Secure HTML5 Web Terminal Emulator

Brooks, S. (2017). Secure HTML5 Web Terminal Emulator (BEng (Hons) CSF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Russell, G., Leimich, P.).


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Abstract

Many modern technologies are moving towards cloud and web based solutions in favour of downloadable applications, bringing a range of advantages for users. This project proposes to implement the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol utilising HTML5 based technologies. The aim of this project is to investigate and develop a web application allowing users to remotely administrate SSH servers over an unsecure network connection.

This application relies heavily on the use of various crytographic libraries which are used to verify, encrypt and decrypt data sent across the network interface. A websocket proxy was adapted to bridge the gap between websockets and TCP sockets. The produced web application utilised an event driven implicit invocation model to improve responsiveness and performance. The project was then evaluated using usability testing, performance testing and software quality metrics.

Pre-authentication stages of the SSH client on average were 721.36ms which was 72.6ms faster than a python implementation under the same conditions. The mean round trip response time for each key press performed by a user was found to be 3ms. From these results it was determined that an interactive SSH terminal session can be implemented with HTML5 based web technologies. Further work could be done to improve the performance and response time of the web application as well as to pave the way for implementing further protocols on the web based on the SSH transport layer.
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