server can reach https://s.syspeace.com/ping . (You should see a message saying Hello from Stockholm. and the local time of the server and recommended Syspeace version)

4. In some instances, when running Terminal Server or Remote Desktop Services there’s actually the scenario where the Windows server itself fails to obtain the source IP address of the login attempt (you can verify this by checking the Windows event log and look for Source Network Address: ) Sometimes, that entry is empty, thus disabling Syspeace from actually having anything to block. Syspeace will attempt to corroborate the IP address from some other logs. If it doesn’t find any, there is not much that Syspeace can do. (Update: starting with Syspeace 2.7, these attempts can be detected too.)

5. In any applicable firewall or antivirus software, allow Syspeace access to https://s.syspeace.com/ (port 443).

6. Verify any proxy settings, if applicable.

7. Some methods of Windows authentication actually attempts to log in several times. Two failures may be part of one log in attempt. Syspeace has no way of knowing how many attempts were intended and has to work with the actual failures. Due to counting failures instead of attempts, rules may be triggered seemingly ahead of time.

8. One way of quickly verifying functionality is to use a workstation (not whitelisted) and attack your server with the net use command from the command prompt. After the number of tries defined in the current rules, the workstation should be blocked from communicating with the server. Example of the command: net use * \server name or server IP addressanyshare /user:syspeacetester “anypassword”

9. If you want to submit logs to us, start Syspeace, go to Management → System settings, enable logging and start the service. The log file is created in a subfolder of the Syspeace installation folder.

10. When submitting logs,
Please create a .zip file of the logfiles, include any relevant information from Windows Eventlogs (application, system and security and when applicapble, the Syspeace eventlog ) and also create a .Zip-file of the database and email them directly to the devteam . The email address can be found in the manual

11. If your server doesn’t pick up the source IP address in your eventlog , please have a look a this blog article

12. If your database has grown above the size limit of 4 GB, in the current version ( 2.5.2) you will have to manually delete the database and set up your Syspeace again. Please refer to this post on the matter
by Juha Jurvanen

#msexchange Brute force attacks prevention on #Webmail #OWA with #Syspeace #hacking #security

Preventing brute force attacks against Microsoft Exchange Server and OWA Webmail

If you’re running Microsoft Exchange Server your also quite likely to have the Microsoft Exchange OWA (Webmail)
interface up & running to enable your users to use Activesync and access their email, calendars and contacts
over an easy-to-use web interface accessible over the Internet. This is just as relevant if you’re managing your
own Exchange Server or if it is a hosted Exchange at a service provider. If your provider doesn’t have a
solution for this, you may find yourself in a very difficult situation one day as explained further down.
Since the Exchange Webmail (OWA) is reachable and visible over the Internet, this of course also means that
anyone is able to try to log in to your Exchange server over the same OWA interface. They may not succeed to
login but they may try to overload your server by sending lots of login request or have your users undergo a
Denial of Service attack (a DoS attack).

Brute force attacks used as Denial of Service attacks

The OWA in itself (or does Windows Server for that matter) doesn’t have any brute force prevention mechanisms
built into it but the actual user validation is done within the Active Directory infrastructure by your domain
controller(s). Within the Microsoft line of products this is actually true for most of them such as Terminal
Server (RDS, Remote Desktop), Sharepoint, SQL Server and so on and also for Citrix since user validation is done
in the same way.
If you have for instance set up Account Lockout Policies to disable a user account after 5 failed attempts ,
anyone with knowledge of your name standards (email addrees, AD login) can basically run a script against the
server using a specicif username (or hundreds of them) and deliberatley usoing wrong passwords, thus locking the
legitimate users account and disabling them from loging in at all (in essence, they can’t even login to anything
that uses the Active Directory validation, not even their own workstations in the Office)
If such an attack is made from a single IP address, it is fairly easy to block it manually (simply block the
attack in either the external firewall or the local firewall of the Exchange server).
In reality though, this is not how such an attack occurs. Should someone really want to disrupt ypur services,
they will do this from hundreds or thousands computers at the same time and making it impossible to block
manually.

