The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary Microsoft protocol used to provide a graphical interface to a remote PC. Many versions of Windows include the Client software required to connect to a Server however only certain versions of Windows include the Server software. The Remote Desktop Server feature is included in all editions of Windows XP (except the Home Edition); Windows Vista Ultimate, Enterprise and Business editions; Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise and Professional editions.
Although Remote Desktop does support encryption there are known security risks with using this feature. Using SSH Tunnelling is an easy and convenient way to secure Remote Desktop connections.
The SSH Server must be configured to allow Remote Desktop connections. A note of caution, allowing Remote Desktop connections can create a security risk unless a firewall is used to block connections to the Remote Desktop port (default port is 3389). On the test system this is not an issue as the router is not configured to forward port 3389.
To allow Remote Desktop connections to a Windows XP PC -
To allow Remote Desktop connections to a Windows 7 PC -
To create a Secure Shell tunnel through which to encrypt the RDP stream use PuTTY (follow the instructions here)
To connect to Remote Desktop on the Server -