SSH-AGENTSection: User Commands (1)
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NAMEssh-agent - authentication agent
SYNOPSISssh-agent [-a bind_address ] [-c | -s ] [-d ] [command [args ... ] ]
ssh-agent [-c | -s ] -k
DESCRIPTIONssh-agent is a program to hold private keys used for public key authentication (RSA, DSA). The idea is that ssh-agent is started in the beginning of an X-session or a login session, and all other windows or programs are started as clients to the ssh-agent program. Through use of environment variables the agent can be located and automatically used for authentication when logging in to other machines using ssh(1).
The options are as follows:
If a commandline is given, this is executed as a subprocess of the agent. When the command dies, so does the agent.
The agent initially does not have any private keys. Keys are added using ssh-add1. When executed without arguments, ssh-add1 adds the files $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa and $HOME/.ssh/identity If the identity has a passphrase, ssh-add1 asks for the passphrase (using a small X11 application if running under X11, or from the terminal if running without X). It then sends the identity to the agent. Several identities can be stored in the agent; the agent can automatically use any of these identities. ssh-add -l displays the identities currently held by the agent.
The idea is that the agent is run in the user's local PC, laptop, or terminal. Authentication data need not be stored on any other machine, and authentication passphrases never go over the network. However, the connection to the agent is forwarded over SSH remote logins, and the user can thus use the privileges given by the identities anywhere in the network in a secure way.
There are two main ways to get an agent setup: Either the agent starts a new subcommand into which some environment variables are exported, or the agent prints the needed shell commands (either sh(1) or csh(1) syntax can be generated) which can be evalled in the calling shell. Later ssh(1) looks at these variables and uses them to establish a connection to the agent.
The agent will never send a private key over its request channel. Instead, operations that require a private key will be performed by the agent, and the result will be returned to the requester. This way, private keys are not exposed to clients using the agent.
A unix-domain socket is created and the name of this socket is stored in the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable. The socket is made accessible only to the current user. This method is easily abused by root or another instance of the same user.
The SSH_AGENT_PID environment variable holds the agent's process ID.
AUTHORSOpenSSH 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.
SEE ALSOssh(1), ssh-add1, ssh-keygen1, sshd(8)
This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 09:26:10 GMT, November 28, 2021