Published: in Videos

Why you should never open remote desktop to the internet

By Sam Sheridan - 16th January, 2023

When it comes to remote access for your computer or network, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is often the go-to solution. RDP allows users to remotely connect to a computer or server, giving them the ability to access files, run programs, and perform other tasks as if they were physically in front of the machine. However, despite its convenience, it's important to remember that exposing RDP to the internet can be a serious security risk.

The first security rule of RDP is to never leave it exposed on the internet for access. It should always be behind a VPN connection

One of the main risks of exposing RDP to the internet is the potential for unauthorised access. If an attacker is able to guess or crack a user's login credentials, they can gain access to the system and potentially steal sensitive information or perform malicious actions. RDP is a well-known protocol and has had known vulnerabilities in the past that can be exploited if the system is not properly secured.

Once an attacker has access to a system via RDP, they can use it as a launchpad for further attacks. They can install malware, create backdoors, or even use the system to attack other systems on the network. This can lead to a serious compromise of the security of your entire network, and the attacker can potentially gain access to sensitive information, steal data, and cause irreparable damage.

To mitigate these risks, it's important to take a multi-layered approach to securing RDP. One of the best ways to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to access RDP. This creates an encrypted tunnel between the remote user's device and the target system, which makes it much more difficult for an attacker to intercept or tamper with the connection.

It's crucial to use strong authentication and encryption for RDP connections. This includes using complex passwords, two-factor authentication, and encryption for the RDP sessions. This makes it much more difficult for an attacker to gain access to the system or intercept the RDP connection. It's also important to keep the system and RDP software up to date. This ensures that any known vulnerabilities are patched and that the system is protected against the latest threats.

There are a variety of reasons why people, including IT professionals, may incorrectly expose Remote Desktop (RDP) to the internet. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Convenience: RDP is a convenient way to remotely access a computer or server, and many people may not realise the potential security risks of exposing it to the internet.
  • Lack of awareness: Some people may not fully understand the security risks of exposing RDP to the internet and may not realise the importance of properly securing the connection.
  • Underestimating the threat: Some may believe that their network is secure enough to handle any potential threats, and therefore may not take the necessary steps to properly secure RDP.
  • Misconfigurations: Some may accidentally expose RDP to the internet due to misconfigurations of the network or RDP settings.
  • Limited resources: Some organisations may not have the resources or personnel to properly secure RDP, and may therefore expose it to the internet without fully understanding the implications.
  • Remote Workforce: Due to the pandemic scenario, many companies have shifted towards remote working, as a result, people may have exposed RDP to the internet to provide access to the employees.

There are many reasons why RDP may be incorrectly exposed to the internet, and it's important for both companies and IT professionals to understand the potential risks, and take the necessary steps to properly secure RDP connections.

Remote desktop can be very powerful, but it can also be dangerous if given access to the internet. It is important not to publicly expose this service to the internet. This video will show you why just how easy it can be to compromise remote desktop when made accessible from the internet!


cybersecurity remote desktop