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Old Dec 17, 2012, 08:08 PM   #1
oYx
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Share screen without password set

My account on a family Mac does not have a password set, and I am trying to VNC into that account using vnc://user@ip. However, when I try to proceed, it asks me for a password. Leaving the password field empty and hitting enter wouldn't do it too.

Any solutions without the need to set a password?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 06:25 AM   #2
switon
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Re: VNC...

Hi oYx,

VNC (Screen Sharing) may ask for two different "passwords", depending upon how it is configured. Is it asking for your user password or is it asking for the machine authentication Shared Secret? Again, VNC can be configured to use certificates, shared secrets, passwords, CryptoCards, etc. for authentication. The machine is authenticated and the user is authenticated.

Lastly, I understand you don't want to have a password on your account on the family Mac, but I hope that your username is long and complex and not in the "script bunnies's" dictionaries. Or maybe this family Mac is not connected to the Internet? If your family Mac is connected to the Internet and you have VNC access from the Internet, then having an account without a password is not such a good idea, as I can almost guarantee that your machine will be hit by the script bunnies that try to login via VNC to machines using dictionaries of common names and passwords. Also, your family Mac may allow SSH access (port 22) and this will also attract script bunnies attempting to guess usernames and passwords. I guess what I'm saying is that in today's world having an account, even a Guest account, without a password is a potentially dangerous thing.

Regards,
Switon
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 07:20 AM   #3
oYx
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Wow. Thanks for the detailed reply!

The reason why there are no passwords (except for the admin account) is to encourage my folks to fast-switch between their accounts with as little friction as possible. They used to share one account on a Windows machine, and it was quite a nightmare syncing their 2 iPads and 2 iPhones to one iTunes.

Of course, I use VNC to sometimes manage that Mac, and this will eventually have to happen via the Internet when I move away soon.

If the no-password approach remains, how can I share screen without password? Do I need to go under the hood for this?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 07:34 AM   #4
switon
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RE: VNC, Screen Sharing...

Hi,

To be honest, I've never tried connecting via VNC/Screen Sharing without using some form of authentication, so I can't answer that question (and I don't want to test it since I don't want to create an account without a password).

But a solution to your problem would be to create an account with password, and then allow Remote Management to your family Mac for this new password account (and not allow Remote Management to your parent's password-free account). You can Screen Share even when someone else is logged into the family Mac...meaning your parental units can be logged into their password-free account, and you can Screen Share from the Internet by logging into your password account. When you do this you will be given the option of Sharing their screen or starting a new windowserver for your VNC session. This means that you can share their screen to help them do something, or you can have your own GUI screen for performing administration tasks even when your parents are logged in to their account -- they won't even know you are also logged in.

So, as I said, I have never attempted to do VNC without a password, so I don't know how this works. On the other hand, I do VNC all the time from Macs to Macs, from Macs to Linux boxes, and from Linux boxes to Macs, and all of this works without problems.

Good luck,
Switon

P.S. I'd still try to get your folks to use a password, especially when you leave. If their machine is compromised, you won't be around to figure this out for them.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 07:50 AM   #5
oYx
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That's the way I have been doing it. Interestingly, I can already do a remote login to my account (admin) without enabling Remote Management.

I wanted a more direct login to their screens because I don't know why my account becomes unresponsive sometimes after a remote login. If I am at the Mac and switch over to my account, nothing responds and I have either force reboot the machine. If I am lucky, it would respond if I VNC into my account instead, but that doesn't always work.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:21 AM   #6
switon
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RE: remote login (SSH)

Hi oYx,

Remote Login is different from Remote Management. Remote Login is SSH on port 22 by default, Remote Management is VNC on pets 3283 and 5900, by default. Access to Remote Login and Remote Management are configured separately.

Switon
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:23 AM   #7
mwhities
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I set all my home systems up with no password and can connect to my VPN and then ScreenShare to any system. It pops up asking for a password but, I just hit Enter and it logs in.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:27 AM   #8
switon
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RE: good...

mwhities: Interesting...So no passwords? ...and what is your IP address? ...just teasing!

Switon
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
mwhities: Interesting...So no passwords? ...and what is your IP address? ...just teasing!

Switon
Ha! The server has a 22+ character password in it. I HOPE that helps keep people out.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 09:38 AM   #10
switon
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RE: do you check your log files?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhities View Post
Ha! The server has a 22+ character password in it. I HOPE that helps keep people out.
Hi mwhities,

Do you routinely check your log files? I find that the script bunnies routinely attempt to "break in" on the VNC and SSH standard ports (it's the reason I don't use standard ports for remote logins).

And a 22+ character password! I'm impressed, as mine is only 18+ characters. Although I do use a 47+ character passphrase for my Public Key/Secret Key 2048 bit crypto...

Switon
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