Microsoft Windows is one of the earliest platforms to allow its users to access computing devices from afar. Through Remote Desktop Connection, Windows users are now able to connect to their computers even from an off-site location. As this trend continues to grow, more and more hackers are starting to prey on Windows Remote Desktop as well. That’s why Windows users need to do whatever it takes to protect their systems from outside threats and attacks.
In this post, we’ll show you how to protect Windows Remote Desktop against modern hacking and online theft.
What is Windows Remote Desktop?
Windows Remote Desktop is one of the earliest tools that allow users to access their computing devices from a distant spot. With this, Windows users can access their remote computers even if they aren’t capable of connecting to them directly. Windows Remote Desktop was introduced right after the introduction of Windows XP. Since then, it has become one of the most go-to remote access solutions by many. However, Windows Remote Desktop, if not used in the right way, can be exploited by hackers and online perpetrators.
A report released by Threatpost revealed that three healthcare organizations had their databases compromised due to the poor implementation of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). As a result, approximately 655,000 patient records across the U.S., specifically in Georgia, Farmington, and Missouri, were stolen and sold on the dark web. These types of incidents have prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI to issue a warning about the dangers of using Windows Remote Desktop.
Tips on How to Protect Windows Remote Desktop
There are a couple of ways for you to protect Windows Remote Desktop from hackers and online perpetrators. Here are them:
Generate Strong Passwords
The first thing you can do to strengthen your protection when using Windows Remote Desktop is by generating strong passwords. This will serve as your first line of defense against unwanted attacks found outside of your network’s walls and premises. As much as possible, require all users to provide the necessary login credentials first before they can connect to your network remotely. Also, your password should at least contain one numeric character and a special character in it.
Update Your Software
Allow Windows Remote Desktop to update regularly. By doing so, you can have its latest security features that can add another layer of security to your system. You can achieve this by enabling Microsoft Updates. Since older versions of RDP are generally flawed and aren’t capable of encrypting remote sessions, you need to make sure that you are using the latest version of Windows Remote Desktop.
Limit User Access Using Firewalls
Another way of securing Windows Remote Desktop is by limiting user access using firewalls. By doing so, you can restrict any connection attempts that are beyond your network’s walls and protection. To achieve this, follow these steps below:
- Launch the Start panel.
- From there, type in Windows Firewall.
- Click on Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
- Select Inbound Rules.
- Find a rule labeled RDP.
- Double-click on the RDP rule.
- Select the Scope tab.
- Enter your up-to-date IP address in the list of allowed Remote IPs.
- Select the radio button for These IP Addresses.
- Select OK.
Limit Users Who Can Log In Using Remote Desktop
As much as possible, try to limit all users who can access your network using Windows Remote Desktop. The problem with this technology starts when a suspicious user gains access to a private system without the knowledge of the administrators. With that said, treat Windows Remote Desktop as a privilege rather than a basic tool that can be used outside of a local network. This means that those who don’t need to access your network remotely should have their login credentials disabled temporarily. This will lessen your chance of falling victim to outsider threats and malware.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
The last thing you can do to protect Windows Remote Desktop is through the use of two-factor authentication or TFA. With TFA, you can combine two login identifications to serve as your remote access password. With this, hackers and malicious users will have a hard time breaking into your system as they have to provide two login credentials at the same time.
Without a doubt, Windows Remote Desktop is a beneficial tool in today’s modern world. However, the sad reality is that with new functionalities come fresh, newfound threats. That’s why it’s important for Windows users to do whatever it takes to protect their systems against unwanted attacks and malware when using Windows Remote Desktop.