Protecting a web server and the data is the top priority for all system administrators. Here are some tips and tricks to protect your server against malware.
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There is an everlasting battle between malware and security software. Both sides are always evolving, improving, and creating new methods. With some basic steps, you can protect your web server against the most common malware attacks. As a system administrator, it is very important to keep your server safe and running for your and your customers’ safety. Before looking at these steps, let’s take a closer look at malware types.
Types of malware
Software that aims to damage a computer is known as malware. There are various types of malware that use different methods and they can cause different problems. Let’s take a closer look at malware types.
Viruses are the oldest and best-known malware type. Viruses are capable of making copies of themselves to spread independently and infiltrate other programs. When they are activated, it makes copies of itself and can interfere with other functions, destroy data, spy. There are some viruses that can even cause damage to computer hardware.
Worms mostly use networks or removable media to be able to access other systems and don’t need another program to be able to do that. They can spread better than viruses and have the capability to reproduce. Worms are mostly used to gain control over a computer secretly but there are also worms that can damage the system.
Trojans disguises themselves as safe applications at first to gain access to a computer. The functions performed by Trojans are mostly hidden from users. Trojans are capable of monitoring data traffic, copy information of files and send them, execute specific tasks, or even install new software.
Adware mainly focuses on inserting advertising into programs. They are mostly included in free software and they can make changes to the browser settings and spams fake website pop-ups to the user.
Spyware aims to uncover data and send it to a third party. Spyware is often used to steal data for commercial purposes and mostly the affected user is completely unaware that their data is being stolen.
Scareware scares the user by showing fake warnings. These warnings mostly claim that the computer is infected with malware and promote software that claims to remove alleged malware.
Ransomware gains more popularity recently and it can cause irreversible damage to big companies. When ransomware gains access to a system, it encrypts the important data, denying users access to it. Then ransomware demands a payment, mostly in cryptocurrencies from the user in order to lift the block.
Backdoor or trapdoor can be considered as a function instead of an independent program. As the name implies, this function leaves a door open for third parties to gain access to the infected computer. This access is mostly exploited for denial-of-service attacks.
Extra safety measures
You can’t be careful always, you have to take extra safety measures for mitigating cyberattacks. These extra safety measures below can help you to protect your web server.
Strong usernames and passwords
Choosing unique usernames and stronger passwords can help you avoid brute-force attacks. As a system administrator, make sure that users avoid generic usernames like “admin” and use longer passwords that include at least 1 number, 1 special character, and both upper case and lower case letters.
To make the registration and log-in process even safer, you can use two-factor authentication methods. With the two-factor authentication, even a hacker who has the username and the passwords of a user will not be able to log in without that person’s smartphone.
Encrypted webspace access
Online storage space will be protected better if it is encrypted. Thus, using an FTP over SSL orSSH File Transfer Protocol will help you protect your online storage space.
Every day thousands of developers from various software companies working hard to make their products stronger against malware and to patch vulnerabilities. If you want to make your system stronger, make sure that all the software you use is up-to-date.
Make sure that you regularly create a backup of your entire web server and database and save it on a hard disk. It allows you to easily restore your system if the server is infected and you can’t remove the malware.
7 steps for server protection
Server hardening and protection may be a time-consuming and daunting process. So let’s take a closer look at the 7 steps that will help you protect your server against malware.
Centralized incident management
The dashboard in the control panel is a very important tool to check the overall status of the webserver and manage its security aspects. It allows you to see all security-related events in a single interface and spot all the issues that need to be addressed. With its filtering features, you can focus on events based on chosen parameters, check incident reports, manage whitelist and blacklist features, and view settings.
An advanced firewall uses cloud heuristics and artificial intelligence to detect threats and protect web servers. An advanced firewall can protect the server against attacks, such as brute-force, DDoS, and port scans, making it an essential tool for server protection.
IDS and IPS
Intrusion detection system and intrusion prevention system protect the webserver against remote exploits both from inside out and outside in. IDS provides server security visibility by monitoring server logs and bans IP addresses with malicious intent. IPS determines the “deny” policy rules to block against known attacks.
Detecting malware that is already in the system is also one of the top priorities. A malware scanner should be able to detect a malware injection and quarantine the infected files.
Proactive defense, or also known as sandboxing helps you protect your web server against zero-day attacks. It aims to identify the malware that even scanners can’t detect by using a unique method of analyzing scripts in the code and blocks potential malicious activities.
Automatic patching helps you keep your web server safe, especially patching kernel if you are using a Linux web server. Some patching tools are also capable of checking for patches multiple times a day and apply them without rebooting and performance impact.
As we all know, the websites’ reputation is very important. If a website is blacklisted by Google, it won’t show up in the search results and the emails sent from that domain won’t be delivered. If you aren’t using a website reputation monitoring tools, it might take weeks before you notice this problem.
As we mentioned before, protecting your web server should be your top priority. Following these steps can be a good start to fight against ever-evolving cyber-attacks. There are various all-in-one security protection solutions. Imunify360, a next-generation security solution built for Linux VPS, dedicated, and shared web servers, is one step ahead of its competitors.
Imunify360 provides all the tools and features we mentioned above. It provides complete protection for the webserver, even against the newest attacks by collecting and analyzing a massive amount of information about them on a global scale.