Tag Archives: Fingerprint

Scanning SSH Servers

For administrative purposes, SSH is used quite often. Almost everyone in IT knows it. Keywords: OpenSSH, simply using “ssh <hostname>” on your machine, PuTTY for Windows, username + password or public key authentication, TCP port 22, simple firewall rules, ignoring the fingerprints 🤦‍♂️, SCP and SFTP. That’s it – basically.

However, it gets much more complicated if you look into the details. You have to deal with many different types and representations of fingerprints, as well as crypto algorithms. Troubleshooting specific connection problems is challenging.

To get an overview of your SSH server’s configuration is to scan them with appropriate tools. I’m showing two of them here: ssh_scan and the Nmap script “ssh2-enum-algos“.

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SSH Key Fingerprints

As a network administrator I know that there are SSH fingerprints. And of course I know that I must verify the fingerprints for every new connection. ;) But I did not know that there are so many different kinds of fingerprints such as md5- or sha-hashed, represented in base64 or hex, and of course for each public key pair such as RSA, DSA, ECDSA, and Ed25519. Uh, a bit too complicated at a first glance. Hence I draw a picture.

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SSHFP: Authenticate SSH Fingerprints via DNSSEC

This is really cool. After DNSSEC is used to sign a complete zone, SSH connections can be authenticated via checking the SSH fingerprint against the SSHFP resource record on the DNS server. With this way, administrators will never get the well-known “The authenticity of host ‘xyz’ can’t be established.” message again. Here we go:

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