The role of SSH (Secure shell) in hiding the credential data from the outside world over the internet is no more a clandestine thing.
Users have been using it to establish a secure tunnel that allows them to protect the applications at their will. Not delving into further details, in this blog post we would focus on setting up SSH on Windows and on the applications we need for this specific purpose.
Steps to set up SSH on windows
To establish SSH VPN connection on Windows (here on Windows 7). You would require an OpenSSH server, same as SSH server is used for Unix environment.
In addition, connection manager such as PuTTY, is needed to connect a Linux server from Windows and a service account.
Alongside for SSH key pair generation, download Puttygen or similar other application. You can download both the CopSSH and Putty from their respective websites.
Step # 02: Run the CopSSH installer, and follow the steps instructed by the installation wizard.
Step # 03: Provide your service account and password that you will get via installer. Alternatively, you can also mention your own values.
Step # 04: After the installer copies all the files on your system and starts the SSH service, you will be acknowledged by the message, “ No users are enabled on the server. This is a security precaution – you will need to manually activate each user who you wish to allow access via SSH”.
Step # 05: Your next task would be to add a user. For this, open Start Menu, navigate to the CopSSH folder. And start the Activate a User Application. Consequently, you will receive a message citing the successful activation of of the selected user. The added user gets full access to the machine through SSH.
Step # 06: The next task is to generate SSH key pair. To accomplish this work, you are required to start Puttygen, in the option for “Number of bits in a generated key field”, type 406 and click Generate to initiate the key.
Step # 07: Add randomness to the key generation by hovering the mouse over blank area.
Step # 08: Add Keycoment followed by key phrase twice. Make sure it to be as complex as possible. Click Save Private Key and close Puttygen.
Step # 09: Now let us move ahead to reconfigure CopSSH and change the port from 22 to some other number for connectivity. This step adds security to the network since it makes it even tougher for the hackers to intrude inside the network.
Step # 10: For configuring this setting, open SSHD configuration file in a word pad and change the port number, remove the pound sign at the start of the line to uncomment it, save and close the file. This SSHD file located in a folder named as ICW under program files of C drive.
Step # 11: In the next step, you need to bar any user from accessing your SSH server if it does not have a key file. This helps you to authenticate the users to your server. Though, you can skip this step but to be on the safe side and assure more safer network, such a move is preferable.
Step # 12: For this, remove the pound sign from “PasswordAuthentication” and “PermitEmptyPasswords” and set both of their values to “no”, respectively.
Step # 13: Open your Windows’ Services panel and restart the OpenSSHD service to apply the changes made in the configuration.
Step # 14: Log on to the web page of administrator and forward the SSH port you just configured to the system on which you have installed CopSSH. It is important to use a router, well equipped with firewall capabilities for such a task.
Step # 15:The next step is to configure the putty to connect to the SSH server. This needs to be done on the client computer from which you wish to establish connection.
Step # 16: Launch putty, navigate to session settings and set your host name (or IP address) and Port number.
Step # 17: Under connection settings, provide auto-login user name. Under SSH section, check Enable Compression box and for “Preferred SSH protocol version”, choose “2 only”.
Step # 18: Expand SSH to select Auth and provide the location for private key created earlier under “Private key file for authentication”.
Step # 19: Establish tunnelling settings for remote desktop under the “Tunnels” section. Here, create the entry for each computer you want to include in the SSH tunnel by providing the requisite information under “Add new forwarded port”. Return to the main Sessions section of Putty and give the configured session a name as seen below. Click Save to save your configuration – it will then appear in the list of saved session configurations.
Step # 20: Navigate back to the “Sessions” part and name the session thus configured, such as “Home Network”. Click Save to include it in saved session configurations list.
Step # 21: In the end, in order to RDP in the remote computer, launch the Putty console or alternatively, run “putty.exe –load <session name here>” such as “putty.exe –load Home Network” from the command line.
Step # 22: RDP into the remote computer by connecting to the computer thus added in the network via Remote Desktop Connection Application.
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Wish you a Happy and Private Internet Life !!
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