SSH(1) BSD General Commands Manual SSH(1)
ssh -- OpenSSH SSH client (remote login program)
ssh [-1246AaCfgKkMNnqsTtVvXxYy] [-b bind_address] [-c cipher_spec] [-D [bind_address:]port] [-E log_file] [-e escape_char] [-F configfile]
[-I pkcs11] [-i identity_file] [-L [bind_address:]port:host:hostport] [-l login_name] [-m mac_spec] [-O ctl_cmd] [-o option] [-p port]
[-Q cipher | cipher-auth | mac | kex | key] [-R [bind_address:]port:host:hostport] [-S ctl_path] [-W host:port]
[-w local_tun[:remote_tun]] [user@]hostname [command]
ssh (SSH client) is a program for logging into a remote machine and for executing commands on a remote machine. It is intended to replace
rlogin and rsh, and provide secure encrypted communications between two untrusted hosts over an insecure network. X11 connections and arbi-
trary TCP ports can also be forwarded over the secure channel.
ssh connects and logs into the specified hostname (with optional user name). The user must prove his/her identity to the remote machine
using one of several methods depending on the protocol version used (see below).
If command is specified, it is executed on the remote host instead of a login shell.
The options are as follows:
-1 Forces ssh to try protocol version 1 only.
-2 Forces ssh to try protocol version 2 only.
-4 Forces ssh to use IPv4 addresses only.
-6 Forces ssh to use IPv6 addresses only.
-A Enables forwarding of the authentication agent connection. This can also be specified on a per-host basis in a configuration file.
Agent forwarding should be enabled with caution. Users with the ability to bypass file permissions on the remote host (for the
agent's UNIX-domain socket) can access the local agent through the forwarded connection. An attacker cannot obtain key material from
the agent, however they can perform operations on the keys that enable them to authenticate using the identities loaded into the
-a Disables forwarding of the authentication agent connection.
Use bind_address on the local machine as the source address of the connection. Only useful on systems with more than one address.
-C Requests compression of all data (including stdin, stdout, stderr, and data for forwarded X11 and TCP connections). The compression
algorithm is the same used by gzip(1), and the ``level'' can be controlled by the CompressionLevel option for protocol version 1.
Compression is desirable on modem lines and other slow connections, but will only slow down things on fast networks. The default
value can be set on a host-by-host basis in the configuration files; see the Compression option.
Selects the cipher specification for encrypting the session.
Protocol version 1 allows specification of a single cipher. The supported values are ``3des'', ``blowfish'', and ``des''. 3des
(triple-des) is an encrypt-decrypt-encrypt triple with three different keys. It is believed to be secure. blowfish is a fast block
cipher; it appears very secure and is much faster than 3des. des is only supported in the ssh client for interoperability with
legacy protocol 1 implementations that do not support the 3des cipher. Its use is strongly discouraged due to cryptographic weak-
nesses. The default is ``3des''.
For protocol version 2, cipher_spec is a comma-separated list of ciphers listed in order of preference. See the Ciphers keyword in
ssh_config(5) for more information.
Specifies a local ``dynamic'' application-level port forwarding. This works by allocating a socket to listen to port on the local
side, optionally bound to the specified bind_address. Whenever a connection is made to this port, the connection is forwarded over
the secure channel, and the application protocol is then used to determine where to connect to from the remote machine. Currently
the SOCKS4 and SOCKS5 protocols are supported, and ssh will act as a SOCKS server. Only root can forward privileged ports. Dynamic
port forwardings can also be specified in the configuration file.
IPv6 addresses can be specified by enclosing the address in square brackets. Only the superuser can forward privileged ports. By
default, the local port is bound in accordance with the GatewayPorts setting. However, an explicit bind_address may be used to bind
the connection to a specific address. The bind_address of ``localhost'' indicates that the listening port be bound for local use
only, while an empty address or '*' indicates that the port should be available from all interfaces.
