RDP stands for Remote Desktop, which is essentially a Windows service that allows users in connecting to host computer from any geographic location. No matter which remote location you are in, with the help of Remote Desktop you can, as a user, access server and also the stored data on server. Hence, it is clear that RDP is a highly useful feature and therefore comes with wide array of security issues.
When it comes to the world of networking, security as well as accessibility is two main challenges. Whenever RDP access is granted to authorised users, there remain high chances of unauthorised users to gain access to server. However, there are certain ways through which this unauthorised access can be prevented. There are certain basic security steps that an admin needs to follow for making the RDP session secured.
Some of those important tips are listed below –
• Tips 1 – Strong Password
It is always required for the user to choose a strong password. When creating a strong password try to include alphabets, numbers, and characters.
When you prepare password for the RDP connection, it is always recommended that you use all the spaces allowed in the password fill-up limit. As already mentioned, always use a perfect mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters (at least two). This is extremely important because it helps in preventing any person or program, which doesn’t have access to the RDP session.
• Tips 2 – Network Level Authentication
Is the Network Level Authentication enabled for you? If not, do it now.
Network Level Authentication Technology is nothing but the technology that is being used in Remote Desktop connection. While establishing RDP connection, the first thing it asks is the login credentials for verifying the authentic user. If the user is the authorised one, login screen will appear on successful verification.
This secure authentication method helps in protecting remote computer from malicious software as well as malicious users. Network Level Authentication Technology not only provides greater security but also reduces DoS attack chances.
• Tips 3 – Use of Firewalls
Firewalls should be used for restricting access. Once it is in place, the users who don’t have proper authorisation can’t get into the system. Restriction of unauthorised access is done with the use of Windows Firewall. What is a Firewall in the first place? Firewall is a software/hardware that helps in protecting machine attacks that are stemming out of the internet. Suppose, there is an attack on your machine and the source is the internet. Now, the malware would try gaining unauthorised access to your machine. It is now upon the Firewall to decide whether provide access to the machine or restrict it. However, it must be said here that the granting access or restriction completely depends upon the settings that are being applied by the system administrator. When Remote Desktop feature on Windows operating system is enabled, there will be automatic Windows Firewall configuration along with ideal setting.
• Tips 4 – Change RDP’s Listening Port
For restricting any kind of unauthorised access, listening port for RDP needs to be changed.
How can a User Configure Network Level Authentication for a Connection?
Follow the steps and flow-charts for configuring Network Level Authentication –
Step 1 – First login to your Virtual Private Server (VPS). Once it is done, go to “Start”, followed by “Administrative Tools”, Remote Desktop Services”, and “Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration”.
Step 2 – Once “Connections” is reached, right click the connection name. Now, click “Properties”
Step 3 – Now, go to the “General” tab. Once it is reached, check the checkbox saying “Allow
Connection Only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication”.
Note – It may happen that even after checking the check-box in the 3rd step, the same is not enabled. This means that the Group Policy setting has been enabled from “Group Policy Editor” of “Require user authentication for remote connections by using Network Level Authentication” is enabled and has been applied to the Virtual private Server.
How can IP Addresses be Blocked or Allowed by Using Firewall?
Firewall can be used for blocking or allowing either a single IP address or a range of IP addresses. You simply need to follow the below mentioned path –
1. Go to Control Panel
2. Then click Administrative Tool
3. When Administrative Tool is reached, go for “Windows Firewall with Advanced Settings”
4. Now, find “Inbound Rules” followed by “Remote Desktop (TCP-In)”, “properties”, and “Scope”
The tab named “Scope” helps users in either restricting or allowing IP Addresses. Simply enter the Specific IP address in the remote IP addresses box and that will be all.
Just follow the steps mentioned above to secure RDP Session of Windows VPS hosting from any kind of unauthorised access.