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  • Writer's pictureSuraj Dhakre

Understanding Reverse SSH: A Casual Guide

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Hey there tech-savvy pals,

Today, we're diving into a topic that sounds like it belongs in a secret agent's toolkit: Reverse SSH. Don't worry, you don't need a tuxedo or sunglasses for this one, just a bit of curiosity and a penchant for tech adventures.

reverse ssh tunnel

What on Earth is Reverse SSH?

Okay, let's break it down in plain English. SSH (Secure Shell) is a nifty tool that lets you securely connect to remote servers. It's like a secret tunnel that allows you to tinker with a computer somewhere else in the world.

Now, turn it on its head, and you've got Reverse SSH. This is when a computer, let's call it "Computer A," behind a firewall or a NAT (Network Address Translation) router, initiates a connection to a remote server, say "Computer B," and opens a secure channel for communication. Basically, it's like Computer A sending a bat signal to Computer B saying, "Hey, I'm here, let's chat!"

Use Cases Galore

So why might you want to do this? Well, let me tell you, the possibilities are quite exciting:

1. Remote Troubleshooting:

  • Imagine your non-tech-savvy aunt is having computer problems. With Reverse SSH, you can initiate a connection to her computer and fix things up, all while sipping your morning coffee.

2. Access Behind Firewalls:

  • Sometimes, computers are tucked away behind tight security measures. Reverse SSH lets you punch through those barriers and get stuff done.

3. IoT Devices Wrangling:

  • Got a bunch of smart gadgets at home? Reverse SSH can be your secret weapon for managing them remotely.

4. Evading the Dreaded NAT:

  • NAT can be a real party pooper when you're trying to communicate between devices. Reverse SSH swoops in like a superhero to save the day.

Setting Up Your Own Reverse SSH Adventure

Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Here's a basic guide to set up a Reverse SSH connection:

Step 1: Prepare Computer A

  1. Install SSH: If you haven't already, make sure you've got SSH installed on Computer A.

  2. Generate SSH Keys: Create SSH keys to secure the connection. Use ssh-keygen for this.

  3. Connect to Computer B: From Computer A, initiate an SSH connection to Computer B. This is where the magic starts.

Step 2: Computer B's Role

  1. Enable GatewayPorts: In Computer B's SSH server configuration file, make sure GatewayPorts is set to yes.

Step 3: Setting Up the Reverse Tunnel

  1. Creating the Tunnel: On Computer A, run the following command: phpCopy code ssh -R <remote_port>:localhost:<local_port> <username>@<computer_B_address>

    1. <remote_port>: The port on Computer B that will be listening.

    2. <local_port>: The port on Computer A that you want to forward.

    3. <username>: Your username on Computer B.

    4. <computer_B_address>: The address of Computer B.

  2. Login to Computer B: You'll be prompted to log in to Computer B.

Step 4: You're in Business!

Congratulations, you've just set up a Reverse SSH tunnel! Now you can access services on Computer A from Computer B.

Wrapping Up

Reverse SSH might sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but it's actually a pretty handy tool in the tech toolkit. Whether you're a troubleshooting superhero or just a curious techie, it's worth giving it a spin.

So go ahead, fire up your terminal and give Reverse SSH a whirl. Who knows what adventures await on the other side of that secure tunnel?

Until next time, happy tunneling!


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