Archives for Syspeace

Brute force attacker ökar

Brute force attacker ökar T konsult IT säkerhet

Brute force attacker ökar

Ett av de ämnen jag tidigare skrivit mycket kring är just kring att ordboksattacker eller brute force attacker ökar och är ett verkligen svårt problem att hantera. Principen bygger alltså på att en hackare försöker gissa sig till användarnamn och lösenord. Ofta är användarnamnet t.ex. en persons e-post adress eller i Windows domäner t.ex företaget\användarnamn och med den kunskapen har ju hackaren redan hälften av inloggningen.

Resten är lösenordet och om det är något vanligt lösenord eller en vanlig variation på det så kommer det inte ta lång tid för en hackare att faktiskt ta över personens konto.

Allt det här är naturligvis helt automatiserat dvs det sitter ingen  för hand och försöker skriva in användarnamn och lösenord utan hackarna använder olika script som kan testa tusentals kombinationer av lösenord samtidigt med olika resultat. De kanske lyckas bryta sig in, låsa användarnas konton, krascha servrar för överbelastning o.s.v.

Den här artikeln på Techworld ( pekar också på att just den typen av attacker ökar och med all sannolikhet kommer fortsätta göra det.

Några av problemen med dessa attacker (förutom det alldeles uppenbara att hackaren faktiskt lyckas gissa rätt och då har tillgång till ert data) är att det tar maskinresurser, fyller bandbredd och är väldigt, väldigt svåra att hantera manuellt.
Tänk t.ex. när en attack kommer från 1000 eller 10 000 datorer samtidigt,. Att manuellt stoppa det i en brandvägg är inte realistisk och i vissa system som t.ex. i Windows domäner finns oftast ingen koppling mellan händelsen inloggning och brandvägg. Jag driftar, övervakar och hjälper företag så jag ser hundratals såna här attacker varje dag som pågår.

Att i efterhand kunna se vad som hänt är värdefullt för t.ex. polisanmälningar och historik men primärt behöver attackerna stoppas, sedan analyseras men att göra det manuellt är som sagt helt orealistiskt och behöver automatiseras.

Det finns lösningar, programvaror och sätt att automatiskt hantera de här frågorna på de flesta plattformar och system men det kräver lite eftertanke och planering, enligt min mening tid som är mycket väl investerad för att skydda era system mot brute force attacker.

Vill ni veta mer om hur man kan skydda sig mot detta i Windows, Linux, WordPress,Exchange Server osv , kontakta mig här

Kontakta JufCorp
backup disaster recovey konituitetsplanering IT säkerhet molntjänster syspeace kontakta JufCorp

Kontakta JufCorp AB för frågor inom backup / restore , Disaster Recovery, IT säkerhet, molntjänster och frågor kring intrångssäkerhet.

Boka ett gratis möte för att se hur jag kan hjälpa er eller beställ licenser för  F Secure PSB (övervakad antivirus till fast månadskostnad) eller Syspeace ?

Om ni hellre vill ringa direkt så nås jag på 0709 666 997

Ditt namn (obligatorisk)


Din epost (obligatorisk)


Ämne (obligatorisk)

Ditt meddelande (obligatorisk)

När och hur vill ni bli kontaktade?
TelefonE PostPersonligt möteFörmiddagEftermiddagKväll

Vad gäller saken ? Välj en eller flera områden om du vill

Från när behöver ni hjälp ?

Skriv in nedanstående text för verifiering (obligatorisk)



Senaste uppdateringarna på JufCorps  FaceBook sida



A new brute force protection platform – Are you up for it ?

brute force protection
I firmly believe there’s a need for good brute force protection products. The ones currently available simply aren’t good enough for larger corporate needs or Cloud Service Providers really or they’re too expensive and complicated to use..

Some possible improvements are already out there for some of them such as Cyberarms going Open Source. At the time I helped start up Syspeace, I would say that Cyberarms was the main competitor and I was really surprised and sad they eventually decided to end their business.

With that said, there’s a good foundation using their code and improving it and modernizing it because there’s a lot of critical things missing in there in order to actually be useful for enterprises the way I see it. Actually, quite a few and there needs to be new functionality in there too. Not really disclosing my thoughts here about it though.

The ways to go about this, the way I see anyway, is to …

Open Source and brute force prevention

… sit down and have a close look at for instance the Cyberarms code and help out as an Open Source developer and try to get a product that’s free and beneficial for everyone.
The downside to that is, as with most Open Source, that if you’re a system administrator and something doesn’t work, you might want to have access to an actual support, helpdesk and getting help in troubleshooting. You also may want to be assured that development will continue.
You simply don’t have the time to search forums or read through the code to try and figure out what’s wrong or how to improve it and often enough, system administrators aren’t developers. I know I’m not very good at writing code myself anyway.

There’s also the risk of people coding losing the interest of an Open Source project, since they don’t make any money out of it and eventually start feeling they’re just wasting free time, resulting in that the product will eventually just die or stay stagnant and eventually become obsolete.

Creating a new brute force protection platform as a business idea

The second path would be to start up a new project with developers, marketing people and investors to actually build a product that is useful for enterprises and cloud providers and so on. Such a product needs to have quite a lot of functionality added compared to the ones that are already out there but with the right people and effort, it can be done. I’m absolutely sure of it.
These new ideas and functionalities are probably best provided by people who actually deal with these questions on a day to day basis i.e System Administrators, Server Managers and so on…

As you may or may not know I was previously deeply involved in the creation and startup of Syspeace.
I had the original idea for a brute force protection software and was a part of most aspects it but unfortunately we just couldn’t agree on what was reasonable on the business side of it once our initial agreement ended so I decided to go with the “live and let die” policy.
It basically just took too much energy from me to haggle and not getting anywhere really and frankly, the project had become stagnant the way I saw it so consider this plan B.

The future then? Can it be made viable as a business idea?

Basically what I’m driving at is this, are there the right people out there? Anyone up for starting up a new project and try to create an even better brute force protection and security platform with me?
I have already had a few feelers with other companies and there is an interest to be part of such a project. The best scenario would probably be to get in touch with a development company that already has developers and want to broaden their portfolio with a security product but on the other hand, it can be a very small staff of people doing it too.

I’m not opposed to investing myself also and since I know the finances behind such a product and what it can generate I have a reason to believe in it, both technically and businesswise.
Remember, the market is worldwide. It’s not geographically confined and that’s why I’m actually writing this in English, although for me personally, the startup of such a project would be easier if it were in Sweden. I’m. just thinking practically.

I’ve already done it once and I believe it can be done again but even better. I’ve already seen the mistakes so to speak.
Of course, there are other ways too, such as Crowdfunding and FundedByMe and all that but I firmly believe not only do you have to have the finances settled but also be sure to have the right people involved, willing to invest their time and focus.

At the moment it’s just a thought from my side and nothing has really taken any shape (apart from registering a domain for it really) but I would hate to throw away all the ideas, knowledge and experience I have around such a project. I think I have a pretty good inkling of budgets, the business side and of course the technical aspects and functionality of what such a product should be.

So, if you’re up for it, just contact me or give me call and say hi and we’ll take it from there?

