RDP vs pcAnywhere tradeoffs?



I've tried both Remote Desktop and pcAnywhere. RDP is much faster. I'm sure
pcAnywhere would do the same if they could and do it well and safely. So is
there some big trade-off in exchange for the speed of RDP? I have a low
security application and can use passwords and encryption to give moderate
security. Is there some other trade-off?


Bill Sanderson

Read some detailed information about RDP.


RDP is encrypted with RC4, and the default keystrength between XP Pro boxes,
or XP Pro and Windows Server 2003 (or, for that matter Windows 2000 Server
with current service pack levels) is 128 bits.

There have been a few patches issued for security issues with RDP--there was
a flaw in the encryption implementation early on, and I'm not sure about
others. You can bet that it is being looked at more intensely than
PCAnywhere ever was, though.

I've seen clear statements that RDP used by itself can be vulnerable to a
man-in-the-middle attack. This can be avoided by using it within a VPN
tunnel. I've seen very little discussion of this, and heard of no actual
instances of it happening--which proves little except that this is probably
something that is more likely an issue for higher-stakes players than my
non-profit clientele.

I wish somebody who knows more about the details of this than I do might
comment--I think the trade-offs you speak of are probably quite a bit more
complex, and not one-sided. Microsoft has inserted this mechanism deeply
within the OS--they are building on the foundation of Terminal Services,
everything from multimedia extension devices, to the fast-user-switching
facility in XP, to Remote Assistance, to Terminal Services for remote
adminstration work. To say nothing of future work on Terminal Services for
serving up applications to clients. The ability to hook the underpinnings
deeply into the OS, and to get it right, so that it neither impacts
performance, nor crashes the machine, even with the plethora of supported
hardware and software that constitutes Windows, is quite an achievement.
So yeah--they have an advantage Symantec doesn't have--they own the OS--but
they are also taking a risk--lots of extra work building a complex piece
into the fabric. But look at the payoff--what those features allow for both
in terms of new abilities for the users, and new opportunities for Microsoft
to sell new pieces--such as Media Center extension devices, Media Center
Edition PC's, and licensing for Terminal Services for application serving.

(jeez--who can we get to speak up for the other side? I do know folks that
find that the very explicit file-transfer paradigm in PCAnywhere is easier
for them to deal with than the way Remote Desktop does it.)

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question