Append debug logs to log_file instead of standard error.
Sets the escape character for sessions with a pty (default: '~'). The escape character is only recognized at the beginning of a
line. The escape character followed by a dot ('.') closes the connection; followed by control-Z suspends the connection; and fol-
lowed by itself sends the escape character once. Setting the character to ``none'' disables any escapes and makes the session fully
Specifies an alternative per-user configuration file. If a configuration file is given on the command line, the system-wide configu-
ration file (/etc/ssh/ssh_config) will be ignored. The default for the per-user configuration file is ~/.ssh/config.
-f Requests ssh to go to background just before command execution. This is useful if ssh is going to ask for passwords or passphrases,
but the user wants it in the background. This implies -n. The recommended way to start X11 programs at a remote site is with some-
thing like ssh -f host xterm.
If the ExitOnForwardFailure configuration option is set to ``yes'', then a client started with -f will wait for all remote port for-
wards to be successfully established before placing itself in the background.
-g Allows remote hosts to connect to local forwarded ports.
Specify the PKCS#11 shared library ssh should use to communicate with a PKCS#11 token providing the user's private RSA key.
Selects a file from which the identity (private key) for public key authentication is read. The default is ~/.ssh/identity for pro-
tocol version 1, and ~/.ssh/id_dsa, ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa, ~/.ssh/id_ed25519 and ~/.ssh/id_rsa for protocol version 2. Identity files may
also be specified on a per-host basis in the configuration file. It is possible to have multiple -i options (and multiple identities
specified in configuration files). ssh will also try to load certificate information from the filename obtained by appending
-cert.pub to identity filenames.
-K Enables GSSAPI-based authentication and forwarding (delegation) of GSSAPI credentials to the server.
-k Disables forwarding (delegation) of GSSAPI credentials to the server.
Specifies that the given port on the local (client) host is to be forwarded to the given host and port on the remote side. This
works by allocating a socket to listen to port on the local side, optionally bound to the specified bind_address. Whenever a connec-
tion is made to this port, the connection is forwarded over the secure channel, and a connection is made to host port hostport from
the remote machine. Port forwardings can also be specified in the configuration file. IPv6 addresses can be specified by enclosing
the address in square brackets. Only the superuser can forward privileged ports. By default, the local port is bound in accordance
with the GatewayPorts setting. However, an explicit bind_address may be used to bind the connection to a specific address. The
bind_address of ``localhost'' indicates that the listening port be bound for local use only, while an empty address or '*' indicates
that the port should be available from all interfaces.
Specifies the user to log in as on the remote machine. This also may be specified on a per-host basis in the configuration file.
-M Places the ssh client into ``master'' mode for connection sharing. Multiple -M options places ssh into ``master'' mode with confir-
mation required before slave connections are accepted. Refer to the description of ControlMaster in ssh_config(5) for details.
Additionally, for protocol version 2 a comma-separated list of MAC (message authentication code) algorithms can be specified in order
of preference. See the MACs keyword for more information.
-N Do not execute a remote command. This is useful for just forwarding ports (protocol version 2 only).
-n Redirects stdin from /dev/null (actually, prevents reading from stdin). This must be used when ssh is run in the background. A com-
mon trick is to use this to run X11 programs on a remote machine. For example, ssh -n shadows.cs.hut.fi emacs & will start an emacs
on shadows.cs.hut.fi, and the X11 connection will be automatically forwarded over an encrypted channel. The ssh program will be put
in the background. (This does not work if ssh needs to ask for a password or passphrase; see also the -f option.)
Control an active connection multiplexing master process. When the -O option is specified, the ctl_cmd argument is interpreted and
passed to the master process. Valid commands are: ``check'' (check that the master process is running), ``forward'' (request for-
wardings without command execution), ``cancel'' (cancel forwardings), ``exit'' (request the master to exit), and ``stop'' (request
the master to stop accepting further multiplexing requests).
