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How to Access UNIX Information on Websites Using a PC

Updated on October 26, 2016
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.



Each computer and server configuration is unique, assuming you didn't keep the standard image unchanged. Not all websites are hosted on a Unix server; some may be hosted on a Microsoft Windows platform.

Additionally, there are dozens of varieties of Unix (i.e. SunOS, IRIX, HP, IBM, dozens of Linux types). The website interface is only one of dozens of methods for remote access to a server. The type of client machine is irrelevant; it does not matter if the client machine is a PC, Macintosh, tablet, or a mobile device.

Methods to Access Unix Information on Websites Via a PC

To access the operating system information from the website requires proper authorization. There are command scripts that can allow you to enter shell commands to return system results. However, these commands require someone to specifically move or reference system files from the website directories.

A user can add a directory soft link or symbolic link from their home directory to the root of the file system. Many web hosting software applications will follow soft directory links and return the following directory list. However, you must have command-line access to the machine to establish this security vulnerability.

Weak IT security can allow others to access the operating system.
Weak IT security can allow others to access the operating system. | Source

How Weak Security Enables Website Access Via PCs

Another common security vulnerability that is exploited to access UNIX information on a PC is to have weak usernames and passwords. This security vulnerability includes administrator accounts used for security access to server programs. In some cases, the original default credentials have not changed. System administrators should change the administrative passwords prior to putting the machine on the internet.

The most common web hosting application is Apache. An early machine that is running an old version of Apache could have an un-patched security vulnerability that would allow someone to access UNIX information on websites hosted on a PC. However, if this is the case, it is recommended that the system administrator patch the security vulnerability.

What Should You Do Instead of Accessing a Website Via a PC

If remote work is needed to perform maintenance on the server or update the website, then the website interface is not the best method. For command line shell access, users should access the system via secure shell (SSH) such as SSH-1 and SSH-2.

You can also set up monitoring software to report the status of the website to the administrator without having to access UNIV information on the website using a PC.


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