How to secure VNC

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) allows other users to attach to your PC (with your permission) to help with troubleshooting issues. Here's how to secure your sessions.

June 6th, 2007 • HowTo •
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If you're a help desk user, you've no doubt heard of VNC. Install the server on one computer and install the client on the other.

One of the advantages of having VNC is that you can troubleshoot someone's computer remotely if the software is installed properly.

But how do you know the connection is secure? There are a couple of sites I've found that talk about this topic.

One site is IBM's developerWorks. They discuss how SSL secures VNC applications and provides a very easy step-by-step tutorial on how to do it.

Another site that talks about securing VNC sessions is LifeHacker.com. Mrs. Trapani wrote about using VNC with Hamachi to create the secure connection. For those who don't know what Hamachi is, Gina describes it in the article as well.

The last site I'm focusing on is the Wikipedia. If the previous two sites can't help you at all, I would recommend the Comparison of Remote Desktop Software. Wikipedia has a comparison matrix of which remote desktop solution is right for you and the list includes various VNC versions to pick from.

Going down the list, I've worked with RealVNC (AES encryption in personal and enterprise, not the free version), TightVNC (not secure), TurboVNC (spin-off of TightVNC and not secure), and UltraVNC (secure) and all are definitely on my recommended list.

Each VNC has strengths and weaknesses. Whatever flavor of VNC you use, make sure you use the chart to determine which version and encryption strength you need.

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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