In September 2018, the FBI issued a public service announcement to alert the public of cyber actors’ increased use of Remote Desktop Protocol to take part in malicious activity. More recently, with the onset of COVID-19 and remote work, a surge of brute-force attempts has been made on Microsoft users.
Unfortunately, it seems that issues with Microsoft’s proprietary remote desktop software has no end and frequently requires patches.
Weak passwords, flawed encryption mechanisms in older versions, and lack of access controls are cited as vulnerabilities that make RDP a frequent entry point of malware and ransomware. While using RDP may not always be a risk, if you are remotely accessing sensitive information or secure infrastructure, RDP becomes an attack vector and it’s best to avoid using RDP in these instances.
Considering the number of RDP vulnerabilities, finding a reliable, secure RDP alternative is paramount to keeping your data, and that of your stakeholders and partners, safe. But why is this so important? Continue reading to learn about the top five reasons to find an alternative to remote desktop protocol.
4 Reasons You Need an RDP Alternative
Finding alternatives to RDP in 2022 is about more than just liking a remote solution better–it’s necessary to fully protect your network, devices, and users. Here are four big reasons to consider a remote desktop alternative to RDP.
1. Out-of-Date Software on RDP
While Microsoft offers updates to their RDP software, including security patches, the responsibility for implementing the updates across the network and devices falls on the system administrator. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen in a timely manner, opening up several vulnerabilities. When devices and networks are out of date, hackers can easily deploy old RDP hacks that threaten your entire system.
2. RDP is Ubiquitous
Aimed at helping users safely connect to a remote desktop, RDP comes pre-installed on Windows PCs. And with so many users relying on Microsoft products – from individuals to large organizations – its ubiquity makes it a common attack surface for malicious actors.
3. RDP is Wormable
A remote desktop that is “wormable,” simply means that malicious code can replicate itself and end up on other devices within your network. And it can continue to go undetected for a long period of time without proper oversight and patches. Unfortunately, those patches don’t always get implemented in time and the worm can affect an entire enterprise network.
A number of recent wormable vulnerabilities have occurred on RDP including CVE 2019 1181, CVE 2020 0609, and CVE 2019 1182, which allow unauthenticated users to execute remote code on a server running Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
4. RDP May Lack Compatibility
A primary reason to seek RDP alternatives is better compatibility with operating systems and devices that make up the complex network infrastructure. For enterprise organizations operating on a global scale, relying on RDP may limit their ability to access certain devices and operating systems, and prevent efficient, secure operations.
How to Choose an Alternative to RDP
When it comes to choosing an RDP alternative, there are a few key features to keep in mind, which will ensure better security, efficiency, compliance, and continue to serve your organization even as you scale and grow.
Two-factor and multi-factor authentication are important security layers to keep users and proprietary information safe.
Two-factor authentication includes an extra layer of authentication that often involves steps like CAPTCHAS to ensure a user is who they say they are. CAPTCHAS in particular are small interfaces that have users unscramble a distorted word, which can’t be done in a brute-force attack. These are useful for automated attacks but may not be as useful for individual cyber criminals trying to access your system.
For even more security, remote desktop solutions that include centralized multi-factor authentication ensures a user’s identity by having them supply two or more identifying pieces of information. This evidence of their identity comes from different categories, making it even more difficult for a cyberattacker to pass authentication protocols.
Keeping it centralized allows a user to access multiple applications from one place by submitting credentials just once, leaving fewer access points for attackers.
Poorly maintained user access is a big issue with RDP, which is why it’s key to choose a remote desktop solution that has comprehensive user access protocols. This includes:
- Mac/IP address checks
- Closed user groups
- Granular controls over user access
- Multi-factor authentication
- User access management to make sure target devices are set up with criteria to accept valid invitations to connect
Comprehensive Audit Logs
Having complete audit logs is an important part of maintaining a secure system. Audit logs allow system administrators and IT teams to have a clear view of what’s happening on a network, including errors, suspicious activities, or identifying attacks.
Reviewing logs daily in addition to appropriate rules for alerts will help prevent vulnerabilities and stop attacks before they spread. Additionally, features like automatic locking or logging of remote machines can assist in the case of abnormal disconnection.
Netop Remote Control is the Best RDP Alternative
Finding a remote desktop connection alternative may be key if you’ve struggled with RDP’s vulnerabilities and constant need for patches. With Netop Remote Control, you get the benefits of a remote desktop without the numerous vulnerabilities, in addition to a solution that is compatible and scalable for all your organization’s needs. Remote control security shouldn’t be an afterthought and with Netop, security, efficiency, and productivity are top-of-mind helping your organization be successful while remaining safe.
If you would like to learn more about secure remote access and remote desktop solutions, consider Netop Remote Control as an alternative to RDP. Get a free trial for cloud or on-premise remote desktop alternatives today.