I think the time would be more or less now because I’m certain there’s stuff going on in other places too so in order to get a product up and running and get market shares, this would be the time to do it.

Ditt namn (obligatorisk)


Din epost (obligatorisk)


Ämne (obligatorisk)

Ditt meddelande (obligatorisk)

När och hur vill ni bli kontaktade?
TelefonE PostPersonligt möteFörmiddagEftermiddagKväll

Vad gäller saken ? Välj en eller flera områden om du vill

Från när behöver ni hjälp ?

Skriv in nedanstående text för verifiering (obligatorisk)



Syspeace vs Cyberarms – Bruteforce prevention for Windows Servers

IT konsult backuper, It konsult säkerhet, IT konsult syspeace, IT konsult återstartsplaner, It konsult Active DirectoryA few years back I had an idea about a Host Intrusion Prevention System for Windows servers. I did try to write a proof of concept myself and I did have a pretty good idea of how it should work and what mistakes to avoid. I ran into a Swedish development company by coincidence and I told them about my idea, showed them som proofs of concepts and we decided to create this product together and that’s what eventually became Syspeace.

We had a perfectly fine collaboration for a few years but sad to say I’m no longer associated with Syspeace. In short , after an intial contract for 3 years  for a certain percentage of gross sales , they suddenly decided that I wouldn’t get any money whatsoever for any sales of Syspeace after that. Simple as that. Yay me. Not really what I had in mind when presenting the idea and putting that work into it and still, stupidly enough , I kind of was under the impression that we’d continue the same way as the first contract was written, both practically and in spirit.. Yep. Admittedly bitter about it. I loved the idea, I love the product (although there are improvemens that need to be made in my humble opinion. The idea is even good enough to actually bring some revenue and if we would’ve stayed on terms, I would’ve been perfectly fine. Still, lesson learned. Don’t be so trusting.

Anyaway, this post isn’t about that really. Not getting into how I feel about that but I’m sure you can imagine. There’s another post that kind of relates to that here and my view on a product such as Syspeace.

Anyway, a German competitor called Cyberarms with their product IDDS did however actually manage to release their product just a couple of months prior to us. Our product was still in a testing phase at the time. Out of loyalty and so on, of course I stuck to using Syspeace but there were always a few things that bothered me.
For instance, when running SSL on RDP connections, the eventid 4625 in the Windows Securitylog didn’t record the source IPaddress, thus making it impossible for Syspeace to block anything. Using SSL on RDP connections and so on makes stuff fareasier if you’re hosting Terminal Servers (Remotdesktop Servers and RemoteApp servers) in regards to network security, error messages to clients and so on. It just helps you out a lot having valid SSL certificates.

Syspeace worked perfectly fine for blocking attacks when the source IP address was recorded but otherwise not.
There are a few workarounds and I have written about them earlier but none of them are really good and there are pros and cons to them. This lack of functionality (meaning Syspeace not blocking all attempts but merely the ones containing the source IP address) was always a big problem and it was intended to be fixed but they never really got around to doing so.
I’m sure they will but it has taken a long time though.

As of December 2016, Cyberarms decided to release their software as Open Source (my understanding is that they couldn’t find new investors for continuing but I don’t know really ) so of course I got curious and decided to take it for a spin.

The blocking works fine. It blocks IP addresses with their SSL/TLS agent perfectly fine and it’s free to use so why not use it?

Well. A few things to consider here though and you really might want to think about them before implementing Cyberarms IDDS on larger scale.

Syspeace vs Cyberarms

First of all , the notification email you get from Cyberarms contains far too little information for it to be useful in a datacenter environment or at a Cloud Service provider. If you’re simplt protecting your PC at home, sure but if your’re mmanaginfg a larger server environment it will become a nightmare.

If you get an email simply saying “The IP address has been locked” and you get a few hundred of those, it’s not very useful to you as a sysadmin I’m afraid.

You need to quickly be able to see Geopgraphical information and the login name used in order to know whether it’s an actual attempt to use valid usernames and access data or if it’s just an automated “background noice attack”. With that said, do not underestimate those background nice attacks since they do use up resources like CPU and RAM on your servers. They can also be an attempt to hide other kinds of hacking attacks simply by “hiding in the noice”.

Another thing that Cyberarms lacks is an automatic “Reset on success” feature which in essence means that if you have a customer connecting to your services from behind a firewall and someone at the customer side mistypes their password, the IP address will be blocked. Works as designed in both Cyberarms and Syspeace.

In Syspeace though , there is a default mechanism for also keeping track of succesful logins and with some builtin logic, actuallynot banning the IP address if someone else succeeds with their login attempt from behind that same firewall. The toought behind it is of course to minimize false positives and hopefully not blocking your customers from your services. It’s not foolproof but it works well enough.

In Sypeace, the rules you can set are also more flexible including parameters such as a time window. This is very useful for you to catch “slow grinding” attempts meaning hackers that want to stay under the radar for products such as Syspeace and Cyberarms.

Cyberarms does not have access reports built in to it like it’s built into Sysepace which from time to time can be very useful for a sysadmin.

When you starting up Cybrarms intiially, no agents are activated by default so there’s more of a “how-to” tip for you.

Cyberarms doesn’t not support Windows Server 2003, while Syspeace does.

Syspeace does have an unfortunate built in flaw at the moment making it’s database grow above it’s limit of 4 GB in some scenarios but I’m sure that will be sorted too.
Whether Syspeace (or Cyberarms for that matter) would work on Nano installations and GUIless servers is another quiestion. My guess is that they bort need to be rewritten. None of them support a central managemant interface wich would be nice to have so you don’t have to RDP yourself to each server to make changes. I’m sutre there will be such a feature in either on of them though.

Still, Cyberarms does a good job at finding attacks and here’s how I’ve started using the two in conjunction.

In all honesty, my dream scenario would have been for the two to join forces, getting the best from each product and build a great product together. In fact, I’m sure an even greater product can be built for these things and and adjacent things  so if anyone’s up a for it, I’m game.I have quite a few ideas for new functionality and features for such a product already..or who knows,I might even end up being a part of the Syspeace team again.

Since IDDS is now Open Source I guess I could sit down and amp it up with the features I want to have in it but truth told, I’m not a good developer really. I have ideas and I know how it should work but getting to the actual coding would just take to much time for me.

Anyway … Here’s how I’m using both of them at the same time for now anyway
I have the set the block rules higher in Cyberarms than in Syspeace, therefore giving Syspeace the chance to do the initial blocking and getting better emails sent to me.

Below is an example of an email alert sent by Syspeace.

Blocked address (SERVER-C7BF2B28) [Pakistan] 2017-02-20 10:10:00 Rule used:
Type of block: Windows login
Rule name: Catch All Login
Trigger window: 5.00:30:00
Occurrences: 5
Lockout time: 04:00:00
Previous observations of this IP address:
2017-02-20 06:09:59 *****\administrator
2017-02-20 06:09:57 *****\administrator
2017-02-20 06:09:55 *****\administrator
2017-02-20 06:09:52 *****\administrator
2017-02-20 06:09:50 *****\administrator

I’ve set Cyberarms to block after a higher number of intrusion attempts than Syspeace , getting it to catch those SSL/TLS

attacks since Syspeace can’t handle them at the moment.

