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Accessing University's research based Linux machines from off-campus

IT recommends the use of the MobaXterm software for Windows users who wish to access the research based Linux machines off-campus through ssh protocol. To facilitate this you should follow the link below to download and install the software from the developer's website:

http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/download-home-edition.html

You can select Installer edition if you have administrative rights to install the MobaXterm software on to your computer, otherwise select Portable edition so that you can run the utility in your computer without having to go through installation steps. There are two ways to connect to Linux machines by using MobaXterm: either directly through a WebVPN secure VPN tunnel or through sshgate central server.

1) Connect through WebVPN

IT recommends to establish a WebVPN connection that will directly connect to Linux servers via ssh protocolwith the help of MobaXterm. To achieve this:

1. Establish a WebVPN connection and create a secure VPN tunnel using "Network Connect" or "Junos Pulse". Please follow the below link for more details about how to establish a WebVPN connection:

http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/its/help/its-help-networks/webvpn.aspx

2. Run the 'MobaXterm' application in your Windows machine

3. In the Sessions menu (top left side), press SSH

4. Type the remote host as <host_name>.rdg.ac.uk (example: met-cluster.rdg.ac.uk), select specify username box and type your login name, and press OK to save the settings as showing below:

t11

 

5. Input your_Linux_Account_password when prompted

6. Press yes if you want MobaXterm to remember your password when login first time, otherwise press no

7. You will get the Linux login shell prompt to start your work

8. Type exit to disconnect the ssh connection with the Linux machine and close the MobaXterm window when you finish your work

The next time you want to login, you can open a saved session by double click on <host_name>.rdg.ac.uk under the Saved sessions tab after creating a secure WebVPN tunnel as described before.

2) Connect through SSH Gateway

The alternative way is to login the SSH Gateway with the use of MobaXterm and this will allow accessing your home directory and certain University resources via the secure shell (ssh) protocol from off-campus . This will be the most suitable method for users who don't have a WebVPN account (such as students).

In order to use the SSH Gateway from locations not connected to the University's campus networks, you must enable your account for the service by visiting the registration form at:

https://password.reading.ac.uk/register/sshgate

For security reasons, registration for using this service from off-campus will create an extra password for your account, which must be used from off-campus locations. Your standard University account login will not work from off campus.

Note: You can only enable your account from a computer connected to the University's campus networks, but not on any of the guest plug-in or WiFi networks or ReadingConnect.

Some of the legacy tools (publish, htpasswd, htdigest) from the central UNIX server, 'main' / 'suma3' are now available on the SSH gateway. If you wish to use these tools from a computer connected to the campus network, you can connect via SSH to sshgate.reading.ac.uk and log in with your standard University username and password.

Many SSH clients will display the host's key fingerprint the first time you connect. For security reasons, it is worth checking this key - the correct host key for the sshgate service is cc:82:eb:5c:45:5c:8f:13:fd:31:09:c2:72:83:73:8e.

After registering, please follow the below steps to login to the SSH Gateway and from there you can login to other linux machines via the ssh command:

1. Run the MobaXterm application

2. In the Sessions menu, press SSH

3. Type the remote host as sshgate.rdg.ac.uk, tick specify username box and type your login name, and press OK to save the settings

4. Input your_ssh gateway_password when prompted

5. Press yes if you want MobaXterm to remember your password when login first time, otherwise press no.

6. You will get the login shell prompt to start your work.

7. You can connect to other research based Linux machines from SSH Gateway via the ssh command (example: ssh -Y met-cluster.rdg.ac.uk)

8. Type exit to disconnect the ssh connection with the Linux machines/sshgate central machine and close the MobaXterm window when you finish your work

The next time you want to login to the SSH gateway, you can open a saved session by double click on sshgate.reading.ac.uk under saved sessions.

If you need more help on 'MobaXterm', please follow the below link:

http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/documentation.html

Using Cyberduck software as secure shell (ssh) protocol

Cyberduck software can be used as secure shell (ssh) protocol for both Windows and Mac OS X users who wish to access their home directory through the SSH gateway. Before continuing, you should download and install this software from the developer's website:

http://cyberduck.ch/

To access your home directory via the SSH gateway:

Run Cyberduck and click on the Open Connection button from the toolbar and you will see the following window:

cyberduck

 

1. Select SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) from the list at the top

2. Enter 'sshgate.reading.ac.uk' as the Server.

3. Fill in your Username and Password.

If you are off campus, remember to use your SSH Gateway password not your University account one.

4. Tick the Save Password box if you don't wish to be prompted every time.

5. Press Connect.

If it is the first time you have connected to the service, you will be asked to check the SSH host key fingerprint. Check the one displayed by Cyberduck is the same as the one displayed on this page, then tick 'Always' and press Allow.

cyberduck2

 

When you have finished accessing your home directory, you can close Cyberduck, or press the Disconnect button on the toolbar.

FAQ

Q1. From where can I initially enable my remote access account?

A1. You can only enable your remote access account from a computer connected to the University's campus networks, but not on any of the guest plug-in or WiFi networks or ReadingConnect.

Q2. I use the central UNIX server, 'main' / 'suma3'. Can I do the same things here?

A2. Some of the legacy tools (publish, htpasswd, htdigest) from the central UNIX server, 'main' / 'suma3' are now available on the SSH gateway. If you wish to use these tools from a computer connected to the campus network, you can connect via SSH to sshgate.reading.ac.uk and log in with your standard University username and password.

Q3. Can I try ssh command line option to connect to a remote host rather than creating a session?

A3. Yes, you need to type ssh -X (or ssh -Y, if -X option giving any error) <your_login_name>@<host_name>.rdg.ac.uk at the > prompt after opening MobaXterm (example: ssh -Y nf910209@met-cluster.rdg.ac.uk)

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