There’s no doubt that data is everything. The most valuable resource for a corporation is its customer data, which can contain financial data, databases, communication history, and much more. A company website needs greater security as it manages more customer data to ensure that its customers are secure. Data security can mean withholding sensitive information from a competitor or training data integrity.
A lot of this data security depends on the hosting environment you pick and the choices you make about the security of your data. The wisest choice you can make for your company’s operations and data security may be to take your time when choosing the appropriate hosting plan. A VPS solution is far safer than a shared hosting option, however there are still many steps to ensure enhanced VPS security.
The first section of the article will explore the general features of VPS security solutions.
If you already have that covered, then head on over to the second section where you’ll find 21 tips on How to secure your VPS.
- Every server and web host has vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit. The only approach to stop inexperienced hackers or make it more difficult for solid hackers is to improve the security of a site or VPS server.
- The simplest approach to thwart attacks like brute force, distributed denial of service (DDoS), port scanning, and other threats that might cause service interruptions or server takeover is via a firewall.
- SSH, or Secure Socket Shell, allows you to connect to a server or remote computer using text-based interfaces
- Managed Servers updates, runs, configures, and is maintained by the hosting company; this varies from host to host. An Unmanaged Server, however, provides far less assistance.
- By merely adopting the correct protocols such as choosing a good hosting provider, creating users with restricted rights, or disabling root logins, many risks may be avoided
What is a VPS?
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) in simple terms is just a server. Just a server? Really? Well… a tad bit special than that.
We all know a server is a computer where all of the information and files that make up your website are kept. A VPS becomes special because it’s virtual and private. It’s virtual, meaning, it can create several virtual servers on a single physical machine and it’s private because you divide server resources such as RAM, and CPU into these virtual servers.
In comparison to shared hosting, where there is no designated server space, VPS is a safer and more reliable option. However, it is more limited than hiring a whole server. Websites that have medium-level traffic and can afford a bigger budget than shared hosting but who don’t require the resources of a dedicated server typically go for VPS hosting.
Since VPS solutions usually offer more than one hosting plan, HostAdvice will help you get expert advice and customer reviews on hosting plans that you can choose from.
What is VPS Security?
Sophos reported in 2012 that over 30,000 websites are attacked every day. Given how far the internet has evolved in recent years, the current figure is very likely to be significantly higher.
Most VPS providers include several security features that can make a significant difference in keeping you and your guests secure.
- Free SSL certificates, DDoS protection, firewall protection, and virus scanning are all available.
- Select a company that conducts frequent backups to decrease latency and maintain your site.
Since VPS runs on a physical server as a virtual machine, there’s a good chance the server is prone to security risks.
How VPS Technology Improves Security
Bare-metal servers make up VPS technology.
- A bare metal server is a physical server that only has one tenant. You are the sole owner of the server.
- The term ‘bare metal’ implies that the tenant has complete control over the hardware.
The bare-metal server divides into VPS instances using a hypervisor.
- A hypervisor is a software that builds and manages virtual machines.
- By essentially sharing its resources, such as memory and computation, a hypervisor enables a single host computer to handle several guest virtual machines.
The partitions from a bare metal server are virtualized in separate environments. Since the hypervisor is often not accessible to the general public, security threats are also down.
VPS systems are far safer than shared hosting in this sense. You may decide to use VPS since the danger of increased susceptibility is not worth it.
Linux Security and Common Weaknesses
Although Linux’s default security is generally better than that of the majority of its rivals, it nevertheless contains flaws. These flaws exist because of users who improperly configure the system, install insecure software, leave programs unpatched, or install malware.
The most known weakness include malware
Malware can occasionally go across the network from the hosted server and have an impact on other systems. If any private information is on the local server, it would become public and the host would experience a data breach. Malware can still impact the local virtual machine even though it doesn’t travel across the network.
Every server and web host contains vulnerabilities that hackers may easily exploit
For instance, sniffing and brute-force attack include hackers intercepting and extracting data, and guessing sensitive credential pieces of information. SQL injection is the process by which a hacker uses a web application’s code to access the server’s database. Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a client-side attack in which malicious code is injected into a website.