Using Syspeace as a countermeasure

With Syspeace , this is all taken care of automatically. Syspeace monitors the Windows Serevr logs for failed
login requests and if an IP address tries to login against your servers ( Exchange, Terminals Server and so on)
and fails for instance 5 times within half an hour, the IP address is automatically blocked from communicating
at all with the affected server on any level (so if you’re also running other services , they will not be able
to target them either once blocked).
Each attack is blocked, traced and reported via email that contains the source IP address, the username used,
country of origin and previous attacks from the same IP address.

Here is actually an example of how the email notification looks like (with IP address and domain name intentionally removed)

Blocked address *.*.*.* (ip-*-*-*-*.*.secureserver.net) [United States] 2015-01-14 18:45:00 Rule used (Winlogon):
	Name:			Catch All Login
	Trigger window:		4.00:30:00
	Occurrences:		5
	Lockout time:		02:00:00
	Previous observations of this IP address:
	2015-01-14 16:44:50	****lab
	2015-01-14 16:44:52	****labroator
	2015-01-14 12:53:44	****ron
	2015-01-14 12:53:46	****demo
	2015-01-14 12:53:48	****canon

Syspeace also delivers daily and weekly reports of blocked threats.

Within Syspeace, there is also reporting tools for access reports, a Global Blacklist for infamous offenders and
much more.

Installing and setting ups Syspeace

Setting up Syspeace is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes, without the need for changing your
infrastructure or bying very expensive dedicated hardware. Most likely , you will not even need to hire a
consultant for it.

Syspeace runs as Windows Service and support a variety of Windows Servers such as Terminal Server, Exchange Server, Sharepointm Windows Serevr 2003 to Windows Serevr 2012 R2 and more and it starts detecting brute force attacks immediately after you set it up and press the start button.

Please download a free, fully functional 30 day trial and see for yourself how a very big problem can be very easily solved.
Should you decide to keep using Syspeace, the licensing cost is equivalent to an antivirus product and the
licensing model is highly flexible, enabling you to decide for yourself ofor how long you wish to run Syspeace.

#infosec How to block an ongoing dictionary attack / brute force attack against Windows Servers, #MSexchange and more

How to block an intrusion attack against Windows Servers for free

If your server or data center is targeted by a brute force attack a.k.a dictionary attacks , it might be hard to figure out how to quickly make it stop.
If the attack is from a single IP address you’d probably block it in your external firewall or the Windows Server firewall and after that start tracking and reporting the attack to see if needs following up.
However, if the attacks is triggered from hundreds or even thousands of IP addresses, it will become basically impossible to block all of them in the firewall so you need something to help you automate the task.

This is where Syspeace comes into play.

Fully functional, free trial for brute force prevention

Since Syspeace has a fully functional trial for 30 days, you can simply download it here, install, register with a valid email address, enter the license key into the Syspeace GUI and the attack will be automatically handled (blocked, tracked and reported) as soon as the Syspeace service starts up.

In essence, the attack will be blocked within minutes from even connecting to your server.

The entire process of downloading, installing and registering ususally only takes a few minutes and since Syspeace is a Windows service it will also automatically start if the server is rebooted.

If the attack is triggered to use just a few login attempts per attacking IP address and for a longer period of time in between attempts, I’d suggest you change te default rule to monitor for failed logins for a longer triggerwindow , for example 4 days so you’d also automatically detect hacking attempts that are trying to stay under the radar for countermeasure such as Syspeace.

The Syspeace Global BlackList

Since Syspeace has already blocked over 3.6 Million attacks worldwide , we’ve also got a Global Blacklist that is automatically downloaded to all other Syspeace clients.

This means that if an IP address has been deemed a repeat offender (meaning that it has attacked X number of Syspeace customers and Y number of servers within Z amount of tme), the attackers IP address is quite likely to already be in the GBL and therefore it will be automatically blacklisted on all Syspeace-installations, thus making it preemptively blocked.

Syspeace does not simmply disable the login for the attacker, it completely blocks the attacker on all ports from communicating with your server so if you’ve got otther services also running on the server (such as an FTP or SQL Server) the attacker will not be able to reach any if those services either. The lockdown is on all TCP ports.

