Vulnerable ports on Windows 2000 Web servers

If you've deployed a Windows 2000 Server to function as your Web server, you are in for a surprise. The Windows 2000 Server platform has more open ports and active services than Windows NT.

Windows 2000 Server, no matter what Microsoft claims, is not suited for direct deployment on the Internet. The only way to secure a Windows 2000 Server acting as a Web server -- even if you are not using IIS -- is to deploy a firewall. But not just any firewall -- you need a port filtering firewall.

If you've worked in the world of Microsoft networking for the last six years, you should be painfully aware of the gaping hole in Microsoft's protocol stack known as NetBIOS. NetBIOS uses ports 135 through 139. Even disabling NetBIOS through bindings on the external interfaces does not fully seal this intrusion pathway.

In addition to retaining the flaws of NetBIOS, Windows 2000 includes the following open ports:

  • Kerberos -- 88
  • LDAP -- 389
  • Microsoft-DS -- 445
  • Kerberos kpasswd (V5) -- 464
  • Secure LDAP -- 636
  • Global Catalog -- 3268
  • Global Catalog SSL -- 3269

This is not an exhaustive list of the trouble ports you may find on Windows 2000 Server. These are just the default ones that are problematic on every system. As you deploy additional services and applications, other vulnerable ports may open.

So, when deploying a Windows 2000 as a Web server, be sure to place it behind a firewall with an intelligent list of filtered ports.

About the author
James Michael Stewart is a researcher and writer for Lanwrights, Inc.

This was first published in February 2002

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