I recommend using Secure Shell (SSH) to help securely authenticate and encrypt the connection from a Web server to a database server. As long as the connection uses TCP, you can implement SSH with port redirection for any type of service. All data can use the public-key authentication mechanisms of the SSH channel and will be encrypted as it passes between the systems. You need to put an SSH client on the Web server and an SSH server on the database server. You can get free, open source implementations of SSH at www.openssh.com or commercial versions (including Windows versions) at www.ssh.com. When using SSH, please make sure to use SSH Protocol Version 2, as the earlier incarnation of the protocol has security flaws.
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This was first published in June 2002