More Syspeace features, supported Windows Server editions and other services such as Exchange Server, Terminal Server, SQL Server …

You will also get tracking and reporting included immediately for future reference or forensics.
Syspeace supports Windows Server editions from Windows 2003 and upwards, including the Small Business Server editions. It also supports Terminal Server (RDS) and RemoteAPP and RDWeb, Microsoft Exchange Serevr including the webmail (OWA) , Citrix, Sharepoint,
SQL Server and we’ve also released public APIs to use with various weblogins. All of this is included in Syspeace. Out of the box.
We’ve got a IIS FTP server detector in beta and also a FileZilla FTP Server detector and we’re constantly developing new detectors for various server software.

Download and try out Syspeace completely free

Even if you’re not being attacked by a large brute force attack right now, you can still download the trial and have Syspeace handle attacks for you in the background. Who knows, there could be more invalid login attemtpts than you think, such as disabled or removed users that have left the company or very subtle, slow dictioanry attacks going on in the background that actaully might be quite tricky to spot if your not  constantly monitoring logfles.

On this blog, http://syspeace.wordpress.com, we’ve written a lot of blog articles on how Syspeace works and a lot of other articles regarding securing your servers that we hope you’ll find useful.

How to battle slowgrind #bruteforce attacks against #msexchange #windows server #remotedesktop #sharepoint with #Syspeace

Syspeace automatically blocks attacks that occur according to the rules.
The default rule is that if an intruder fails to login more than 5 times within 30 minutes, the intruders IP address is blocked, tracked and reported for 2 hours and simply is denied any access to the server.

A new trend though has emerged and that is for bruteforce attackers to “slowgrind” through servers, trying to stay “under the radar” really from IDS/IPS HIPS/HIDS such as Syspeace.
They’ve got thousands and thousands of computers at their disposal so they’ll basically just try a few times at each server and then move on to next one in the IP range or geographical location hoping not to trigger any alarms or hacker countermeasures in place.

An easy way to battle this is actually simply to change the default rule in Syspeace from the time windows of 30 minutes to for example 5 days.

This way , I’m pretty sure you’ll see there are quite a few attackers that only tried 2 or three times a couple of days ago and they’re back again but still only trying only a few times.

With the “5 day” windows, you’ll catch and block those attacks too.

Here’s actually a brilliant example of an attack blocked, using a 4 day window.

Blocked address 121.31.114.99() [China] 2014-08-11 15:06:00
Rule used (Winlogon):
        Name:                   Catch All Login
        Trigger window:         4.00:30:00
        Occurrences:            5
        Lockout time:           02:00:00
        Previous observations of this IP address:
        2014-08-11 13:05:51     aksabadministrator
        2014-08-10 22:06:48     aksabadministrator
        2014-08-10 06:39:12     aksabadministrator
        2014-08-09 15:39:52     aksabadministrator
        2014-08-09 00:32:05     aksabadministrator

Syspeace has blocked more than 3 285 300 intrusion attempts against Windows Servers worldwide so far.

#infosec #cloudsecurity #Syspeace – Host Intrusion Prevention Software on an external #Windowsserver #VPS in the #Cloud #IaaS #PaaS

Syspeace – Host Intrusion Prevention Software on an external Windows Server VPS in the Cloud

There are many variations of IaaS / PaaS / Cloud services.
Some are public clouds and some are hybrids and some are private.
There’s also the possibility rent an external VPS and use as a server at quite a few providers nowadays.

The IaaS/PaaS (Infrastracture as a Service/ Platform as a Service) provider gives you acces to a virtual server designed as to your needs when it comes to RAM and storage. Basically, it’s usually an empty server with an operating system.

Running IT solutions on an external VPS decreases the need for hardware investements but there are still things you need to consider and you need to manage your server the same way you would with any physical server i terms of monitoring security and tha availability of services and applications.

Logically, the server is reachable from the Internet which will make it a target.
Anything that is reachable will be targeted for intrusion attempts. The responsibility for Iaas/PaaS provider is simply to provide you with the Hypervisor needed to host you operating system and the rest is up to you. You install the applications, webservers and everything just as you would with a normal physical server.

