Making the most of OpenSSH

Friday, 23 August 2002, 1:43 AM EST

Mandrake Linux has included OpenSSH as part of the base product since version 7.2, and available as part of the "crypto" suite since version 7.0. While telnet and rsh are still included, the use of these protocols as a remote login tool is discouraged. Using OpenSSH instead is a much better idea.

One of the problems with OpenSSH, however, is it's excess complexity. OpenSSH offers too many options, in both the client and the server, and these options make OpenSSH complicated to use and allows bugs to creep in. While OpenSSH is supposed to be a security tool, it has had a very patchy security history itself. There have been eight security-related advisories for OpenSSH from MandrakeSoft since October 2000. Does this make using OpenSSH inadvisable? Absolutely not. The possibility of a remote hole in OpenSSH will always be there with code this complex, however the benefits of using it far outweigh the drawbacks versus similar remote login protocols. Using OpenSSH is far more secure than using telnet. And with recent versions of OpenSSH, steps have been taken to reduce the possibility of remotely exploitable holes, protecting users from possible coding mistakes that could allow such holes.

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