How to enable FileVault remotely in OS X

FileVault in OS X is Apple's included data encryption technology, which allows for seamless encryption of the entire hard drive to secure your data in the event your computer is stolen. FileVault is generally set up in the Security system preferences, where you can enable and select accounts to allow unlocking of the disk, but if you have your Mac set up as a server and wish to enable FileVault, there are several ways you can do so remotely.

The first option is to use screen sharing, where you log in to the OS X interface to access the … Read more

How to connect via SSH using iCloud's Back To My Mac service

One of the more useful aspects of Apple's iCloud service is its Back To My Mac feature, which offers a quick way to connect to your system from a remote location. By default Apple offers file sharing and screen sharing options through Back To My Mac; however, you can also connect to remote login SSH sessions, if needed. While screen sharing is arguably all that's needed to access your Mac, if you are Terminal-savvy and using a slow connection then the low-bandwidth demands of the Terminal can be much easier to manage.

To use remote services with your … Read more

SSH tip: Send commands remotely

When connecting to a system remotely using SSH (Secure Shell), usually you provide the SSH command string to log in to the system and then execute commands on the remote system using the current SSH session. This is the standard behavior and is good for performing system management tasks that take more than just a few steps, but sometimes you might only need to log in and run a single specific command or script.

For example, if you would like to check a Mac's process activity by using the "top" command, you would perform the following steps … Read more

How to use TextWrangler as a remote file editor

If you regularly access remote servers using the secure shell (SSH) command in your Mac's Terminal, often you will do so to simply edit a configuration file or two. This is normally done using a Terminal-based text editor such as vi, nano, or emacs; however, even though these programs can be fairly powerful options, often they simply lack in both ease and capability when compared to GUI-based editors like the TextWrangler, a popular and free editor from BareBones software.

Unfortunately being a full GUI application, TextWrangler will not run in the Terminal so you cannot use a remote copy … Read more

Save remote server connections in the OS X Terminal

If you are familiar with the Unix command line, then the OS X Terminal is a great resource for accessing systems remotely. This can be done with several different protocols, including SSH and Telnet, FTP, and SFTP, as well as several others. Often people who use the Terminal for remote access will have several servers they regularly access, which makes typing the commands and URLs to establish the connection rather redundant.

To make this easier, you have several approaches you can take. The first is to set up a script or shell function that will store the connection information for … Read more

Options for file sharing via SSH in OS X

Remote access to a computer system is a convenient option to have, as it can allow you to change settings, get to your files and folders, or otherwise use the system without needing to be immediately in front of it. Being a Unix-like system, Apple has included the popular SSH remote log-in service for administering the system via the command line. However, this service can be used for more than a text-based interface to running commands, and you can use it to create secured FTP connections and similarly mount remote folders on a local system using the SSH filesystem (SSHFS) … Read more

SSH service connecting but not authenticating in OS X

If you are even slightly familiar with the OS X terminal, then SSH (remote log-in) is a great service to have enabled on a system, especially for troubleshooting purposes.

In instances where your display is frozen or blank, or if your system is not accepting input from keyboards, being able to remotely log in and at least run a shutdown command to avoid a hard reset is a beneficial option to have.

Apple makes setting up SSH easy and convenient by just enabling the service in the Sharing system preferences. But even with this ease, sometimes establishing a basic connection … Read more

Managing FTP services in OS X Lion

Apple's sharing services in OS X have included the options for the Mac-native Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), the Windows-native Server Message Block (SMB), and the classic File Transfer Protocol (FTP). These three file-sharing protocols have been useful for compatibility not only with common Mac and Windows machines, but the FTP option has enabled practically any system to transfer files to a Mac. The lack of the ability to enable FTP in the system preferences may seem a bit limiting, but there are ways to get around this and get FTP service back up and running.

Enabling legacy FTP Apple'… Read more

Create an automatic 'ssh' server menu in the OS X Terminal

For people who manage remote servers, the use of the secure shell (ssh) Terminal command is quite common, and is very often the only command people use when opening a Terminal window. While you can enter each of your ssh connections (usernames, server, and arguments) for every new Terminal session, this can be a burden if you need to connect to many servers. While Apple's Terminal application has a connection manager option where you can store the addresses of the servers you access, even this can be a bit cumbersome to continually access. One option instead is to implement … Read more

How to protect your Android on public Wi-Fi

Update, Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. PT: Google has issued a fix that forces the affected Google apps to connect via the secure protocol HTTPS. As long as you update your apps when the fix is pushed out, this public Wi-Fi vulnerability won't affect you. Until then, it's best to use public Wi-Fi with extreme caution or follow the instructions below.

Android phones and tablets running version 2.3.3 and earlier suffer from a calendar and contact information vulnerability on public Wi-Fi networks, according to a new report. However, there are some concrete steps you can take to protect yourself.

Here's how it works. The vulnerability is in the ClientLogin Protocol API, which streamlines how the Google app talks to Google's servers. Applications request access by sending an account name and password via secure connection, and the access is valid for up to two weeks. If the authentication is sent over unencrypted HTTP, an attacker could use network-sniffing software to steal it over a legitimate public network, or spoof the network entirely using a public network with a common name, such as "airport" or "library." While this won't work in Android 2.3.4 or above, including Honeycomb 3.0, that only covers 1 percent of in-use devices.

Of course, the safest solution is to avoid using public, unencrypted Wi-Fi networks by switching to mobile 3G and 4G networks whenever possible. But that's not always an option, especially for Wi-Fi-only tablet owners or those on tight data plans. … Read more