If you spend enough time with Linux at some point you are going to want (or need) to log on to a remote machine. And logging on to a remote machine is something you want to do in a secure enviroment. To gain security when having to do any remote administration, your best bet is secure shell.
Secure shell was created as a replacement for telnet because telnet transmitted unencrypted passwords. The encryption is handled via public key cryptography. Through secure shell the user can issue commands on a remote server or even tunnel the X protocol in order to run remote graphic applications locally.
Using secure shell on Linux will require you to install openssh-clients and if you want to run an secure shell server (so others can secure shell into your machine) you will need to install openssh-server. These can be found in your Add/Remove Program utility. During the installation you will most likely be informed that the installer needs to generate a key. You won't have to do anything for this key generation. And, depending upon the Add/Remove Program utility that you use you may not even see any sign that this is happening.
To use secure shell you will need to open up a terminal window (gnome-terminal, konsole, aterm, eterm, etc). Once this is open you can begin. The structure of the command is:
ssh OPTIONS REMOTE_SERVER_ADDRESS
Secure shell has quite a list of options available. For a complete listing of these options issue the command man ssh to see them all. But the most useful options are:
Say you want to connect user jlwallen to server 192.168.1.10 and you want to tunnel X. The command to do this would be:
ssh -v -l jlwallen 192.168.1.10 -X
You would see a good deal of information pass by before you are asked for the users password. If this is the first time you've attempted this connection you will be prompted (via Y or N) if you want to allow the addition of a key to be placed in the ~/.ssh/known_hosts file. If you are wanting to make this connection you will have to accept this key.
Now if you want to have the secure shell daemon running on your machine (so that users can log on) you will have to start the deamon. The ssh daemon (sshd) is started from the init.d system. On a Fedora-like system this daemon is started like so:
On a Ubuntu-based system this daemon is started like so:
Once the daemon is started users can now log in. NOTE: The sshd daemon runs on port 22 so you will need to have that port open in order to allow connections.
Secure shell is one of the better means of logging into a remote machine securly. Sure there are other methods but secure shell is easy to use, reliable, and secure.
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