Telnet (Telecommunication network) is a network protocol used on the Internet or local area network (LAN) connections. It was developed in 1969 beginning with RFC 15 and standardized as IETF STD 8, one of the first Internet standards.
The term telnet also refers to software which implements the client part of the protocol. Telnet clients are available for virtually all platforms. Most network equipment and OSes with a TCP/IP stack support some kind of Telnet service server for their remote configuration (including ones based on Windows NT). Because of security issues with Telnet, its use has waned as it is replaced by the use of SSH for remote access.
Most often, a user will be telnetting to a Unix-like server system or a simple network device such as a router. For example, a user might "telnet in from home to check his mail at school". In doing so, he would be using a telnet client to connect from his computer to one of his servers. Once the connection is established, he would then log in with his account information and execute operating system commands remotely on that computer, such as ls or cd.
On many systems, the client may also be used to make interactive raw-TCP sessions. It is commonly believed that a telnet session which does not include an IAC (character 255) is functionally identical. This is not the case however due to special NVT (Network Virtual Terminal) rules such as the requirement for a bare CR (ASCII 13) to be followed by a NULL (ASCII 0).
Initially, On March 5th, 1973, a meeting was held at UCLA where "New Telnet" was defined in two NIC The protocol has many extensions, some of which have been adopted as Internet standards. IETF standards STD 27 through STD 32 define various extensions, most of which are extremely common. Other extensions are on the IETF standards track as proposed standards.
When Telnet was initially developed in 1969, most users of networked computers were in the computer departments of academic institutions, or at large private and government research facilities. In this environment, security was not nearly as much of a concern as it became after the bandwidth explosion of the 1990s. The rise in the number of people with access to the Internet, and by extension, the number of people attempting to crack other people's servers made encrypted alternatives much more of a necessity.
Experts in computer security, such as SANS Institute, and the members of the comp.os.linux.security newsgroup recommend that the use of Telnet for remote logins should be discontinued under all normal circumstances, for the following reasons:
These security-related shortcomings have seen the usage of the Telnet protocol drop rapidly, especially on the public Internet, in favor of the ssh protocol, first released in 1995. SSH provides much of the functionality of telnet, with the addition of strong encryption to prevent sensitive data such as passwords from being intercepted, and public key authentication, to ensure that the remote computer is actually who it claims to be.
As has happened with other early Internet protocols, extensions to the Telnet protocol provide TLS security and SASL authentication that address the above issues. However, most Telnet implementations do not support these extensions; and there has been relatively little interest in implementing these as SSH is adequate for most purposes. The main advantage of TLS-Telnet would be the ability to use certificate-authority signed server certificates to authenticate a server host to a client that does not yet have the server key stored. In SSH, there is a weakness in that the user must trust the first session to a host when it has not yet acquired the server key.
This approach has limitations as Telnet clients speak is close to, but not equivalent to, raw mode (due to terminal control handshaking and the special rules regarding 377 and 15). Thus, other software such as nc (netcat) or socat on Unix (or PuTTY on Windows) are finding greater favor with some system administrators for testing purposes, as they can be called with arguments not to send any terminal control handshaking data. Also netcat does not distort the 377 octet, which allows raw access to TCP socket, unlike any standard-compliant Telnet software.
Telnet is popular with: