ssh-agent.1   [plain text]


.\" $OpenBSD: ssh-agent.1,v 1.28 2001/09/05 06:23:07 deraadt Exp $
.\"
.\" Author: Tatu Ylonen <ylo@cs.hut.fi>
.\" Copyright (c) 1995 Tatu Ylonen <ylo@cs.hut.fi>, Espoo, Finland
.\"                    All rights reserved
.\"
.\" As far as I am concerned, the code I have written for this software
.\" can be used freely for any purpose.  Any derived versions of this
.\" software must be clearly marked as such, and if the derived work is
.\" incompatible with the protocol description in the RFC file, it must be
.\" called by a name other than "ssh" or "Secure Shell".
.\"
.\" Copyright (c) 1999,2000 Markus Friedl.  All rights reserved.
.\" Copyright (c) 1999 Aaron Campbell.  All rights reserved.
.\" Copyright (c) 1999 Theo de Raadt.  All rights reserved.
.\"
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.\" modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
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.Dd September 25, 1999
.Dt SSH-AGENT 1
.Os
.Sh NAME
.Nm ssh-agent
.Nd authentication agent
.Sh SYNOPSIS
.Nm ssh-agent
.Op Fl c Li | Fl s
.Op Fl d
.Op Ar command Op Ar args ...
.Nm ssh-agent
.Op Fl c Li | Fl s
.Fl k
.Sh DESCRIPTION
.Nm
is a program to hold private keys used for public key authentication
(RSA, DSA).
The idea is that
.Nm
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
.Xr ssh 1 .
.Pp
The options are as follows:
.Bl -tag -width Ds
.It Fl c
Generate C-shell commands on
.Dv stdout .
This is the default if
.Ev SHELL
looks like it's a csh style of shell.
.It Fl s
Generate Bourne shell commands on
.Dv stdout .
This is the default if
.Ev SHELL
does not look like it's a csh style of shell.
.It Fl k
Kill the current agent (given by the
.Ev SSH_AGENT_PID
environment variable).
.It Fl d
Debug mode.  When this option is specified
.Nm
will not fork.
.El
.Pp
If a commandline is given, this is executed as a subprocess of the agent.
When the command dies, so does the agent.
.Pp
The agent initially does not have any private keys.
Keys are added using
.Xr ssh-add 1 .
When executed without arguments,
.Xr ssh-add 1
adds the
.Pa $HOME/.ssh/identity
file.
If the identity has a passphrase,
.Xr ssh-add 1
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.
.Ic ssh-add -l
displays the identities currently held by the agent.
.Pp
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.
.Pp
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
.Xr sh 1
or
.Xr csh 1
syntax can be generated) which can be evalled in the calling shell.
Later
.Xr ssh 1
looks at these variables and uses them to establish a connection to the agent.
.Pp
A unix-domain socket is created
.Pq Pa /tmp/ssh-XXXXXXXX/agent.<pid> ,
and the name of this socket is stored in the
.Ev 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.
.Pp
The
.Ev SSH_AGENT_PID
environment variable holds the agent's PID.
.Pp
The agent exits automatically when the command given on the command
line terminates.
.Sh FILES
.Bl -tag -width Ds
.It Pa $HOME/.ssh/identity
Contains the protocol version 1 RSA authentication identity of the user.
This file should not be readable by anyone but the user.
It is possible to
specify a passphrase when generating the key; that passphrase will be
used to encrypt the private part of this file.
This file is not used by
.Nm
but is normally added to the agent using
.Xr ssh-add 1
at login time.
.It Pa $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa
Contains the protocol version 2 DSA authentication identity of the user.
.It Pa $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
Contains the protocol version 2 RSA authentication identity of the user.
.It Pa /tmp/ssh-XXXXXXXX/agent.<pid>
Unix-domain sockets used to contain the connection to the
authentication agent.
These sockets should only be readable by the owner.
The sockets should get automatically removed when the agent exits.
.El
.Sh AUTHORS
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.
.Sh SEE ALSO
.Xr ssh 1 ,
.Xr ssh-add 1 ,
.Xr ssh-keygen 1 ,
.Xr sshd 8