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RDP Security: What is RDP and how do we secure it?

While RDP is simple and easy, it can pose a security risk without proper support and configuration. Read on to learn more about RDP security and some tips for providing remote access.

What is RDP Security?

Remote Desktop Protocol is a proprietary communication protocol developed by Microsoft that provides remote access and management of virtual and remote desktops. It is one of the most popular remote controls on the market today that provides a graphical user interface.
Remote Desktop Protocol creates a private network channel that allows computers to communicate with each other. This includes desktop display, keystrokes and mouse movements, etc. are included. With RDP, users can access company servers, access desktops, and collaborate with employees from anywhere.

SSH vs. RDP: What’s the difference?

There are many rules for connecting remotes and servers. However, most network administrators use Remote Access or Secure Shell (SSH).

List of Common Network Protocols

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – Port 21 – Used to transfer files
  • SSH (Secure Shell) – Port 22 – Encrypted Network Protocol
  • Telnet – Port 23 – Application Protocol 44 RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) ) – Port 3389 – Graphical Remote Desktop Interface
  • VNC (Virtual Network Computing) – Port 5900 – Graphical Desktop Sharing
  • RDP is the most popular choice for connections to Windows systems, while SSH works mostly with Unix and Linux environments. similar. However, SSH can be integrated with almost any operating system.

The main difference between RDP and SSH is that SSH usually uses public and private key pairs for authentication instead of standard certificates. Unlike RDP, SSH has no graphical user interface (GUI) and instead uses a text-based connection. Therefore, using RDP is easier because you don’t need deep knowledge to use it.

Is RDP secure?

Remote Desktop Protocol is designed to allow authorized users to access files and remote sites. However, RDP security is not foolproof. There are some flaws in the use of RDP that threat actors can exploit to gain unauthorized access. What are the disadvantages of RDP?

Let’s look at a few examples of RDP attack vectors:

Unlimited port access: Most RDP connections use port 3389 by default. Cybercriminals often use open ports to launch attacks and violate security policies.

Brute-Force Credential Attacks: Similarly, malicious actors look for weak or unauthorized users that they can use to break into systems, extract sensitive information, or distribute malware or ransomware. Usually, they use brute force attacks to obtain credentials in RDP targeting attacks.

RDP Brute Force Attack

RDP Brute Force Attack Examples

Remote Code Execution Vulnerability: RDP vulnerabilities can also be exploited by attackers. And RDP has several. Recently, in 2019, it became possible for attackers to exploit a vulnerability like BlueKeep (also known as CVE-2019-0708) to remove code.

As a result, RDP is not secure enough as a standalone technology. For better protection, you should supplement RDP with additional security measures.

How-To Secure RDP

In general, RDP security is very flexible. There are several best practices you can use to improve RDP security and protect your remote environment. With that in mind, let’s review some of the most important RDP security best practices.

Secure RDP Certificate IconSecure RDP

with self-signed certificate The self-signed certificate is a key certificate that does not have the signature of the state certificate law. You can use self-signed certificates to set access control rules and determine who can access the system via RDP and from where.

Jump Host Icon Settings Jump Host

Jump Host is a hardened middle server located between your machine and the server it is trying to connect to. A hacker essentially acts as a deterrent by restricting access to the target server. Companies often use hop servers to authenticate users before allowing access to private machines.

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Require VPN IconRequire a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) creates a private space between an employee’s machine and the organization’s network. A VPN extends a private network, allowing users to send and receive data from anywhere as if they were there. This minimizes the need to make RDP publicly available on the public internet and make it searchable via internet search engines like Shodan.

Restrict users Who can use IconRestrict RDP Use PAM solutions

Another way to secure RDP is to set up effective access management (PAM). The solution allows you to store credentials in an encrypted, central vault and manage them with Group Policy. You can set RDP PAM rules and password rules to restrict access instead of allowing general users. This way, if someone enters your system through an open port, their ability to access other systems, modify or delete data is limited.

These are the foundations of Secure Desktop Protocol (RDP) security.

Can I simultaneously manage and interact with multiple remote sites via RDP and SSH in a shared environment?
yes! You can monitor, record and manage multiple remote sites via RDP and SHH in any security application. To learn more, visit Delinea’s connection manager or try it for free here.

Below: Screenshot – Connection Manager Interface Connection Manager Interface in Use

Delinea Private Server Remote Access Service

Modern Privileged Access Management provides secure and seamless access to remote management from RDP or if SSH is available. As companies grow in PAM development, they can leverage these new remote access resources to eliminate conflicts between remote workers and third parties.

Remote Access Service (RAS) extends the capabilities of Delinea’s Private Server, the industry-leading PAM solution, to provide secure remote access from the comfort of a web browser. For example, RAS is a powerful remote control interface for RDP for secure remote access. This is particularly useful for third-party contractors and partners who are not part of your Work List and do not have company-issued laptops and VPNs.

So how does RAS work?

With RAS, remote access to the log is dependent on the security of the network rather than the server. Users only need to access RAS via a web browser without the hassle of using a VPN. All traffic is connected to the RAS engine over HTTPS. The reverse name opens a port on your network for outbound traffic only, rather than inbound traffic. The first network is then connected to the target machine.

Secret Server negotiates permissions and opens hidden files to further increase security. Access managed by Secret Server is limited by time and content in line with Zero Trust minimum required best practices. For added security, you can integrate authentication services such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) to authenticate a user before allowing access.

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