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SSH-AGENT(1) NetBSD General Commands Manual SSH-AGENT(1)
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ssh-agent -- OpenSSH authentication agent
ssh-agent [-c | -s] [-Dd] [-a bind_address] [-E fingerprint_hash]
[-O option] [-P allowed_providers] [-t life]
ssh-agent [-a bind_address] [-E fingerprint_hash] [-O option]
[-P allowed_providers] [-t life] command [arg ...]
ssh-agent [-c | -s] -k
ssh-agent is a program to hold private keys used for public key authenti-
cation. 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:
Bind the agent to the UNIX-domain socket bind_address. The
default is $TMPDIR/ssh-XXXXXXXXXX/agent.<ppid>.
-c Generate C-shell commands on stdout. This is the default if
SHELL looks like it's a csh style of shell.
-D Foreground mode. When this option is specified, ssh-agent will
-d Debug mode. When this option is specified, ssh-agent will not
fork and will write debug information to standard error.
Specifies the hash algorithm used when displaying key finger-
prints. Valid options are: ``md5'' and ``sha256''. The default
-k Kill the current agent (given by the SSH_AGENT_PID environment
Specify an option when starting ssh-agent. Currently two options
are supported: allow-remote-pkcs11 and no-restrict-websafe.
The allow-remote-pkcs11 option allows clients of a forwarded
ssh-agent to load PKCS#11 or FIDO provider libraries. By default
only local clients may perform this operation. Note that sig-
nalling that an ssh-agent client is remote is performed by
ssh(1), and use of other tools to forward access to the agent
socket may circumvent this restriction.
The no-restrict-websafe option instructs ssh-agent to permit sig-
natures using FIDO keys that might be web authentication
requests. By default, ssh-agent refuses signature requests for
FIDO keys where the key application string does not start with
``ssh:'' and when the data to be signed does not appear to be a
ssh(1) user authentication request or a ssh-keygen(1) signature.
The default behaviour prevents forwarded access to a FIDO key
from also implicitly forwarding the ability to authenticate to
Specify a pattern-list of acceptable paths for PKCS#11 provider
and FIDO authenticator middleware shared libraries that may be
used with the -S or -s options to ssh-add(1). Libraries that do
not match the pattern list will be refused. See PATTERNS in
ssh_config(5) for a description of pattern-list syntax. The
default list is ``/usr/lib/*,/usr/local/lib/*''.
-s Generate Bourne shell commands on stdout. This is the default if
SHELL does not look like it's a csh style of shell.
Set a default value for the maximum lifetime of identities added
to the agent. The lifetime may be specified in seconds or in a
time format specified in sshd_config(5). A lifetime specified
for an identity with ssh-add(1) overrides this value. Without
this option the default maximum lifetime is forever.
command [arg ...]
If a command (and optional arguments) is given, this is executed
as a subprocess of the agent. The agent exits automatically when
the command given on the command line terminates.
There are two main ways to get an agent set up. The first is at the
start of an X session, where all other windows or programs are started as
children of the ssh-agent program. The agent starts a command under
which its environment variables are exported, for example ssh-agent xterm
&. When the command terminates, so does the agent.
The second method is used for a login session. When ssh-agent is
started, it prints the shell commands required to set its environment
variables, which in turn can be evaluated in the calling shell, for exam-
ple eval `ssh-agent -s`.
In both cases, ssh(1) looks at these environment variables and uses them
to establish a connection to the agent.
The agent initially does not have any private keys. Keys are added using
ssh-add(1) or by ssh(1) when AddKeysToAgent is set in ssh_config(5).
Multiple identities may be stored in ssh-agent concurrently and ssh(1)
will automatically use them if present. ssh-add(1) is also used to
remove keys from ssh-agent and to query the keys that are held in one.
Connections to ssh-agent may be forwarded from further remote hosts using
the -A option to ssh(1) (but see the caveats documented therein), avoid-
ing the need for authentication data to be stored on other machines.
Authentication passphrases and private keys never go over the network:
the connection to the agent is forwarded over SSH remote connections and
the result is returned to the requester, allowing the user access to
their identities anywhere in the network in a secure fashion.
SSH_AGENT_PID When ssh-agent starts, it stores the name of the agent's
process ID (PID) in this variable.
SSH_AUTH_SOCK When ssh-agent starts, it creates a UNIX-domain socket and
stores its pathname in this variable. It is accessible
only to the current user, but is easily abused by root or
another instance of the same user.
UNIX-domain sockets used to contain the connection to the authen-
tication agent. These sockets should only be readable by the
owner. The sockets should get automatically removed when the
ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-keygen(1), ssh_config(5), sshd(8)
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 cre-
ated OpenSSH. Markus Friedl contributed the support for SSH protocol
versions 1.5 and 2.0.
NetBSD 10.99 August 10 2023 NetBSD 10.99