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Harden the Remote Access Server

This excerpt from Chapter 11 of Roberta Bragg's "Hardening Windows Systems" describes how to harden the remote access server.

Hardening Windows Systems Get a glimpse inside Roberta Bragg's book "Hardening Windows Systems" with this series of book excerpts. Below is the introductory excerpt from Chapter 11, "Harden Communications." Click for the complete book excerpt series or purchase the book.

Harden the Remote Access Server

In addition to configuring secure remote access, harden the remote access server.

Harden Installation

Follow standard precautions during installation, including performing the installation offline and applying all service packs and hotfixes before adding the server to the network. Provide two network interfaces and provide secure configuration before connecting to the network.

Harden External Network Interface

The external network interface of the remote access server should provide only the basic connectivity required for the service. Two basic areas need configuration.

First, the external network interface should be configured to

  • Remove File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks by clicking to deselect it from the General Properties page of the connection.

  • Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP from the TCP/IP Advanced Properties, WINStab as shown in Figure 11-2.

  • Prevent attempts to dynamically register the network IP address in DNS from the TCP/IP Advanced Properties, DNS tab as shown in Figure 11-3. Attempts to dynamically register the network IP of this interface in an ISP's DNS may not be welcome. In addition, connections from external hosts should be configured on these clients. There is no reason to be resolving the Internet address of the remote access server.

Second, the network interface should be firewalled, and as an extra precaution, the Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 RRAS server can be configured to filter all packets on the external interface that are not necessary for remote access. See the later section "Harden Windows Server 2000 and Windows Server 2003 RRAS Configuration."

Restrict Services

Never run additional services on the RRAS server. If the Windows security baseline templates (see Chapter 8) are in use, place RRAS servers in their own OU and configure a GPO and link it to the OU. Enable the RRAS service and/or IAS service as appropriate for servers in the OU.

Figure 11-2. Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP on the external network interface.

Figure 11-3. Prevent dynamic DNS registration.

Configure Auditing

In addition to auditing using the GPO, additional RAS and RRAS logs should be configured. In Windows NT 4.0, the ppp.log file is not created by default. This log can be created, and Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) connections will be logged, by adding the Logging value and setting it to 1. The Logging value is of type REG_DWORD and should be added at


After the value is set, you must stop and start the RAS service before the file will be created and PPP connections are logged in the SYSTEM32ppp.log file. Although the original intention of this log file was to provide troubleshooting information, it can serve as a record of PPP connections for your auditing efforts.

Click for the next excerpt in this series: Harden NT 4.0 Remote Access Server Configuration.

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