Below is an example of the alert sent from Cyberarms.
Client with IP address was hard locked

As you can see, the Cyberarms email doesn’t really provide me with any useful information as a sysadmin meaning for me to actually deal with it, I need to manually find out from where the attack originated, what username was used in order to decide whether it’s serious or not. Of course I could probably write something in .Net utilizing the Cyberarms logfile to get better notifications with more information but that shlould be built into the software really looking more like the Syspeace alerts.

The Syspeace notification isn’t prefect either but it is far better. I would also like to see what port was targeted and what process was targeted, i.e the running .exe.
That would be a quicker way for me as a Sysadmin to determine what’s really going on.

They both have Daily Reports and Weekly Reports so I thought I’d also incklude one of each from the same server and the same time window. I think you’ll noticed the difference and ralize why the SSL/TLS functionality is so crucial to have in place

Syspeace Report for week 2017-02-13 – 2017-02-19

— All Week ——

IP address Times Host name and country
——————– —– ——————————- 1 XS2323677157; United States (US) 1; United States (US) 6; United States (US) 1; United States (US) 1; Germany (DE) 1; United States (US) 1 ; Italy (IT) 1 ; China (CN) 1 ; Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 2; Brazil (BR) 1; Russian Federation (RU) 1 ; China (CN) 1 ; Thailand (TH) 1; Russian Federation (RU) 1; Germany (DE) 1 ; China (CN) 1; China (CN)

//  I Have removed the hourly breakdown opart from this report here //

Generated 2017-02-20 00:04:58 for machine ***.****.** by Syspeace v2.5.2.0


Cyberarms Weekly Report
Week of 2017-2-13
Installation Information
Server: ****
Events per Agent
Agent name Intrusion attempts Soft locks Hard locks
TLS/SSL Security Agent 1238 215 82
Windows Base Security Agent 133 0 1
Total 1371 215 83
Intrusion attempts by IP address
Client IP Intrusion attempts 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 14 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 19 21 23 54
Total 1371
Soft locks by IP address
Client IP Soft locks 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 12
Total 215
Hard locks by IP address
Client IP Hard locks 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 6
Total 83
To configure reporting options, please use the IDDS administration software on your server.

With that said, I would recommend people using both of them in order to minimize brute force and dictionary attacks against Windows servers.

Should you need assistance or have questions, please feel free to contact me here

Securing Windows Server with a baseline security

JufCorp AB hjälper företag och föreningar med frågor inom backup / restore , Disaster Recovery, IT säkerhet, molntjänster och Syspeace

Securing Windows Server with a baseline security

In short, to have an acceptable baseline security for any Windows server you need to think all of the things below in this list.
Sadly enough, even if you follow all of these steps, you’re still not secured forever and ever. There’s no such thing as absolute security.  That’s just the way it is but you might use this as some kind of checklist and also the links provided in this post.


Securing Windows Server with an acceptable baseline security

  • 1. Make sure all of your software is updated with all security patches. This includes the Windows operating system but also Adobe, Java,Office and any software really. This reduces the risk for so called 0day attacks or your server being compromised by software bugs.
  • 2. Make sure you have a good and not too resource intensive antivirus running on everything. Personally I’m a fan of F Secure PSB for Servers and Workstations for lots of reasons. It’s not just a pretty logo. If you need licenses or assistance, please feel free to contact me here
  • 3. Verify you have thought your file and directory access structure and that users and groups are only allowed to use and see what they’re supposed to. Setting file permissions is a very powerful tool to secure your server and crucial.
  • 4. Always make sure to read best practices for securing applications and servers and Google for other ideas also. No manual is the entire gospel.
  • 5. Enable logging. If you don’t know what’s happeing, you can’t really react to it can you ? It also makes any troubleshooting hopeless in restrospect.
  • 7. Have a good monitoring and inventory system in place such as the free SpiceWorks and I also recently discovered Sitemonitoring at Sourceforge that I liked. Unfortunately Sitemonitoring only works for HTTP responses , I’d love to also have it work for pure port monitoring.
  • 8. If your server has any monitoring agents from the manufacturer such as HP Server Agents, then install them and set them up with notifications for any hardware events to be prepared incas of hardware failures. If possible, also have spare parts readu for the common failures such as hard drives and PSu (Power Supply Units)
  • 9. Use Group Policies. It’s an extermely powerful tool once you start using it and it will make you day to day operations much easier.
  • 10. If your server is reachable from the Internet, use valid SSL certificates. They’re not that expensive and any communications should be encrypted and secured as fa as we’re able.
    Yes, think Mr. Snowden.Think NSA. There’s a few more things to consider when installing SSL on servers such as disabling weak cryptos and testing you´v done so correctly. I like using SSL Labs free test.
  • 11. Disable any unused services and network protocols. They can be a point of entry and for the unused network protocols, you bascially fill your local network with useless chatter that comsume bandwidth. This also goes for workstations and printers and so on.
  • 12. Enforce complex password policies! You won’t be well-liked but that’s not what you get paid for.
    If people are having trouble remembering passwords the have all over the world, maybe you could have them read this blog post I wrote about rememebering complex passwords
    and on the topic of online passwords and identities, they migh also want to read this post about protecting your online identity  also.
  • 13. Use a good naming standard for user logins. Not just their first name as login or something too obvious. Here’s an old blog post (still on the Syspeace Blog site though )  on why
  • 14. Backups! Backups! and again. BACKUPS!!
    Make sure you have good backups (and test them at least once a year for a complete disaster revovery scenario) and make sure you have multiple generations of them in case any of them is corrupted, preferrably stored offsite in some manner in case of a fire, theft or anything really.For day to day operations and generation management I highly recommend using the builtin VSS snapshot method but never ever have it instead of backups.
    You can also use the built in Windows Server backup for DR as described here
  • 15. You need to have an automatic intrusion protection against brute force and dictionary attacks with Syspeace since the “classic” methods do not get the job done. Here’s an older blog post on why . I you don’t have the time to read the article then simply download the free Syspeace trial or contact me for licenses and consulting regarding Brute force prevention

If you’re up for it, I’ve written a few other related posts here:

Securing your datacenter part 1 – Physical aspects
Securing your datacenter part II – Networking

There’s also a third one but to be honest , I can’t remember where I published it. This is one of the reasons I’m moving basically everyting I’ve written to my own website instead . Easier to maintain .
Keep it simple and easy is alway a good approach. 🙂

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

Securing your datacenter – Physical aspects

Securing your datacenter - Juha Jurvanen JufCorp AB

A basic guide to securing your datacenter- part 1

This blog post is intended only as a basic guide to securing your datacenter and it’s a repost with some new stuff added into it. I also wrote a couple of follow ups to it that I will repost later.

It is not intended to be the gospel of security since, well.. let’s be honest, there is no such thing as absolute security.

As an example, in Sweden there was a case where a computer was locked in a vault, with no network access whatsoever and only a few people had access to it and still, it leaked information to foreign countries. Yes . a computer controlled by the military.

Absolute computer security is a myth and a beautiful dream. With that said, system administrators can still do a lot to make more difficult to access data and prevent attacks and sabotage to their systems.
Let’s start off with physical aspects .

