1.5. History of SSHSSH1 and the SSH-1 protocol were developed in 1995 by Tatu Ylönen, a researcher at the Helsinki University of Technology in Finland. After his university network was the victim of a password-sniffing attack earlier that year, Ylönen whipped up SSH1 for himself. When beta versions started gaining attention, however, he realized that his security product could be put to wider use. In July 1995, SSH1 was released to the public as free software with source code, permitting people to copy and use the program without cost. By the end of the year, an estimated 20,000 users in 50 countries had adopted SSH1, and Ylönen was fending off 150 email messages per day requesting support. In response, Ylönen founded SSH Communications Security, Ltd., (SCS, http://www.ssh.com/) in December of 1995 to maintain, commercialize, and continue development of SSH. Today he is chairman and chief technology officer of the company. Also in 1995, Ylönen documented the SSH-1 protocol as an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Internet Draft, which essentially described the operation of the SSH1 software after the fact. It was a somewhat ad hoc protocol with a number of problems and limitations discovered as the software grew in popularity. These problems couldn't be fixed without losing backward compatibility, so in 1996, SCS introduced a new, major version of the protocol, SSH 2.0 or SSH-2, that incorporates new algorithms and is incompatible with SSH-1. In response, the IETF formed a working group called SECSH (Secure Shell) to standardize the protocol and guide its development in the public interest. The SECSH working group submitted the first Internet Draft for the SSH-2.0 protocol in February 1997. In 1998, SCS released the software product "SSH Secure Shell" (SSH2), based on the superior SSH-2 protocol. However, SSH2 didn't replace SSH1 in the field, for two reasons. First, SSH2 was missing a number of useful, practical features and configuration options of SSH1. Second, SSH2 had a more restrictive license. The original SSH1 had been freely available from Ylönen and the Helsinki University of Technology. Newer versions of SSH1 from SCS were still freely available for most uses, even in commercial settings, as long as the software was not directly sold for profit or offered as a service to customers. SSH2, on the other hand, was a commercial product, allowing gratis use only for qualifying educational and non-profit entities. As a result, when SSH2 first appeared, most existing SSH1 users saw few advantages to SSH2 and continued to use SSH1. As of this writing, three years after the introduction of the SSH-2 protocol, SSH-1 is still the most widely deployed version on the Internet, even though SSH-2 is a better and more secure protocol. This situation promises to change, however, as a result of two developments: a loosening of the SSH2 license and the appearance of free SSH-2 implementations. As this book went to press in late 2000, SCS broadened the SSH2 license to permit free use by individual contractors working for qualifying noncommercial entities. It also extends free use to the Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD operating systems, in any context at all including a commercial one. At the same time, OpenSSH (http://www.openssh.com/) is gaining prominence as an SSH implementation, developed under the auspices of the OpenBSD project (http://www.openbsd.org/) and freely available under the OpenBSD license. Based on the last free release of the original SSH, 1.2.12, OpenSSH has developed rapidly. Though many people have contributed to it, OpenSSH is largely the work of software developer Markus Friedl. It supports both SSH-1 and SSH-2 in a single set of programs, whereas SSH1 and SSH2 have separate executables, and the SSH-1 compatibility features in SSH2 require both products to be installed. While OpenSSH was developed under OpenBSD, it has been ported successfully to Linux, Solaris, AIX, and other operating systems, in tight synchronization with the main releases. Although OpenSSH is relatively new and missing some features present in SSH1 and SSH2, it is developing rapidly and promises to be a major SSH flavor in the near future. At press time, development of SSH1 has ceased except for important bug fixes, while development of SSH2 and OpenSSH remains active. Other SSH implementations abound, notably the commercial versions of SSH1 and SSH2 maintained and sold by F-Secure Corporation, and numerous ports and original products for the PC, Macintosh, Palm Pilot, and other operating systems. [Section 13.3, "Table of Products"] It is estimated there are over two million SSH users worldwide, including hundreds of thousands of registered users of SCS products.
TIP: Sometimes we use the term "SSH1/SSH2 and their derivatives." This refers to SCS's SSH1 and SSH2, F-Secure SSH Server (Versions 1 and 2), OpenSSH, and any other ports of the SSH1 or SSH2 code base for Unix or other operating systems. The term doesn't encompass other SSH products (SecureCRT, NiftyTelnet SSH, F-Secure's Windows and Macintosh clients, etc.).
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