Re: Web shell? (I'm not asking for much...)

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 05:41:18 PST

Jeff Bone wrote:
> Kragen's GIF-based chat thingie he posted about the other day has had
> me thinking...

We think alike! I've been meaning to cobble something together for a
while. Luckily I haven't really needed it.

> It's always been tres annoying to me that I have to have local
> software installed to get (secure) access to a remote shell on some
> server machine on which I've got an account. Neo-nazi firewall
> admins, and all that, telnet regarded harmful, etc. Why shouldn't I
> be able to access an interactive shell from any browser, interaction
> tunneled over an HTTP connection and secured through i.e. SSL?
> Wouldn't that be an acceptable alternative to i.e. SSH?

In fact, I have used VNC pretty often although by default it doesn't use
SSL. All VNC servers have a micro-http server that serves a Java applet
(30K, best demo of client Java) that then connects back. You can choose
the port for your own server if needed. I've used it when I was told by
a client 'not to install software'. They didn't allow telnet, so I had
a full X session instead!

Still, using this method with SSL would be more secure and being simpler
would run in more environments. You should be able to send a command
line to a shell with little fuss. Editing would be a bit of a pain
however. You'd be better off with some kind of page based editor
specifically created for the problem that allows you to edit a page at a
time at the browser level or something.

> Anybody seen anything like that? Applet, GIF-based thingie,
> whatever? Something I could huck up onto a Web server then go to
> town? Surely this exists, surely somebody wrote something like this
> way back in the dark ages of the Web.

If it's out there, I missed it. VNC will work in many cases, but not
for true Net-Nazi environments. (That's what CDPD/Ricochet/etc. are
for, my other solution. A few years ago, I freaked the security guy out
completely when I told him, a few days before I received my Ricochet,
that I decided to just bypass all his controls over what I could
access. He liked to do things like block Imap but not Pop3 because he
didn't use it.)

> Bueller? Bueller?
> Pointers appreciated.
> jb


Stephen D. Williams         Insta, Inc./Jabber.Com, Inc./CCI
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

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