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Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a free remote control application that allows you to access another computer even if it is running a different operating system. This issue gives an overview of VNC and describes how to secure VNC using SecureCRT® or Entunnel. We also provide a tip about securing pcAnywhere using Secure Shell.
In product news, the 2.2 beta releases of the VShell server for Windows and UNIX are now available to a limited number of testers. Also available this month are new maintenance releases for SecureCRT, SecureFX®, Entunnel, and CRT.
1. Feature - Secure VNC with Secure Shell
Secure terminal access is one means to provide system administration in mixed platform environments. But if you need to use the graphical user interface (GUI) of another platform, or need a simple remote control tool, VNC software combined with SecureCRT or Entunnel can provide a secure solution.
VNC is a free, open-source remote control and monitoring tool that allows you to display and interact with a remote desktop. VNC is widely used for system administration and to provide remote support for end users. It can also enhance mobile computing for remote workers and road warriors.
VNC consists of a viewer and a server. The VNC viewer is used to connect from a local machine to a remote workstation running the VNC server. VNC provides a desktop environment and windowing system for access to the workstation's applications, allowing you to work as if you were sitting at the remote workstation.
The greatest strength of VNC is that it is cross-platform. A Linux desktop can be run on top of the Microsoft Windows environment -- or use the GUIs of both platforms at the same time by flipping between windows. VNC is also extremely portable. Using a PC and the VNC viewer, you can work from any Internet-connected computer, even from public terminals in hotels or airports. The VNC viewer can be run from a single floppy disk, and Java support allows you to use any Java-enabled browser.
However, using VNC alone raises security issues. VNC provides its own secure authentication between the viewer and server using random challenge-response, but data is sent in the clear, opening a security hole.
A VNC connection can be secured with SecureCRT or Entunnel and the VShell server or another Secure Shell server by tunneling VNC, encrypting all data traffic between the viewer and the Secure Shell server.
Here are some common uses of VNC:
- Connect to a UNIX, Linux, or other server for remote administration or monitoring from your PC desktop, from home, or from the road.
- In a PC support environment, use VNC for remote diagnostics via your LAN, WAN, or a dial-up connection.
- Run the VNC viewer on a PC to view and edit documents and files on a UNIX, Linux, Solaris, or other workstation or server anywhere on the network.
- Use VNC as a thin client to allow a less powerful PC to run software on a server or a more powerful workstation.
To read more about VNC and its applications, see:
AT&T, Cambridge, UK
Learn how to run VNC securely with SecureCRT and VShell at:
VanDyke Software is pleased to announce the beta release of VShell Server for UNIX 2.2. VShell for UNIX provides IT professionals with the ability to configure a Secure Shell solution from VanDyke Software for their mixed platform networks and replace nonsecure Telnet and FTP access to UNIX servers with SSH2(TM). This beta release will be made available to a limited number of testers. Learn more about VShell for UNIX and sign up for the beta program at:
If you or your end users are using pcAnywhere by Symantec, you may not be aware that this application can be run over a Secure Shell connection to VShell or another Secure Shell server. If you are using SecureCRT or Entunnel as your port forwarding client, tunnel pcAnywhere's standard TCP/IP ports 5631 and 5632 with Secure Shell.
Read more about how to configure pcAnywhere and SecureCRT for use with VShell at:
This month, SecureCRT was selected as an editor's pick on CNET's Download.com.
Read the product overview at:
"It seems that by committing to open source, you also commit to
a greater level of self-reliance. What it comes down to is that, if you
are serious about your IT infrastructure and you use open source, you
have to know more about the software and must be willing to spend on training."
Read Mark Gibbs' Backspin column on the NWFusion web site at:
VShell Server for Windows 2.2 (beta 2) is now in limited beta release. VShell Server 2.2 for Windows introduces support for Kerberos v5 authentication via GSSAPI.
To find out more about VShell Server for Windows 2.2 and how to participate in the beta 2 test program, visit:
New maintenance releases are now available for SecureCRT 4.0.5, SecureFX 2.1.4, Entunnel 1.0.4, and CRT 4.0.5.
You can download these releases at:
For quick access to previous official releases, go to:
Here are direct links to download individual products:
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VanDyke Software, CRT, SecureCRT, SecureFX, Entunnel, AbsoluteFTP, and VShell are trademarks or registered trademarks of VanDyke Software, Inc.
All other products and services mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.