Monday, January 26, 2009

ssh! Here's the scp

The other day, I was thinking of consolidating all my music collection from various machines and burn them into a DVD as a backup. There were various ways that I could have done the transfer:

  1. Extract the music back from the disk originals
  2. Copy them using a rewritable media like a pen drive or a writable media like a CD
  3. Connect over the network and copy the files
  • I can use Samba as some of my machines are Windows based
  • Setup a FTP server to copy files
  • I can setup a ssh server and securely copy the files to my Linux box
That was how I discovered ssh, the secure shell. I had originally been looking at setting up Samba on my Linux box, but was frightened with the possibility of it suffering a virus attach as most of the viruses / botnets would be scanning for a windows PC and this would become a backdoor for entry.

The other option was ssh which was simple to setup and quite secure. It basically provides a secure way to connect to a computer that enables the ssh service. You are presented with your standard console where you would be able to perform your usual activities.

Another prominent activity is copying files about, between the host and the client and this is where scp (Secure Copy) comes in. scp allows you to copy files between your client and the ssh server securely.

Now, scp is a command line tool and most get intimidated with copying files from the command-line be it the versatile '$' prompt or the more familiar 'C:\>'. On the windows side, you have winscp which is a GUI application with a Norton commander-like interface which would make GUI aficionados feel at home in copying files safely and securely.

Winscp comes as a portable app, which means, you can actually run this app in your windows machine without fear of cluttering your registry and contributing to registry bloat. Portable apps are targeted to those who would like to keep a handful of portable apps in their pen drive which can be executed without any requirement for installation or setup. Check out portable apps for more such applications.

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