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LinuxSecurity: Encrypted Tunnels using SSH and MindTerm

May 19, 2001, 12:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Duane Dunston)

This tutorial takes a thorough look at using MindTerm, a Java program that allows for encrypted tunneling via SSH as either a standalone program or as a browser-based applet. At its simplest level, MindTerm makes for a handy way to get a secure login to a machine running ssh from any browser. On a more complex level, it provides a way to access a host of services in a more secure manner than usual.

"SSH and MindTerm will work together to use a technique called port forwarding. Port forwarding is forwarding traffic from one host and a given port to another host and port. In other words, the MindTerm application will open a port on the client's machine (local machine) and any connection to that local port is forwarded to the remote host and its listening port over an encrypted ssh session. Whether or not the connection is accepted depends on the type of request you are sending to the remote host. For example, you wouldn't forward POP requests to a remote host listening on port 21 because port 21 is reserved for ftp requests. Port forwarding is also used to allow connections to a server that is behind a firewall and/or has a private IP address. Essentially this is creating a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is "a private data network that makes use of the public telecommunication infrastructure, maintaining privacy through the use of a tunneling protocol and security procedures" (www.whatis.com). The port-forwarding can only be done with TCP services."

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