03. May 2011 · Comments Off on Automate Encrypted VNC Sessions with SSVNC · Categories: Networking · Tags: ,
VNC is one of many protocols used to share desktops between Linux and Windows PCs (see this Wikipedia entry for a comparison of various remote desktop software packages). Although a number of VNC (Virtual Network Computing) servers include some type of built-in encryption, most do not. In addition, many VNC client/viewers tend to be basic, so they generally don’t include any built-in encryption support. For both aforementioned situations, SSH tunneling can be used to secure sessions between VNC servers and the most basic VNC client/viewers, regardless of any built-in protocols. However, using SSH to encrypt VNC communications can be a manually intensive and multi-step process requiring starting up SSH and VNC servers and configuring SSH and VNC clients for local or remote port forwarding.

An Enhanced TightVNC Viewer, SSVNC, is a free multi-platform SSH/SSL VNC viewer that automates this process. It’s also compatible with a wide range of VNC servers. In fact, the SSVNC web site states that SSVNC works with nearly any VNC Server host running SSHD and those running an SSL tunnel, including VeNCrypt SSL/TLS and Vino/ANONTLS encryption extensions to VNC on Unix, Mac OS X, and Windows. SSVNC also works as a regular VNC viewer without encryption as well. SSVNC is available from the Ubuntu repositories and installable through the Synaptic Package Manager or apt-get, while Unix, MacOS, and Windows versions are available from the SSVNC web site and through Sourceforge.net.

SSVNC Viewer Screen

For this post, SSVNC (using the precompiled binaries) was tested on a Windows XP machine connected to TightVNC and X11VNC servers running on a Lubuntu machine and SSH tunneling enabled through the SSVNC viewer. Although this viewer is packed with features, it worked quickly and easily. Its many features are listed on the SSVNC web site.

viewer interface

Related Information:

VNC on Linux


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