Agent SSH

Earlier I posted a link back to a SecurityFocus article on getting started with public key authentication for SSH. A follow up article now shows how to implement ssh-agent to automate authentication.

Both articles have nice examples posted and use OpenSSH, which by the way is pre-installed and ready to use with each copy of Mac OS X. I SSH just about everything nowadays, from file server uploads to just getting around my home network.

SSH is available as SFTP in Dreamweaver, although it only allows authentication via user id/password and not through public key. Well, at least with SSH, your passwords are encrypted in transit.

Other Mac OS X clients that support SSH include MacSSH, RBrowser, Fugu, Interarchy, and a host of others.

Old-school FTP is so last decade, and telnet has gone the way of the dodo.

Digital Booklet

U2: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

The cool thing about this kind of album download like U2’s new album above is the addition of a PDF of the CD‘s liner notes. This always has been a complaint of mine about digital downloads – no album info. I usually want to know who was playing on which tracks, especially in jazz recordings, and want any lyrics that might be available, or at the very least just enjoy the album art. Stuff like that makes my digital downloads much more enjoyable. Hopefully we’ll see more of this.

Secure Email for All

I finally upgraded to Microsoft Office 2004. My favorite new feature that is totally overdue is the implementation of S/MIME in Entourage. Here’s some Instructions on setting up Entourage for S/MIME, but it’s really pretty easy to figure out. Using the Safari browser, which now supports key generation in Panther, I went to the Thawte website and requested a new certificate for my email address. Once the certificate was approved and retrieved, I simply selected the new key in the Security tab within the Edit Account dialog for both signing and encrypting messages. To sign or encrypt a message, choose the desired function from Message > Security, or from the Security menu on the Options button. Or just choose to sign and/or encrypt all messages by default, although to encrypt you need to have the recipient’s key on your machine.

Secure email via S/MIME is also available in Apple Mail and Mozilla-based email clients such as the Mozilla suite, Netscape, and Thunderbird. So Mac OS X users have options out there for the choice of email client. And on Windows, S/MIME is widely interoperable with Outlook and Outlook Express, and just about all platforms are supported by one or more Mozilla-based products. For years, Mac users were stuck with Netscape 4, and Mac OS X users had to wait until S/MIME finally appeared in Mozilla, which in it’s early iterations was pretty sketchy. All this has been a long time coming – it’s nice to finally see a well-rounded suite of S/MIME-compatible email clients out there finally.

Update: Just saw Microsoft’s article on message security for Entourage 2004. Good overview of how to sign and encrypt messages with Entourage.