What is SSH And Why You Should Be Using It?

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What is SSH And Why You Should Be Using It?

 November 21st, 2019

As stated on ssh.com, "The SSH protocol (also referred to as Secure Shell) is a method for secure remote login from one computer to another. It provides several alternative options for strong authentication, and it protects the communications security and integrity with strong encryption. It is a secure alternative to the non-protected login protocols (such as telnet, rlogin) and insecure file transfer methods (such as FTP)."

According to Wikipedia.org, "SSH was designed as a replacement for Telnet and for unsecured remote shell protocols such as the Berkeley rlogin, rsh, and rexec protocols. Those protocols send information, notably passwords, in plaintext, rendering them susceptible to interception and disclosure using packet analysis. The encryption used by SSH is intended to provide confidentiality and integrity of data over an unsecured network, such as the Internet, although files leaked by Edward Snowden indicate that the National Security Agency can sometimes decrypt SSH, allowing them to read the contents of SSH sessions."

Why Use It?

SSH is generally used on Unix-like (Linux) operating systems.  It can, however, be used on Windows.  For example, Windows 10 uses OpenSSH as its default SSH client.  The standard port for SSH is TCP 22.  "SSH is typically used for logging into a remote machine and executing commands, but it also supports tunneling, forwarding TCP ports and X11 connections; it can transfer files using the associated SSH file transfer (SFTP) or secure copy (SCP) protocols. SSH uses the client-server model." - Wikipedia.org

SSH provides secure access for users and automated processes.  SSH allows interactive and automated file transfers and the issuing of remote commands.  SSH helps to manage network infrastructure mission-critical system components.

  • Out of the several options used for user authentication, the most common are passwords and public key authentication.
  • Automated secure shell file transfers are used to integrate applications.
  • An automated secure shell is also used for automated systems & configuration management.
  • SSH provides strong encryption and integrity protection.  During a connection, data that is transmitted is encrypted according to parameters negotiated in setup.  This means that the client and the server agree on the symmetric encryption algorithm to be used and generates the encryption key that will be used.  The SSH protocol also includes a mechanism that ensures the integrity of the transmitted data by using standard hash algorithms, such as SHA-2.

If you wish a brief understanding of SSH’s history and development, take a look at the following page and scroll to “History and development,”:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell

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