Can be used to give options in the format used in the configuration file. This is useful for specifying options for which there is
no separate command-line flag. For full details of the options listed below, and their possible values, see ssh_config(5).
Port to connect to on the remote host. This can be specified on a per-host basis in the configuration file.
-Q cipher | cipher-auth | mac | kex | key
Queries ssh for the algorithms supported for the specified version 2. The available features are: cipher (supported symmetric
ciphers), cipher-auth (supported symmetric ciphers that support authenticated encryption), mac (supported message integrity codes),
kex (key exchange algorithms), key (key types).
-q Quiet mode. Causes most warning and diagnostic messages to be suppressed.
Specifies that the given port on the remote (server) host is to be forwarded to the given host and port on the local side. This
works by allocating a socket to listen to port on the remote side, and whenever a connection is made to this port, the connection is
forwarded over the secure channel, and a connection is made to host port hostport from the local machine.
Port forwardings can also be specified in the configuration file. Privileged ports can be forwarded only when logging in as root on
the remote machine. IPv6 addresses can be specified by enclosing the address in square brackets.
By default, the listening socket on the server will be bound to the loopback interface only. This may be overridden by specifying a
bind_address. An empty bind_address, or the address '*', indicates that the remote socket should listen on all interfaces. Specify-
ing a remote bind_address will only succeed if the server's GatewayPorts option is enabled (see sshd_config(5)).
If the port argument is '0', the listen port will be dynamically allocated on the server and reported to the client at run time.
When used together with -O forward the allocated port will be printed to the standard output.
Specifies the location of a control socket for connection sharing, or the string ``none'' to disable connection sharing. Refer to
the description of ControlPath and ControlMaster in ssh_config(5) for details.
-s May be used to request invocation of a subsystem on the remote system. Subsystems are a feature of the SSH2 protocol which facili-
tate the use of SSH as a secure transport for other applications (eg. sftp(1)). The subsystem is specified as the remote command.
-T Disable pseudo-tty allocation.
-t Force pseudo-tty allocation. This can be used to execute arbitrary screen-based programs on a remote machine, which can be very use-
ful, e.g. when implementing menu services. Multiple -t options force tty allocation, even if ssh has no local tty.
-V Display the version number and exit.
-v Verbose mode. Causes ssh to print debugging messages about its progress. This is helpful in debugging connection, authentication,
and configuration problems. Multiple -v options increase the verbosity. The maximum is 3.
Requests that standard input and output on the client be forwarded to host on port over the secure channel. Implies -N, -T,
ExitOnForwardFailure and ClearAllForwardings. Works with Protocol version 2 only.
Requests tunnel device forwarding with the specified tun(4) devices between the client (local_tun) and the server (remote_tun).
The devices may be specified by numerical ID or the keyword ``any'', which uses the next available tunnel device. If remote_tun is
not specified, it defaults to ``any''. See also the Tunnel and TunnelDevice directives in ssh_config(5). If the Tunnel directive is
unset, it is set to the default tunnel mode, which is ``point-to-point''.
-X Enables X11 forwarding. This can also be specified on a per-host basis in a configuration file.
X11 forwarding should be enabled with caution. Users with the ability to bypass file permissions on the remote host (for the user's
X authorization database) can access the local X11 display through the forwarded connection. An attacker may then be able to perform
activities such as keystroke monitoring.
For this reason, X11 forwarding is subjected to X11 SECURITY extension restrictions by default. Please refer to the ssh -Y option
and the ForwardX11Trusted directive in ssh_config(5) for more information.
-x Disables X11 forwarding.
-Y Enables trusted X11 forwarding. Trusted X11 forwardings are not subjected to the X11 SECURITY extension controls.
-y Send log information using the syslog(3) system module. By default this information is sent to stderr.
ssh may additionally obtain configuration data from a per-user configuration file and a system-wide configuration file. The file format and
configuration options are described in ssh_config(5).