Some aware Iaas/PaaS/Cloud service provders do have some kind of Appshop/Control panel where you can get preconfigured software such as an antivirus or even Syspeace for intrusion prevention but it’s not that common.

Remember that your VPS shares “IP-space” with other customers when it comes to the network at your provider and you have absolutely no idea of what your “neighbors” are doing and if they’re the slightest security aware.
They may hve been hacked without you knowing it (or them either for that matter) and they could have the IP address right next to you and their server could be used for instance for portscanning or hacking attempts against your VPS (if seen this quite a few times now).

Your IaaS/PaaS provider usually wouldn’t know since it’s not their responsibility. Their role is simply to provide you and their other customers with a VPS. Nothing more. No security monitoring, no antivirus, no application / services monitoring
In case of a larger DDoS attack, they probobaly have ways to handle them if it concerns their entire network and affects a lot of their customers but when it comes to attacks speciafically targetet at your VPS and your users on it, it’s a bit trickier.

Imagine the scenario you’ve set up a server, you got your users set up, installed your applications and services and it’s up and running. Now, rermember that there’s no connection nbetween you userdatabase and login mechanisms locally on the VPS and your IaaS/PaaS systems so they’ll actually never even get any alarms if some is trying to brute force your server or your webapplication. They will be alerted in case of a large DDoS attack against their entire netowrk but they will not be alerted in cases of a bruteforce attack targetetd against your VPS.
So, in short, it’s all up to you. There’s no differnce apart from your not running the server in your own datacenter or at a hosting company.

Protecting your Windows Server, Exchange, Terminal Server / RDS, Sharepoint, SQL Server, Citrix and more from intrusion attempts

If your running a Windows server as a VPS you need to set up Syspeace to automatically handle intrusion attempts and have them blocked, tracked and reported againts the Syspeace Global Blacklist.
You also need to secure the server in other ways such as an antivirus, have your services monitored, you webapplication login form secured both from malicios code and from brute force logins (this is also wher Syspeace comes into play since there are plugins available for various webplatforms to use against bruteforce attacks)

Syspeace is an automated Host Intrusion Prevention System (also called a HIPS) and is targeted to protect Windows servers, Exchange and OWA , Sharepoint, Terminal Server / RDS and the RDWEB login, Citrix , SQL Server and more from bruteforce / dictionary attacks. . It is easy to install, and easy to manage and you’ll set it up in a couple of minutes and you’re protected. Instantly.

As I’m writing this, Syspeace has succesfully blocked, tracked and reported over 2 921 200 (2.9 Million) brute force and dictionary attacks against Windows servers worldwide.

Have a look the Syspeace website for a free trial download or keep reading some of the previous articles I’ve written on various securiy aspects on server managagement such as Using various brute force and dictionary attack prevention methods to prevent hackers – and why they don’t work and Securing your #WinServ and #MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

#infosec #cloudsecurity #Syspeace – Host Intrusion Prevention Software on an external #Windowsserver #VPS in the #Cloud #IaaS #PaaS

Syspeace – Host Intrusion Prevention Software on an external Windows Server VPS in the Cloud

There are many variations of IaaS / PaaS / Cloud services.
Some are public clouds and some are hybrids and some are private.
There’s also the possibility rent an external VPS and use as a server at quite a few providers nowadays.

The IaaS/PaaS (Infrastracture as a Service/ Platform as a Service) provider gives you acces to a virtual server designed as to your needs when it comes to RAM and storage. Basically, it’s usually an empty server with an operating system.

Running IT solutions on an external VPS decreases the need for hardware investements but there are still things you need to consider and you need to manage your server the same way you would with any physical server i terms of monitoring security and tha availability of services and applications.

Logically, the server is reachable from the Internet which will make it a target.
Anything that is reachable will be targeted for intrusion attempts. The responsibility for Iaas/PaaS provider is simply to provide you with the Hypervisor needed to host you operating system and the rest is up to you. You install the applications, webservers and everything just as you would with a normal physical server.

Some aware Iaas/PaaS/Cloud service provders do have some kind of Appshop/Control panel where you can get preconfigured software such as an antivirus or even Syspeace for intrusion prevention but it’s not that common.