Security risks include the lack of function-level control
This is brought about by a server failing to correctly check the access permissions, which would then grant root access to users in general. Or, identity theft that results from unprotected data, weak passwords, or incorrectly configured application session timeouts.
No hosting platform is immune to attacks, but a VPS is among the safest solutions
Your data, software, and operating system are separate from other instances since each VPS instance is like a dedicated server. Each virtual machine has access to its own set of server resources to maintain the integrity of what a dedicated server is. The host’s resource pool will hold any resources that are not in use once they disperse. The result is an effective system that uses just the resources you require and leaves the remainder for use by other server applications.
Blocking access with Firewalls
Without a firewall, you won’t have the maximum level of security available despite the dedicated nature of VPS hosting’s increased security.
The simplest approach to thwart attacks like brute force, distributed denial of service (DDoS), port scanning, and other threats that might cause service interruptions or server takeover is via a firewall. For instance, a firewall that has been set up correctly would stop any connections to any ports that are not in use by any trusted services.
The use of the services must adhere to rigorous guidelines set by a VPS firewall. For example, when it notices that a single IP address is producing a disproportionate volume of traffic. A firewall that is correctly set will stop the IP address before it starts using up server resources and degrading performance.
Popular Linux Firewalls
Linux is a popular operating system for VPS web hosting options and some of the most popular Linux Firewalls are below:
Although Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) is not in all software systems, this solution is present in recent versions of Ubuntu, and it is also installable on other Linux distributions.
Services that let you customize UFW using a Graphical User Interface are available too. Not only is UFW’s management simpler, but it also has other benefits. It provides users with tools including support for IPv6, the power to block a range of IPs, and the choice to restrict access to particular ports.
Using a set of programmable table rules, the Linux command line firewall, Iptables, enables system administrators to control both incoming and outgoing traffic.
Iptables is one of the most adaptable firewalls available. This is mostly because of features like its backup and restores support and flexibility to operate on a variety of levels. The sole drawback is that Iptables can only be configured using the command-line interface, which many users find difficult to comprehend.
In contrast to Iptables, which are used in the Linux kernel to set up, maintain, and examine the tables of IPv4 packet filter rules, Ip6tables maintain IPv6 packet filter rules. However, both have nearly identical syntax.
If the packet meets one of the defined rules, the rules specify what should be done with it. If the rule matches, there will be a target. This target might be another chain or an exceptional value such as ACCEPT, DROP, or RETURN.
The supposed replacement for Iptables is nftables. The same team made Ntftables and it includes out-of-the-box IPv4 and IPv6 functionality. It can only be configured through the terminal, like Iptables. Fortunately, it offers a more comprehensible syntax to consumers.
This suggests that setting up the firewall that comes with the operating system should be simpler for server owners who wish to utilize it. Although nftables have previously been integrated into several distributions, it is still not as widely used as Iptables. However, we are on the lookout that it will ultimately replace the default Linux firewall.
ConfigServer Firewall, or CSF, is one of the most liked firewall options for Linux servers. Given that it’s free and utilizes Iptables as a foundation, configuring it on the majority of Linux distributions isn’t too difficult. Mechanisms in CSF provide an effective defense against port scanning and SYN floods. Particularly noteworthy is the Login Failure Daemon, a feature that monitors for brute-force efforts regularly and bans the offender’s IP if it discovers evidence of a possible assault.
Although CSF stands out from many other firewall solutions because of its extensive feature set, for the majority of users, its main advantage is its smooth connection with the web hosting control panels. Users using DirectAdmin, for instance, don’t have to set up CSF via the command-line interface. They can instead control the firewall rules inside of their control panels. In addition to all of this, they may analyze comprehensive statistics and make inferences about probable attack trends thanks to CSF’s GUI plugins.
Using SSH to Securely Login Remotely
SSH, or Secure Socket Shell, allows you to connect to a server or remote computer using text-based interfaces. A shell session will execute once a secure SSH connection is made, allowing you to issue commands from the client software on your local computer to control the server.
A client and the associated server-side component create an SSH connection. Installing an SSH client on your computer will enable you to connect to a server or another machine. If the credentials are valid, the client creates the encrypted connection using the specified remote host information.
