Sunday, April 6, 2008

FTP over SSL in FileZilla

I've been using FileZilla as an FTP server for some time but decided to go the next step and configure it for secure FTP. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this by using VPNs like Himachi or SSH servers like OpenSSH. I decided for simplicity to go with FTP over TLS/SSL. There are differences between SFTP and FTPS as described here but FTPS seems secure enough for my needs and easy to implement.

  1. On the FileZilla Server inteface I selected Edit->Settings.
  2. Under SSL/TLS Settings I first Generated a new certificate and saved it somewhere on my hard disk that is out of the way, yet I'd know where to find it. I filled in all the information and selected Generate. This created 1 file that is a key and a certificate.
  3. Next I "Enabled SSL/TLS support"
  4. for the Private key file and the Certificate file I chose the file I generated in step 2.
  5. I typed in a password, but I'm not sure what it's for.
  6. OK
  7. On the Filezille Client I went to the my hosts tool to save these settings for my server.
  8. port = picks the default
  9. ServerType = FTPES - FTP over explicit TLS/SSL
  10. LogonType = normal; user=regular FTP user; password=regular FTP password
  11. OK
  12. Finally I configured my NAT routers to forward the new port (as listed in FileZilla Server settings) to the FTP server.
  13. During the first first use of each client I have to accept the certificate, but from then on it's good to go.

This worked like a champ. Since it was so easy I'm sure there is something unsecure about it, but it's better than wide open FTP.

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