Chapter 6 Secure Shell Tunneling

Table of Contents

Local Tunnels
Transparent TCP Tunneling
Non-Transparent TCP Tunneling
Non-Transparent FTP Tunneling
SOCKS Tunneling
Remote Tunnels
X11 Forwarding
Agent Forwarding

Tunneling is a way to forward otherwise unsecured application traffic through Secure Shell. Tunneling can provide secure application connectivity, for example, to POP3, SMTP, and HTTP-based applications that would otherwise be unsecured.

The Secure Shell v2 connection protocol provides channels that can be used for a wide range of purposes. All of these channels are multiplexed into a single encrypted tunnel and can be used for tunneling (forwarding) arbitrary TCP/IP ports and X11 connections.

The client-server applications using the tunnel will carry out their own authentication procedures, if any, the same way they would without the encrypted tunnel.

The protocol/application might only be able to connect to a fixed port number (e.g. IMAP 143). Otherwise any available port can be chosen for tunneling. For remote tunnels, the ports under 1024 (the well-known service ports) are not allowed for ordinary users, but are available only for system administrators (root privileges).

There are two basic kinds of tunnels: local and remote. They are also called outgoing and incoming tunnels, respectively. X11 forwarding and agent forwarding are special cases of a remote tunnel. The different tunneling options are handled in the following sections.