File transfers are among the most important Internet transactions. All Internet applications support file transfer in one form or another. In email, MIME attachments can take virtually any form, including executables and archives. HTTP supports file transfers with aplomb: “loading a web page” actually entails the downloading and displaying of a multitude of text, graphic, and even executable code files by your browser. Even Internet Relay Chat can be used to transfer files between chatters.
When all is said and done, however, email, HTTP, and IRC are all designed to handle relatively small chunks of data. This chapter covers tools and protocols specifically designed for transferring large files and large quantities of files.
The File Transfer Protocol
(FTP) in particular is
one of the oldest and (still) most useful methods for TCP/IP file
transfers. Accordingly, this chapter covers both general FTP security
and specific techniques for securing the ProFTPD FTP server. But FTP
isn’t the best tool for every bulk-data-transfer
job, so we’ll also cover RCP, SCP, and rsync. These,
unlike FTP, can be encrypted with the help of Secure Shell or
Stunnel, covered in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5,
What would we do without FTP? You can use FTP to install Linux, download software from public archives, and share files with friends and colleagues. It’s both venerable and ...