An SSH daemon is a server-side component that continuously monitors a particular TCP/IP port for potential client connection requests. The SSH daemon will reply with the software and protocol versions it offers once a client begins a connection, and the two will then share their identity information. If the credentials entered are accurate, SSH starts a fresh session for the proper environment.
You must ensure that the client and server components are set up on the local and remote machines, respectively, to establish an SSH connection. OpenSSH is a popular SSH program that is open source and used with Linux distributions. OpenSSH can be easily installed. Both the machine you use for connecting and the server’s terminal must be accessible.
When you connect to a remote server, you will get a prompt to confirm the system’s identity.
[client]$ ssh firstname.lastname@example.org The authenticity of host '10.200.1.3 (10.200.1.3)' can't be established. ED25519 key fingerprint is SHA256:55ZkHA/4KU7M9B3je9uj8+oOLjFdV0xHxPTjMvCT0hE. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])?
Individual identification for the system you are logging into is the fingerprint. The fingerprint of the system may be recorded if you installed and configured it, but if not, you are most likely without a mechanism to verify its validity. The fingerprint is from an SSH key that is stored on the remote server in the /etc/ssh directory. Using this command on the server, the administrator of that server may verify the anticipated fingerprint:
[server]$ sudo ssh-keygen -v -lf \ /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key`
You can get the host’s SSH key with the above command, and you may use the fingerprint to verify that the server you’re login into is the one you anticipate.
SSH keys are the safest choice since they prevent brute-force attempts and spare you from having to repeatedly input a password.
Why use a Managed Server vs Unmanaged Server for Security
Managed Server updates, runs, configures, and is maintained by the hosting company (although this varies from host to host). For those of you who might not be too comfortable managing a Linux server, this is a great solution. To find out which responsibilities the hosting company might or might not do, get in touch with them.
An Unmanaged Server, however, provides far less assistance. You’ll be responsible for overseeing server management, upkeep, and configuration. However, it is a more economical choice, and it does provide you some discretion over what you do.
Is Managed VPS Secure?
With a managed VPS service, you have a whole staff of qualified hosting specialists at your disposal around the clock. Although internal ticketing is the most common method, several service providers also provide phone and chat tech assistance. When it comes to VPS security, that is essential. Whether you need to modify a firewall rule, perform an update, or reset your password, getting in touch with the support team right away may usually help. Since they work with the technology every day, the operators are most equipped to identify its root causes.
The basic idea behind a managed VPS is that the server is completely set up to begin hosting your websites by the time you gain access to it. Therefore, it needs protection from cyberattacks. Let’s see what security is like in other types of hosting.
Security in other types of hosting
Unmanaged VPS security relies on your abilities. Even an unmanaged server can provide you with the highest level of security if you are familiar with server security and believe you can handle it without difficulty. The managed VPS solutions simply get rid of the necessity to handle security concerns on your own by hiring internal specialists.
Shared hosting shares the same resources with multiple users on shared servers. The worst part of this system is that no matter how well you secure your website, if another account on the server is compromised, everyone is at risk. VPS, in contrast, are in isolation and totally independent of one another.
Dedicated servers leave the security completely up to you, just like with an unmanaged VPS. The hardware is yours alone, and you are free to use it any way you see fit. You may receive tech help for free or as a premium service depending on the host.
How do Managed Server-Level Backups work?
You will have access to backup software on a managed web server. Daily backups of your server’s files safeguard the most current copy of your data from unforeseen occurrences or cyberattacks. These backups will be kept in the cloud, away from your server. If anything were to occur to your server, you could quickly and with little data loss restore it to the most recent restore point.
Backup implementations are not frequently available on unmanaged servers. This implies that to duplicate data and successfully and securely avoid any data loss or corruption, you will need to locate your own VPS hosting backup solutions. IT professionals with the right skills might be able to script their backups, but they would then be in charge of any backup rules and processes.
Does Managed Hosting include Updates and Patching?
Your hosting company can maintain your server updated with the most recent patches using Managed VPS, protecting your system from hackers. Utilizing a managed hosting service guarantees that your server receives regular OS upgrades and patches automatically.
The fundamental operating system patches safeguard your VPS hosting and prevent hackers from employing well-known exploits against your servers, making timely patching essential to your VPS security.
Operating systems release updates when there is a vulnerability to patch your network and stop attackers from doing more harm. All updates and software patches must be installed manually if you are utilizing unmanaged hosting.