The actual georgraphic location

Where is your server actually located and who has physical access to it?

Resetting administrator passwords or root passwords

Once you gain physical access to a sever, there are numerous way of accessing the data. The root password or Active Directory Domain Administrator password or NDS Admin password can be easily reset (yes, the sentence “easily reset” is used loosely) with a USB stick and booting the server. Have look a at for instance HIren’s Boot CD, Burglar for NDS or just play around with Google and search for terms such as “Reset administrator password”, “decrypt password” and so on .
You’ll be amazed when you realize how easy it actually is. Personally, I always carry with me some USB stick that enables me to boot up any system and “have my way with it”
So, we need to secure the server from outside access. The data center must be protected with card keys, cameras and access control. We need to who and why they are in the data center in the first place.For instance, a janitor or cleaning staff tends to have complete access due to what they do. Many companies hire outside help to get these kinds of jobs done.

Sabotage and disrupted data services

If I wanted to gain access to server, I would try to infiltrate one of those subcontractors to get a job as a let’s say janitor, and try to gain access to the data center somehow and from there, I can basically do what ever I wanted with the servers.
Maybe my goal wouldn’t be to steal data but to kill the data operations by corrupting the filesystems on the servers (for instance just “piping” data into various files from command prompt or hding files behind other files ), randomly switch disks on RAID systems or just put small holes in network cables to cause network errors, trigger an EMP in the data center and so on .
There would be numerous ways to disrupt the data operations, once i gained access to the data center or servers room.

Information theft

If I’m out to steal data, I would probably not target the servers themselves but instead I’d start looking for backup tapes or backup disks. Far too many companies have their backups in the same location as the servers themselves and since the backups usually are not encrypted , I’d go for stealing a complete backup set, go home and start doing a scan of the tapes to figure out what backup software was used and then do a complete restore of it all.
The backups are most likely to contain the data I’m after, although probably a maximum of 24 hours old but from them I can gain access to all kinds of information about the operations and crack administrative passwords for the server systems and so on . In the comfort of my own data center. or my couch.
This way would of require some skill of Disaster Recovery scenarios and how to get data back from backups but I’m fairly sure I’m not he only one in the world who has the expertise in those matters.

Backups are always a weak point from several aspects.

You need to know who has access to them , at all times.
If you are company that for instance have your backups shipped to another location on a daily basis or weekly, you need to know that people handling them haven’t been compromised. It wouldn’t take that long for anyone with the proper skills do clone your tapes or disks en route to their destination and you would have no way of telling they’d been cloned. In that scenario, all of your critical data would be in the wild, without you actually knowing it.

If you are using any kind of online backup service, remember to choose your encryption password wisely and be extremely restrictive with who has the password. A lot of backup software do not let you change the encryption password without doing the first backup all over again, thus doubling your usage of space and your costs.
Still , I highly recommend you use an encryption password for several reasons.
If you don’t use it, it’s just pure laziness and fear of administrative hassle and that’s just not an excuse. The risk of people at your online backup provider being able to access your data is of course also an obvious risk. Do you know these people and how could you be absolutely certain that they aren’t poking around in your data and maybe giving it to your competitors?

If you are thinking about online backups there are a few very essential questions you should ask yourself but we’ll get back to that later in another post.
Do not use the same encryption password as you have for Root / Administrator / Admin . That´s just crazy talk. Use a password generator to create a unique password. This is also very much valid for tape backups or backups on NAS / disk. Always encrypt your backups with password and be very, very restrictive with who has the password.

If an employee quits your company or an outside consultant quits his project and he / she has had knowledge of the password, change it.

If you’re doing a planned Disaster Recovery test for instance, change the administrative passwords right after the DR test , thus not enabling anyone to reuse what they’ve found out during the test
During the actual DR test, you should be there and be the one that actually types in the encryption password for the backups, not any outside technicians or consultants , not even the online backup service provider or your Disaster Recovery Service Provider. You , and you alone should be the one that has those passwords.
I’ll will return to backup questions and stuff regarding DR plans and so further down the line in some upcoming blog post
So, the conclusion is, always know who and why people are in proximity of your servers and NEVER let anyone be there alone without supervision and here’s a few more pointers.

A short cheatsheet for datacenters

  1. Always have you data center locked and secured from unauthorized access, If you have the means, also have it secured against an EMP attack from the outside. Of course, I haven’t even touched the subjects but be sure your data center has all the necessary fire prevention/extinction equipment in place, UPS backups and , if possible, also an outside source for generating current in case the UPS or battery runs out of current. There should also be a system in place for protecting you servers against spikes in current.
    Be sure to know where water pipes are running in the building so you don’t place your server directly underneath one.
  2. Don’t keep cardboard or any other kind of flammable materials in the data center. Be sure to take them with you when you’ve set up a new server or switched disks. Don’t be lazy. The cost of laziness can be extreme.
  3. In the data center, always have your servers locked in cabinets that requires keys and access card to gain physical access to keyboards and stuff. Also remember to protect the cabling and the back of the servers! Never have a server logged on the console. Be sure to have all cabling to the and from the firewall and the internet access secured.
  4. If you’re “expecting company” i.e. external consultant and so on, be sure to think abut NOT having different kinds of network maps, administrative passwords and different kinds of information in plain sight for anyone to see. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, the IT department having their entire IT operations and information of their systems on white boards or on print on documents next to their workstations. It’s very quick and easy to take a picture of it with a cell phone and once you understand the infrastructure you can also start exploring weak points in it.
    Sure , it makes their lives easier but as one might gather, it also makes the life of the attacker easier. Knowledge is a powerful weapon, especially when it comes to data protection
  5. Don’t have software laying around in the data center with software keys and stuff on them . All it takes is a mobile phone for someone to coy your license keys thus possibly putting you in an awkard situation having to explain to Microsoft for instance how come that your Volume License keys are a bit too easy to find on Piratebay, thus putting you n the risk of your licenses becoming invalid and bringing your server operations to a halt , or at least a shoer disruption.
  6. Know where your backups are, at all times. Have them encrypted. If using online backup services, be sure to use an encryption key and , if possible, be sure to have restrictions on the online backup service providers end on to and from where backups and restores are allowed
  7. Do not allow mobile phones in the data center due to the risk of people photographing your equipment or software license keys or using the mobile phones to copy data via USB cables and stuff.
  8. If possible, disable any USB ports on your servers. This can be done in the BIOS (and of course also have a sysmtem password for accessing the BIOS, a unique one for each server ) or you can physically kill it by putting glue or semothing in there (I haven’t tried that myself so do try at your own risk .. )
  9. If you are sharing a data center with others, there is no need for you to have your company logo or anything revealing the servers are yours. Keep it as anonymous as possible. There is also no need for you to tell anyone where your servers are physically located (although it can be fairly easy for anyone to fin out using traceroute commands and so on ),
  10. Be sure to have a Disaster Recover Plan (DRP ) / Business Continuity Plan (BCP) if your site is compromised or an accident should occur. Also in this case, treat the secondary DR location as mission critical data. Far too often, the secondary site is forgotten and poorly updated.
  11. Once again, do not underestimate the powers of social engineering. Although it’s not hacking in the usual sense, it’s merely good acting but it can still be as harmful as I’m trying to point out here

So, there’s a few tips anyway and that’s just the start really. It’s not a complete recipe for securing your physical environment and I’m sure I’ve missed out loads of stuff but it’s a start anyways.