The OpenSSH SSH client supports SSH protocols 1 and 2. The default is to use protocol 2 only, though this can be changed via the Protocol
option in ssh_config(5) or the -1 and -2 options (see above). Both protocols support similar authentication methods, but protocol 2 is the
default since it provides additional mechanisms for confidentiality (the traffic is encrypted using AES, 3DES, Blowfish, CAST128, or Arcfour)
and integrity (hmac-md5, hmac-sha1, hmac-sha2-256, hmac-sha2-512, umac-64, umac-128, hmac-ripemd160). Protocol 1 lacks a strong mechanism
for ensuring the integrity of the connection.
The methods available for authentication are: GSSAPI-based authentication, host-based authentication, public key authentication, challenge-
response authentication, and password authentication. Authentication methods are tried in the order specified above, though protocol 2 has a
configuration option to change the default order: PreferredAuthentications.
Host-based authentication works as follows: If the machine the user logs in from is listed in /etc/hosts.equiv or /etc/shosts.equiv on the
remote machine, and the user names are the same on both sides, or if the files ~/.rhosts or ~/.shosts exist in the user's home directory on
the remote machine and contain a line containing the name of the client machine and the name of the user on that machine, the user is consid-
ered for login. Additionally, the server must be able to verify the client's host key (see the description of /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts and
~/.ssh/known_hosts, below) for login to be permitted. This authentication method closes security holes due to IP spoofing, DNS spoofing, and
routing spoofing. [Note to the administrator: /etc/hosts.equiv, ~/.rhosts, and the rlogin/rsh protocol in general, are inherently insecure
and should be disabled if security is desired.]
Public key authentication works as follows: The scheme is based on public-key cryptography, using cryptosystems where encryption and decryp-
tion are done using separate keys, and it is unfeasible to derive the decryption key from the encryption key. The idea is that each user
creates a public/private key pair for authentication purposes. The server knows the public key, and only the user knows the private key.
ssh implements public key authentication protocol automatically, using one of the DSA, ECDSA, ED25519 or RSA algorithms. Protocol 1 is
restricted to using only RSA keys, but protocol 2 may use any. The HISTORY section of ssl(8) contains a brief discussion of the DSA and RSA
The file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys lists the public keys that are permitted for logging in. When the user logs in, the ssh program tells the
server which key pair it would like to use for authentication. The client proves that it has access to the private key and the server checks
that the corresponding public key is authorized to accept the account.
The user creates his/her key pair by running ssh-keygen(1). This stores the private key in ~/.ssh/identity (protocol 1), ~/.ssh/id_dsa (pro-
tocol 2 DSA), ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa (protocol 2 ECDSA), ~/.ssh/id_ed25519 (protocol 2 ED25519), or ~/.ssh/id_rsa (protocol 2 RSA) and stores the
public key in ~/.ssh/identity.pub (protocol 1), ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub (protocol 2 DSA), ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa.pub (protocol 2 ECDSA),
~/.ssh/id_ed25519.pub (protocol 2 ED25519), or ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub (protocol 2 RSA) in the user's home directory. The user should then copy
the public key to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys in his/her home directory on the remote machine. The authorized_keys file corresponds to the con-
ventional ~/.rhosts file, and has one key per line, though the lines can be very long. After this, the user can log in without giving the
A variation on public key authentication is available in the form of certificate authentication: instead of a set of public/private keys,
signed certificates are used. This has the advantage that a single trusted certification authority can be used in place of many public/pri-
vate keys. See the CERTIFICATES section of ssh-keygen(1) for more information.
The most convenient way to use public key or certificate authentication may be with an authentication agent. See ssh-agent(1) for more
Challenge-response authentication works as follows: The server sends an arbitrary "challenge" text, and prompts for a response. Protocol 2
allows multiple challenges and responses; protocol 1 is restricted to just one challenge/response. Examples of challenge-response authenti-
cation include BSD Authentication (see login.conf(5)) and PAM (some non-OpenBSD systems).
