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I've been using Apple's screen sharing tool to connect from a client to an Xserve for a while and it's just occurred to me that doing so might be quite a bad idea!

I know VNC is inherently insecure and that it is possible to tunnel it over SSH, but does Apple's Screen Sharing tool use any secure transport protocol? If not then surely I've been typing in server passwords on my client and they have been transported over the network in plain text.

Anyway, I now use the Server Management tools and SSH when possible, but I'm sure there will be times when I still need to use VNC.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From here:

Mac to Mac screen sharing, using the username/password, is done in a secure manner.

Using a VNC client and the "VNC viewers may control screen with password" is not secure.

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I think the statement “Mac to Mac screen sharing, using the username/password, is done in a secure manor” in the referred link is hilarious. [Apologies for going off topic.] –  Harald Hanche-Olsen Jul 30 '11 at 9:26
    
Yes, I definitely debated leaving that in. :) –  jtbandes Jul 30 '11 at 17:09
    
Thank you. Out of curiosity, any ideas how Mac-to-Mac sharing is encrypted? –  john Jul 30 '11 at 20:45
1  
@john: support.apple.com/kb/TA24182 is getting old, but is probably still about right. The only potential weakness I can see from the description is to a man-in-the-middle attack on the initial Diffie–Hellman key exchange. –  Harald Hanche-Olsen Jul 30 '11 at 21:07
    
Excellent! So the keystrokes are encrypted, and so are file transfers, but the display information is not. –  john Jul 31 '11 at 20:14

john, are you looking for a solution for business or personal use?

for personal use, most of the free hosted solutions are acceptable. most of them use SSL.

if it is for business, i won't agree on putting all of my company's data in the third-party cloud server. I would deploy a screen sharing appliance behind the own firewall to have a private cloud. Have you taken a look at Bomgar and RHUB? They are both cross platforms. Bomgar's functions are more sophisticated, but RHUB's pricing is 10% of Bomgar.

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We have ARD, so already have a solution. Thanks for your input. –  john Aug 6 '11 at 17:30

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