I hope you you liked this post and I’d love to hear you thoughts on it and if you want me to write a few others on the matters of securing your server operations, I was thinking in the lines of brute force protection, change management, 0day attacks, certificate management , password policies, protecting web servers and so on , You get the picture 🙂

// Juha Jurvanen

Contact me

Senior consultant in backup, IT security, server operations and cloud

#cybersecurity How to block a brute force attacks against Windows Servers, #MSExchange, Remote Desktop and more

Syspeace - intrusion prevention for Windows servers

How to block a brute force attack against Windows Servers, Exchnage Server, remote Desktop

If your server or datacenter is targeted by a brute force attack a.k.a dictionary attacks , it might be hard to figure out how to quickly make it stop.
If the attack is from a single IP address you’d probably block it in your external firewall or the Windows Server firewall and after that start tracking and reporting the attack to see if needs following up.

However, if the attacks is triggered from hundreds or even thousands of IP addresses, it will become basically impossible to block all of them in the firewall so you need something to help you automate the task.

This is where Syspeace comes into play.

Fully functional, free trial for bruteforce prevention

Since Syspeace has a fully functional trial for 30 days, you can simply download it here ,install, regsiter with  a valid mail address, enter the licensekey into the Syspeace GUI and the attack will be automatically handled (blocked, tracked and reported) as soon as the Syspeace service starts up.

In essence, the attack will be blocked within minutes from even connecting to your server.

The entire process of downloading, installing and registering ususally only takes a few minutes and since Syspeace is a Windows service it will also automatically start if the server is rebooted.

If the attack is triggered to use just a few login attempts per attacking IP address and for a longer period of time in between attempts, I’d suggest you change te default rule to monitor for failed logins for a longer triggerwindow , for example 4 days so you’d also automatically detect hacking attempts that are trying to stay under the radar for countermeasure such as Syspeace.

The Syspeace Global BlackList

Since Syspeace has already blocked over 6,5 Million attacks worldwide , we’ve also got a Global Blacklist that is automatically downloaded to all other Syspeace clients.

This means that if an IP address has been deemed a repeat offender (meaning that it has attacked X number of Syspeace customers and Y number of servers within Z amount of tme), the attackers IP address is quite likely to already be in the GBL and therefore it will be automatically blacklisted on all Syspeace-installations, thus making it preemptively blocked.

Syspeace does not simply disable the login for the attacker, it completely blocks the attacker on all ports from communicating with your server so if you’ve got otther services also running on the server (such as an FTP or SQL Server) the attacker will not be able to reach any if those services either. The lockdown is on all TCP ports.

More Syspeace features, supported Windows Server editions and other services such as Exchange Server, Terminal Server, SQL Server …

You will also get tracking and reporting included immediately for future reference or forensics.
Syspeace supports Windows Server editions from Windows 2003 and upwards, including the Small Business Server editions. It also supports Terminal Server (RDS) and RemoteAPP and RDWeb, Microsoft Exchange Server including the webmail (OWA) and SMTP connectors, Citrix, Sharepoint,SQL Server and we’ve also released public APIs to use with various weblogins. All of this is included in Syspeace. Out of the box.
We’ve got a IIS FTP server detector in beta and also a FileZilla FTP Server detector and we’re constantly developing new detectors for various server software.

Download and try out Syspeace completely free

Even if you’re not being attacked by a large brute force attack right now, you can still download the trial and have Syspeace handle attacks for you in the background. Who knows, there could be more invalid login attemtpts than you think, such as disabled or removed users that have left the company or very subtle, slow dictioanry attacks going on in the background that actaully might be quite tricky to spot if your not constantly monitoring logfles.

On this blog, ,we’ve written a lot of blog articles on how Syspeace works and a lot of other articles regarding securing your servers that we hope you’ll find useful.

By Juha Jurvanen

Syspeace crashes / not starting due to database growth over 4 GB

Syspeace crashes / not starting due to database over 4 GB

Syspeace is a brute force prevention software for Windows Servers, Exchange Servers, RDS and more.

One issue with the current version of Syspeace is the scenario where the Syspeace GUI can’t be started and Syspeace crashes due to it’s database growing too large and here is why.

When the database called SCDB1.sdf (located in the Syspeace installation directory) grows above its built in limit of 4 GB, Syspeace stops working and the GUI can’t be started, nor does Syspeace block any new brute force attacks.
This is due to a limitations of database groxth and the way Syspeace stores entries within the database in the current version (2.5.2).

Here is a (blurry) picture of the error message. It’s basically a .Net error message saying that the database has grown larger than its built in limitation.

syspeace crashes database 4 gb

Solution / Workaround

The easiest way to workaround this limitation is to stop the Syspeace service and simply delete the database and set up your rules and settings again. This will mean setting up your whitelists, entering licensnumber, rules and so on.

Preparing for this scenario

It is easy to be prepared for this though. Simply export all of the Syspeace settings using the Syspeace GUI ( Export settings/ and click the “Check all” in the top right ) and keep the DefaultSettings.syspeaceSettings in the Syspeace installation folder. Remember to do this every time you apply changes to your settings.
This will ease the workaround-fix from the aspect that you only need to stop the Syspeace service,delete the database that and then restart Syspeace thus having it automatically import all of your settings.

There is also the advantage of being able to distribue the DefaultSettings.syspeaceSettings-file to other servers in case you have multiple installations or you’re planning on expanding your Syspeace usage.

Simply install Syspeace on the next server, copy the DefaultSettings.syspeaceSettings to the installation directory and your configuration is set to the same parameters as the first one, including whitelists, license number, email settings and so on.

By Juha Jurvanen

NTLM settings and other fun labs searching for missing IP adresses in eventid 4625 or trying to get RemoteAPP to work well with RD Client on iPad, Android and even Windows!

konsult inom backup It säkerhet molntjänster återsartsplaner för IT

Using SSL causes mssing IP adresses in eventid 4625 and to get them back .. disable NTLM ? Nope. Not really an option

Today I took me a lab day to actually sit down and spend time with the NTLM settings and the RDWEB and try it out on various platforms and do some more or less scientific testing.
In short, I’äm not impressed by how Micropsoft has actually implemented parts of ther stuff..

I used Windows 10, RD Client for IOS and RD Client for Android. The server infrastructure was a Windows Server 2008 R2 with valid SSL certficates for all services.

The underlying problem is basiaclly that if you use an SSL certificate for your RDP connections , failed logins aren’t correctly dispalyd , i.e. your missing IP adresses in eventid 4625. (When not using an SSL certficate , it is recorded but then your users and customers get a lot of warnings when connecting to your servers and some things just donät work very well sucha as the Webfeed for RD Web)

Syspeace is a Host Intrusion Prevention Software that uses this inormation about the source IP address to block brute force attacks against Windows Servers.

One way around this is to disable incoming NTLM traffic and sure enought , all IP addresses are recorded.