Finally, if other authentication methods fail, ssh prompts the user for a password. The password is sent to the remote host for checking;
however, since all communications are encrypted, the password cannot be seen by someone listening on the network.
ssh automatically maintains and checks a database containing identification for all hosts it has ever been used with. Host keys are stored
in ~/.ssh/known_hosts in the user's home directory. Additionally, the file /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts is automatically checked for known
hosts. Any new hosts are automatically added to the user's file. If a host's identification ever changes, ssh warns about this and disables
password authentication to prevent server spoofing or man-in-the-middle attacks, which could otherwise be used to circumvent the encryption.
The StrictHostKeyChecking option can be used to control logins to machines whose host key is not known or has changed.
When the user's identity has been accepted by the server, the server either executes the given command, or logs into the machine and gives
the user a normal shell on the remote machine. All communication with the remote command or shell will be automatically encrypted.
If a pseudo-terminal has been allocated (normal login session), the user may use the escape characters noted below.
If no pseudo-tty has been allocated, the session is transparent and can be used to reliably transfer binary data. On most systems, setting
the escape character to ``none'' will also make the session transparent even if a tty is used.
The session terminates when the command or shell on the remote machine exits and all X11 and TCP connections have been closed.
When a pseudo-terminal has been requested, ssh supports a number of functions through the use of an escape character.
A single tilde character can be sent as ~~ or by following the tilde by a character other than those described below. The escape character
must always follow a newline to be interpreted as special. The escape character can be changed in configuration files using the EscapeChar
configuration directive or on the command line by the -e option.
The supported escapes (assuming the default '~') are:
~^Z Background ssh.
~# List forwarded connections.
~& Background ssh at logout when waiting for forwarded connection / X11 sessions to terminate.
~? Display a list of escape characters.
~B Send a BREAK to the remote system (only useful for SSH protocol version 2 and if the peer supports it).
~C Open command line. Currently this allows the addition of port forwardings using the -L, -R and -D options (see above). It also
allows the cancellation of existing port-forwardings with -KL[bind_address:]port for local, -KR[bind_address:]port for remote and
-KD[bind_address:]port for dynamic port-forwardings. !command allows the user to execute a local command if the PermitLocalCommand
option is enabled in ssh_config(5). Basic help is available, using the -h option.
~R Request rekeying of the connection (only useful for SSH protocol version 2 and if the peer supports it).
~V Decrease the verbosity (LogLevel) when errors are being written to stderr.
~v Increase the verbosity (LogLevel) when errors are being written to stderr.
Forwarding of arbitrary TCP connections over the secure channel can be specified either on the command line or in a configuration file. One
possible application of TCP forwarding is a secure connection to a mail server; another is going through firewalls.
In the example below, we look at encrypting communication between an IRC client and server, even though the IRC server does not directly sup-
port encrypted communications. This works as follows: the user connects to the remote host using ssh, specifying a port to be used to for-
ward connections to the remote server. After that it is possible to start the service which is to be encrypted on the client machine, con-
necting to the same local port, and ssh will encrypt and forward the connection.
The following example tunnels an IRC session from client machine ``127.0.0.1'' (localhost) to remote server ``server.example.com'':
$ ssh -f -L 1234:localhost:6667 server.example.com sleep 10
$ irc -c '#users' -p 1234 pinky 127.0.0.1
This tunnels a connection to IRC server ``server.example.com'', joining channel ``#users'', nickname ``pinky'', using port 1234. It doesn't
matter which port is used, as long as it's greater than 1023 (remember, only root can open sockets on privileged ports) and doesn't conflict
with any ports already in use. The connection is forwarded to port 6667 on the remote server, since that's the standard port for IRC ser-
The -f option backgrounds ssh and the remote command ``sleep 10'' is specified to allow an amount of time (10 seconds, in the example) to
start the service which is to be tunnelled. If no connections are made within the time specified, ssh will exit.
