Virtual Private Servers(VPS) has gained immense popularity over a couple of years owing to the performance and functionality advancements in the virtualization technologies. In order to experience the benefit of utilizing own dedicated servers, numerous customers are upgrading their existing Linux shared hosting packages to Linux servers. With the presence of Linux Security Model (LSM), Linux VPS are significantly more secure when compared with other operating systems, yet they are not perfect and are vulnerable to attacks. Being acquainted of the risks and outcomes will help you to maintain a balance between usability and security. It is necessary to adopt a methodology that will shield your server from the prominent attacks along with the efficient administration.
The fundamental action you need to do when you set on a new VPS is to set up a protected environment custom fitted to your needs. In this article, let’s have a look at some of the most common security measures to be taken in a Linux server environment. This isn’t a comprehensive rundown and does not cover configuration details, but rather it will cover the fundamental strides for securing a Linux-based VPS.
Configure a Firewall
Firewalls take a note of the traffic headed in and out of your server. If you want a truly secure VPS, you need to enable and configure VPS. Initially, your server should be set to utilize only the networking ports that are absolutely necessary for all the standard and legitimate services. Then set up your firewall, which poses as a barrier between the general internet traffic and your machine. Firewalls deny in and outgoing traffic, at the same time protects the rest of the ports from security breaches. Some of the popular Linux firewalls are IPTables, UFW Firewall, NFTables, IP6Tables etc
Utilize SSH For Secure Login
When managing a server where you do not have local access, you should sign in remotely. The most secure approach to sign into a remote server is by utilizing the SSH which offers end-to-end encryption to burrow insecure traffic over a secure connection.
It is obvious that one cannot hack SSH when they can’t discover it. In order, to prevent the malignant scripts from directly connecting to default port (22), you need to change the SSH port number. Implementing a solution like fail2ban helps with the general security of your SSH configuration. They monitor log files to determine if the remote system is a legitimate user, if not they temporarily ban future traffic from the associated IP address.
Set GnuPG Encryption
To add even more security, you can facilitate login using a matching private key which is so complex and brute-forcing is not practical. For this, you need to add a public SSH key on a server that can only be decrypted by a “private key” which is available only to the intended recipient.
Enable Sudo Access
Every Linux VPS possess the username as “root” in default. This encourages hackers to crack the password by attempting brute force attacks. In order to defend from such security threats, you need to deactivate the root login option and create another username. To execute root level commands, you should use “sudo” command and It is always advisable to create unique user accounts for each user and service on your Linux VPS. Each user should be set with the required permissions and privileges in order to complete their task and the rest of the permissions and privileges should be kept inaccessible. Ensure that you disable all unnecessary user accounts who no longer need access to your system.
Replace FTP With SFTP
FTP is a protocol that is inherently insecure and is vulnerable to packet sniffing. SFTP is “FTP over SSH” otherwise known as “secure FTP”. SFTP encrypts all the data which includes the files that are being transferred and credentials.
Security Patching is an important task in securing your Linux VPS. Outdated systems may have security holes and are vulnerable to intrusion attacks. Hence, Security updates are released on a regular basis to prevent hackers from intruding into your servers. Hence, ensure that you make use of the available package management tools to keep your system up-to-date.
Partition Your Disk
In order to keep operating system files away from third-party programs, user files, and tmp files you need to partition your disk. For added security, you can also disable “nosuid” and “noexec” on the operating system partition.
Install Intrusion Detection Systems
You can effectively detect suspicious activities such as DoS attacks and port scans by installing intrusion detection systems which are available in the market in bulk. Some of the popular intrusion detection systems are RKHunter, Bro, Psad, Aide etc. They monitor and analyze the internals of a computing application.
Hopefully, this article has managed to acquaint you with the general security practices to ensure your Linux VPS is shielded from malicious attacks. Since you are in charge of your server’s security, guarantee you stay cautious against some the most widely recognized security threats. Even though securing Linux VPS servers is a tedious task which invests a lot of time and effort, it is an essential part of server administration. To stay ahead of hackers keep auditing and evaluating your system and the solutions continuously.