By Ellie / Last Updated January 5, 2022

Security concern of RDP

With the popularity of RDP, more and more its vulnerabilities were revealed. One of the most famous vulnerabilities may be the man-in-the-middle attacks, which may intercept the connection between the client and the server, compromising the communication in the process. Other vulnerabilities like Key-logging attacks (hackers create sophisticated malware that tracks all the keys users press on their keyboards while accessing RDS) and EternalBlue attacks (hackers execute arbitrary codes remotely, making them have access to the network) also bring great threat to the safety of RDP connection.

Three different types of RDP security layers

To secure RDP connections, there are three types of security layers for RDP communications: Negotiate, RDP, and SSL. Next, we’ll introduce them one by one.

Negotiate

The Negotiate method enforces the most secure approach that the client supports. RDS sessions use the Negotiate technique by default. The usage of the Negotiate method requires Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.0. The Negotiate technique is used to authenticate the RD Session Host server if TLS is provided. If TLS is not available, RDP (discussed further below) will be utilized to secure communications, but the RD Session Host server will not be authenticated.

RDP

The RDP method encrypts communications between the client and the RD Session Host server using native RDP encryption. As previously stated, if this method is selected, the RD Session Host server will not be authenticated. It is not recommended to use native RDP encryption.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

The SSL method verifies the identity of the RDSH server and encrypts all connections between the client and the server using the TLS 1.0 protocol. The connection will fail if TLS is not supported. This security layer is recommended for RDP connections.

How to configure a specific security layer for RDP connections

In this section, we’ll introduce how to configure a specific security layer for RDP connections. Follow the steps below.

Step 1. Press Win + R, then type in “gpedit.msc” and press OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor window.

Local Group Policy Editor Window

Step 2. Navigate here: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Security.

Open The Security Layer

Step 3. Find and click Require use of specific security layer for remote connections, then change its status to Enabled. Choose the security layer (Negotiate, RDP, SSL) from the drop-down list.

Enable RDP Security Layer

Ways to secure RDP connections

To reduce RDP risk, there are some tips to help users secure their RDP connections.

  • Use complex passwords. Using strong and complicated passwords makes brute-force RDP attacks more difficult to execute.
  • Use a Firewall to restrict access. Firewall rules can be written to restrict Remote Desktop access so that only a certain IP address or range of IP addresses can connect to a given device.
  • Require multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a strong method of preventing brute-force and key-logging attacks. When MFA is utilized, it establishes layered security, making it more difficult for hackers to get access to the RDS infrastructure.
  • Enable automatic updates on the operating systems. Updating the operating systems for both the client and the RDSH server to the most recent versions eliminates known RDP vulnerabilities.

Safe & secure remote desktop software: AnyViewer

Another way to achieve secure remote connections is to use the safe third-party remote desktop software AnyViewer. Developed by a strong technical team and secured by Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) encryption, it provides you with a fast and stable remote access connection, and at the same time, protects your data from leakage.

AnyViewer provides you with two methods to achieve secure remote connections. One is to send a control request and another is to input a security code to achieve unattended remote access.

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 Methods 1. Send a control request

Step 1. Install and open AnyViewer on the devices. Input the device ID of the host computer and then click Connect.

Connect

Step 2. Click Send a control request to your partner.

Send a Control Request to Your Partner

Step 3. On the host computer, click the green button to make the connection successful.

Request to Control Your Device

Methods 2. Input security code

Step 1. On the host computer, go to Settings > Recipient. Tick the third option and then set the permanent security code.  

Accept Remote Control

Step 2. On the client computer, input the device ID of the host computer and then click Connect.

Connect

Step 3. Choose Input security code and click OK (the controller can input either the permanent security code or the temporary security code of the recipient).

Security Code

Conclusion

What is the RDP security layer? There are three different types of RDP security layers: Negotiate, RDP, and SSL. Among these, Negotiate is the most secure approach which is used by RDS sessions by default. Besides, you can use the secure third-party remote desktop software AnyViewer as well. The ECC encryption algorithm it uses will secure your whole remote session.