Remote login is the act of using one computer to log in to or access another. A network connection among computers with access to the Internet allows this type of login. A user who wants to access a computer needs the computer’s name, IP address, a username and password. The user does not need to sit at the computer physically to log in to it.
Remote login is a very convenient way to access data from far away. For example, users can log in to their computers at home from a road trip, and system administrators and vendor support professionals can remotely log in to users’ computers to fix problems and provide assistance. Security issues, however, are to be considered.
Older remote login software, such as Telnet, would transmit all information in clear text, which was not encrypted. This meant that malicious individuals could intercept these transmissions and obtain the usernames and passwords, which they could then use to break into the user’s computer.
Remote login software, such as Remote Desktop in Windows , VNC , PuTTY and OpenSSH , use strong encryption protocols to ensure secure setup and transmission of data. Options are available to allow access to a limited set of users from predetermined locations, and restrict the access in certain ways, for example, by limiting the types of files and folders a remote user can access. Most operating systems have built-in remote login software capabilities already, which can be turned on or off.
- Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) This website has a vast repository of security and privacy tools.