Remember that your VPS shares “IP-space” with other customers when it comes to the network at your provider and you have absolutely no idea of what your “neighbors” are doing and if they’re the slightest security aware.
They may hve been hacked without you knowing it (or them either for that matter) and they could have the IP address right next to you and their server could be used for instance for portscanning or hacking attempts against your VPS (if seen this quite a few times now).

Your IaaS/PaaS provider usually wouldn’t know since it’s not their responsibility. Their role is simply to provide you and their other customers with a VPS. Nothing more. No security monitoring, no antivirus, no application / services monitoring
In case of a larger DDoS attack, they probobaly have ways to handle them if it concerns their entire network and affects a lot of their customers but when it comes to attacks speciafically targetet at your VPS and your users on it, it’s a bit trickier.

Imagine the scenario you’ve set up a server, you got your users set up, installed your applications and services and it’s up and running. Now, rermember that there’s no connection nbetween you userdatabase and login mechanisms locally on the VPS and your IaaS/PaaS systems so they’ll actually never even get any alarms if some is trying to brute force your server or your webapplication. They will be alerted in case of a large DDoS attack against their entire netowrk but they will not be alerted in cases of a bruteforce attack targetetd against your VPS.
So, in short, it’s all up to you. There’s no differnce apart from your not running the server in your own datacenter or at a hosting company.

Protecting your Windows Server, Exchange, Terminal Server / RDS, Sharepoint, SQL Server, Citrix and more from intrusion attempts

If your running a Windows server as a VPS you need to set up Syspeace to automatically handle intrusion attempts and have them blocked, tracked and reported againts the Syspeace Global Blacklist.
You also need to secure the server in other ways such as an antivirus, have your services monitored, you webapplication login form secured both from malicios code and from brute force logins (this is also wher Syspeace comes into play since there are plugins available for various webplatforms to use against bruteforce attacks)

Syspeace is an automated Host Intrusion Prevention System (also called a HIPS) and is targeted to protect Windows servers, Exchange and OWA , Sharepoint, Terminal Server / RDS and the RDWEB login, Citrix , SQL Server and more from bruteforce / dictionary attacks. . It is easy to install, and easy to manage and you’ll set it up in a couple of minutes and you’re protected. Instantly.

As I’m writing this, Syspeace has succesfully blocked, tracked and reported over 2 921 200 (2.9 Million) brute force and dictionary attacks against Windows servers worldwide.

Have a look the Syspeace website for a free trial download or keep reading some of the previous articles I’ve written on various securiy aspects on server managagement such as Using various brute force and dictionary attack prevention methods to prevent hackers – and why they don’t work and Securing your #WinServ and #MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

#infosec Do bruteforce attacks really exist ?

The other day I sat down and just looked at various statistics on how the visitors ended up here in terms of referrers and keyword searches and one of the terms was “do bruteforce attacks really exist ?”.

This made me smile.

Syspeace has so far blocked over 2.77 Million bruteforce attacks against #windowsserver #msexhange #Sharepoint #remotedesktop #Citrix and #SQLServer worldwide so I dare say they really do exist and they’re very common.

We’ve also published a 30 day list of the most commonly attacked and attacking countries as reported by Syspeace installations around the world. It might be interesting read for you and it can be found here, Syspeace worldwide security staus center.

One of the features of Syspeace is for instance the Syspeace Global Blacklist that is distributed automatically to all Syspeace installations.
If an attacker has been deemed to have attacked X number of different Syspeace customers and Y number of times, it will be automatically put in the GBL and distributed to all other Syspeace installations, making them preemtively blocking the attacking IP address from ANY communicating with their servers that have Syspeace installed.

Any #Cloud service provider or any #outsourcing or #service provider or also any IT techs at a company knows there are hundreds and thousands of intrusion attacks every month but historically these attacks, also called dictionar attacks , have been very hard to deal with so in essence, they’ve given up. Some providers or companies actually don’t even bother turning on logging on the servers, simply turning a blind eye to the actual problem. From an operational point of view, security point of view and from the customers point of view this is of course not acceptable.