Do Managed Servers come with security protection?
Controlled antivirus, also known as centrally managed antivirus, is a software choice made to safeguard the computer systems used by your company from viruses and other dangers. Everything runs through a single network server rather than having antivirus software present on each device.
- Managed antivirus protection does not make financial sense for small enterprises, those with less than ten employees.
- Medium-size businesses might require a cost-benefit analysis to establish the feasibility from an economic perspective.
- For centrally administered antivirus to function, a subscription must be purchased for each workstation in your company.
Reliable managed antivirus solutions frequently need an on-site security specialist to guarantee the system’s functionality. That would undoubtedly result in significant costs for your company, in addition to the practical difficulties of having a second person in charge of security in the workplace.
Do Managed Servers have Automatic Upgrades?
VPS security depends on hardware improvements like your hard drive RAID (redundant array of independent/inexpensive disks). Updating these crucial hardware parts enables the best storage performance across several hard disks.
All of your data might be lost if your RAID system fails. Therefore, it is crucial to have a specialized crew on hand to keep track of these hardware hazards. To help keep your server secure, managed servers will automatically receive hardware updates in the data center.
The support staff will automatically upgrade these hardware elements at the right time whenever hardware malfunctions or becomes outdated. Even minor adjustments like changing a hard drive or adding additional RAM may be made with managed support. Please be aware that your website or application will be unavailable while the modifications are happening, which typically takes 30 minutes or less.
Protecting Your VPS from Malware and Viruses: How to Stay Safe
In order to protect your VPS from viruses and malware and to preserve the security of your data, this is essential. These are some essential pointers to keep you safe:
- Update the software on your VPS: Update your VPS software frequently to address security flaws and problems in your operating system, web server, and applications.
- Installing malware detection and antivirus software Employ trustworthy antivirus and malware detection tools, and keep them updated with the most recent virus definitions.
- Use two-factor authentication and create strong passwords: Make your passwords tough to guess or breach by using unique, complex ones. For an additional layer of security, enable two-factor authentication.
- Restrict who can access your VPS: Access should only be granted to reliable users, and ports and services that are superfluous should be blocked.
- Maintain regular data backups: In order to protect yourself from any assaults and data loss, create frequent backups of your VPS data and keep them in a secure area.
Along with these precautions, it’s crucial to check your VPS for any unusual activity routinely and to look into any suspect conduct right away. By following these instructions, you may considerably lower the possibility of malware and virus attacks on your VPS and safeguard your important data.
Common VPS Security Vulnerabilities and How to Fix Them
Typical VPS security flaws can expose your network to malware, hacker attacks, and other harmful behavior. Here are some crucial hints to assist you in locating and addressing these vulnerabilities:
- Weak passwords: Use strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess or crack. Create a password policy that requires two-factor authentication, complicated passwords, and password expiration.
- Obsolete software Update your VPS software frequently to address security flaws and problems in your operating system, web server, and applications.
- Unprotected ports Close any unused ports and services to reduce the potential attack surface. Install a firewall to limit access and manage traffic.
- Insufficient user permissions Implement the least privilege concept to restrict access to your VPS. Make sure people have access to only the tools they require to complete their tasks.
- Lack of supervision Installs a monitoring system to look for any strange behavior on your VPS and take appropriate action. Examine your logs and system performance indicators frequently to spot any potential security holes.
You may greatly lower the danger of cyberattacks and data breaches on your system by fixing these typical VPS security flaws. It’s important to regularly assess your VPS security posture and implement best practices to stay ahead of emerging threats.
User Management in VPS: How to Ensure Secure Access
To guarantee secure access to your VPS, effective user management is necessary. Here are some essential pointers to assist you in managing users securely:
- Employ secure authentication methods to make sure that only authorized users can access your VPS. Secure authentication methods include SSH keys, two-factor authentication, and certificate-based authentication.
- Provide roles-based permissions: Assign permissions to users based on their positions and duties. Make sure users only have the rights necessary to do their tasks.
- Conduct regular user access audits Audit user access frequently to spot any unauthorized access or strange activities. Examine logs and keep an eye on user activity for any questionable behavior.
