ConnectWise Control

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ConnectWise Control
Connectwise Control Black Logo.png
Original author(s) Elsinore Technologies
Developer(s) Connectwise Inc.
Stable release
6.6 / 15 March 2018; 3 months ago (2018-03-15)
Operating system Windows
Linux
OS X
Android
iOS
Type Remote desktop software
License Proprietary
Website www.connectwise.com/software/control

ConnectWise Control is a self-hosted remote desktop software application owned by Tampa, Florida-based software developer Connectwise Inc., that has remote support, remote access, and remote meeting capabilities. ConnectWise Control was originally developed by Elsinore Technologies in 2008 under the name ScreenConnect.

History[edit]

Connectwise Control

Elsinore Technologies originally developed ScreenConnect in 2008 as an add-on to their RMM Software IssueNet in order to assist in providing remote support to end users. Following favourable feedback from users, the company later decided to distribute the software as a standalone product.[1]

Acquisition by ConnectWise[edit]

On February 11, 2015, PSA company ConnectWise announced their acquisition of the ScreenConnect software in order to improve the remote control features of the latest release of their RMM Software, LabTech.[2] ScreenConnect, LLC announced that, despite being acquired by ConnectWise, they would continue to operate under their original name in addition to offering their software as a standalone product.[3]

Starting in early 2017, ConnectWise changed the name of ScreenConnect to ConnectWise Control, saying that this was to simplify their software under one company.[4]

Product[edit]

How it works[edit]

The product is a self-hosted server application[5][6] that permits the primary user to host the software on their own servers, PC, virtual machine (VM), or virtual private server (VPS). Once installed, the central web application can be made visible inside and outside of the local area network (LAN). ConnectWise Control has a proprietary protocol and exposes an open architecture structure that can be utilized by users to implement custom plugins, scripting, or various integrations.

A generic use model would start with a host initiating a session through the central web application. A participant would then join a session by clicking on an email link or via the guest page of the application. An unattended client can be created and deployed to a targeted machine without the need for human intervention.[7][8]

Features[edit]

Most commonly expected features for a product in this arena are present. Examples include reboot and reconnect, drag and drop file transfer, screen recording, safe mode support, multiple monitor, command line access, wake-on-LAN, VoIP, chat, and a custom toolbox for quick deployment of support tools.

In addition to features that facilitate communication, ConnectWise Control also offers complete control over branding and customization of the product design, logo, color scheme, icons, text strings, and localization.

Security[edit]

The software is self-hosted providing users the ability to control the flow of data behind their own firewall and security implementations. ConnectWise Control uses 256-bit AES encryption to package and ship data, supports two factor authentication, has server level video auditing, and granular role-based security. Forms-based and Windows Authentication are optional authentication methods for security purposes.

Compatibility[edit]

Host (presenter or technician): can utilize Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS or Android operating systems. Guest (customer or participant): can connect from Mac, Linux or Windows. ConnectWise Control can also be utilized to remotely support Android devices, with complete view and control available for devices manufactured by Samsung.

Technology[edit]

Server[edit]

The on site ConnectWise Control server is self-hosted, and runs as a .NET Framework application. On Microsoft Windows it runs as a set of services. On Linux and OS X it runs as a daemon on a bundled fork[9] of the Mono Runtime. Since 2015, ConnectWise Control launched a cloud platform, providing another way to use the ConnectWise Control software with no local server installation required.

The ConnectWise Control server runs as a set of three discrete services:

  • The Web Server service is an outward-facing ASP.NET HTTP application and serves as a portal for both technicians and their end-users
  • The Relay service provides outward-facing in-session communication and operates on TCP sockets. Communication is encrypted with the AES-256 block cipher.
  • The Session Manager service provides a data store for both the Web Server and Relay services. It is implemented as WCF SOAP web service.

Clients[edit]

ConnectWise Control sessions are arranged through the web application. Once users join sessions, a ConnectWise Control client is launched to connect to the Relay service. ConnectWise Control targets clients based on device and operating system:

  • The .NET client is targeted to Microsoft Windows computers and is activated with a custom URI Scheme which starts the session from an installed handler on the controller's workstation.[10] For end-users joining a support session, a variety of bootstrappers can be used including Microsoft's ClickOnce technology.[11]
  • The Java client is targeted to OS X and Linux computers and is activated with Java Web Start.
  • The iOS client is targeted to iPhones and iPads.
  • The Android client is targeted to Android phones and tablets.

Licensing model[edit]

ConnectWise Control is commercial software. Licenses sit in a pool and are available to any user on any workstation. There are three types of license: a single concurrent that allows one simultaneous connection per license, an unlimited which allows an unlimited number of concurrent sessions as long as all sessions are utilizing the same server, and enterprise licenses which provide flexible options for SaaS, multi-user, or custom functionality.

The concurrent license types are bought as a one-time purchase, with lifetime support. A subscription model is used for updates, which are free during the first year after purchase, after which the "update license" must be renewed. Pricing for updates depends on when the update license was last-renewed.[12]

Misuse[edit]

Like many remote control applications, ConnectWise Control offers a free trial period. Many thieves operating the technical support scam misuse the free trials offered by ConnectWise Control (under the ScreenConnect name), TeamViewer, AnyDesk, Ammyy Admin, etc. by telephoning gullible victims and persuading them to install or connect to the remote control client and allow the caller to control their computer.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About ScreenConnect Remote Support Software and ScreenConnect Software, LLC". ScreenConnect. ScreenConnect, LLC. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "ConnectWise Acquires ScreenConnect". ConnectWise. ConnectWise. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "ScreenConnect joins the ConnectWise family!". ScreenConnect. ScreenConnect, LLC. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "ScreenConnect is Now ConnectWise® Control™". Connectwise. Connectwise. Retrieved 3 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Wareprise Remote Support Software
  6. ^ Ohlhorst, Frank (June 9, 2013). eWeek ScreenConnect Shifts Remote Support From the Cloud Back to the Desktop
  7. ^ Jon Jacobi PCWorld Reviews ScreenConnect
  8. ^ http://www.screenconnect.com/LearnMore.aspx
  9. ^ https://github.com/screenconnect/mono
  10. ^ "ScreenConnect 5.2 Release Log". ScreenConnect Remote Support Software User Forum. ScreenConnect, LLC. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Softsea reviews ScreenConnect
  12. ^ "Upgrade your ScreenConnect Remote Support Software". ScreenConnect. ScreenConnect, LLC. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Sean Gallagher (28 January 2017). ""You took so much time to joke me"—two hours trolling a Windows support scammer". Ars technica. Retrieved 8 July 2017.  Details of a technical support scam misusing ConnectWise Control with the (now discontinued) URL FIX2X.SCREENCONNECT.COM.
  14. ^ Technical support scammers (8 July 2017). "Fake ConnectWise Control login purporting to be British Telecom support (note name of site)". bttechnicaldepartment.screenconnect.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. 

External links[edit]

Product homepage:

Documentation: