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What types of Web services can compromise Web server security?

Are there any services that pose risks to the Web server security?

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Absolutely. As a general principle, you should not run any service on your Web server that is not required for the Web service to function properly. This will vary depending upon the operating system and Web platform you're using, but you should always strive to have the minimal set of services running. The presence of extraneous services offers malicious individuals additional attack vectors to exploit, compromising the security of your system while providing no business benefit to you.

Along these same lines, you should separate critical components of your infrastructure so that each server only hosts one critical service. For example, if you have a dynamic Web application, it is good practice to host the database and Web server on different systems. This provides a degree of isolation and allows you to more easily implement layered protection against attacks.

More Information

  • Learn how to plan and perform a secure installation of your Web server's operating system and services, in Lesson One of's Web Security School.
  • This was first published in September 2006

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