If the ForwardX11 variable is set to ``yes'' (or see the description of the -X, -x, and -Y options above) and the user is using X11 (the
DISPLAY environment variable is set), the connection to the X11 display is automatically forwarded to the remote side in such a way that any
X11 programs started from the shell (or command) will go through the encrypted channel, and the connection to the real X server will be made
from the local machine. The user should not manually set DISPLAY. Forwarding of X11 connections can be configured on the command line or in
The DISPLAY value set by ssh will point to the server machine, but with a display number greater than zero. This is normal, and happens
because ssh creates a ``proxy'' X server on the server machine for forwarding the connections over the encrypted channel.
ssh will also automatically set up Xauthority data on the server machine. For this purpose, it will generate a random authorization cookie,
store it in Xauthority on the server, and verify that any forwarded connections carry this cookie and replace it by the real cookie when the
connection is opened. The real authentication cookie is never sent to the server machine (and no cookies are sent in the plain).
If the ForwardAgent variable is set to ``yes'' (or see the description of the -A and -a options above) and the user is using an authentica-
tion agent, the connection to the agent is automatically forwarded to the remote side.
VERIFYING HOST KEYS
When connecting to a server for the first time, a fingerprint of the server's public key is presented to the user (unless the option
StrictHostKeyChecking has been disabled). Fingerprints can be determined using ssh-keygen(1):
$ ssh-keygen -l -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
If the fingerprint is already known, it can be matched and the key can be accepted or rejected. Because of the difficulty of comparing host
keys just by looking at hex strings, there is also support to compare host keys visually, using random art. By setting the VisualHostKey
option to ``yes'', a small ASCII graphic gets displayed on every login to a server, no matter if the session itself is interactive or not.
By learning the pattern a known server produces, a user can easily find out that the host key has changed when a completely different pattern
is displayed. Because these patterns are not unambiguous however, a pattern that looks similar to the pattern remembered only gives a good
probability that the host key is the same, not guaranteed proof.
To get a listing of the fingerprints along with their random art for all known hosts, the following command line can be used:
$ ssh-keygen -lv -f ~/.ssh/known_hosts
If the fingerprint is unknown, an alternative method of verification is available: SSH fingerprints verified by DNS. An additional resource
record (RR), SSHFP, is added to a zonefile and the connecting client is able to match the fingerprint with that of the key presented.
In this example, we are connecting a client to a server, ``host.example.com''. The SSHFP resource records should first be added to the zone-
file for host.example.com:
$ ssh-keygen -r host.example.com.
The output lines will have to be added to the zonefile. To check that the zone is answering fingerprint queries:
$ dig -t SSHFP host.example.com
Finally the client connects:
$ ssh -o "VerifyHostKeyDNS ask" host.example.com
Matching host key fingerprint found in DNS.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
See the VerifyHostKeyDNS option in ssh_config(5) for more information.
SSH-BASED VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORKS
ssh contains support for Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnelling using the tun(4) network pseudo-device, allowing two networks to be joined
securely. The sshd_config(5) configuration option PermitTunnel controls whether the server supports this, and at what level (layer 2 or 3
The following example would connect client network 10.0.50.0/24 with remote network 10.0.99.0/24 using a point-to-point connection from
10.1.1.1 to 10.1.1.2, provided that the SSH server running on the gateway to the remote network, at 192.168.1.15, allows it.