There are some previous posts on why it’s been so difficult on this blog for instance this one, Why firewalls, vpns, account lockout policies  and other bruteforce prevention methods aren’t enough.

After we launched Syspeace , service providers, Cloud providers and companies have been given a new, cost efficient, easy to set up and easy to use countermeasure against hacking attempts.

No need to change your infrastructure, hire costly consultants and launch a big, costly project.
Simply download Syspeace trial , install it in a minute and your #remotedesktop #msexhange #Sharepoint #windowsserver is protected.
It couldn’t be easier and frankly, it should be the part of any #Windowsserver Baseline security just as you’ve got antivirus, backups, patch management in place.

Enable logging on your Windows server as described in the Syspeace manual and see for yourself if you’re targeted. You might be surprised.

By Juha Jurvanen – Senior IT Consultant @ JufCorp

image

Syspeace - intrusion prevention for Windows servers

Would #Syspeace help against #Heartbleed #OpenSSL bug ?

In short, no.

Syspeace monitors failed logins on  #msexchange #WinServ #sharepoint #remotedesktop #Citrix and evaluates if it is a bruteforce attack against the system or not. Syspeace has blocked over 2.6 Million bruteforce attacks against #windowsserver around the world so far.

However, if an attacker has gained access to passwords and usernames he or she will use those and be able to log in. From the systems point of view it is a fully legitimate login thus not awakening #Syspeace.

The nearest days, #sysadmins around the world will be upgrading their systems to the secured OpenSSL but for you as an enduser it is highly recommended to change all of your passwords .
Remember to use strong passwords and never use the same password on different sites.

Here’s a blogpost that might be of use for you to remember complex online passwords.

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

#infosec VPS and #Cloud servers used for brute force attacks and #botnets against #WinServ and #MSExchange

Syspeace - intrusion prevention for Windows servers

Syspeace website

Is your VPS used for brute force attacks?

or I could also have called this post “Do you know whom your VPS is hacking today?”

A trend that has surfaced over the years is to simply hire computer power inte the Cloud in various forms and shapes. The basic idea is to get rid of the hardware and maintenance för servers and have someone else take care of it. Also known as Infrastructure aa a Service or IaaS

The problem is often though that even if you use a hosted VPS you still have to manage it. This is something that a lot of users and companies tend to forget or neglect.

What you’ve basically done is simply get rid of the hardware hassle but you still have to take care of the Windows patching and manage security issues as with any Windows serevr (or Linux för that matter) .

There aren’t that many Cloyd services out there that actually will also manage the security and management aspects of your VPS and you really need to think these things through.

The resaon for this post is that for some time now, a VPS located at a Swedish Cloud Service provider has been trying to brute force its way into quite a few different servers with #Syspeace installed on them.
The attacks, targeted aginst RDP / Terminal Servers servers, Exchange Server and Sharepoint Servers in this case, have been blocked, traced and reported automatically but the big question is whether whoever owns/hires this VPS is actually even aware of what is going on ? Or if it’s hired especially for this purpose? This is actuallt impossible to know.

In this specific case this VPS has been going on and on for a while and it has targeted at least 5 different customers of mine with Syspeace installed and about 12 servers at least.
All attacks have been succesfully blocked, tracked and reported and eventually this VPS will end up in the Syspeace Global Blacklist (GBL) and propagated to all other Syspeace installations around the world and it will be blacklisted for all of them, thus securing them preemptively from any brute force / dictionary attacks from this VPS.

Most likely the Cloud Service Provider doesn’t know what’s going on since it’s not their responsibility really. Maybe the user / customer hirong the VPS does this on pyrpose or they have no idea that the VPS has been compromised and is used for this hacking activity. I juyt donät knoew. All I know is that it has been cinducting a lot of dicitionary attacks lately.

What I’m driving at is that if you decide to start using a hosted VPS, you still have the responsibility to manage it as any other server really.
You need to have it correctly patched, have an antivirus on it, make sure all security settings are correct and you need to monitor activity on it.

You should also ask your Cloud Service provider for intrusion prevention from Syspeace since you basically have no idea what all of the other customers VPS are really doing in your shared network since you hae no control over them.

