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SSH-AGENT(1)              BSD General Commands Manual             SSH-AGENT(1)

NAME
     ssh-agent -- authentication agent

SYNOPSIS
     ssh-agent [-c | -s] [-d] [-a bind_address] [-t life] [command [arg ...]]
     ssh-agent [-c | -s] -k

DESCRIPTION
     ssh-agent is a program to hold private keys used for public key authentication (RSA, DSA, ECDSA).  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 vari-ables variables
     ables the agent can be located and automatically used for authentication when logging in to other
     machines using ssh(1).

     The options are as follows:

     -a bind_address
             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      Debug mode.  When this option is specified ssh-agent will not fork.

     -k      Kill the current agent (given by the SSH_AGENT_PID environment variable).

     -s      Generate Bourne shell commands on stdout.  This is the default if SHELL does not look like it's
             a csh style of shell.

     -t life
             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 speci-fied specified
             fied for an identity with ssh-add(1) overrides this value.  Without this option the default
             maximum lifetime is forever.

     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-add(1).  When executed
     without arguments, ssh-add(1) adds the files ~/.ssh/id_rsa, ~/.ssh/id_dsa, ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa and
     ~/.ssh/identity.  If the identity has a passphrase, ssh-add(1) asks for the passphrase on the terminal
     if it has one or from a small X11 program if running under X11.  If neither of these is the case then
     the authentication will fail.  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 set up: The first is that the agent starts a new subcommand
     into which some environment variables are exported, eg ssh-agent xterm &.  The second is that the agent
     prints the needed shell commands (either sh(1) or csh(1) syntax can be generated) which can be evalu-ated evaluated
     ated in the calling shell, eg eval `ssh-agent -s` for Bourne-type shells such as sh(1) or ksh(1) and
     eval `ssh-agent -c` for csh(1) and derivatives.

     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.

     The agent exits automatically when the command given on the command line terminates.

FILES
     ~/.ssh/identity
             Contains the protocol version 1 RSA authentication identity of the user.

     ~/.ssh/id_dsa
             Contains the protocol version 2 DSA authentication identity of the user.

     ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa
             Contains the protocol version 2 ECDSA authentication identity of the user.

     ~/.ssh/id_rsa
             Contains the protocol version 2 RSA authentication identity of the user.

     $TMPDIR/ssh-XXXXXXXXXX/agent.<ppid>
             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.

SEE ALSO
     ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-keygen(1), sshd(8)

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.

BSD                            October 11, 2013                            BSD

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