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Remote Desktop - security over public Internet

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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
How secure is a remote desktop connection over the public Internet "without" a VPN in place?

Note: Using ISA server 2004 with rule to allow RDP from external to internal.
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The company I am referring to is running SBS 2003.  They are not using certificates and the domain admin logon account is using a VERY weak password and the domain controller is accessible through RD for Admin.
Just seem to me they are asking for trouble but without a complete understanding of Remote Desktop security I have not forced the issue - I did warn them from what I did assume. They don't want ot force VPN connections as they think it is too much work.

Also, it seems that their network would be very fulnerable to a disgruntled dismissed employee.  Short of having all user passwords changed in case they have knowledge of others, it would be hard to revoke their key to the network.

Without a VPN, what additional step/s should they take to improve security - cerfificates?

Is this situaltion fairly standard practice?

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Thanks for the suggestions tsmvp,

Do you know if SBS 2003 w/ISA 2004 create a rule out-of-the-box for Remote Desktop in this manner?
Cláudio RodriguesFounder and CEO
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As far as I know, no. It uses the default TCP 3389 port but I may be wrong.

Cláudio Rodrigues
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What is more secure - accessing company resources through RWW or directly with a RDP sessions like this company is doing?

Seems to me that RWW at least requires HTTPS security.  I am not just taking of the security of the data stream - I am including authentication.

Note: I finally found the reason I could not connect to RWW at this site.  They had an ISA rule for RWW but HTTPS was not a selected protocol - only HTTP.  Not sure why as the management history at this company is unknown.  Don't know why they would allow Remote Desktop but not RWW access.
Cláudio RodriguesFounder and CEO
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RWW would be more secure in this case.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Citrix CTP

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