Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Microsoft SharedView Beta

Microsoft has a new remote control / application sharing product in the pipeline called SharedView. I read about this in Flaphead back in May but at the time the download link did not work. Now it does - get it here.

SharedView seems to be a mix between Groove and gotomypc (and its siblings). SharedView always connects outbound to some servers. I assume they are Microsoft servers (see the note below) - but the IP addreses cannot be reversed looked up. And Google did not know of them.

PS> netstat -ao select-string 6556

UDP *:* 6556

(6556 is the PID of SharedView). It also has a connection to, and during startup. The UDP port cannot be used on my PC owing to Firewall restrictions and a Wireshark trace showed no UDP packages on this port.

Anyway, as it always connects outbound, you can use it in most places. Connecting to port 8000 may be a problem, I have not tested whether it can work without.

So where is this useful? Family assistance, peer-to-peer, help desk - especially when the users are outside the corporate network, consulting - can help customers or work on their computers without having a VPN connection. This is both security risk and a security advantage: The risk is having external persons using internal computers, the advantage is that SharedView limits the external person much more than any VPN connection.

SharedView does not redirect client drives - it only allows for remote clipboard access. This can be disabled in the options window. SharedView have a handout feature for transferring files, but you cannot directly access files. And to get control, the other end must grant you control.

Other highlights -
  • You have to log on with our Passport ID to use it.
  • 15 persons can be in a session
  • Cursors are tagged with user name
  • If you start the sharing session from Word, that application will be shared automatically. Even smarter is the fact, that tracked changes are turned on and if another user is granted control and changes the documents, those changes are tracked as being done by that user - cool!

Downsides -

  • Shows ads
  • Not officially supported on Vista - but works for me
  • Not supported on x64 - come on Microsoft, you can do better!
  • No Office Communicator integration (Messenger integration is there)

The note below
When browsing to IE gives a warning that the certificate does not match - but you cannot view the certificate. Continuing by clicking the red shield returns a 403 error - and again you cannot view the certificate. A shame. With Wireshark I could capture the TLSv1 Server Hello package and see the certificate CN which reads:

So I guess it is a real Microsoft server.

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