- Deactivate unused accounts: Accounts of users who no longer require access to your VPS should be disabled. Delete the accounts of any third-party providers or former workers who no longer need access.
- Employ encryption Protect sensitive data, including passwords, user credentials, and other private information, by using encryption.
You can make sure that access is secure and stop unauthorized users from accessing your system by adhering to these best practices for user management in VPS. To remain ahead of new dangers, it’s crucial to routinely examine and update your user management policies and processes.
Backing Up Your VPS: Why It’s Important for Security
To ensure the safety of your data and shield your system from potential hacker assaults or data loss, you must regularly back up your VPS. For security purposes, backing up your VPS is crucial for a number of reasons.
- Disaster recovery: Having a recent backup of your VPS ensures that you may recover your data and swiftly restore your system to its prior condition in the case of a cyber-attack, hardware failure, or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Data loss prevention: Consistent backups of your VPS data guard against unintentional erasure, data corruption, and other types of data loss.
- Reduce downtime: Frequent backups give you the ability to swiftly recover your system and reduce any downtime that may occur.
- Frequent backups defend against income, reputation, and customer trust losses and guarantee business continuity.
- Requirements for compliance: To achieve compliance, certain sectors and regulations demand that businesses keep regular backups of their data.
You can protect your system from any security attacks and swiftly recover from any disruptions by periodically backing up and storing the data on your VPS. It’s crucial to put in place a backup strategy that is tailored to your needs and to routinely test your backup and recovery processes.
Logging and Monitoring Your VPS: How to Detect and Respond to Threats
Your VPS must be logged and monitored in order to identify security threats and take appropriate action. In order to efficiently log and monitor your VPS, consider the following essential suggestions:
- Build a centralized logging system: Gather and examine all of your VPS instances’ logs in one location using a centralized logging system.
- Create immediate alerts: Create immediate alerts to inform you of any unexpected activity, such as login attempts coming from unidentified IP addresses or a rise in failed login attempts.
- Review logs frequently: Review your logs frequently to look for any suspect activity, such as privilege elevation, atypical file access, or changes to important system files.
- Use intrusion detection methods Use intrusion detection systems (IDS) to keep an eye on network traffic on your VPS and look for potential assaults like port scans or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
- Regularly analyze your vulnerabilities: To find any vulnerabilities in your VPS and take appropriate action, conduct frequent vulnerability assessments.
You may identify security issues and take action before they seriously harm your system by effectively logging and monitoring your VPS. To remain ahead of new dangers, it’s critical to frequently evaluate and update your logging and monitoring policies and procedures.
How to Secure your VPS (21 tips)
By merely adopting the correct protocols to safeguard your server, many risks may be avoided. Here are a few common techniques to help you start your server’s security on the right foot.
1. Choose a Hosting Provider That Takes Security Seriously
To keep your server secure, the hosting company of your choosing must have a robust security architecture and provide additional security. Not every web host approaches security in the same way. Customers should pick a web host carefully if they want to keep their website safe.
For instance, Interserver.net has demonstrated a commitment to the security of its client’s websites. The US-based hosting company Interserver.net has a solid reputation for providing high-quality service at a fair price to clients ranging in size from tiny individual site owners to Fortune 500 companies.
Other web hosts such as Hostinger provide cutting-edge security modules like mod_security, Suhosin PHP hardening, and PHP open_basedir protection to safeguard the VPS. Hostinger also provides live snapshots and automated scheduled backups that you may utilize to instantly restore your website in the event of a failure.
2. Creating a user with restricted rights
Tasks that don’t need root access should typically be carried out by a normal user.
With this command, you can create a new user:
sudo adduser username
To run administrative commands, authorized users can be granted the special access right known as sudo, which does not require root access.
Once you create a user, enter the data that the system requests.
SSH access will be available for the new user. Use the given credentials to establish a connection.
Type the following command once you are logged in to carry out tasks that need root permissions:
When asked, provide the password to switch to the root user as the active login.
3. Disable root logins
Every Linux VPS has a root user who, in comparison to other users, has the greatest rights. Since “root” is the default username for every Linux VPS, hackers employ brute force attacks to attempt to guess the password and obtain access.
Another degree of protection is added by disabling logins using the “root” username since it prevents hackers from just guessing your user credentials.
