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Linux VPS servers are known for their highly secure model. Generally, Linux VPS is superior to other operating systems such as Windows in terms of security. However, Linux is not completely impenetrable to hackers. Here are top 10 tips to help you secure your Linux VPS server and prevent hacking.
Update Server Software Regularly
It is quite simple to update server software. All you have to do is use apt-get (Ubuntu/Debian) or rpm/yum package manager (CentOS/RHEL) to get the latest versions of server software, modules, and components. In addition, you can activate notifications on your operating system to get package updates through email. If you wish to automate the task you can install a cronjob to conduct security updates. Ensure you apply security patches immediately to avoid exposure to malicious attacks.
Disable Any Unused Network Port
Open network ports and unused network services are easy targets for cybercriminals. Ensure you protect yourself from malicious exploitations by disabling any unused ports. The “netstat” command can help you see all the open ports and their services. Use “iptables” to close down unused ports through the “chkconfig” command.
Remove Unwanted Modules/Packages
You will most likely not use all the packages and modules that came with the Linux distribution. Because every service has its own vulnerabilities, removing unwanted packages minimizes the risk of cyber attacks. Run only the services that you actually use and avoid installing unnecessary software.
IPv6 is superior to IPv4 in various ways; however, very few people actually use it. If you do not use IPv6, disable it because hackers use it to send malicious traffic. Therefore, leaving the port open exposes you to potential exploitation.
Disable Root Logins
Linux VPS comes with the username “root” by default. This means that hackers can use brute force attacks to try and crack your password and access your sensitive data. When you disable logins from the “root” username, you add a layer of protection that prevents hackers from guessing your password easily. Come up with a different username and use the “sudo” command to carry out root level commands.
Change the SSH Port
Hackers will not be able to crack your SSH when they can’t locate it in the first place. When you configure the SSH port number, you will prevent malicious programs from connecting directly to port 22 (the default port). To do this, open etc/ssh/sshd_config and adjust various settings. Counter check to ensure the chosen port number is not in use by another service to prevent clashes.
Use an Encryption
Even if you have a secure server, hackers can still target your data while it is in transit over the internet. It is important to encrypt your data transmission using foolproof passwords keys and certificates. Installing a VPN client engineered specifically for Linux is a great way to provide top-notch security for your Linux operating system.
Create Strong Passwords
Weak passwords are the biggest threat to security. Do not allow empty passwords in user accounts or use easy passwords like 123456 or linux2019. Combine lowercase and uppercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Set up a password generator so that it prompts you to change old passwords periodically and restricts the use of previous passwords.
Configure a Firewall
To fully secure your VPS, you need to set up a firewall. NetFilter is a wonderful firewall that comes inbuilt in the Linux kernel. You can configure it easily and make it remove untrusted traffic and fight attacks from distributed denial of service (DDoS).
Boost your security even further by partitioning disks. Keep the operating system files separate from tmp files, user files, and third-party software. Disable SUID/SGID access and the binaries execution program (noexec) on the partition that contains the operating system.
Vulnerabilities in web servers can be catastrophic because there are millions of hackers working around the clock to exploit the slightest security loopholes. Use these tips to secure your Linux VPS against potential threats.
Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.