ssh-agent(1) User Commands ssh-agent(1)
ssh-agent - authentication agent
ssh-agent [-a bind_address] [-c | -s ] [-d] [ command [args...]]
ssh-agent [-c | -s] -k
ssh-agent is a program to hold private keys used for public key authen-
tication (RSA, DSA). ssh-agent is often started at the beginning of a
login session. 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). (See System Administration Guide:
If a command line 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), which sends the identity to the agent. Several iden-
tities can be stored in the agent; the agent can automatically use any
of these identities. Use the -l option in ssh-add(1) to display the
identities currently held by the agent.
The agent is run in the user's local host. Authentication data need not
be stored on any other machine, and authentication passphrases never go
over the network. However, if the connection to the agent is forwarded
over SSH remote logins, the user can 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 you let the agent
start a new subcommand into which some environment variables are
exported, or you let the agent print the needed shell commands (either
sh(1) or csh(1) syntax can be generated) which can be evalled in the
calling shell. Later, use ssh(1) to look at these variables and use
them to establish a connection to the agent.
A unix-domain socket is created (/tmp/ssh-XXXXXXXX/agent.pid) and the
name of this socket is stored in the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment vari-
able. 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 PID.
The agent exits automatically when the command given on the command
The following options are supported:
-a bind_address Binds the agent to the unix-domain socket
bind_address. The default is /tmp/ssh-
-c Generates C-shell commands on stdout. This is
the default if SHELL indicates that it is a csh
style of shell.
-d Debug mode. When this option is specified, ssh-
agent will not fork.
-k Kills the current agent (given by the
SSH_AGENT_PID environment variable).
-s Generates Bourne shell commands on stdout. This
is the default if SHELL does not indicate that
it is a csh style of shell.
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
1 An error occurred.
Unix-domain sockets used to contain the connection to the authenti-
cation agent. These sockets should only be readable by the owner.
The sockets are removed when the agent exits.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
tab() allbox; cw(2.750000i)| cw(2.750000i) lw(2.750000i)|
lw(2.750000i). ATTRIBUTE TYPEATTRIBUTE VALUE AvailabilitySUNWsshu
ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-keygen(1), sshd(1M), attributes(5)
System Administration Guide: Security Services
To view license terms, attribution, and copyright for OpenSSH, the
default path is /var/sadm/pkg/SUNWsshdr/install/copyright. If the
Solaris operating environment has been installed anywhere other than
the default, modify the given path to access the file at the installed
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, added newer features and
created Open SSH. Markus Friedl contributed the support for SSH proto-
col versions 1.5 and 2.0.
SunOS 5.10 9 Jan 2004 ssh-agent(1)