Most Cloud Service Provers could inplement Syspeace in their various Applications portals or have a Syspeace installed in their prepared images for customers. If your providers hasn’t implemented Syspeace yet, you can simply download it yourself from /free-download/download-plus-getting-started-with-syspeace/

Your “neighbors” at the Cloud Service could be trying to brute force they way into your VPS and you’d probably wouldn’t have a clue if you haven’t turned on logging and installed a brute foce prevention software for Windows servers.

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

#infosec Securing your #WinServ and #MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security

Securing your Windows Server with a baseline security

In short, to have an acceptable baseline security for any Windows server you need to think all of the things below in this list.
Sadly enough, even if you follow all of these steps, you’re still not secured forever and ever. There’s no such thing as absolute security. That’s just the way it is but you might use this as some kind of checklist and also the links provided in this post.

Syspeace logo

Syspeace logo

Securing Windows Serves with an acceptable baseline security

1. Make sure all of your software is updated with all security patches. This includes the Windows operating system but also Adobe, Java,Office and any software really. This reduces the risk for so called 0day attacks or your server being compromised by software bugs.

2. Make sure you have a good and not too resource intensive antivirus running on everything. Personally I’m a fan of F Secure PSB for servers and workstations for lots of reasons. It’s not just a pretty logo.

3. Verify you have thought your file and directory access structure and that users and groups are only allowed to use and see what they’re supposed to. Setting file permissions is a very powerful tool to secure your server and crucial.

4. Always make sure to read best practices for securing applications and servers and Google for other ideas also. No manual is the entire gospel.

5. Enable logging. If you don’t know what’s happeing, you can’t really react to it can you ? It also makes any troubleshooting hopeless in restrospect.

7. Have a good monitoring and inventory system in place such as the free SpiceWorks at http://www.spiceworks.com

8. If your server has any monitoring agents from the manufacturer such as HP Server Agents, then install them and set them up with notifications for any hardware events to be prepared.

9. User Group Policies. It’s an extermely powerful tool once you start using it and it will make you day to day operations much easier.

10. If your server is reachable from the Internet, use valifd SSL certificates. They’re not that expensive and any communications should be encrypted and secured as fa as we’re able. Yes, think Mr. Snowden.Think NSA.

11. Disable any unused services and network protocols. They can be a point of entry and for the unused network protocols, you bascially fill your local network with useless chatter that comsume bandwidth. This also goes for workstations and printers and so on.

12. Enforce complex password policies! You won’t be well-liked but that’s not what you get paid for.
If people are having trouble remembering passwords the have all over the world, maybe you could have thme read this
http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/remembering-complex-online-passwords/ and on the topic of online passwords and identities also, http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/reflections-on-theft-and-protection-of-online-identity-on-the-internet-who-are-you/

13. Use a good naming standard for user logins. Not just their first name as login or something too obvious. Here’s an old blog post on why http://syspeace.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/securing-your-webmailowa-on-microsoft-exchange-and-a-few-other-tips/

14. Backups! Backups! and again. BACKUPS!!
Make sure you have good backups (and test them at least once a year for a complete disaster revovery scenario) and make sure you have multiple generations of them in case any of them is corrupted, preferrably stored offsite in some manner in case of a fire, theft or anything really.
For day to day operations and generation management I highly recommend using the builtin VSS snapshot method but never ever have it instead of backups.
You can also use the built in Windows Server backup for DR as described here http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/using-windows-server-backup-20082008-r2-for-a-disaster-recovery-from-a-network-share/

15. You need to have an automatic intrusion protection against brute force and dictionary attacks with Syspeace since the “classic” methods do not get the job done. Here’s an older blog post on why http://syspeace.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/using-various-brute-force-and-dictionary-attack-prevention-methods-to-prevent-hackers-and-why-they-dont-work-repost/ . I you don’t have the time to read the article then simply download the free Syspeace trial, install it and you’ve set up a pwerful and easy to use bruteforce prtection for your server in minutes.

If you’re up for it, I’ve written a few other related posts here:

http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/securing-your-server-environment-part-1-physical-environment/
and
http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/securing-server-environments-part-ii-networking/

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp