In addition to its Web-based research tools, Silo can be configured to permit command-line research using an XTerm command-line interface. The Silo XTerm implementation is configured with enough tools to enable you to establish a non-attributed Secure Shell (ssh) session on a remote server, and to perform basic network diagnostics in the local XTerm instance. As with all Silo products, the XTerm tool is built with security researchers in mind.

Configuring XTerm in Silo

  1. Open a Toolbox or Silo session. If you don’t see the XTerm icon in the Dock, XTerm is not enabled for your profile. Contact your administrator for access.
  2. Click the grid Menu icon at the bottom of the Dock to open available apps.
  3. Click the gear icon at the top-right of the Available Apps pop-up to make settings available. The app icons now show a white-on-green gear icon.
  4. Click the XTerm icon to open the Manage App Details screen for the feature.
  5. If your administrator has preconfigured your account, you may not have permission to edit the account. If so, you won’t see any app details, but you will see a red bar advising you to contact your administrator.
  6. If you do have permission to edit the account, click the Edit button that appears at the lower right of the Manage App Details screen.
  7. In the first ld_rsa field, enter an RSA private key of a strength (length in bits) that conforms to your organization’s standards. Check with your administrator if you need help creating an RSA private key. Enter your user name on the ssh server you want to connect to, and that server’s IP address.
  8. Options: Depending on how often you expect to use the XTerm app, you can pin or unpin it from the Dock. You can also set the XTerm app to launch whenever you open Silo.
  9. Click Save, then Done(to leave Settings mode) and the navicon at bottom right of the Settings window to return to Silo.

Using XTerm in Silo

Clicking the XTerm icon opens an XTerm session.In the XTerm window, you can perform a limited set of operations from the lshell (limited shell) tool set, specifically:

  • clear
    The clear command simply wipes the existing characters off the screen and provides a fresh cursor prompt.
  • exit
    The exit command closes the open shell. If you aren’t logged into another server, the exit command ends the XTerm session.
  • help
    The help command lists all available commands.
  • history
    The history command lists all entries made by the current user in the current session. The history buffer lasts between XTerm sessions, but is purged when the Silo or Toolbox session ends.
  • lpath
    The lpath command lists allowed and forbidden directory paths. By default, you are limited to one directory and have no access to any other directories.
  • lsudo
    The lsudo command lists all commands that you can access as a super user. All sudo commands are prohibited by default.
  • ping
    You can use ping as a simple diagnostic tool to verify that the site you wish to contact is available.
  • ssh
    Secure Shell (ssh) is a secure, remote command-line shell. Use ssh to log in to sites you wish to access from the command line.
  • ssh-add
    Use the ssh-add command to inspect and manage your ssh agent’s security and encryption features.
  • tracepath
    As with ping, tracepath (analogous to traceroute) is a simple tool that can help you test which path packets use to travel to a selected host, identifying each hop along the way.

Once you open an ssh session, you can use whatever commands are allowed in the host you’ve accessed. While Silo offers the ability to operate securely in remote shells, it does not permit file transfer to or from your computer (FTP/SFTP is not offered). Additionally, the session is launched from an Authentic8-affiliated site, and is not attributable to any one researcher, entity, or point of origin.

Additional Notes

Please Contact Authentic8 Support if you have additional questions or concerns.