Software Tools to Prevent Attacks on Servers and Sites

Software tools to prevent attacks on servers and sites - Plesk

As hackers find more sophisticated ways of accessing your data, security is becoming a day-to-day struggle for businesses. Since 2018, security breaches have increased by 11%. And in the first half of 2019 alone, 4.1 billion personal records were exposed. And losses due to data exfiltration, stolen IP, and ransomware are also accelerating at a fast pace. Although nearly two-thirds of business leaders recognize the increasing security risks, only a small percentage have enough server security and website security.

Being fully protected means having multiple layers of security in place. With each layer addressing a different type of threat – and combining to form an impenetrable barrier. This becomes a difficult task for sysadmins, because just uncovering and blocking individual threats isn’t enough. It’s also important to defend against complex threats and take preventative action all the time.

To effectively manage cybersecurity, businesses outsource and use free and premium security tools. Here we’re going to look at some of the field’s top tools. And explain how they can help you enforce the seven key security layers every business needs to stay secure.

Network Firewalls

Firewall helps Linux server security - Plesk

A firewall is a system that prevents unauthorized access to or from a private network. It’s basically like the door to a house: an outer layer of security that determines what can and cannot enter. Of course, you also need the door to be closed, sturdy, and under your control in order to protect you. Most computers come with inbuilt firewall software, typically enough to shield against viruses, malware, and other unwanted content.

However, default firewalls are generic and limited, and so enterprises regularly use hardware firewalls as well. While the default Plesk firewall provides basic server protection, extensions like Juggernaut further secure your server against today’s threats. Juggernaut features include an SPI firewall, brute-force protection, real-time connection tracking, intrusion detection, and dynamic blocklists. Such features give you extra control and allow you to prevent inappropriate communications. Also, take a holistic view of your network, and even scan encrypted data for threats.

A firewall is considered the first line of defense in preventing attacks on servers. However, it’s not the only measure you should take.

Antivirus Software

Install antimalware/antivirus software

If a firewall is the door to your house, your antivirus software is the door to your bedroom. Whereas a firewall protects unwanted content and threats from getting in, antivirus software protects against threats already in your system. It does this by constantly monitoring files, looking for certain signatures to identify malware, and removing viruses and potential threats.

There’s no such thing as too much protection when it comes to antivirus software. The key is finding a tool that suits your needs while being easy to use, lightweight, and regularly updated. Premium antivirus by Dr. Web is an award-winning virus scanning and filtering software that protects mailboxes from many types of malware. Including viruses, worms, and trojans.

More great options are the Plesk Premium Antivirus or Kaspersky Antivirus extensions. Both extensions scan server mail traffic in real-time. But only Kaspersky allows fine-tuning and filtering of specific file types from attachments. Then there’s ImunifyAV – the leading malware-scanning tool. It ensures you keep malicious code away through antivirus, security and domain monitoring, blacklist status check, and one-click malware removal.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Software

EDR software - end point detection software - Plesk

EDR is a technology that addresses the need for continuous checking of file signatures. Checking for signs of malignancy and rapid responsiveness to advanced threats.

Whether it’s a Mac, PC, or a server, a good EDR system can detect suspicious activity running on any endpoint. This is especially important as even if a hacker has entered your system, for the hack to have a serious impact they must be able to siphon information out of your network. EDR software prevents this from happening by essentially placing compromised devices in quarantine, so no intel can be sent/received.

EDR is an advanced step in server security and so it typically comes at a cost. Kaspersky EDR provides full endpoint protection, from automatic threat blocking to complex incident response. It’s particularly popular for its comprehensive visibility across corporate networks and capacity to discover, prioritize, investigate, and neutralize advanced threats.

Anti-Phishing Tools

phishing - anti-phishing tools - Plesk

Phishing is a way of finding and gathering personal information using deceptive emails and websites. Techniques typically involve persuading people to click on malicious links by suggesting they are important and/or safe. It happens mostly through messaging platforms like email and chat apps. Built-in spam filters block most generic phishing attempts sent out to thousands of people. However, targeted phishing attempts, which may target specific individuals or organizations, can be harder to block.

