Cyber attacks are getting more and more common for UAE businesses. According to Check Point Research (CPR), cyber attacks have increased by over 70 percent per week on corporate networks in the UAE. The report stated that cyber-attacks reached their peak at the end of 2021. What’s more, 2021 is being said to be the record-breaking year in terms of cyber security. This clearly emphasizes the increasing importance of server security for UAE businesses of all sizes.

In this guide, you will learn the most common vulnerabilities in server security, important guidelines to improve server security, and also get a checklist that will help maintain server security.

What do we mean by server security?

Server security refers to the tools and processes that are specifically tailored to protect the data, resources, and other assets located in a server.

Servers, themselves, are a critically important asset for a business organization. Since they hold all of the sensitive data and valuable information, they are more frequently targeted by hackers and cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals always keep looking for vulnerabilities and loopholes in server security to mint thousands or even millions of dollars from businesses or simply corrupt the data for malicious intentions.

So, it is critical to implement server security in your organization.

Top Common Vulnerabilities Found in Server Security

Most common vulnerabilities in server security are developed due to negligence and lack of knowledge regarding cyber security. Here are the most common vulnerabilities that are more frequently exploited by cybercriminals.

> Not using strong passwords

Hackers can use bots to perform brute force attacks or credential stuffing attacks to guess weak passwords. Once cyber attackers get the details of admin credentials, they can easily access your servers and breach your server security.

They can either ask for inflating amounts for not misusing the information or they can sell the information on the dark web.

So, it is strongly recommended to make strong and unique passwords that contain lowercase and uppercase alphabets, digits, and special characters.

> Not focusing on patch management

Each business should use a patch management service to ensure that any changes in coding are thoroughly tested before installation and all of the software tools and applications are downloaded only from trusted sources and websites.

> Not updating software and operating system

Another common mistake that many businesses make is not upgrading their software suites and OS. No software or operating system in the world is 100 percent perfect. Responsible manufacturers and companies keep finding and addressing security vulnerabilities in their software and provide security fixes and patches through frequent updates.

Updates are made available regularly for a reason and no business should take them for granted. Many of those who have ignored updates have incurred a loss of big chunks.

> Improperly configured network ports

When a server and other devices used in the network are not correctly configured, especially networking ports, they can be easily exploited by cybercriminals. So, always make sure to have only skilled professionals configure and optimize your servers.

> Not deleting unused accounts

Hackers also keep an eye on accounts that are old and have not been used for a long time. They hack these accounts to gain access to the server. So, make it a point to perform periodic cleaning of accounts that are no longer in use.

Most Common Server Security Threats You Must Know About

Every year, new types of threats are posed by cybercriminals. But there are some threats that are more common in the world of cybercriminals. These are:

  1. SQL Injection Attacks
    1. Hackers exploit code in a web application to get access to the database.
    2. They can deface your websites, steal important information, change information, or do all of them.
    3. They can infect not just a database but the entire server.
  2. Poor Session Management
    1. It can lead to an active session being hijacked when tokens are not protected properly
    2. It often occurs due to reasons such as weak credentials, exposed session ids in the URL, and session ids that don’t expire.
    3. It allows cyber attackers to impersonate your identity on the server.
    4. It can lead to entire control in the hands of the cyber attacker. 
  3. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
    1. It targets a browser instead of a server and involves maliciously redirecting traffic to a bad site.
    2. It uses brute force attacks to hijack sessions and redirect to malicious sites.
    3. It can bypass access control policies to elevate the attacker’s permissions.
    4. It can lead to the theft of important information about a web server and user accounts.
  4. Insecure references to direct objects
    1. This problem develops due to a lack of authorization checks.
    2. It allows hackers to access resources on the server by modifying a parameter that points to an object on the server.
  5. Incorrect server configurations
    1. It is caused by user errors such as not properly configuring sites and servers.
    2. It can also occur due to weak passwords, using default ids and privileges, and disclosing debugging info.


Checklist to Ensure Your Server Security

You can minimize risks by implementing server security tools and processes and following the best practices. Here is what you need to optimize your server security:

  • Create, establish, and use only a secure connection using the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol
  • Authenticate your SSH server only by using a pair of SSH keys instead of using traditional logins
  • Use File Transfer Protocol Secure (FTPS) and encrypt all data files and authentication information
  • Use the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to secure web administration areas and forms
  • Eliminate or turn off unused services and software
  • Use intrusion detection systems
  • Take regular backups of your server
  • Set up, install, and maintain an advanced firewall system
  • Continuously monitor login attempts to protect the server against brute force attacks
  • Create a limited user account to ensure that root privileges remain protected from outsiders
  • Establish password requirements and set an expiration policy for passwords
  • Implement the policy of using passphrases for server passwords
  • Use private and virtual private networks (VPNs) instead of using open networks that are more vulnerable to outside cyber attacks
  • Update and upgrade software regularly
  • Hide and secure server information
  • Create multi-server and virtual server environments

Are you looking for server security tools such as advanced firewalls and other network security devices for your business? If yes, please get in touch with IT Networks Technologies via our Whatsapp: +971585811786.