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Chapter 22. Creating an FTP Server > Setting Up Anonymous FTP

Setting Up Anonymous FTP

As you've seen, setting up the FTP server to allow real users to have FTP access is not difficult. Unfortunately, it suffers from the basic design vulnerability of transmitting the user's information in clear text. In some instances, you can reduce this risk by setting up an anonymous FTP server instead.

Anonymous FTP servers allow users to connect, upload, and (potentially) download files without the use of a real-user user ID and password. Of course, this brings the risk that you will not know who is logging in to your system via the anonymous FTP service, and preventing unauthorized users from accessing the system is difficult if everyone is known only as “anonymous.” But if anonymous users can't do anything damaging or see any data that's private while so connected, this might be a good trade-off for the security of not allowing real user connections and the problems this brings. Anonymous FTP servers also are useful for enabling users with no account on your machine to acquire or provide information, such as to download product literature, or upload suggestions or possible modifications to a project on which you're working. In other words, anonymous FTP servers provide an easy cross-platform way to conveniently distribute or receive files.


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