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SecureFX at MIT - Quick Start Guide

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About This Document

This document provides instructions for using SecureFX in the MIT environment. It is a companion to SecureFX at MIT, which provides an overview of SecureFX, system requirements, known issues, and information about how SecureFX is supported at MIT.

This document is not meant to be a general purpose guide to using SecureFX's many features. SecureFX provides detailed online help for this purpose.

This document assumes that you have already downloaded and installed the MIT-customized version of SecureFX (available via MIT Software Distribution).

Note: The sample screen images in this document include red "privacy bars" (Red privacy bar) to prevent viewing of sensitive information.


Aside from a few system requirements, there are no additional prerequisites for using SecureFX at MIT. However, you must connect to a server that supports SSH2 in order to make a secure connection. Most servers on MITnet support the SSH2 protocol. If you are unsure whether a server supports SSH2, contact the server administrator before you connect.

Since SecureFX uses SSH2 for secure connectivity, Kerberos is not required to use SecureFX.

Configuring SecureFX

The MIT download of SecureFX has been pre-configured with a session profile for you to log on to your Athena home directory. Other users on the machine and Windows Domain users need to run the "Create Shortcut to Athena" tool in Start > Programs > MIT SecureCRT > Tools > Create Shortcut to Athena. Click the Create Shortcut button to complete the configuration.

For help with configuring a session to another server, see the Getting Started section in SecureFX's online help system.

Summary of Session Settings

Session Name: Athena
Protocol: SFTP
Use firewall to connect: checked
Port: 22
Username: your Kerberos username
Authentication (primary): your Kerberos password

Connecting Securely

This section provides step-by-step instructions to help you establish a secure connection to using SecureFX.

To establish a secure connection to Athena using SecureFX, do the following:

  1. Start SecureFX. Click Start > Programs > MIT SecureFX > SecureFX.
    Result: SecureFX opens and a Connect window appears with Athena highlighted under FTP sites. Notice that there is an Explorer-like window labeled Local (YourComputerName) containing a view of your Windows Desktop underneath the Connect window.
    SecureFX and Connect windows

  2. Select Athena if not already selected. Click Connect.
    Result: The first time you attempt to log on to the Athena server, you will be prompted with the New Host Key dialog. ( is an alias, so the warning is okay).
    New Host Key dialog

  3. The Server's host key fingerprint (MD5 hash) for should be something like d4:2d:2d:bf:2d:b6:e1:85:f2:cc:59:ee:f0:29:61:1f. If this checks out, Click Accept and Save.
    Result: You are prompted to enter your SSH username.
    Username prompt window

  4. Enter your SSH username in the Username field. This is the same as your Athena username. Optionally, you may also check the Save username box to have SecureFX remember your username for subsequent logons.
    Result: The Username field contains the Username you entered and the Save username box has been checked (if desired).
    Complete username window

  5. Click OK.
    Result: You are prompted to enter your Secure Shell password.
    Password prompt window

  6. Enter your Athena password in the Password field.
    Result: As you type your password, a star (*) is entered for each letter in your password, protecting it from being seen by anyone nearby. IS&T recommends that you not check Save password.
    Complete password prompt window
  7. Click OK.
    Note: You may be prompted to enter your password a second time. If so, enter your password again (and click OK).
    Result: You are now logged on to Athena. Notice that within the SecureFX window, the Athena directory structure is displayed in a separate window to the right. The directory structure of your local machine remains in the window to the left.
    SecureFX window

Downloading or Uploading a File

Like many graphical Windows file transfer programs, SecureFX provides a two-pane interface that is similar to Windows Explorer. The left pane provides a view of the your local hard disk and the right pane provides a view of the file system that belongs to the server to which you are connected (e.g., Athena).

Uploading a file to Athena

  1. Follow the procedure in the previous section of this document to connect to your Athena home directory securely.
  2. In the Local (YourComputerName) window, browse to and open the folder/directory that contains the files you want to upload.
    Result: A folder that contains a file you want to upload is selected. In the example below, the user navigated to C:upload which contains a single file named myfile.txt.
    Upload window

  3. In the remote/session window (e.g., Athena), browse to and open the folder/directory to which you want to upload the local files.
    Result: The folder to which you want to upload files is selected. In the example below, the user navigated to the username/www directory (which is currently empty).
    Remote/session window

  4. You can now initiate the file transfer using either the "drag-and-drop" or "cut-and-paste" method.
    • Drag-and-drop: Using the left mouse button, click on the icon for the file you want to transfer and continue to hold down the left mouse button. While still holding down the left mouse button, move the mouse cursor so that it is positioned over the right-hand pane of the remote window. Release the left mouse button to "drop" the file on the remote window.
    • Copy-and-paste: Select/highlight the files that you want to transfer and choose Edit > Copy. Then, select the folder/directory in the remote window to which you want to upload the files, and choose Edit > Paste.
      Result: A separate window temporarily appears and shows the progress of the transfer. When the transfer completes, the target window will automatically refresh and the transferred files will be visible in the right-hand pane of that window.
      SecureFX windows

      Note for Advanced Users: The copy/paste or drag-and-drop methods may also be used to initiate file and folder transfers directly between remote FTP servers.

Logging Out

When you have finished uploading/downloading files, be sure to log out of Athena. To do this, ensure that the Remote window is selected, then choose File > Disconnect.

To exit out of SecureFX, which will also prompt you to log you off (if connected), choose File > Exit.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

May 08, 2018

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