If you follow tech news at all, you’ve heard about “the happening” over at TeamViewer and of the “stuff” the victims of this exploit inadvertently purchased for the bad guys. Now, some of you might be thinking that this is old news. After all, this was like a month ago. What’s in the past stays in the past – wrong.
I disagree and believe this instead highlights the need to further examine all of the X- compatible remote desktop options for Linux out there for accessing one’s desktop or for providing remote support. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Below, I’ll list all of the options I’ve had experience with and we’ll go through them to determine their merits on the Linux desktop.
Splashtop…hang on….no, they turned their backs on Linux users sometime ago. But hey, if you’re interested in running their app on Ubuntu 12.04, it’s a fantastic option. Yes, I am absolutely messing with you. Don’t do this. Instead, use software that is actually compatible with your system.
X2Go – If you’re comfortable exposing your SSH port (whether this is 22 or something else) to the wilds of the Internet, then this is one option for remote desktop over the Internet. You’ll want to make sure you’re also using fail2ban as you will have strangers knocking at your ports. Not ideal, but it works.
If you plan on using this to offer support to your family, well, you also had better make sure you control their router and port forwarding as well. Did I mention Dynamic DNS for easier connections when the IP address changes? Yeah, you’ll want that too. But once it’s set up, you know for a fact that security is all on you. This is a good thing! Best of all, no central server to hack! To install X2Go, simply locate and install it using your distro’s repositories.
Mikogo – Surprisingly, not bad at all. Despite its Java underpinnings, the only dependency I needed to install to make it work was on my 64bit machines. Simply running this on x64 Ubuntu will get you ready to run the executable once it’s downloaded.
sudo apt-get install libxtst6:i386
The first thing that became apparent is that Mikogo is designed for meetings first, everything else second. Still, it does offer the ability to provide TeamViewer like functionality, but without the concerns of using a previously exploited application. The obvious downside to using Mikogo is that it appears to be a closed source product…just like TeamViewer. Then again, it’s lesser known and may not be as big of a moving target.
Which option would you trust? Speaking for myself, I think I’ll be using X2go for my own needs with limited use of Mikogo for remote support. What say you? Maybe you’re screaming “NoMachine!” as you read this? Hit the comments and sound off.