On the client:
# ssh -f -w 0:1 192.168.1.15 true
# ifconfig tun0 10.1.1.1 10.1.1.2 netmask 255.255.255.252
# route add 10.0.99.0/24 10.1.1.2
On the server:
# ifconfig tun1 10.1.1.2 10.1.1.1 netmask 255.255.255.252
# route add 10.0.50.0/24 10.1.1.1
Client access may be more finely tuned via the /root/.ssh/authorized_keys file (see below) and the PermitRootLogin server option. The fol-
lowing entry would permit connections on tun(4) device 1 from user ``jane'' and on tun device 2 from user ``john'', if PermitRootLogin is set
tunnel="1",command="sh /etc/netstart tun1" ssh-rsa ... jane
tunnel="2",command="sh /etc/netstart tun2" ssh-rsa ... john
Since an SSH-based setup entails a fair amount of overhead, it may be more suited to temporary setups, such as for wireless VPNs. More per-
manent VPNs are better provided by tools such as ipsecctl(8) and isakmpd(8).
ssh will normally set the following environment variables:
DISPLAY The DISPLAY variable indicates the location of the X11 server. It is automatically set by ssh to point to a value of
the form ``hostname:n'', where ``hostname'' indicates the host where the shell runs, and 'n' is an integer >= 1. ssh
uses this special value to forward X11 connections over the secure channel. The user should normally not set DISPLAY
explicitly, as that will render the X11 connection insecure (and will require the user to manually copy any required
HOME Set to the path of the user's home directory.
LOGNAME Synonym for USER; set for compatibility with systems that use this variable.
MAIL Set to the path of the user's mailbox.
PATH Set to the default PATH, as specified when compiling ssh.
SSH_ASKPASS If ssh needs a passphrase, it will read the passphrase from the current terminal if it was run from a terminal. If ssh
does not have a terminal associated with it but DISPLAY and SSH_ASKPASS are set, it will execute the program specified
by SSH_ASKPASS and open an X11 window to read the passphrase. This is particularly useful when calling ssh from a
.xsession or related script. (Note that on some machines it may be necessary to redirect the input from /dev/null to
make this work.)
SSH_AUTH_SOCK Identifies the path of a UNIX-domain socket used to communicate with the agent.
SSH_CONNECTION Identifies the client and server ends of the connection. The variable contains four space-separated values: client IP
address, client port number, server IP address, and server port number.
SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND This variable contains the original command line if a forced command is executed. It can be used to extract the origi-
SSH_TTY This is set to the name of the tty (path to the device) associated with the current shell or command. If the current
session has no tty, this variable is not set.
TZ This variable is set to indicate the present time zone if it was set when the daemon was started (i.e. the daemon
passes the value on to new connections).
USER Set to the name of the user logging in.
Additionally, ssh reads ~/.ssh/environment, and adds lines of the format ``VARNAME=value'' to the environment if the file exists and users
are allowed to change their environment. For more information, see the PermitUserEnvironment option in sshd_config(5).
This file is used for host-based authentication (see above). On some machines this file may need to be world-readable if the user's
home directory is on an NFS partition, because sshd(8) reads it as root. Additionally, this file must be owned by the user, and must
not have write permissions for anyone else. The recommended permission for most machines is read/write for the user, and not acces-
sible by others.
This file is used in exactly the same way as .rhosts, but allows host-based authentication without permitting login with rlogin/rsh.
This directory is the default location for all user-specific configuration and authentication information. There is no general
requirement to keep the entire contents of this directory secret, but the recommended permissions are read/write/execute for the
user, and not accessible by others.
Lists the public keys (DSA, ECDSA, ED25519, RSA) that can be used for logging in as this user. The format of this file is described
in the sshd(8) manual page. This file is not highly sensitive, but the recommended permissions are read/write for the user, and not
accessible by others.
This is the per-user configuration file. The file format and configuration options are described in ssh_config(5). Because of the
potential for abuse, this file must have strict permissions: read/write for the user, and not writable by others.
Contains additional definitions for environment variables; see ENVIRONMENT, above.
Contains the private key for authentication. These files contain sensitive data and should be readable by the user but not accessi-
ble by others (read/write/execute). ssh will simply ignore a private key file if it is accessible by others. It is possible to
specify a passphrase when generating the key which will be used to encrypt the sensitive part of this file using 3DES.
