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I have both a dedicated and a VPS (from Fasthosts) virtual server - the web sites/applications I run on these, access Sql Server stored on the same web server.

Until now, I have logged onto Sql Server on both the deidicated and VPS server, from Sql Server Management Studio - until I noticed in my server application logs, multiple attempts to logon to Sql Server using the 'sa' username, but failed password.

So someone/bot is trying hard (repeatedly every couple of hours, for approx 20 attempts during each instance) to log on... so obviously I have to lock down access to Sql Sever remotely.

What I have done is gone into Configuration Manager, and in Sql Server Network Configuration -> Protocols for Sql2008 and also in Sql Native Client 10.0 Configuration -> Client Protocols - I have diabled Named Pipes, TCP/IP (and VIA by default). I have left Shared Memory enabled. I also disabled in Sql Server Services, the Sql Server Browser.

Now the only way I can manage the databases on these servers, is by logging on to them via Remote Desktop.

Can anyone confirm if this is the correct way of stopping anyone maliciously logging on to Sql Server? (I'm not a DBA or security expert - and there are hundreds of articles advising all different ways - but I was hoping for the experts here to confirm, or otherwise, if what I've done is correct)

Thank you,

Mark

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 3 '12 at 23:01

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Not sure that an open SQL port getting hit even 20 times per hour qualifies as "someone trying hard." Any moderately secure password should survive that attack for several lifetimes. –  Jamie F Apr 3 '12 at 23:00

3 Answers 3

Your SQL Server should be hidden behind a firewall. It's dangerous to have it open on the internet.

You should set up a firewall, and connect using remote desktop or a VPN. This way you avoid the security problems.

If you alway connect from the same computer, or a reduced set of computers, you could also allow connections only for your PCs.

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The first thing to do is to enable the Windows firewall. Nothing should be accessing the SQL Server from outside the data center network without going through a VPN of some sort.

Next rename the sa account to something else. That way no one can use it to connect to the SQL Server unless they know the username and the password.

Between those two things that should take care of most of the potential problems.

I'd recommend reading through my security book as it's got tons of info about how to properly secure the SQL Server from a variety of different kinds of attacks.

FYI: 20 or so attempts an hour isn't much. 10k a minute and I'd be a little more worried.

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You could always create a new login, make this ia member of the sysadmin role, then deny access to sa.

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