TinySSH has released an early prototype of an SSH tunnel suitable for securing MUD servers!


My recent e-mail exchange with Jan Mojžíš ( https://tinyssh.org/ ) has been a great success and he finally implemented my suggested improvements to his TinySSH project under a currently very early and briefly tested git branch.

The implications of this development are significant for the MUDding community because MUD servers can now easily provide a fully secure communication channel to their players using the SSH protocol as a wrapper to the insecure plaintext stream.

To connect to such a MUD server over SSH is rather trivial to anyone who has used Linux before. All you need to really write is a command that goes like this: ssh -p 4000 examplemud.com, or alternatively, if the MUD is also available over port 22, you could simply write ssh examplemud.com and it works.

If you are a MUD server admin and you are reading this, then look at the below commands that are necessary for enabling SSH for your MUD:

Run this once to generate a key for your SSH connections:
./tinysshd-makekey ./keydir

Now fire up a tcpserver to enable SSH for incoming connections on port 7777:

tcpserver -HRDl0 7777 ./tinysshtunneld -v ./keydir stonia.ttu.ee 4000

The above command makes tcpserver listen on TCP port 7777 and for each incoming connection it spawns a tinysshtunneld which accepts anonymous SSH clients, uses the key you generated earlier and acts as a proxy between your SSH client and your MUD server (stonia.ttu.ee 4000 in this example).

I have already enabled this for the MUD I’m developing ( ssh mud.sndd.io ).

Here is the tinysshtunnel git branch:

And, to give a bit of back story, it all started from this pull request I created a bit more than a year ago:

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering then YES, I know about stunnel4 (SSL based alternative) and I don’t like it. It is not as convenient as SSH. For starters, ssh is only 3 letters to write while stunnel4 is 8 and requires a tedious set of parameters to achieve the same goal as ssh. So, for those who have used telnet to connect to their favorite MUDs in the past, ssh really is like the next logical step.

That said, let me know if you have any questions or if you need help setting this up on your MUD server.