Telnet Protocol vs SSH Protocol

The Telnet Protocol:

Telnet is a networking protocol developed in the 1960s. Computer users needed to remotely connect to different types of computer, and Telnet was the answer. Telnet allows a user on one computer to log into another computer that is a part of the same network. It provides two-way interactive communication for computers across networks. A user on a client machine can use a Telnet client to access a command-line interface of another remote machine that is running a Telnet server program. The telnet protocol has been revised several times since it was created over 50 years ago, but has always remained simple and easy to use, and has always transmitted data using clear-text.

Telnet on its own does not contain any type of encryption. A common misconception is that because of its lack of security, it is no longer used. Telnet is actually used in almost every industry in the world.

A common useage for telnet is any environment that uses barcode scanners, like warehousing, big box stores, airlines, manufacturing, retail, pharmaceuticals, grocery stores, etc. .

Here’s why:

Telnet speaks the language of barcode scanners. All associated data within a barcode is described using short character strings. Telnet is also a character-oriented protocol – the type of data transferred between a telnet server and client is simple text and small graphic. Since Telnet and barcode scanners speak the same language, it is highly efficient and optimizes the character data. It’s simple, fast and reliable.

There are other ways to transmit data across networks. However, many use third-party plugins, experience difficulties with data transfer, or appear beautiful and modern, yet lack the basic functionality needed to transfer data efficiently. Telnet remains the solution for superior operation for RFID, bar code scanners, and computer networking environments.

The SSH Protocol:

In 1995, the SSH protocol was developed by a researcher at the Helsinki University of Technology in Finland. After his university network was hacked, he developed SSH as a security protocol. His SSH protocol was open source, and allowed people to use, copy and develop the program with no cost. He immediately saw the global need for his security protocol. By the end of 1995, SSH was being used in over 50 countries.

SSH follows the Telnet platform – the type of data transferred between an SSH server and client is simple text and small graphic, just like Telnet. SSH has very simple configuration and is easy to use and install.

While Telnet offers no encryption, the SSH upgrade is available for encrypted data exchange. SSH is the solution when secure remote access is required, yet the configuration needs to be simple. Many prefer SSH over other security solutions, because of its ease of installation, ease of setup, and because it does not get hosed up with 3rd party plugins. Other security solutions require complex and lengthy administration set up, large technical support teams to maintain, and require countless system admin hours for proper implementation.

When initially developed, the security algorithms used in the SSH Protocol were unbreakable. However, since then, hackers have improved and computer power has increased. The once secure algorithms were no longer secure. In 2006, a revised version of the protocol (SSH2) was released with updated security algorithms. These new 2006 algorithms became the new standard algorithms for SSH.

However, computer power continually increases, and hackers continually improve. Before using SSH when you need to transmit sensitive data, ensure if the algorithms are current and up to date for the current year’s standards. Some SSH products still use the original SSH ciphers, some use the SSH2 algorithms, and some SSH Server products maintain and review their algorithms regularly to ensure that the users are using the strongest SSH encryption currently available.

SSH is used in the same environments that Telnet is used, but SSH is used when the data transferred is sensitive and requires security. Some SSH users aren’t concerned about their data being stolen, but rather concerned that their data is hacked and changed in transmission. Data integrity is a reason many users use SSH over Telnet.

Posted in How To's and Helpful Information on Aug 19, 2021

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