New Directions in Remote Access
As you have probably learned already from this chapter, the classic TCP/IP remote access utilities such as Telnet and the r* tools are not safe for security-conscious environments. The r* utilities are fast disappearing. Telnet persists in some limited uses—such as dial-up access and remote administration on protected networks—but most IT professionals wouldn't dream of using Telnet on the open Internet. At the same time, the trend toward GUI-based administration tools has diminished the dominance of text-based utilities such as Telnet.
Network administrators increasingly rely on remote access tools such as the following:
It is worth noting that like Telnet, screen-sharing tools and many other remote-access-related programs are still not particularly safe to use over unprotected networks such as the Internet. A new class of tools has evolved to provide what is called a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs offer an encrypted, point-to-point connection from the user to the remote network. This connection is sometimes called a tunnel because it allows the remote user to operate as part of the internal network. Once the tunnel is open, the user can safely use tools that would otherwise be ill-advised over the Internet. You'll learn more about VPNs in Hour 20.