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Proxies allow application-layer connections without allowing direct network connectivity. This allows applications to bridge otherwise inaccessible networks.
While working on a project to create tutorials, I needed a way to watch how a user stepped through the process of using an application without being on-site.
VNC turned out to be a viable solution. I could remotely connect and view all the steps, while conversing about the process over the phone.
The trouble was there were firewalls at both ends. It would have been easy to just open the port normally used for VNC connectivity (5900) in the firewall, but it's definitely not secure.
Using VNC while tunneling over SSH was a quick and more secure way to accomplish the process/application watching goal.
Several steps are required to make it work.
Ideally, all inbound ports are closed on an Internet facing firewall. That will go a long way to keeping out the bad guys. Of course, any other remote access is then limited as well.
Opening up port 22 on the distant IPCop firewall works well for the purpose of tutorial generation and is easily accomplished using the IPCop Web-based GUI. A similar process is used if the user machine is behind a dedicated firewall appliance. The idea is to port forward the SSH traffic from the Internet to the VNC-equipped user desktop machine.
Port 22 on the user's Linux desktop also needs to be available for logging in via SSH. When the session is finished, the firewall's SSH port can then again be closed to inbound traffic.
Specialized remote access techniques should be considered, like port-knocking or using hardened firewall devices when a more permanent or bulletproof connection is needed.
details on making that happen?
brunson Says :
November 14th, 2005 at 8:30 pm
Creating an ssh tunnel is an unnecessary step. Read the vncview man page section on the 'via' option. Running 'vncviewer -via machine.running.vncserver localhost:2′ will have vncviewer create the ssh tunnel for you. I find it particularly useful for accessing my sessions through a firewall since I can do 'vncviewer -via mybastion.host mydesktop:2′
I'm also suprised you don't mention that vnc support is built into gnome. If you go into your menu items: Desktop -> Preferences -> Remote Desktop you can gain remote access to your gnome session running on the console. Not exactly the same as what you're describing, but useful, nonetheless.
I'm interested in having my vncserver session run my default gnome desktop. Has anyone sussed out the
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