- You should create a username, instead of logging in as a root user, and execute root-level commands with sudo.
- Before you disable the “root” account, make sure to create your non-root user and grant it the necessary levels of authorization.
- Afterward, proceed by opening up /etc/ssh/sshd_config and find “PermitRootLogin”. This will automatically respond, “yes.” Change it to “no” and save the changes.
4. Change the SSH port
For root access and simple server control, VPS clients frequently use SSH (secure shell). This is usually installed in a default port 22. Hackers are aware of this as well, and they routinely launch attacks using the common network protocol.
One fast fix is to modify the default port number. It’s the equivalent of stealing a store without realizing where the money is.
To get remote access to SSH, hackers scan servers for open ports. An attacker who detects SSH on that port may execute a brute-force attack to get remote access to the server by guessing the root user’s credentials.
Change the service configuration file with your preferred text editor.
~$ sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
It would prompt you to enter the port number you prefer. Please do not use a port number that is already in use on your system. Use a number between 49152 and 65535 to be safe. You must then save and exit the configuration file.
Start the service again using the following line of code:
sudo systemctl restart sshd
This should be enough to implement the adjustments. Remember to include the new port number whenever you request an SSH connection to your server, for example:
ssh username@IPv4_of_your_VPS -p NewPortNumber
5. Remove unwanted modules/packages
You are unlikely to require all of the programs and services that are in your Linux system. Every service you delete is one less vulnerability to care about, so only run services that you truly use. Furthermore, to reduce possible dangers, avoid installing superfluous software, packages, and services. It also offers the added benefit of improving the performance of your server.
6. Disable IPv6
IPv6 has several advantages. A hacker’s preferred option for attacking a large number of websites is using an automated script. IPv6 is rarely used. As a result, you have certain needs for your website.
Check with your developer to determine whether you need IPv6 functionality on the VPS hosting server. Disable it immediately if it is not in use. You can get malicious traffic over IPv6. Blocking them would protect your data with secure VPS.
To disable IPv6,
Log in to SSH and execute the following command:
sudo nano /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf
This opens a configuration file in which you have to add a couple of lines.
net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1
Save, close and run the file using the commands below:
sudo sysctl -p
If there is a 1 on your terminal, the IPv6 is successfully disabled.
7. Use GnuPG encryption
Interference is possible on any data moving on the internet. Websites utilize HTTPS to encrypt data between users and websites, but other data, such as credentials transmitted to server services or files sent via FTP, might be spied on. Asynchronous encryption solves this problem by encrypting data with a public key that only a recipient’s private key can decode.
Admins and site owners will be able to transport data utilizing asynchronous encryption using the GnuPG program. Any third party can use the public key to send encrypted content to the site owner or administrators, and the private key is used to decode it. Because the private key is useful to decrypt data, it should be kept safe and never shared with anybody.
8. Configure a firewall
Set up your firewall and restrictions for content availability and open access. This is normally done by your service provider on fully managed VPS hosting. There are several firewall options available.
- NetFilter is a firewall that is built into the Linux kernel and may be configured to filter out undesirable traffic. You can defend against DDoS attacks using NetFilter and Iptables. Setting up a firewall is insufficient. Check that it is correctly configured.
- TCPWrapper is another important tool; it is a host-based access control list (ACL) system for filtering network access for various programs. It provides hostname verification, consistent logging, and spoofing prevention, which can all assist to strengthen your security.
We suggest installing an Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) as an extra layer to govern incoming and outgoing traffic on your system. It is a Netfilter firewall that is user-friendly.
UFW is the front-end for Iptables and is often in Linux releases. In general, it will reject all incoming connections while allowing outgoing connections, lowering the danger of possible attacks. Furthermore, you may change and add rules to the firewall to suit your needs.
To enable UFW, connect via SSH first by using the following command:
sudo ufw enable
If the response indicates there is no such command, use this command instead:
sudo apt-get install ufw
When the installation is done, run the first command we mentioned above to enable UFW.
Use the following command to check the firewall status:
sudo ufw status
9. Use disk partitioning
Attackers that have the ability to run the executable files on the OS can influence its operations and features as well as spy on data. By uploading and running infected files in the /tmp and /var/tmp user directories, an attacker can get access to the operating system.