The downside is .. only “full” RDP connections will work meaning that for instance connections to a server desktop works fine but if you’re really into RemoteAPP (and that’s the way I want to go and a lot of tekkies with me) you’ll be running into problems.
And, by th way.. frankly, full desktop session don’t work either from IOS (at least remote Desktop Client 8.1.13 and my iPad, they do from Android though, same server, same username and so on)

Not even Windows really working correctly when disabling NTLM ?

I also did some testing for fun by creating a .wcx file and oddly enough. In order to get that to actually work with Windows 10 (and I’m guessing it’s the same for Windows 7 and so on ) , It just refuses to connect to the RemoteApp service if incoming NTLM is disabled.
I can howerver start a normal Desktop Session against the server so, what I would claim is that the fault is actually within RD Web and the way it handles authentication, requiring some parts to be using NTLM.
The usual RD Web login interface works so far that I can login and see the resources but I can’t start any applications from it. No errors, nothing.
If enabling NTLM, I can start the applications just fine. Once again. NTLM has to be enabled in order for full functionality 🙁

So, basically, if I change the policy settings for the RD Server not to allow incoming NTLM traffic in order to be able to actually handle a bruteforce attack and also keep track of failed logins with informaion that’s actually useful for me as a sysadmin and CSO

These are by the way the settings I’m referring to

Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Security Options

– Network security: LAN Manager authentication level — Send NTLMv2 response only. Refuse LM & NTLM
– Network security: Restrict NTLM: Audit Incoming NTLM Traffic — Enable auditing for all accounts
– Network security: Restrict NTLM: Incoming NTLM traffic — Deny all accounts

Regardless of how I try, I can’t get it to work to actually add remoteapp resources (or Remote Resource Feed) neither Windows 10, nor IOS, nor Android.

So, what are the implications of this ? Does it matter ? Do we need the source IP address in 4625?

First of all, the way this is handled within Windows Server is an absolut nightmare and frankly, just usesless and I can’t see any reason for Microsoft developers to leave the IP address out when using SSL certificates or at least have another entry in the eventlog for it containg useful information.
It’s not possible to handle brute force attacks natievly within Windows Server as I’ve written about many times earlier.

The biggest problem is of course that if someone tries to bruteforce your server, then how will you stop the attack ? How do you gather evidence ?
If your’e running a larger server environment and hosting customers and so on , you’ll have no way of knowing what attempts are legitimate customers and user and which ones aren’t really.
You can hardly shut down your services can you ?

At the moment , I don’t have a good solution to this problem. Syspeace catches lots and lots of bruteforce attacks for me but these ones it can’t since it doesn’t have any IP address to block.
I’m just hoping for Microsft to actually solve this on the server side since that would be the easiest fix for them I’d say.
Of course they also neeed to get the RDP clients working for all platforms but basically it should be working with NTLM2 at least and also to log the failed logon request correctly if using an SSL certficate. Anthing else is just pure madness and stupidity to be honest and someone should get fired for not thinking ahead.

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

The anatomy of hacking attacks and a few countermeasures

konsult inom backup It säkerhet molntjänster hacking attacks

Various hacking attacks against servers and users

First of all, there are multiple types of hacker attacks and they all have different purposes.
There are also many different types of hackers and they all have cool names like “White hat” hackers and “Black hat” hacker.
The White Hat ones are usually the security experts hired at a company to check and verify the IT security measures at other companies.
The Black Hat hackers are not. They’re the ones to be afraid of.
I’m neither of them. I’m simply a consultant and the best of these guys know far more about theses things than I do but still, I thought I’d run through a few common attacks targeted to accomplish various things.

There are many reasons why an attacker wants to hack you.

It could be hacktivism and political reasons or an attempt to gain access to your server to be able to use it for hacking others (basically they want access to your CPU, RAM and disk to hide stolen data and tools, mine for Bitcoins or whatever and to have an IP address to use, not leading back to their own).
There’s a few very cool and easy ways to hide files on servers that ar more or less impossible to find such as hiding a file “behind” another file and so on.

Of course in some cases it can also be about trying to steal company secrets (industrial espionage), possibly a former (or current for that matter, internal data theft and hacking is far more common than you’d expect) discontent employee looking to sabotage or looking for revenge or in some cases, just for the fun of it to see if it can be done.

The pre-run. Checking out your site, server with portscans and bruteforce atttacks

First of all, any hacker will need to know what you’re running and what it looks like. “Know thy enemy” so to speak.
Usually a portscan of your servers will reveal quite a lot of information and there are loads of tools to do this, quietly, undetected and efficiently such as nmap or even Google actually.

In order to make it a bit more difficult for them I’d suggest you have your firewall correctly configured for blocking portscans, your servers on a DMZ and also to hide any banner revealing what software you’re running and what version. This can’t be done with all software I’m afraid but the ones that you can, please consider doing so.
For a hacker to know exactly what you’re running will only make his/her life much easier since all they do is to start
looking for any known vulnerabilities and so called exploits to that software and version.
Usually software developers have released a patch but unfortunately, a lot of software never gets updated in time due to the old “if it works, don’t fix it” attitude among a lot of server tekkies and hosting providers.

Another thing is to move all default pages and scripts (or delete them if you’re not using them) to make a bit more difficult to figure out what you’re actually running and how it is setup. Have for instance 404 error messages redirected to the start page or Google or your worst competitor and also 403 errors ..

DoS attacks and DDoS attacks and also hiding behind them.

A DoS attack is a “Denial of Service” attack which means that your server is in some way attacked and made to stop servicing your clients / users or customers the way it’s supposed to, for instance your webmail / OWA or a webshop or RDP services.

This can be accomplished in many ways. A DDoS attack is a DoS attacked but with the difference that it is a Distributed DOS attack meaning there are a lot of more computers involved in doing the attack.
These attacks often have the main purpose of taking a website down by overloading it really.

If you’ve got a web server servicing for instance a webshop and a hackergroup for some reason don’t like you, they’ll get a few hundred thousand computers around the world to ask for a specific document or picture on your website, thus overloading it so it can’t really service your customers since the server is busy handling the bogus requests.

It is not uncommon also for a hacker to hide behind these attacks to try and find out what kind of countermeasures you have in place such as Syspeace. The idea behind it is basically to became invisible in all the log noise a DDoS attack generates.

Worst case, hacking attacks such as this can actually go on for weeks and it has happened often. That is also simply an extortion. “If you pay us this and this much , your webshop will be back online again, otherwise not”. For some companies this of course could be an absolute disaster, imagine for instance around the Christmas sales.

Now, it might sound impossible to find a few hundred thousand computers to get such an attack underway. It’s not. They’re out there in botnets spread over VPS and physical machines and they’re for hire even. Including a trial run and with support.
Brave new world ..

