Remote Assistance

The NetPhantom Remote Assistance feature consists of three parts:

  • the developer's end integrated into NetPhantom Editor,
  • a Remote Assistance Server,
  • the support-side of Remote Assistance.

First of all, NetPhantom Editor must be enabled for Remote Assistance. To do so, please contact NetPhantom Support. This is required for security reasons. The developer's end of Remote Assistance establishes a 128 bit encrypted and secured SSL connection with the Remote Assistance Server (for example Proxy support by tunneled SSL or Socks is provided if required. The connection has a Name or ID associated with a User ID and Password. With these three parameters, the support-side of Remote Assistance also establishes an SSL secured connection with the Remote Assistance Server that creates a connection to both ends if the three parameters matches. This effectively establishes a tunnel between the two ends: developer and support. Several communication links can be established in parallel through this tunnel. At the developer's end, a connection initiated from the support-side can only be directed to a particular host or address (typically localhost, i.e. the local developer machine) along with a specific port number (5900 for VNC).

NetPhantom installs the VNC Server (Free Edition) software from RealVNC that can be used to enable NetPhantom Support to help a developer "drive" his machine interactively to help solve an issue or for educational purposes. It can also be used by a developer to show support what happens in the system when an application is running.

The dialog box below is shown when the menu item Help - Remote Assistance is selected. The parameters that are common to all connections are the Remote Assistance Server (its host name), the User ID and the Password. These settings are stored in-memory if the dialog box is closed and brought back up. When the NetPhantom Editor is closed, these settings are saved in server.ini, apart of the Password for security reasons. Started connections remain open until explicitly stopped, regardless if the dialog box is closed. When NetPhantom Editor is closed, the connections are also closed (and the settings saved in server.ini).

Above you can see that 4 connections are defined, HTTP (80), HTTPS (443), VNC (5900) and VNC for Java client (5800), where the HTTP and VNC ports are started, but no communication links from the support-side are yet established. Once at least one connection is started, the three entry fields (Assistance host, User ID and Password) are disabled.

To launch or stop the VNC Server, click on the VNC Server button. Follow this link for more information on VNC Server Settings and how to configure it.


Back-up alternative

Sometimes the configuration of the corporate network makes it difficult to set up a connection like the one needed for this kind of remote assistance. In that case, an alternative way of setting up the connection can be used: VNCProxy. This is done in the following way:

  1. On the client side the VNC Server is initialized by clicking the terminal on the web page.
  2. An applet is initiated and SID (Server IDentity) and a password is displayed.
  3. The SID and password are communicated to NetPhantom support.
  4. NetPhantom support connects to the VNC server with the provided credentials in the same as described above.
  5. The session is closed by either:
    • The VNC Server (client side) is terminated by right-clicking on the VNC icon in the toolbar and selecting "Close VNC Server".
    • The VNC Viewer (NetPhantom support side) is terminated.

This form of connection is, like the one described above, encrypted (AES).