Thursday, October 11, 2007

Telnet now optional in Vista

Today I went to use telnet to test some server code I was working on. Except there's no telnet!?

A quick web search tells me it's not "turned on" by default, you have to go to:

Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off

Microsoft's justification for this is to decrease the "footprint" of Windows and to increase security. Neither really makes much sense. The telnet client is a tiny program and having it in a directory on the path versus some other "turned off" directory doesn't seem to change the "footprint" much. The code to turn it on and off is probably bigger than telnet itself. And I'm not sure how a telnet client is much of a security risk. Any attack that gets far enough into your system to use your telnet client is probably not going to be stopped by it being "turned off", especially since it could easily "turn it on" from the command line. (I can see leaving the telnet service turned off, but that's not what I'm talking about.)

I'm really tempted to do some Microsoft bashing at this point, but I'll restrain myself.

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