Partition your drive to keep operating system files separate from user files, temporary files, and third-party programs for additional security. On the operating system partition, you may additionally disable SUID/SGID access (nosuid) and binary execution (noexec).
# mount -t tmpfs -o noexec,nosuid,nodev tmpfs /tmp # mount -t tmpfs -o noexec,nosuid,nodev tmpfs /var/tmp
10. Make /boot read-only
All kernel-specific files are located in the “/boot” directory on Linux servers. However, the directory’s default access level is “read-write.”
To prevent malicious modification of the boot files, which are important to the efficient operation of your server, you can set the access level to “read-only.”
Simply modify the /etc/fstab file and put LABEL=/boot /boot ext2 defaults.
And, if you ever need to make changes to the kernel, you can easily switch back to “read-write” mode. When you’re finished, you may make your modifications and return it to “read-only.”
11. Use SFTP, not FTP
File transmissions between the server are encrypted using Secure FTP. FTP sends all data in plaintext, but SFTP is “FTP over SSH,” which encrypts file transfers. Some website owners use FTPS, although FTPS only encrypts credentials transmitted to the server after they’ve been authenticated. SFTP encrypts the passwords and the information being transmitted.
To set up an SFTP connection, log in to SSH and initiate an SFTP using the following command:
As soon as you connect, SFTP will prompt the following:
12. Install antimalware/antivirus software
The primary function of a firewall is to prevent access to any known hostile traffic sources, and it effectively serves as your first line of protection. However, no firewall is perfect, and malicious software can sometimes get through, so you must take additional precautions.
As a result, installing antivirus software as a security-strengthening strategy is crucial. There are other choices available, however, ClamAV is the most prominent. It is free and open-source software that identifies suspicious activities and quarantines undesirable files.
To install ClamAV, log into SSH and install EPEL using the below command:
sudo yum -y install epel-release
Once installation is complete, clear cache information using this command:
sudo yum clean all
Now you can install ClamAV
sudo yum -y install clamav-server clamav-data clamav-update clamav-filesystem clamav clamav-scanner-systemd clamav-devel clamav-lib clamav-server-systemd
13. Enable cPHulk in WHM
In addition to a firewall, cPanel includes “cPHulk” brute force security. Positive traffic that gets through can turn out to be harmful. These false positives are because of the firewall’s settings, and there should be adjustments to provide further protection.
Meanwhile, cPHulk operates as a secondary firewall on the server, blocking brute-force attempts.
We frequently discover that cPHulk blocks the login ability initially, and the firewall catches up later, blocking the full IP. To enable it, go to the WHM Security Center and choose cPHulk Brute Force Protection. This is another stage in our security hardening strategy for managed VPS and dedicated servers.
14. Prevent anonymous FTP uploads
Enabling anonymous FTP uploads raises the risk of your server becoming a home for illegal software or other banned content. It might include malware that infects the rest of the virtual system. Instead of permitting anonymous uploads, disable the FTP server so that only authorized users may upload via FTP.
15. Install a rootkit scanner
Rootkits are among the most deadly types of malware. They might offer the attacker access to the server, let additional malware operate on the OS, or deactivate any antivirus software. A rootkit scanner, such as chkrootkit, disables rootkits or identifies them if they penetrate the server.
Because rootkits interact with the OS and can go unnoticed by ordinary anti-malware services, they are significantly more difficult to remove than standard malware. It may be essential to reinstall the OS in the case of advanced rootkits. As a result, it is critical to employ anti-malware tools that identify and eliminate malware.
16. Take regular backups
Too many individuals fail to do frequent backups, only to be upset whenever some problem occurs and they don’t have a copy of their data. There is always the possibility that something may go wrong, no matter how cautious you are or how secure your server is.
Don’t put yourself in undue danger by failing to back up, and don’t rely on your host to do so either. We suggest you do your backups, even if your hosting company claims to do it on your behalf. Make many copies of it and try to use the cloud so your backup may be viewed from anywhere.
17. Use a strong password
Make a strong password that is unpredictable and only you can remember. It ensures VPS security and prevents data intrusions.
Brute force attacks often target common passwords on servers. The password system is frequently misinterpreted. While complexity is essential, so is length. While using a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters is a good idea, you should also make it as long as is reasonably possible.
