Linux server security (LSS) is a widely opted operating system for web-facing computers, which is running on 75% of servers today for added security - according to Netcraft data 2019. Its ubiquity of robust protocol in various devices like PCs, smartphones, and embedded systems has made LSS an ideal web security solution all over the digital world.
However, as the use of Linux systems grows, organizations need to take effective actions or practices to prevent unexpected threats. One deal breaker fundamental security mechanism that every organization is recommended to implement includes a strong password, sounds quite obvious but it is a basic and vital step to secure your Linux system.
Additionally, data encryption is another suggested practice as it offers an extra layer of security beyond the OS mechanism. Along with implementing the best security measures, regular security audits and staying current on patches are equally important to make sure the system’s vulnerability is fixed on time.
Do you want to learn more about the Linux server security practices to install for additional security of an organization's Linux system? In this blog, we will navigate you through the best practices, stay intact with us.
Best Practices of Linux Server Security
1. Employ a strong password with 2-factor authentication
Every cybersecurity expert suggests employing strong passwords for your system, as hackers can easily crack. Ensure that these passwords contain minimum length requirements, and blend numbers and symbols to keep them unique. Utilizing separate passwords for different user types with any given software type and changing passwords regularly is equally important.
Failing to follow these measures can put your Linux system into the hacker's next target.
For extra layers of security, organizations must focus on implementing 2-factor authentication to save from unexpected password compromises, especially Secure Shell (SSH) access.
2. Install SSL Certificate for Data Encryption
Data should be encrypted when it is in transit by utilizing data protection methods, for instance, Secure Socket Layers (SSL). Linux servers exchange their data by using SSL certificates which serve as a source to secure data. Furthermore, SSL will ensure that the server is protected from any interception by prying eyes in search of intercept and decode communication between two computers.
In addition, securing Linux servers with cryptographic safeguards is essential when you buy SSL certificates from reputed CAs like:
- Rapid SSL Certificate
- Thawte SSL Certificate
- Sectigo SSL Certificate, and more
Without SSL certificates, it is difficult to protect data like sensitive transactions, customer or client data, and even credentials. So, for organizations and your website visitors encrypting data is a must.
3. Utilize Firewalls
If you are looking to improve your Linux server’s security, consider security firewalls. It acts as the first wall of security to your server, in case a hacker tries to knock on your door. Firewalls are responsible for protecting, blocking, and regulating networks that pass through your Linux-based servers.
There are mainly two types of firewalls effective in safeguarding Linux systems. A command line or GUI utility firewall stays on the top of premade firewall services provided. You can install this firewall type manually or opt for utilities that facilitate setups based on point-on-click. The other type includes Standalone Linux firewall solutions.
If you are unsure of ideal Firewall solutions, then you consider these options to safeguard your Linux server.
- GUFW Firewall
- Endian Firewall Community (EFW), and more
4. Keep your System Updated
To maintain consistent security for your Linux-based server, regular patching and updating remain essential actions to practice for every organization. This step will help you deal with new security loopholes that can invite any misleading action or threats to your system.
If updating the system manually feels like quite a task regularly, then you can choose to automate the entire procedure to simplify your job and meanwhile maintain practicing consistent vital security measures. We know what you are wondering - How? Through the auto-update feature, you need to take careful actions as you need to avoid installing not-so-important files that can interrupt the functioning of the server.
5. Implement Secure Shell Protocol
The Secure Shell Protocol (SSH) aids in creating a secure connection with the network service over an unsecured connection. And don't worry, SSH is quite difficult to hack via brute force attacks. Though SSH key pairs are not as user-friendly as passwords, they include more secure passwords which might be difficult to operate for a few individuals.
However, SSH security can be allocated to encryption features when servers are logged in. SSL key pair represents a 12-character password on a lower level. Whereas SSH protocols provide stronger security methods to safeguard your Linux server.
6. Deactivate Unimportant Software
While it may feel appealing to add software for easy work, all packages and software are not always necessary. If you install multiple software, it becomes easy for hackers to access the server and suspect the daily business activities.
To avoid such circumstances, you must consider deactivating packages and servers that are not important to your server’s main function. To simplify this process, we suggest practicing annual system software or cybersecurity audits that can secure your server and faster optimization for improved performance.
One of the easy techniques to keep an eye on recent installations includes utilizing tools like RPM Package Manager to analyze that the server remains secured with essential software.
7. Maintain Data Backups
Even if you practice all the best security measures, maintaining a data backup is essential. It can serve as a lifeline in times of data loss, as organizations can easily restore important data quickly. Rsync is a popular tool, often used for data backup in Linux-based environments by organizations globally.
This software offers flexibility to organizations as you can keep daily backups and delete unwanted files from your backup process to save time. However, don't forget to test your backups occasionally to make sure the stored data is relevant to the current details of the organization, as this step helps speed up the data backup process if it is lost suddenly.
Linux server security is an essential practice in this growing digital world as data protection and security have become prime needs for organizations. While Linux systems are extremely popular and known for their efficiency and impressive functionality, it isn't 100% secure. This is the reason why organizations, irrespective of their business size, must bring their attention to safeguarding Linux servers from vulnerabilities. Implement the Linux security practices discussed in the blog to enhance the security of your server.