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For some reason I have gotten the feeling that somehow the program, "putty" could be less secure than the other SSH program I use to remotely connect to my server, normally I use WinSCP. Is putty any less secure than WinSCP or vice versa? I am incredibly inexperienced in all things server/web/security related, thats why I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

I needed to connect to my remote server using a terminal which could enter input requested by the server, something that WinSCP would not allow. This is because I needed to configure a .htpasswd file to restrict casual users from accessing my home directory, or any directory that I do not want them to access for that matter. My university which hosts this server suggests that I use WinSCP as I am a windows users, but WinSCP does not allow the specific command htpasswd -c .htpasswd path which creates the file at the location replaced by path and then requests my input to create the username/password, so I used putty instead.

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Putty and WinSCP use the same underlying SSH2 protocol, the degree of security is mostly determined by this protocol.

The two programs aren't really comparable, WinSCP is a Secure Copy (SCP) client, Putty comes with an equivalent called pscp, but pscp is a command-line client not a GUI client. Putty is perhaps mainly used for remote shell access - entering commands (like the one you mention).

There's probably no reason why you can't use both Putty and WinSCP. You may even be able to share private keys between both applications.

I don't know of any current major security issue with Putty, or with WinSCP.

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thanks for the reassurance –  pying saucepan Sep 2 '12 at 10:25
    
So this answer was more helpful, i see. –  DanMan Sep 2 '12 at 10:57
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WinSCP primarily uses SFTP, not SCP... Also worth noting that WinSCP actually uses a lot of PuTTY's code (in particular, the SSH support). –  grawity Sep 2 '12 at 11:20
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WinSCP is for secure file transfers, while Putty is for secure remote shell access. They both use SSH.

htpasswd is another program on the server to set up passwords for directories within your web server htdocs. So it has nothing to do with the others.

You also wouldn't use it to secure your home directory, unless it really was inside your web server's docroot, which is unlikely.

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Only in the last 48 hours have I taught myself how to connect to my university's shell server and access my personal space, the first I have ever owned, I honestly don't know many things like their docroot or what that is. But I do know that they allow me to secure my home directory with htpasswd file or any directory I have ownership of, and it seems to work so no complaints here! –  pying saucepan Sep 2 '12 at 10:28
    
Then you probably only have access to a folder on their web server, and not to your user account's /home directory. –  DanMan Sep 2 '12 at 10:33
    
That is what is confusing me, this link link is an explanation for the home directory. it contains the public_html folder which I could put my web files in, but the folder <username> is supposed to not be viewable to others, but I can remotely access it by going to oregonstate.edu/~myusername –  pying saucepan Sep 2 '12 at 10:38
    
nevermind, I guess winSCP allows the options for setting rights to directories as I create them, I didn't notice that option until now. –  pying saucepan Sep 2 '12 at 10:46
    
Those right are local user rights though, and as long as the user under which the web server is running can access those, any user on the web can, unless there's a htaccess file telling otherwise. –  DanMan Sep 2 '12 at 10:55
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