There are ways to handle these attacks. For instance increasing the service capacity on the server, increasing you bandwidth and also have a talk with your ISP on how to mitigate the attacks if they have solutions in place for it. You could also have for instance a powerful SNORT server in front of the firewall to get rid of some of the traffic. You should also have Syspeace in place for handling the bruteforce atatcks

Poorly updated applications or neglected updates and 0day exploits

If a server is poorly updated and the application/website is sensitive for instance that the hacker simply adds some code against the webaddress trying to browse the file system on the server then this can also render in a DOS attack or even worse, the attacker gets hold of the users and administrator/ root passwords. Once they’ve got that, your pretty much ..well. you won’t be having a good day. Basically you need to make sure your webserver is always correctly updated, and you also need to make sure that the underlying file system can’t be reached from the outside more than absolutely necessary.
Make sure you checked every directory and path on the website and what actually is reachable, writeable and browsable. If you’ve got pages you don’t want indexed then hadndle that in the robots.txt or have them secured behind a user login page.If you’re running a Wordporess site, make sure you hav alarma set up for outdated plugins, changes to files and so on and and make sure to deal with it asap.

Unfortunately, from time to time there are also so called 0day exploits out in the wild and those are very hard to defend yourself against. If get alerted that there is one in the wild for your environment, please keep alert and stay on your toes until a patch is released and follow any best practices released by the vendor! This can also fall under the category viruses and trojans further down.

SQL Injections and badly formatted requests

If the website uses a SQL Server / MySQL or has any input form to validate or gather something, please make sure that the application strips away any characters that could make your server vulnerable to SQL Injections since the SQL Server is usually run with administrative rights making the SQL Server injections being run with high privileges and accessing the operating system.

If you don’t know how the application is written, please contact the developers of it and ask them and have them verify this.

For any part of the website where there are input forms, makes sure that all input is validated in terms of what characters are used and how long the input is.
If a website is poorly written and poorly validated, a memory buffer overflow can occur which basically means that the input is so large or strangely formatted that the server will stop working or even give the attacker access to the servers operating system by overwriting stuff in the RAM in a way that it’s not supposed to.

Viruses, rootkits and trojans.

If an attacker has been able to lure your users to a site that contains infected code (sometimes also called drive by hacking) and the web browser or plugins to it (Java, Adobe, Flash and so on) are sensitive to that particular infections you user might come down with an infected computer.
Depending on what actually has been infected and why the consequences vary of course.

This is often done by sending emails with links to websites or trying to get user to plug in an infected USB stick into their PC.

I’ve heard of companies that have been affected with a virus rendering them unable to work since nobody was allowed to even plug in their computers to the work networks until they could be sure they’d got rid of it. In this case it was a lot of computers so I think it took them 3 week until people actually could start working again, 3 weeks without any work. That’s a costly thing for any company.The same standstill could also come from a ransom virus, basically encrypting all your files and you’ll have to pay money to get the right decryption password.

The way to minimize such a horrible standstill is to make sure that ALL of your devices connecting to the network are properly updated with antivirus products (please do not use the free ones ..ever!) but also you need to make sure that any other software is properly updated . Java, Flash, and the operating system itself .
This also goes for workstations connecting from home and so on or otherwise you might be in for a bad day. You should also be very restrictive when it comes to letting users use USB drives and stuff. They might be infected with something.

MITM – Man in the Middle, proxies and easedropping

If you’ve got a corporate network, you want to know what devices actually are on it and why. If someone for instance sets up a computer and has all of the corporate traffic routed through (by acting a proxy) , all of your communicating is being copied and this can be done in various ways. The same goes actually for you if you’re using public WiFi hot spots which I would never recommend anyone really using. To intercept data isn’t very difficult unfortunately, especially if it isn’t protected by valid certificates.
You need to use valid SSL certificates and there’s no reason to use anything lower that 2048 encryption and you must also disable weak cipher and other stuff before your SSL is correctly set up. Check your configuartion against for instance on Qualsys SSL Labs.
Also make sure that all communications are secured within your network.

Brute force and dictionary attacks.

I’ve written loads and loads on this earlier so I won’t linger on it. A brute force or dictionary attack is basically someone trying to get access to your server by guessing the username and correct password using a large list of common passwords or a dictionary and simply trying them one by one (well, thousands at a time really since its’s automated).

To protect your servers and user you need to have a intrusion prevention system in place. For Windows Servers I recommend using Syspeace (and you can also use Sysepace for protecting web applications you’ve protected through the Syspeace API) and on Linux servers I’d have a look at fail2ban. You should also use and enforce complex passwords.

Anything that comes with a default password for logins (routers, switches, printers and so on) should have the password changed from default!
These are always sensitive to brute force attacks and there are sites on web listing thousandfs of default passwords out there

You should also have a very strict policy to immediately block an employees account as soon as they’re no longer with the company and you should be very careful with what user rights you grant your users since they can easily be misused.
You should also have software in place for managing mobile phones and other devices that your employees have and the ability to wipe them clean if they get stolen or if you suspect internal mischief from an employee.

On site data theft and social engineering.

Well. In a sense , it’s not hacking but it’s more fooling people. Not the initial part anyway.
Basically someone turns up, claiming to be from the phone company, a cleaning company, your IT support company or anything that makes sense and they want access to the data center, server room to “fix” something. This is also referred to as social engineering. First the hacker finds out as much as possible about the company they’re attacking and then use that information to gain access to workstations or servers within the company,

Once they’ve actually gained access, they’ve got USB sticks to insert into workstations or servers , either loading a software into them such as trojans or keyloggers or just something that elevates rights or maybe they’re simply after just copying the data.
It all depends on how much time they have and if they’re alone. In some scenarios it might even just be a trick for them to gain access to backup tapes since all the companys data is on them .
They could also bribe janitors, cleaning staff and so on to steal backup tapes for them since they far too often will have access to the datcenters and they’re
not that highly paid.

There are a lot of tools that can simply put on a USB stick, boot up the server and you can reset administrator passwords, overwrite systemfiles (or plant a trojan or destroy them to render the server unbootable) , steal data and so on and a lot of them are surprisingly user friendly like for instance Hiren’s BootCD

A variation of this is of course people phoning someone up, claiming to be from the IT departement or Microsoft or somewhere, wanting to “help you” with a problem and asking for remote access to your computer. Once they gain access, they’ll do same things. Plant a trojan or a virus or a keylogger and the basically own the computer.

To protect your company data please always make sure you know who and why people are on site, never have anyone come near servers without supervision or the users workstations and if possible, disable any USB ports and always use password protected screen savers.

Every device on your network must also have a good antivirus running in case someone still manages to put an infected USB stick into the workstation.
Also make sure you talk the users about the hazards of giving anyone access to their computer.

If you suspect you’ve been hacked. What to do. Contingency planning

First of all, try to verify that you have been hacked and also try to find out when. In some cases you’ll have to revert to backups taken BEFORE you we’re hacked to be sure that you don’t restore a root kit or something.
This also means your backup plans and DRP plans need to take these scenarios into account so don’t be cheap with the number of generations you actually save.
You might need something from 6 months ago.

Try to find out what happened, when it happened, how it happened and have it fixed before you allow access to the server again. There’s no sense in setting the same flawed server up again. It will only be hacked again,

Don’t be afraid to make it a matter for the police. They need to know about it and they want log files and any documentation you may have.

When you get the server up and running again (or preferably before you’ve been hacked) make sure to have monitoring set up for the server. If it’s a website for instance, you want to be alerted if anything changes on in the html code for website for instance, or if the site is responding slowly (this doesn’t have to mean you’ve been attacked but could point to other problems also such as disk problems, misconfigured server settings or ..well..anything really. In any case you want to look into it.)

