Remote Desktop Protocol: Basic Security Tips for Remote Desktop

Though remote desktop sessions are protected with encryption, earlier versions of RDP are still vulnerable to unauthorized access because of the method utilised in encrypting sessions. Thus, you need to apply extra steps for enhanced security. Here are some tips to apply to improve security of your remote desktop.

Use strong and difficult-to-guess passwords

Before enabling any remote desktop, it is advisable that you create a password for your account. Many people make the mistakes of using names and dates of important events in their lives. These names and dates are very easy to guess. When somebody wants to get an unauthorized access to your account, normally, they will start guessing your password with names of your significant orders or people you love and their birthdays. If you are in the habit of using such numbers, you should stop it. Though, it may be easy for you to remember, they are easy to be guessed. It is advisable that you use words and numbers that have no relation to any of your loved ones and important dates in your life such as birthday, wedding date, graduation date and others. Normally, the system will show strong and weak passwords. As a rule of the thumb, you should use passwords that are strong. Use combination of alphabets and numbers.

Keep your software updated

Remote desktop updates its components automatically so that it will be up to date with the latest security features in the standard Microsoft patch cycle. This automatic update feature gives it an edge over 3rd party remote admin tools. It is important that you enable this feature as this will ensure that you are operating on the latest versions of both server and client software. Also ensure that any other platform connected to your Remote Desktop clients is up to date and still supported. This is because older versions may have some security challenges as they may not support high encryption.

Use Firewalls to restrict access

You should also restrict access to your remote desktop listening ports using both software and hardware firewalls. A typical example of such firewall is RDP Gateway which can limit access to servers and desktops. You should also make use of VPN software as an alternative to support off-campus connectivity to get a campus IP address. You should also ensure that RDP firewall exception rule includes your campus VPN network address pool.

Enable network level authentication

Network Level Authentication (NLA) is available by default in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7. It is also advisable that you leave this default feature because it offers added level of authentication prior to the establishment of a connection. You can only allow connection to RDP without NLA if other platforms that use Remote Desktop do not support it.

Limit Users that Can Log in Using Remote Desktop

All administrators are able to log in to RDP by default. In case you have more than one account for administrator on your computer, it is advisable that you allow remote access only to accounts that require it. Remove administrative access via RDP from Remote Desktop if it will not be utilised for system administration. Give access to only user accounts that require RDP service.