Phishing is a particularly tricky form of cyberattack to protect against and it can appear so real. Neutralizing such scams, which have tricked even the savviest of CEOs, requires special anti-phishing tools. Warden Anti-spam and Virus Protection is a paid extension designed for power users and service providers. Besides providing high-performance and simple antivirus tests, it also offers support for nearly 30 SpamAssassin plugins. And is therefore one of the most robust anti-virus and anti-spam tools around.

Encryption Tools

encryption tools - Plesk

Encryption tools are software that use cryptography to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. It works by encoding data from “plaintext” into “ciphertext”. This process turns unencrypted information into an encrypted form for which you need a key to decode. Typically a password, making it harder for outsiders to access.

There are two main types of encryption: software and hardware encryption. Software encryption is more selective and focuses on encrypting individual files and folders. Hardware encryption involves encrypting entire devices.

Linux users will be used to connecting to servers using SSH keys. SSH (Secure Shell) keys are access credentials used in the SSH protocol. A secure and widely used standard for strong authentication, secure connection, and encrypted file transfers. Using SSH keys is more convenient and secure than traditional passwords.

From Plesk 12.0 onwards, you can use SSH Keys Manager to effectively manage SSH keys from the Plesk UI.

Specific Server Security Tools

specific server security tools - server security software - plesk

Some of the most popular Plesk extensions are those which improve your server’s security. Here are some of the most powerful ones which help combat server threats.

Sentinel Anti-malware

Sentinel Anti-malware is a scanner that combines the open-source principles from Linux Malware Detect and ClamAV. This extension especially serves power users and service providers who want to ensure they have protection from a variety of malware.

Kernelcare

This premium extension (free trial for 30 days) protects Linux servers against critical vulnerabilities. Mainly by automatically installing security updates to running kernels. This avoids rebooting servers and planning scheduled downtime for your customers. And it also ensures kernels are updated within hours of patch releases for uninterrupted security.

BitNinja

The BitNinja extension prevents 99% of malicious attacks. This can consequently reduce your server alerts and customer complaints by just as much. It actually provides protection against nine different aspects of attacks – including malicious port scans and infections. You can even set it up and start automatically protecting your server in as quick as five minutes.

Cloudbric

Cloudbric provides award-winning enterprise WAF and DDoS protection. Firstly, it has a threat detection system for real-time security against hacking attempts, website defacement, DDoS attacks, and spambots. Secondly, you can activate it with one click and try it for two weeks for free. While also benefiting from Cloudbric’s free and expert technical/security support.

DDoS Protection by Variti

DDoS Protection by Variti protects sites from DDoS – one of the most popular online attacks. As well as other types of sophisticated bot attacks. It does this by analyzing real-time traffic and passing it through a distributed network of VARITI filtering nodes. This extension is ideal for companies that depend on online traffic protection for their business.

Atomic Secured Linux

The Atomic Secured Linux extension provides the same level of protection that typically comes with an expert security team. It can prevent, detect, and respond to today’s greatest cybersecurity challenges. In particular, it features host and kernel intrusion prevention systems, brute force protection, and automated malware removal.

(D)DoS Deflate Interface

(D)DoS Deflate Interface is a lightweight shell script that helps deflect DDoS attacks automatically. The script runs in the background, blocking incoming connections from multiple IPs from which connections exceed the configured threshold. And above that – It’s simple to install and operate.

Penetration Testing Software

Password policy vs Hacking Techniques

Penetration testing software is the final line of defense in your security arsenal. Professional ethical hackers simulate a cyberattack (penetration testing), allowing enterprises to find weaknesses in corporate networks long before attackers do.

Rather than just software, penetration testing is often handled by human experts. Once your systems are in place, this added level of security helps you answer two questions in particular. First – does your security system have enough layers? And second – do those layers actually work?

In penetration testing, certain tests can, however, run autonomously. For example, Burp Suite’s vulnerability scanner autonomously crawls an enterprise’s web presence in search of common security holes. Including cross-site scripting, SQL injections, and volatile content. Admins can schedule Burp scans and see the resulting analysis in the form of detailed visual maps. Allowing for the ultimate control and protection of your business’s data.

How tight is your server security against attack? Do you use these tools or different ones? Let us know in the comments below!

