The More Secure Alternative to the Telnet Protocol

Are you looking for a secure protocol to use instead of Telnet? If you find the Telnet protocol not secure enough and look for a better alternative, read this guide to the end to learn about our best solution. Stop worrying about your online send/receive traffic being intercepted.


What is the Telnet Protocol?

Developed in the late 60s, Telnet stands for Teletype Network and is a protocol that offers a command-line interface to communicate with remote servers, often used for managing devices remotely and initializing network hardware.

Telnet allows users to operate a bidirectional interactive communication system using a virtual terminal connection. It intersperses users’ data with the Telnet control information via the transmission control protocol. Users connect to the server by using the Telnet protocol, which indicates typing Telnet codes in a command prompt. Telnet can also be utilized to test or troubleshoot remote web or mail servers and trusted intranets.

Today, Other than experimental instances, you may still need to use a Telnet connection to get access to, for instance, an old UNIX server or a used router. While it’s unlikely that you will come across equipment with the Telnet protocol, it's wise to learn how to secure your Telnet sessions. Telnet communications are transmitted in plain text, which is not secure. To fix this major vulnerability, encryption is a smart workaround that is applied by many professional users.

Telnet sessions between the user and the server do not include built-in encryption. Therefore, any person who has access to the TCP/IP packet flow across hosts can intercept all the traffic, eavesdrop, and store potentially sensitive data such as the login credentials of users on the Telnet protocol. However, There is a way to make Telnet communications more secure.

What is The Secure Alternative to Telnet Protocol

Because it was developed prior to vastly adopting the internet in the early 2000s, Telnet does not inherently use any encryption, thus it is an outdated technology from a security standpoint. It has essentially been replaced by The Secure Shell Protocol (SSH), which works as a secure alternative that takes different security measures. For Unix and Linux operating system users, OpenSSH is free and could be used as a secure alternative to Telnet. 

SSH is more secure than Telnet. It's encrypted, and it shields against snoops hacking login credentials, or logging in to unauthorized devices. However, if SSH is running on a default port that accepts connections from any system or IP address and relies on a username & password, the user may find herself/himself unprotected. The key to running SSH securely is to use a non-standard port. Alternatively, you can use our best VPN to safeguard your connections without hassle.

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