This article was previously published under Q164882
We strongly recommend that all users upgrade to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.0 running on Microsoft Windows Server 2008. IIS 7.0 significantly increases Web infrastructure security. For more information about IIS security-related topics, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
For more information about IIS 7.0, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
When you connect computers to the Internet it becomes possible to
communicate with millions of people and computers world wide by using the
TCP/IP protocols. This broad flexibility imposes a degree of risk: Not
can you communicate with people and systems using the protocols that you
choose, it is also possible for users to try to initiate communication
your systems. Most of the following recommendations assume you are using
the Microsoft Proxy Server. However, some may apply even if you do not
a proxy server.
Do not download or run programs from untrusted sources. Programs can contain instructions to violate security in several ways including data theft, denial of service, and data destruction.
Review the following list to learn how to reduce security risks:
- If your private network runs TCP/IP, the servers Enable IP
Forwarding check box in the Network application should not be
Clearing the Enable IP Forwarding check box prevents unauthorized IP
packets from infiltrating your network. The Enable IP Forwarding
check box is located in the Microsoft TCP/IP Properties dialog box.
To open this, use the Network application in Control Panel.
To disable IP forwarding on Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0:
- From the Start menu, select Settings, and then click Control Panel.
- In Control Panel, double-click the Network icon.
- In the Network dialog box, click the Protocols tab, select
TCP/IP Protocol, and then click Properties.
- In the Microsoft TCP/IP Properties dialog box, click Routing.
- Make sure the check box for Enable IP Forwarding is cleared.
- Click OK, then click OK again.
WARNING: If the Windows NT Remote Access Service (RAS) is installed on
your gateway after Microsoft Proxy Server is installed, IP forwarding will
be enabled. You must disable IP forwarding after installing RAS.
- Block Nonessential Inbound TCP/IP Ports.
If your Windows NT Server is highly exposed, with the mission of
offering services like Web and FTP, then only two inbound paths
need to exist from the router to the server: HTTP on port 80 and
FTP on port 21. The router should block all other inbound traffic.
If you are using the Proxy Server and have 2 netcards on your
Computer, you can bind ONLY IPX on the Internal netcard and ONLY
IP on the external netcard.
- Disable NetBios over TCP/IP.
By default an Internet-connected Windows NT computer will support
two transport protocols: NetBeui and TCP/IP. Windows networking
operations require syntax of the form of \\Name. These
operations include directory and printer sharing, NetDDE, and
remote administration. Connecting to a drive or editing a registry
across the Internet requires only a mapping, in the local LMHOSTS
file, between the remote computer's NetBIOS name and its IP address.
You can control the use of NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT) by going into
Control Panel, Network and the Bindings tab and disabling any of
the bindings between NetBIOS-based services and TCP/IP. This way
no one can try to remote-mount drives or remote-edit registries.
Windows NT networking services run promiscuously over multiple
transports; therefore, internally your computers can still talk to
each other over the NetBEUI protocol, which does not go over the
- Use NTFS volumes.
The Windows NT File System (NTFS) provides security and access
control for your data files. By using NTFS, you can limit access
to portions of your file system for specific users and services.
A File Allocation Table (FAT) only supports share level security.
For safety's sake it is best to layer multiple defenses, so use
NTFS on Internet-connected Windows NT computers. Windows NT takes the
intersection of NTFS ACLs and share permissions, for example if
NTFS ACLs gives a network user full access to a partition but the
share-level permissions grant only read access, then the effective
access is read only. If you create new shares, be sure to alter the
default permissions assigned by Windows NT. Otherwise, by default,
the group Everyone will have Full Control of all that is visible
through the share.
- Run only the services that you need.
The fewer services you are running on your computer, the less
likely a mistake will be made in administration that could be
exploited. Use the Services application in the Control Panel to
disable any services not absolutely necessary. Also, if FTP or
Gopher services are not needed or used, turn off these
services using Internet Service Manager to stop each service.
- Unbind unnecessary services from your Internet adapter cards.
Use the Bindings feature in the Network application in the Control
Panel to unbind any unnecessary services from any network adapter
cards connected to the Internet. For example, you might use the
Server service to upload new images and documents from computers in
your internal network, but you might not want users to have direct
access to the Server service from the Internet. If you need to use
the Server service on your private network, the Server service
binding to any network adapter cards connected to the Internet
should be disabled.
You can use the Windows NT Server service over the Internet; however,
you should fully understand the security implications and comply with
Windows NT Server licensing requirements issues. When you are using
the Windows NT Server service you are using Microsoft networking or
the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol and all Windows NT Server
licensing requirements still apply.
- Check permissions set on network shares.
If you are running the Server service on your Internet adapter
cards, be sure to double check the permissions set on the shares you
have created on the computer. It is also wise to double check the
permissions set on the files contained in the shares directories to
ensure that you have set them appropriately.
- Access from Network privilege can be revoked.
By default, Windows NT grants the group Everyone the right to Access
from the network. By revoking this right you can block all networking
services, but maintain support for the Web service because the Web
server runs either as a System or Local user.
- Rename and limit the membership of the Administrator group.
Rename the Administrator account by selecting User, Rename from User
Manager menu. By limiting the members of the Administrator group, you
limit the number of users who might choose bad passwords.
- Enforce strict account policies.
User Manager for Domains provides configuration options called security
policies, such as one that allows a system administrator to specify how
quickly account passwords expire (forcing users to regularly change
passwords), and another that determines how many bad logon attempts
be tolerated before a user is locked out. Use the User Manager for
security policies to configure the server against exhaustive or random
- Choose good passwords.
Although this may seem obvious, a stolen or easily guessed password is
the best opportunity for someone to gain access to your computer. Make
sure that all passwords used, especially those with administrative
rights, have difficult-to-guess passwords. In particular make sure to
select a good administrator password (long, mixed-case, alphanumeric
password) and set the appropriate account policies. Passwords can be
by using Windows NT User Manager for Domains.
For additional information, please see Chapter 2 of the Microsoft Proxy
Server documentation has information on the above topic.
More information on securing an Internet connected Web server can be found
in Chapter 8 of the Microsoft Internet Information Server Resource Kit.
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Resources for securing Internet Information Services
Article ID: 164882 - Last Review: July 7, 2008 - Revision: 4.1
- Microsoft Internet Information Server 1.0
- Microsoft Internet Information Server 2.0
- Microsoft Internet Information Server 3.0
- Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0
- Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
- Microsoft Proxy Server 1.0 Standard Edition