As our working environments become increasingly orientated towards remote or hybrid paradigms, so does our reliance on remote technologies such as RDP. However, while this solution might be crucial to productivity in remote environments, it also comes with its associated risks. Knowing how to secure RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is becoming increasingly important for general security, productivity, and compliance.
RDP component is encrypted by default, leading many to believe it is inherently secure. While that’s true to an extent, there are still vulnerabilities, particularly at the authentication level and newly discovered exploits for new and old RDP versions are still a regular occurrence. That’s why we’ll look at some measures you can implement to help secure remote desktop connections within your network below.
Secure RDP: Enforce passwords security best practices
Any user accounts with RDP access should be forced to use strong passwords as a matter of course. Reusing passwords for multiple accounts or services should also be discouraged. This will go a long way to prevent brute force and credential stuffing attacks perpetrated via RDP.
Update the RDP to the latest Microsoft updates
It is very important to update the RDP. Microsoft shares updates regularly to keep the systems resistant against viruses and trojans. And sometimes Microsoft provides new features in updates and if we do not update we will be deprived of these new features. You can check this link to how to update the RDP/VPS server.
Secure RDP: Change the RDP default port
By default, the remote desktop port is 3389. Most of the VPS hosting providers don’t change the RDP port to another one. All of the hackers know the RDP port and it paves the way for the attackers to easily attack your server. As a result, it is better to change the RDP port through the registry setting.
Use this link to check how to change the RDP port.
Limit User and Administrative Access
You should review your local security policies regularly to ensure that remote desktop access is limited only to the accounts that need it. In Windows, for example, all Administrators are given access to RDP by default. Just because an account should have local admin rights doesn’t mean it necessarily needs RDP access. It’s best to configure specific groups if you do want to give RDP access to multiple users or to just specify these rights individually.
Secure RDP: Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) can provide a massively effective extra layer of security on top of secure login practices. MFA can be configured in various ways, such as configuring RDP gateways to integrate with MFA/2FA services or using MFA/2FA certificate-based smartcards.
Monitor Your RDP Logs and Security Configuration
Implementing RDP security measures does not ensure your systems will never be compromised. You should regularly audit your RDP logs and security configuration for signs of anomalous behavior, such as unexpected login volumes, or where there might be mismatches in security settings between clients and servers on your network.
Organizations that are using RDP have the potential for a lot of vulnerabilities or opportunities available for exploitation by bad actors. It’s wise to consider a dedicated remote work security assessment can help to identify security gaps in your network and provides tips and tricks to strengthen the security of your network.