Plesk Onyx – Designed for Vultr.com

Vultr Plesk - Deploy Plesk Onyx on Vultr

Innovative cloud companies like Vultr are revolutionizing how businesses reach their customers today, digitizing painful old processes to allow more time to focus on things that actually matter. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, when the global public cloud market is expected to top $146 billion in 2017, up from $87 billion in 2015, and is growing at a 22% compound annual growth rate, as noted by Clint Boulton (Senior Writer at CIO) in his article 6 trends that will shape cloud computing in 2017.

Clint observes that while the lion’s share of this growth will come from the “mega-cloud providers” Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google and IBM, these big players won’t be able to service every unique request, leaving the door open to companies like Vultr to capture their own unique slice of the pie.

Vultr was formed in 2014 and it is a child firm of Choopa, LLC. Like DigitalOcean, it uses KVM. It is relatively new to the VPS sector but its benchmarks are quite impressive and it offers certain functionalities that will prove handy to some users.

So, if you’re you looking for a global cloud hosting solution with warp-10 fast SSD VPS cloud servers with 100% KVM Virtualization?

Then check out Vultr.com.

Vultr hostingImage: Vultr

What is Vultr?

Vultr is a VPS provider built on high-performance SSD cloud servers with 14 optimized locations worldwide. It aims to create the most reliable and efficient service for developers around the globe. They achieve this by offering a standardized platform for all customers. You get 100% SSD Storage, Ultra-fast Intel CPUs and 14 low latency locations.

 

Locations

North America: Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami

Europe: London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris

APAC: Tokyo, Sydney

Vultr Geo LocationsImage: Vultr

User Plans

Vultr’s pricing plans are conducted on an hourly basis, meaning you’ll only pay for what you use. With a varied selection of eight plans available, the platform is ready to cater to all needs. The most popular plan offers 1 CPU, but users can have up to 24 CPUs.

Meanwhile, the 2000 GB bandwidth and 1024 MB memory is more than enough for most. However, the largest packages sees those rates raised to 15000 GB and 65536 MB respectively.

Vultr also offers storage (VLS) and dedicated cloud (VDS) services. Again, there is a high degree of flexibility making it possible to tailor a package to suit individual needs.

 

Try Vultr, and they’ll match up to $100!

Vultr offers extremely simple and transparent pricing. Plans start at $5/month and scale up from there depending on how much storage, memory and bandwidth you need. Simply create an account at Vultr. When you fund your account Vultr will match dollar for dollar up to $100 of your Initial Funding.

This is a limited time promotion, so get off your perch and act now!

 

Benefits/Features

  • Easy to Use

    Vultr called they are cloud Hosting on the Largest Worldwide Network. You can easy to deploy your VPS on 4 Continents in 60 seconds!

  • Hourly Billing

    Pay as you go with our flexible hourly billing policy. Vultr doesn’t lock you in to a long term contact – add, remove or upgrade instances as you need them!

  • High-Speed Performance

    Vultr will create the fastest and most convenient cloud technology to help you easily and more efficiently manage your infrastructure so you can get back to coding.

And, Vultr provide all of our users with high-performance SSD Hard Drives, flexible API, and the ability to select to nearest data center location.

 

What is Plesk Onyx?

Plesk Onyx is the new benchmark in web-server management tools, used to simplify website management, application hosting, server management and much more. It includes intuitive web based interfaces for managing domain names, web apps, file management, email accounts, databases and infrastructure, to name a few, to build, secure and run websites and applications in the Cloud!

Plesk Onyx supports multiple Windows and Linux distributions, for example Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and many more – meaning you have even less to worry about if you have a customized network setup or if you are unsure about compatibility, and achieve continuous delivery and superior version control by deploying with Git.

 

Why choose Plesk Onyx?

Invest in apps, not ops. Plesk Onyx manage your infrastructure and security – patching and upgrading, 24/7 ops and security, failovers and more – so you stay focussed on bulding great apps!

  • Ready to Code

    Plesk helps in building web apps with its ready to use code environment. It supports a multitude of servers and accounts. Thus, helping resellers to easily distribute bandwidth, space, and file permissions using same login panel they use to manage their own website’s files and databases.

  • 24/7 Security

    Plesk provides complete security to your OS, network, website and applications, something that is always amiss. Plesk will handle all security protocols and take necessary measures for you, automatically.

