We can’t deny the importance of security in web hosting industry as hackers employ increasingly more sophisticated methods to steal and crack our sensitive information. In early days of the Internet, people often used Telnet to control distant computers; however, today this feature is usually removed in servers, due to critical vulnerability issues. For example, Telnet sends commands in plain text to the servers without involving any encryption technique. SSH is an effective tool that is designed to solve this problem. Secure shell is a system that allows people to securely log in to remote computers and execute important commands, including transferring or modifying files over the network.
SSH was first developed by a researcher in Finland after he encountered a password-sniffing intrusion that attacked his university network. In essence, SSH is a predecessor to Telnet, rsh and rlogin, which retains many of the important features. The first version of SSH (SSH-1) was released as freeware and it gained popularity very quickly. The development and marketing of SSH is managed by a Finland-based company, the SSH Communication Security.
SSH can be used across many popular platforms, such as Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Unix. These are common uses of SSH in web hosting:
* Authenticate remote computers to avoid a local computer being controlled by malicious people. To authenticate remote computers, key-based cryptography is used. A pair of matching keys is created; one is called public and another is private. Public key is stored in all machines and it waits for the matching private key, to complete the authentication. During authentication, keys are never sent through the network to improve security. SSH verifies that the person with public keys also owns the private key. SSH needs to make sure that a public key is valid before integrating it into the system.
* Log in securely on remote hosts. Sensitive information, such as user name and password are sent through Secure Virtual Channel, so anonymous people can’t even intercept the data.
* Execute commands securely on remote hosts. Users can also log in and manage their accounts using standard UNIX and LINUX commands. Some of the command line instructions that can be executed over SSH include changing file permission, running programs and others.
* Mount and access directories on a remote server.
* Mirror, copy and back up files in combination with rsvnc.
* Send files securely.
* Tunnel and forward a port.
* Employ an encrypted VPN. Virtual private network (VPN) is established by SSH hosting and complex protocols are used to provide layered protection, which is very difficult to penetrate.
* Secure browsing through encrypted proxy.
Unlike Telnet, commands sent using SSH are encrypted. A number of cryptography techniques are employed to create secure paths for remote access to distant computers or networks. Protocols allow you to transfer information using SSH under government-recommended encryption techniques. SSH is also usually used to access accounts through highly secure channels using secure protocols, including SC and SFTP.