So , these were only a few methods and there a loads and loads more of them .

I’ve written a few other blog articles on securing servers, data centers and on brute force prevention and here’s a few links to previous articles. Most of are copied from older blogs and I do admit I haven’t nor proofread them nor formatted them for this site yet. I will. Eventually.

Articles by Juha Jurvanen on securing your server environments

Securing server environments – Part I – Physical aspects

Securing server environments – part II – Networking

Securing your Windows servers and MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security | Syspeace – Brute force and dictionary attack prevention for Windows servers

Windows Server intrusion prevention for Cloud providers and hosting providers

Should you need consulting or ideas on these questions or on backup/restore or on building cloud services / migrating to cloud services ,
I’m reachable by clicking the link below.

Juha Jurvanen – Senior IT consultant at JufCorp”>By Juha Jurvanen – Senior IT consultant at JufCorp

End of life för Windows Server 2003 – Dags att migrera till nytt OS eller flytta till Molnet ?

End of life för Windows Server 2003 imorgon

konsult inom backup It säkerhet molntjänster återsartsplaner för IT

Imorgon är det sk Patch Tuesday dvs den dagen varje månad då Microsoft släpper olika uppdateringar för sina operativsystem.

Morgondagen är dock lite speciell då det är sista gången Microsoft släpper uppdateringar för just Windows Server 2003 familjen. Efter det kommer alltså inga nya säkerhetsuppdateringar att släppas och det är väldigt viktigt att vara medveten om.

För företag och föreningar som fortfarande använder någon variant av Windows Server 2003 familjen finns alltså en del saker att tänka på efter det.

Valen man står inför är att migrera till ett nyare operativsystem med allt vad det kan innebära som t.ex. inkompabiliktet med programvaror man kör. Oftast går det att lösa men kräver en del testande och tid att lägga ner på projektet för att vara säker på att verksamheten kan fortsätta utan överraskningar. Saker som länkar hos användare och olika pekar i filsystemen kan också ställa till en del trassel om man bara installerar upp en ny server i miljön.

Flytta till en plattformsoberoende molntjänst som Red Cloud ITs rCloud Office?

Ett annat alternativ är att t.ex. börja undersöka molntjänster dit man kan flytta sina applikationer som t.ex. Red Cloud ITs rCloud Office. Fördelar här är t.ex. att flytta sin Visma eller Pyramid och i ett slag göra den även åtkomlig från iPad, Android o.s.v men ändå ha säkerheten, backuper och generationshanteringar inbyggd till en fast kostnad per användare och månad.
Många CRM och affärssystem finns helt enkelt inte för MAC, Android , iPad osv men utvecklingen går alltmer åt BYOD dvs låt användarna själva bestämma vilket operativ eller plattform de vill använda. Då behövs lösningar som stöder att de kan komma åt affärssystemet o.s.v.

Oavsett bör man som företag se över sin IT miljö eftersom det helt enkelt över tid kommer bli alltmer osäkert att köra ett operativ som inte längre stöds. Hackers kommer att utnyttja vetskapen att ett tidigare oupptäckt säkerhetshål helt enkelt inte kommer att åtgärdas.

Det finns en del saker att göra under en övergångsperiod dock eftersom det ju kommer nya patchar imorgon.

Nedan är några punkter att tänka på

1. Se till at ha fungerande certifikat på all kommunkation till och från servern för att skydda er mot eventuell avlyssning och sk Man in the Middle attacker. Kom ihåg dock att bara installera ett SSL certifikat inte räcker, det behövs fler ingrepp i servern för att säkra upo den. Certifikatet i sig skyddar inte heller mot t.ex. skadlig kod eller intrångsförsök.

2. Se till att ha ett väl fungerande antivirus, t.ex. F Secures PSB lösning där man kan ta hjälp av tredje part att övervaka eventuella larm och använda dess Software Updater.

3. Ett automatiserat intrångsskydd för lösenorsdattacker med Syspeace. Det pågår väldigt mycket intrångsförsök i bakgruinden som man ofta är helt omedveten om.

4. Gå igenom vilka portar i brandväggar som är öppna och tänk igenom dem noggrannt. Vad behöver egentligen vara öppet ? Stän allt som inte uttryckligen måste vara öppet. Styr trafik korrekt.

5. En stark, tvingande lösenordspolicy för alla användare. MINST 8 tecken o.s.v.

6. Se till att alla program är uppdaterade, även Java och Flash o.s.v. om de körs på servern och den används som Terminal Server. Generellt sett så ska programvaror alltid vara uppdatrade till senaste versioner. Har ni en lite större miljö finns lösningar för att distribuera ut programvaror från centralt håll , även till era arbetsstationer, t.ex med PDQ Deploy eller via Group Policies.

7. Gå igenom alla fil och katalogrättigheter på servern och följ de rekommendationer som finns. Googla på uttryck som 2003 Server Hardening och läs igenom och testa att ni satt upp sakerna efter bästa rekommendationer.

8. Om ni kör t.ex. Windows Server 2003 SBS behövs en del eftertanke med hur er mail ska hanteras framöver. Det kan handla om stora mängder datat i en Exchange Server och kräva en del eftertanke med hur det ska migreras på bästa sett , antingen till en extern leverantör elelr till en ny mailserver,

9. Tänk igenom om servern behöver vara nåbar från Internet egentligen ? Finns det möjlighet att flytta Internet acessen till ett nyare operativ och låta åtkomst hanteras av den istället ? Är en VPN lösning smidigare eller finns det andra sätt att sköta extern åtkomst ? Det får ju inte vara för krångligt för användarna.

10. I sak har inte den här punkten med migrering av Windows Server 2003 att göra men kolla igenom backuperna kontinuerligt och tänk igenom hur ni kanske vill ha en arkivkopia av den gamla servern efter en migrering ? Hur ska den återläsas om det behövs ?

11. Fundera på vilken väg ni vill gå vad gäller er IT miljö. Till en extern molntjänst eller kanske dags bygga ett eget privat moln eller en hybrid ? Att flytta sina saker till en molntjänst kräver en del eftertanke och är kanske inte alls rätt väg för er.

Återanvända serverparken ?

Att uppgradera den befintliga serverparken kan vara den bästa lösningen för just er verksamhet. Troligen är det äldre servrar som körs om ni fortfarande använder Windows Server 2003 men de maskinerna kanske går att återanvända till andra saker (dvs först installera om / uppgradera dem till nyare operativ och sedan återanvända för t.ex. fillagring för arkivering , backup server, Terminal Server Access o.s.v.). I sammahanget ska naturligvis även virualisering av serverparken nämnas och även här finns flera vägar att gå t.ex. VMWare eller Hyper-V eller Xenserver.

Det finns inget självändamål i att kasta hårdvara bara för den är lite till åren och avskriven men ändå fungerar. Ofta kan den hårdvaran räcka till att byga en egen, intern molntjänst om man är orolig för att flytta sitt data till en molnleverantör.

Det finns många olika vägar att gå och det gäller tänka igenom att det blir rätt för just er verksamhet.

Oavsett väg ni väljer kan jag hjälpa er planera och implementera. För mer information, kontakta mig här