  • Run -Focus on your business

    Focus on your business, not on infrastructure management. Save tremendous time by automating all server related tasks and components to run and scale your web applications and websites.

 

Mass Management

The new Plesk Onyx also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx - Featured ApplicationsImage: Plesk Onyx

 

Now that you’re familiar with Vultr and Plesk you’re ready to take the next steps. There’s no better way of finding out about the powerful capabilities of Vultr than by trying out the platform.

 

Getting started with Plesk and Vultr

Note: Review the Software Requirements for Plesk to find what Linux or Windows distributions are supported by Plesk Onyx.

 

Quick Start Guide: Create a new instance

After creating an account and navigating to Servers, click on Deploy new instance.

1. Leave the server type on Vultr Cloud Compute (VC2) and choose a location:

Vultr VPS - New Instance DeploymentImage: Vultr

2. Next select the Server Type (operating system) from the list available. I have selected Ubuntu 16.04 x64, because it’s a very popular, reliable, and well supported distribution.

Vultr hosting - server typeImage: Vultr
3.For the Server Size you can pick a size that is appropriate for you but Plesk Onyx will run great on any of them. In this tutorial, we’ll use the 1 CPU, 1GB memory option, 2000GB Bandwith, 20GB SSD that is currently priced at $10/month.

 

Select additional features

4. Each of the following features has to be turned on manually.

  • Enable IPv6: For no additional cost, Vultr will give your instance an IPv6 IP address. This means your instance can communicate via IPv6.
  • Enable Private Network: Add an internal IP to your VM
  • Enable Auto Backups: Vultr offers automatic backup as an option on compute instances. Backups are extremely important for mission critical systems and the Vultr backup system adds data-protection with one easy-to-manage feature.
  • Enable DDOS Protection: Add an additional layer of protection to keep your hosting infrastructure online and operating optimally even when they are the target of attacks. Currently available in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, NY/NJ, Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and London.

5. The Startup Scripts feature allows you to configure your newly deployed server by running customizeable scripts on the very first boot of your virtual private server (no login required!). Add software, install SSH keys, and more – the possibilities are endless!

Vultr cloud hosting - additional featuresImage: Vultr

SSH Keys

6. Now that you’ve set your features, it’s come time to set up SSH access. If you already have your SSH key setup, great. Otherwise, the information about creation of SSH keys can be found here.

7. The last step in getting your instance create is to give them a simple Server Label to identify the server. We’ll use plesk. Then click Deploy Now to create and install the server.

Your new instance will deploy in a couple of minutes. Once your VPS instance is deployed, it will be automatically started. To find out the Public IP address of the instance, Username, and Password, click on Manage.

Vultr server informationImage: Vultr
Now it’s time to install Plesk and build something with your new server!

Connecting the instance via SSH

1. Open up your favorite SSH client application and connect to the instance utilizing the public IP address assigned to the instance.

  • Username: The default admin user is root
  • Password: The initial root password to your server can be found in your Server Information page.

Vultr server - ssh access

2. Install Plesk using One-Click installer or run through Plesk Installation and Upgrade Wizard to deploy custom installation:

One-Click installer

Run the following command:

# sh ‹(curl https://autoinstall.plesk.com/one-click-installer || wget -O - https://autoinstall.plesk.com/one-click-installer)

Install Plesk Onyx on Vultr cloud server

3. Generate a one-time login for logging in to Plesk Onyx

Run the following command:

# sudo plesk login

Login into Plesk Onyx on Vultr server

4. Replace the hostname with your IP address to log in to Plesk.

Note: You cannot use the hostname based on the droplet name the first time you log in because Plesk has not passed the initial configuration and the full hostname has not been created yet.

Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk Onyx, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx - View Selector PageImage: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your primary domain (i.e. testdomain.com).
  • Default IP Address: Leave the IP as default.
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Setting up Plesk Onyx on Vultr hosting Image: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. After that comes the license key install page. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceed with installing the license key.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx on Vultr serverImage: Plesk Onyx

Vultr - Dave Aninowsky, CEO

Thank you to David Aninowsky, Founder and CEO of Vultr for co-authoring to this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights on vultr.com.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!