Originally Published: Thursday, 20 April 2000 Author: Scott Nipp
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Secure Remote Connections

Secure remote connections is one area that the Unix world has excelled at for years now. This ability to establish an encrypted connection to a remote computer system is also available for Linux. This allows for remote troubleshooting and administration of computer systems without the fear of compromising network security.

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The ability to establish a "secure" remote connection to a computer system is something very useful and important. Secure remote connections is one area that the Unix world has excelled at for years now. This ability to establish an encrypted connection to a remote computer system is also available for Linux. This allows for remote troubleshooting and administration of computer systems without the fear of compromising network security. Security is just another way that Linux is able to step up and provide enterprise level services for organizations of all sizes.

Secure Shell, commonly referred to as SSH, is the primary means of providing "secure" connections on Unix. SSH is a freely available package that can be used as a replacement for traditional Unix services such as Telnet and FTP. SSH creates an encrypted link between two computer systems that allows all data such as user IDs, passwords, files, etc. to pass between systems with minimum risk. This encryption helps to prevent someone from "snooping" your network to capture this valuable information.

SSH goes beyond simple Telnet and FTP though. Another excellent feature that is built into SSH is the ability to "tunnel" X protocol traffic. The X protocol is the communication mechanism behind your Graphical User Interface client server software. "Tunneling" in this case refers to sending this GUI communication across the encrypted SSH connection. This ability to "tunnel X" allows you to actually run a GUI application from the remote system and have this application actually be displayed on your local system. This in turn allows users or administrators a phenomenal amount of access to a remote system over a secure connection.

How about Windows? One of the wonderful things about SSH is that there are several SSH capable clients available for the Windows platform as well. A Windows SSH client along with a X server for windows, such as Xwin32, allows for you to not only have a secured terminal connection, but even allows for Linux GUI applications to be accessed from a Windows system. This is very useful in that many users who may need to have secure access from home, for instance, can do so from a Windows system instead of needing to have a Linux computer at home. This also grants everyone the additional flexibility of being able to use not only Unix based systems for secure connections, but Windows too. This is yet another illustration of the power of Open Source software.

SSH is a fairly common software package for Linux, but most Linux distributions do not ship with SSH. SSH can be downloaded from the Internet and is not very difficult to setup. Through the use of SSH and properly configuring your remote system you can make an extremely secure server. Linux and SSH can provide you with an excellent tool for users and administrators to be able to perform a wide variety of tasks remotely.

Scott Nipp is a Technical Solutions Consultant at Sprint Enterprise Network Services.

The views, information and opinions provided in this article are expressed and held solely by the author. Neither Sprint Enterprise Network Services nor Sprint Corporation or any of its affiliates assume any responsibility for any opinion or statement of fact presented in this article.





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