How to Protect Your Web Server from Attacks

October 11, 2007

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a new publication that provides detailed tips on how to make web servers more resistant to potential attacks. Called “Guidelines on Securing Public Web Servers,” the publication covers some of the latest threats to web security, while reflecting general changes in web technology that have taken place since the first version of the guide was published 5 years ago.

Web servers are the software programs that make information available over the Internet. They are often the most frequently targeted hosts on a computer network.

Attackers gaining unauthorized access to the server may be able to change information on the site (e.g., defacing a web page), access sensitive personal information, or install malicious software to launch further attacks. Recently emerging threats include “pharming,” in which people attempting to visit a web site are redirected surreptitiously to a malicious site.

How does one thwart these attacks? The guide advocates taking basic steps such as keeping up-to-date on patches (fixes and updates) for web server software and the underlying operating system. Also, the guide recommends configuring the software in as secure a fashion as possible, for example by disabling unnecessary software services and applications, which may themselves have security holes that can provide openings for attacks.

Another key recommendation, especially for large-scale operations, is to consider the proper human-resource requirements for deploying and operating a secure web server, by staffing the appropriate complement of IT experts (such as system and network administrators) all doing their jobs to establish and promote security.

The guide advocates “defense in depth”—installing safeguards at various points of entry into the server, from the router that handles all incoming data traffic to the specific machines that house the server software. In addition, the guide recommends, organizations should monitor log files, create procedures for recovering from attacks, and regularly test the security of their systems.

The guide is designed for federal departments and agencies, but may be applicable to any web server to which the outside world has access. The guide is available free of charge at csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-44-ver2/SP800-44v2.pdf .

Source: NIST

Explore further: 'Chariot' on course to deliver healthier homes and lower energy bills

Related Stories

Math student detects OAuth, OpenID security vulnerability

May 3, 2014

(Phys.org) —To get right to the point, a doctoral candidate in math has discovered two holes in OAuth and OpenID that could leak data and redirect victims to unsafe sites. Friday's tech sites accordingly were buzzing with ...

Sun Introduces New Metric for Server Efficiency

December 7, 2005

Evaluating a new server for your data center is no longer simply a matter of measuring raw performance. With today's increasing demands, you also need to consider how much power, air conditioning and space a server consumes. ...

Optimization server reaches two million milestone

February 17, 2010

NEOS, the Network-Enabled Optimization System developed by researchers at the U.S. DOE's Argonne National Laboratory in conjunction with Northwestern University, has reached a new milestone: two million submissions to its ...

World Wide Web turns 25 years old

March 9, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, the World Wide Web was just an idea in a technical paper from an obscure, young computer scientist at a European physics lab.

Recommended for you

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

Wall-jumping robot is most vertically agile ever built

December 6, 2016

Roboticists at UC Berkeley have designed a small robot that can leap into the air and then spring off a wall, or perform multiple vertical jumps in a row, resulting in the highest robotic vertical jumping agility ever recorded. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.