Having secure remote access for employees and following best practices is essential to keep your data secure. In the past few months, companies in all industries have worked intensively with the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to maintain their business while maintaining physical distancing.
Since remote desktop access allows a corporate device to be accessed from anywhere globally over the public internet, security is an important consideration.
If you use remote access to provide support to your customers ‘computers and devices, you can potentially put your customers’ data at risk as well whenever a security issue arises. It can cause irreparable damage to your reputation and your business. The good thing is there are multiple ways to secure remote desktop access. Binding an SSL certificate to an RDP is one of the best practices.
What is RDP?
RDP is a network communication protocol developed by Microsoft. It is available on most Windows operating systems and provides a graphical user interface that allows users to access a server or other computer remotely.
The display of the remote server is transmitted to the client computer via RDP, and the remote server can be operated via the input devices of the client (such as keyboard or mouse). This allows users to work on the external computer as if they were sitting in front of it.
RDP is typically used in business environments so that end users can remotely access files and applications located on the company’s local network. Administrators also often use RDP for remote diagnosis to solve technical problems on the end devices. A secure RDP is therefore essential to minimize brute attacks. Keep in mind to buy RDP VPS from a reliable source.
How To Use An SSL VPN To Access A Server?
SSL VPN allows connected devices to establish a secure RDP connection with a web browser. It used end-to-end encryption to protect data sent between the SSL VPN RDP server and the endpoint device client.
To use the full capabilities of RDP over SSL, client PCs must be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 and using version 6.0 or later of the RDP client. You can also install an SSL certificate for RDP on Windows 2012.
Your network must have a functioning RDP SSL certificate authority to implement this solution successfully. To trust the certificates issued by these CAs to the terminal server, you must install the CA certificate (or certificate chain) in the store.
To use an SSL VPN to access a server, you should:
- Set up the VPN settings (address range for clients)
- Set up a user group and add a user
- Define a remote SSL VPN range or subnet
- Add a remote access policy manager
- Confirm the device access settings
- Look at the authentication services
- Include a firewall rule
- Deploy the connection and check connectivity.
Beginners Guide To Safely Access A Remote PC
You should always disable RDP unless it is needed. Organizations in need of RDP can use the following practices to protect RDP from brute force attacks. Here are the best secure RDP practices that will keep you protected.
Serious security problems can come up when RDP is open to online access. Instead, companies should use a virtual private network so that users can securely access the corporate network from outside without exposing their systems to the whole online space.
Restricting Access Through a Firewall
You can use the Window firewall to restrict RDP access to a particular IP address or several IP addresses in cases linked to remote desktop connections on Windows 10.
Block IPs on Repeated Failed Login Attempts
A large number of failed login attempts within a short period indicates a brute force attack. The local security policy in Windows can be used to determine how many attempts a user can have when logging on for RDP access. Some protection software automatically warns administrators if multiple failed login attempts are detected.
Restrict Remote Access
While all administrator accounts are allowed to use RDP by default, not all users may need remote access for their actual work. Therefore, organizations should adhere to the principle of least privilege and limit RDP access to the workforce who need it.
Change RDP Listening Port
Malicious attackers map out potential victims by searching the interwebs for computers attentive to TCP 3389 (the standard RDP port). Companies can “hide” vulnerable connections by changing this monitoring port through the Windows registry, but this approach does not protect against RDP attacks. It should, therefore, only be seen as an additional precautionary measure.
Use RD Gateways
With an RD gateway server, a function that has been available for all Windows servers since version 2008, secure RDP provision and security management can be simplified.
What Else to Consider?
Here are other things to consider for a secure RDP connection:
Use Multi-Level Authentication
Even the strongest passwords can be compromised. There is no perfect solution, but two-factor authentication (2FA) offers at least an additional layer of protection since users have to use at least two types of authentication (e.g., a one-time code or biometric proof) to log in to an RDP session.
Two-factor authentication helps secure access to your Windows environment. For remote connections, the need is even more essential. End users who connect to a computer (remote or virtual) on the network should be secured with 2FA to verify their identity.
It is also essential for VPN sessions. VPNs are meant to give users access to your most sensitive resources. Therefore, strengthening them with 2FA is crucial in preventing hackers from gaining access to your corporate network.
Most RDP-based attacks crack weak credentials. As a result, companies must enforce strong passwords for all RDP clients and servers. These have to be a bit long, unique, and random.
The sudden remote working move has resulted in an increased number of servers with open RDP ports, and cybercriminals are trying to take advantage of this.
By actively taking precautions to secure RDP, organizations can still securely reap the benefits of working from home while minimizing the risk of RDP-based threats.