#infosec How to block an ongoing dictionary attack / brute force attack against Windows Servers, #MSexchange and more

Syspeace - intrusion prevention for Windows servers

Syspeace website

How to block an intrusion attack against Windows Servers for free

If your server or datacenter is targeted by a brute force attack a.k.a dicttionary 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 3.6 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 simmply 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 Serevr including the webmail (OWA) , 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, http://syspeace.wordpress.com ,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.

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Svenska Red Cloud IT  levererar sedan 2010 #molntjänsten #rCloudOffice för företag och organisationer med ambitionen att hjälpa sina kunder få sina program och data tillgängliga och plattformsoberoende på ett enkelt och säkert sätt.
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Sedan flera år har Red Cloud valt att använda #Facebook för att meddela kunder  om nyheter och driftsstatus för #molnet.

#infosec Securing your #WinServ and #MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security

Securing your 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.

Syspeace logo
Syspeace logo

Securing Windows Serves 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.

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 at http://www.spiceworks.com

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.

9. User 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 valifd 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.

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 thme read this
http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/remembering-complex-online-passwords/ and on the topic of online passwords and identities also, http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/reflections-on-theft-and-protection-of-online-identity-on-the-internet-who-are-you/

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 on why http://syspeace.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/securing-your-webmailowa-on-microsoft-exchange-and-a-few-other-tips/

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 http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/using-windows-server-backup-20082008-r2-for-a-disaster-recovery-from-a-network-share/

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 http://syspeace.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/using-various-brute-force-and-dictionary-attack-prevention-methods-to-prevent-hackers-and-why-they-dont-work-repost/ . I you don’t have the time to read the article then simply download the free Syspeace trial, install it and you’ve set up a pwerful and easy to use bruteforce prtection for your server in minutes.

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

http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/securing-your-server-environment-part-1-physical-environment/
and
http://jufflan.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/securing-server-environments-part-ii-networking/

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

Syspeace for internal brute force protection on Windows Servers

After installing Syspeace , the tech guys started getting notifications that their Exchange Server was trying to login to another server and it was rejected. There was no reason for this server to do so whatsoever and it had not been noticed earlier so it’s hard to say when it actually started.

After disabling the whitelist for the LAN at the customer site they started getting mail notifications that every workstation on their LAN was actually trying to login to various servers using various usernames and password, hence a brute force attack/dictionary attack from the inside.

Most likely a trojan has been planted somewhere and it has infected the rest.

This is a fairly simple example of how Syspeace can actually reveal a security breach a customer wasn’t even aware of had occured.

It is totally up to any customer to use whitelists for the LAN but as a precaution, I personnally wouldn’t recommend it since it acutally gives you a great heads up that something has happened if a computer or multiple computers suddenly starts to try and login to servers they’re not supposed to.

As a system administrator, you get the chance to get attack automatically blocked, logged, traced and reported and you can have a closer at the computer responsible for the attack or have a word the user to see what’s going on.

You can even create extensive reports on all activity originating from that user or computer using the Access Reports section in Syspeace to get a more clear view on how long it’s been trying and so on.

Since Syspeace automatically protects failed logins using Winlogon authentication, your Windows servers are also protected from computers/users trying to use the ”net use” or ”map network drive” with invalid logon credentials trying to acces shares they’re not supposed to.

If you don’t have processes in place for scanning logs, saving them and monitoring every login activity, it will become grusome task to even know if there’s something going on at all. You simply won’t have the tools to do so.

Have your own servers run the fully functional Syspeace free trial and see if you get any unexpected login failures from the internal network and from Internet.
You might be surprised.

By Juha Jurvanen

Syspeace

Syspeace 2.3.0 released today – improved support for SQL Server on Windows Server 2003

We’re proud to annonuce the next release of Syspeace today!

For more details, please refer to http://www.syspeace.com/free-download/version-info/syspeace-230/

Provides Windows Server 2003 support for SQL Server-based blocking, a better interface for viewing current and possible blocks and improves behavior when Syspeace servers are unreachable. For more information about all improvements, see the full release notes.

New features
Syspeace now supports SQL Server-based blocking on Windows Server 2003.
The list in the status window has been replaced with a new list, containing a summary of current blocks and suspected upcoming blocks.
Suspected upcoming blocks refers to observed failed logins that have yet to trigger a rule.
For current blocks, the observed failed logins that triggered a rule are shown.
Single IP address entries show the geographical location if available.
The list can be filtered in the bottom left of the window. Current blocks based on observations are always shown. Blacklisted IP addresses can be shown or hidden.
IP addresses can directly be added to the local blacklist, removed from the local blacklist and added to the whitelist from the info pane directly. Current blocks can also be forgiven (the block is removed and the IP address’ failed login record starts over).

Other improvements
When the Syspeace client is started and there are Windows login rules enabled, Syspeace will check to make sure that the current security policy will allow logon failure audit events to be produced and warn if this is not the case. Without this properly set, Syspeace will not be able to detect Windows login failures.
The description for each entry in the local blacklist and whitelist can now be changed without having to recreate the entry.
Duplicate entries for IP addresses can no longer be added in the local blacklist and whitelist.
Syspeace’s behavior and stability when the Syspeace backend and license server is unreachable is improved.
Changes to bring the size of the local database down.
Fixed a bug preventing the removal of the ban corresponding to the last blacklist entry.
Improved migration from Syspeace 1.1.*.