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Two-Way VNC

An Option to swap client and server in the VNC protocol
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Many workplaces have fairly strict firewall policies (mine included), where a user can operate most protocols outgoing, but nothing incoming, without a prior initiation from inside to outside. (i.e. you can surf the web, but you can't ssh into your computer from the outside world).

I frequently control my home computer from work, but what if i need to operate t'other way around?

Getting around this problem usually involves begging your sysop to give you an open port to your machine or a VPN setup (which is sometimes microsoft-y, and won't work for useful things).

This idea involves tweaking the VNC protocol to allow for a "swap" option, wherein the user can connect to a remote box, and upon verifying permissions, either side has the option to swap control. The original server is now the client.

Granted, the user would have to know (or set up some kind of timer or periodic retry-er) they were going to want access to their work computer from home that evening and connect from work to home before the left.

ericscottf, May 14 2009


       It would be possible to modify VNC in this way. It's also possible using existing software (secure shell) to make incoming connections over an outgoing one, so you can use any protocol you want. However, by doing this (using a modified VNC or ssh) you are punching a hole in your employer's network security and leaving them open to extra angles of attack. At most of the places I've worked, I would probably have been sacked for doing such a thing. Those 'strict firewall policies' are there for a reason.
Srimech, May 14 2009

       I currently use SSH for all traffic between my work box and home, but I am not skilled in the ways of using a connection initiated at work to home for transferring data while home, to work. That sounds interesting. What is that process called, so I might investigate further?   

       Are you saying it is conceivable to SSH from work while at work to home, and then VNC from home while at home to work? (work box: winxp, home box: fedora 9)
ericscottf, May 14 2009

       Yes, it's called port forwarding. Look up the -R option in the ssh documentation. PuTTY has GUI options for this sort of thing.
Srimech, May 14 2009

       Neat! I use port forwarding to enable squid to work over ssh, as well as VNC access to other computers in the house, but i didn't realize it could work the other way around. Thanks!
ericscottf, May 14 2009


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