Contains the public key for authentication. These files are not sensitive and can (but need not) be readable by anyone.
Contains a list of host keys for all hosts the user has logged into that are not already in the systemwide list of known host keys.
See sshd(8) for further details of the format of this file.
Commands in this file are executed by ssh when the user logs in, just before the user's shell (or command) is started. See the
sshd(8) manual page for more information.
This file is for host-based authentication (see above). It should only be writable by root.
This file is used in exactly the same way as hosts.equiv, but allows host-based authentication without permitting login with
Systemwide configuration file. The file format and configuration options are described in ssh_config(5).
These files contain the private parts of the host keys and are used for host-based authentication. If protocol version 1 is used,
ssh must be setuid root, since the host key is readable only by root. For protocol version 2, ssh uses ssh-keysign(8) to access the
host keys, eliminating the requirement that ssh be setuid root when host-based authentication is used. By default ssh is not setuid
Systemwide list of known host keys. This file should be prepared by the system administrator to contain the public host keys of all
machines in the organization. It should be world-readable. See sshd(8) for further details of the format of this file.
Commands in this file are executed by ssh when the user logs in, just before the user's shell (or command) is started. See the
sshd(8) manual page for more information.
ssh exits with the exit status of the remote command or with 255 if an error occurred.
scp(1), sftp(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1), ssh-keyscan(1), tun(4), hosts.equiv(5), ssh_config(5), ssh-keysign(8), sshd(8)
S. Lehtinen and C. Lonvick, The Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol Assigned Numbers, RFC 4250, January 2006.
T. Ylonen and C. Lonvick, The Secure Shell (SSH) Protocol Architecture, RFC 4251, January 2006.
T. Ylonen and C. Lonvick, The Secure Shell (SSH) Authentication Protocol, RFC 4252, January 2006.
T. Ylonen and C. Lonvick, The Secure Shell (SSH) Transport Layer Protocol, RFC 4253, January 2006.
T. Ylonen and C. Lonvick, The Secure Shell (SSH) Connection Protocol, RFC 4254, January 2006.
J. Schlyter and W. Griffin, Using DNS to Securely Publish Secure Shell (SSH) Key Fingerprints, RFC 4255, January 2006.
F. Cusack and M. Forssen, Generic Message Exchange Authentication for the Secure Shell Protocol (SSH), RFC 4256, January 2006.
J. Galbraith and P. Remaker, The Secure Shell (SSH) Session Channel Break Extension, RFC 4335, January 2006.
M. Bellare, T. Kohno, and C. Namprempre, The Secure Shell (SSH) Transport Layer Encryption Modes, RFC 4344, January 2006.
B. Harris, Improved Arcfour Modes for the Secure Shell (SSH) Transport Layer Protocol, RFC 4345, January 2006.
M. Friedl, N. Provos, and W. Simpson, Diffie-Hellman Group Exchange for the Secure Shell (SSH) Transport Layer Protocol, RFC 4419, March
J. Galbraith and R. Thayer, The Secure Shell (SSH) Public Key File Format, RFC 4716, November 2006.
D. Stebila and J. Green, Elliptic Curve Algorithm Integration in the Secure Shell Transport Layer, RFC 5656, December 2009.
A. Perrig and D. Song, Hash Visualization: a New Technique to improve Real-World Security, 1999, International Workshop on Cryptographic
Techniques and E-Commerce (CrypTEC '99).
OpenSSH is a derivative of the original and free ssh 1.2.12 release by Tatu Ylonen. Aaron Campbell, Bob Beck, Markus Friedl, Niels Provos,
Theo de Raadt and Dug Song removed many bugs, re-added newer features and created OpenSSH. Markus Friedl contributed the support for SSH
protocol versions 1.5 and 2.0.
December 7, 2013 BSD