Communicate this to your users, and take administrative actions to safeguard your server. Both cPanel and Plesk may be configured to require strong passwords and to automatically expire credentials.
How to set a strong password? Here are some tips you could use:
- At least 10 characters to access very sensitive data, and 12 characters to access highly sensitive data.
- Use at least one numeric character.
- Do not use pop culture references.
- There must be at least one special character.
- Uppercase and lowercase letters should be present.
- Do not have the same password more than once.
- Each login to the root (Linux) would require its unique password.
18. Monitor Your VPS Server Logs
Host admins and site owners should be able to monitor. Server monitoring needs to log particular events such as login failures, unsuccessful uploads, errors, or other typical hazards. These logs may then be utilized in analysis and reports to provide administrators with extensive data and insights into server activities. Admins can use logs to detect an ongoing assault or a breach.
Host managers can monitor server activity to guarantee that client sites are safe, but site owners should do the same. The sooner a breach is halted, the narrower the window for a hacker to steal data.
19. Disable unused ports
Because server information goes over network ports, it might be a valuable target for cybercriminals. Your IT admin should recognize open ports and close them down to prevent hackers from gaining access.
Instead of shutting network ports, you might choose to firewall your system’s ports. This is a valid option, but you must keep an eye on your UPNP settings. UPNP is a firewall software configuration that automatically opens network ports. Deactivating this functionality optimizes the security of your firewall and network ports.
Another option is to detect open ports with the netstat command. The Iptables command can then modify firewall settings or open ports. First, run netstat to see which ports are open:
If a port is open, Netstat will confirm it. After confirming, enter the following command to deactivate the port of your choice:
iptables -I INPUT -p tcp -dport 22 -j DROP
20. Keep the Operating System Patched and Updated
The Linux OS was developed with security in mind, yet concerns can arise that must be addressed. When fixes are required, your distribution vendor will provide an update. In certain circumstances, the found vulnerability is deemed critical. When a vulnerability is significant, administrators must upgrade the operating system promptly since the exploit might expose the server to compromise.
The longer the operating system remains unpatched, the wider the window of opportunity for attackers. Server updates are often set by administrators, however late updates leave the server vulnerable to vulnerabilities until there are patches.
21. Implement fail2ban to Ban Malicious IP Addresses
Fail2ban is a log processing technology that monitors every activity on the server via system logs. The program monitors and informs users about automated attacks on your server from unknown sources.
Too many wrong passwords, misuse of files, and insertion of data into files are malicious symptoms. It also defends servers from DoS, DDoS, dictionary, and brute-force attacks. Fail2Ban bans IP addresses using Iptables and firewalld.
To set up the Fail2ban software, start an SSH connection and install using the below command:
sudo apt-get install fail2ban
Verify the status of the installation using the below command
sudo systemctl status fail2ban
Security flaws in web servers might have disastrous consequences. Millions of hackers worldwide are doing their best to find even the smallest security flaws in your VPS. Corporate and e-commerce websites, especially, are becoming popular targets for would-be cybercriminals. Even though most organizations have basic security procedures in place, they are frequently inadequate and readily exploited.
It is critical to maintain and secure your VPS at all times, especially when it houses critical data and programs.
- Although Linux is popular for its strong security, it still contains flaws that you should be aware of.
- Malware, sniffer and brute-force attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), missing function-level control, and faulty authentication are examples of common cyber assaults and concerns to be aware of.
- As a result, users of virtual private servers must understand how to safeguard and manage them.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is VPS safe?
When it comes to VPS security, keep in mind that VPS is just as safe as other types of servers. Allowing just normal users to get into the server and then providing superuser logins would be a good approach.
- Why should I choose managed VPS security?
If you are unfamiliar with server administration and do not have the support of an expert developer, managed VPS services are your best choice.
- What are the security risks when using VPS servers?
Poor security configuration, weak passwords, a lack of security upgrades, and the use of unlicensed software are just a few of the weaknesses hackers use to get access to your account and website.
- Are WHM and cPanel required on my VPS?
You do not need WHM or cPanel for your VPS, strictly speaking. There are several additional web hosting control panels that may help you administer your virtual server, and you can even try to do everything without one.