SSL Explorer

Published on January 10, 2008

SSL Explorer

    I wanted to become the mistress of the sea ... well, that is, so that I could manage my home network, being in any place (equipped with Internet access, of course). It is easy to cope with remote control of a separate computer - there are many solutions for remote administration ...
    But I have three computers at home, and I want to have access to information on each of them at any time without the hassle and worries.
    So - VPN.
    It is desirable without client applications and so that from under any system - you never know how hard it will bring.
    So - well-known solutions with the client part are swept away.
    It is desirable - through commonly used ports (others can be closed by the administrator of the place where it was not easy), and encryption will not hurt.
    Means - ...
    Having rummaged in the Internet on a subject of decisions of this kind, I discovered for myself a subject.
    So, SSL-Explorer . Powerful VPN server developed by 3SP Ltd, distributed under the GNU license, based on Java, runs on the SSL protocol, controlled via the web interface, the character is Nordic ... oops ... :) In general, I thought, here's a little thing, perfect for my needs! It turned out - even too much, it has a lot of such functions that I probably will not need ... but others may come in handy.

    Here is part of what he knows and has:

    Server versions for Microsoft Windows XP / 2000/2003 / Vista , Apple Mac OS X Tiger or later, Linux
    Supported by all modern browsers: Internet Explorer 5 , IE6 , IE7 , Mozilla Firefox , Opera ,Safari and others
    Flexible rights management based on access policies
    Reverse proxy for web forwarding
    Authentication via Active Directory, UNIX authentication and authentication through its own built-in user base are supported
    Configurable authentication schemes
    Remote access to the desktop in various ways
    Intranet resources can be safely shared with using web forwarding
    Supports access via HTTP or SOCKS proxies
    Local and remote tunneling via SSL
    Timeouts when the session is inactive
    Connecting many users at the same time

    A complete list of features is available here .

    It should be noted that SSL-Explorer is not designed to organize a single virtual network through a VPN tunnel, such as OpenVPN (based on IPSec ), which is more appropriate for establishing a permanent tunnel and, thus, is used for other tasks. This is just an excellent tool for remote management of network resources from any convenient place, and it performs its duties brilliantly (by the way, for those who need it for these purposes, I advise you to specify when creating your own user database, and not use OS authentication policies )

    Of all the features of the program, I was interested in flexible management of user rights (I also want friends to open something in their grid, and to each their own), remote access to the desktop of any of the computers in the grid, a convenient ball of folders on any network computer (resource shortcuts can be add to favorites and have quick access to them). You can configure email and SMS notifications on the server. And the control panel interface, which was opened to me after installing the program, simply fascinated me. Solid Web 2.0, everything is well thought out, the menu is intuitive, all the blocks are context-sensitive and as informative as possible, I can’t look enough =) I noticed one minus (which is not a minus for me personally): although there is a formal “Russian” option in the choice of languages, but I did not notice any differences from the English interface with this choice. Nothing,

    A couple of screenshots to represent what is at stake.

    So, here is the view of the server from the admin control panel: And here is what the connected user sees: Installing the server is intuitive, so I won’t paint it step by step, tea, smart people gathered =) After installation, go to the control panel under the root created during the installation process at localhost localhost : 443
    SSL-Explorer Admin Panel


    SSL-Explorer User Interface


    and create different policies for the groups that you intend to use: for example, for yourself, your beloved, for friends, for guests (do not forget to deactivate the root for security reasons) ... In each policy, you can determine what the groups and individual users will be able to do . In particular - and this is one of the most important points - you can (and should) create shortcuts for programs that can be used by the corresponding users. And there are so many possible SSL-Explorer programs that we offer - these are the so-called extensions, which it manages with the help of xml-configs. Instead of developing their own remote computer management tools, the creators of SSL-Explorer let the user choose the most familiar and convenient way, such as: PuTTy , Linux RDesktop, Windows RDP , UltraVNC , Radmin and many, many others. Of course, after the accomplished choice, the program will have to be pre-configured.
    If you wish, you can build the complex yourself from the source code, as well as build your own extensions there: instructions on the example of screwing the popular TightVNC . By the way, it seems that in the latest version of the TightVNC server you no longer need to add it yourself - it is present in the list of available programs!
    After connecting to the server from the place where you entered it, you just have to click on the shortcut of your favorite tool and get access to any of the computers in your LAN. And if you don’t plan to provide such wide access to other users, then they can be limited to movie and music folders on your network.

    In general, try, feel it - maybe SSL-Explorer will bring you no less pleasure and benefit than me) The program is worth mentioning for sure.