Linux remote administration on Android and iOS

Conclusions

Smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS have advanced in recent years to the extent that they can be useful alternatives for admins when it comes to taking a quick look at a supervised system. Despite serious security deficiencies, they have lost their dubious reputation as admin tools. A wide selection of apps for virtually any application turns these mobile devices into general purpose tools – even without root permissions on the devices (see the box "More Fun with Root Privileges").

More Fun with Root Privileges

None of the applications presented in this article need to be run as root; however, if you do have advanced permissions on your device, you can open the door to more interesting apps, such as the WiFinspect [23] network security tool. A network scan is performed at a far more leisurely pace than with Fing, but the tool also checks for common computer vulnerabilities by sniffing network traffic in Pcap format. Internally, admins use well-known tools such as Nmap or tcpdump.

The Function Overview in Google Play Store lists other goodies, such as the ability to test access points for unchanged, insecure default passwords.

Also attractive to security-conscious admins are vulnerability scanners, such as the pen testing app zAnti [24] (Figure 10) or Android forensics tools such as the memory analysis program Volatility or the RAM snapshot tool Lime [25]. Most of these tools only develop their full potential with root privileges.

Figure 10: zAnti scanning local networks for vulnerabilities.

The mobile admin's backpack is becoming significantly lighter now that the laptop and PC can stay at home. However, for long sessions, it doesn't hurt to have a laptop at hand – or at least a proper Bluetooth keyboard. Everything else is touch.

Infos

  1. Connect your Android smartphone via VPN: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/securely-connect-your-android-smartphone-via-vpn/
  2. iOS: Setting up VPN: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1424
  3. ConnectBot: https://code.google.com/p/connectbot/
  4. KeePassDroid: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.android.keepass
  5. android-xserver: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.darkside.XServer
  6. Hacker's Keyboard: https://code.google.com/p/hackerskeyboard/
  7. Apple console: http://www.zinger-soft.com/iSSH_features.html
  8. PocketCloud: http://www.pocketcloud.com/remotedesktop#tab-video
  9. 2X Client: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tux.client&hl=en
  10. Mocha VNC Lite: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mocha-vnc-lite/id284984448?mt=8, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dk.mochsoft.vnc&hl=en
  11. NX chroot: http://www.nerdenmeister.org/2012/11/07/nx-on-android/
  12. NoMachine: http://www.nomachine.com/download
  13. TeamViewer: http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/
  14. Cura-SysAdmin: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cura
  15. ES File Explorer: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.estrongs.android.pop
  16. FileExplorer: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fileexplorer/id499470113?mt=8
  17. FileExplorer Free: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fileexplorer-free/id510282524?mt=8
  18. Fing: http://www.overlooksoft.com/fing
  19. AndFTP: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=lysesoft.andftp
  20. AndSMB: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=lysesoft.andsmb
  21. Wifi Analyzer: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer
  22. Nagios/Icinga mobile: http://www.nagios.org/download/frontends
  23. WiFinspect: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.opticiancms.wifiprobe
  24. zAnti: http://zantiapp.com/anti.html#
  25. Android Forensics with Volatility und LiME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khnas55TV0w

The Author

Holger Gantikow studied computer science at the University of Furtwangen and is a Senior Systems Engineer at Science + Computing in Tübingen, Germany. Holger deals with the complexity of heterogeneous systems in CAE computation environments and serves customers with technical and scientific applications.

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