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Audience: Newbies - Self Learners
Last Updated: 5/10/2011 8:15:26 PM
**All times are EST**




HOWTO - Disable SSHv1

By Erik Rodriguez

This article is a HOWTO on disabling SSHv1. Disabling SSHv1 is usually performed on servers during an "OS hardening" process.



About SSH

Every admin in the world (including me) uses SSH to administer their servers. It gives me a secure link to any server. It's the only thing I use to admin remote or colocated servers. If you don't know what SSH is, check out this article.

SSHv1 vs. SSHv2

Plain and simple an SSHv1 exploit was discovered years ago. Since then, everyone and their mom has been using SSHv2. The bad news is, out of the box, most Linux distros still have both v1 and 2 running by default. It's one of the first things I do when I deploy a new Linux box.

HOWTO

Let's get on with it! In order to run your server in SSHv2, you will need to edit you SSH config files. There are two of them. One called ssh_config and one called sshd_config. Notice the second one has a d after ssh and signifies it is the daemon config file. Your daemon is the one that accepts incoming SSH connections. The standard ssh_config is for the standard outgoing ssh connections. I usually edit both because I don't want incoming or outgoing SSHv1 connections. They will be located (for RHEL and fedora) in /etc/ssh/
Let's check out the sshd_config file using the cat command. I should also mention (for you newbies) any line with a # sign in front of it denotes a comment. That means that anything following the # will be ignored. It's basically just a way to make notes, or show option you can use if you choose to.



root@amber [/etc/ssh]# cat sshd_config
#       $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.69 2004/05/23 23:59:53 dtucker Exp $

# This is the sshd server system-wide configuration file.  See
# sshd_config(5) for more information.

# This sshd was compiled with PATH=/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin

# The strategy used for options in the default sshd_config shipped with
# OpenSSH is to specify options with their default value where
# possible, but leave them commented.  Uncommented options change a
# default value.

#Port 22
Protocol 1,2
#ListenAddress 0.0.0.0
#ListenAddress ::

# HostKey for protocol version 1
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key
# HostKeys for protocol version 2
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
#KeyRegenerationInterval 1h
#ServerKeyBits 768

# Logging
#obsoletes QuietMode and FascistLogging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
SyslogFacility AUTHPRIV
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
#PermitRootLogin yes
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6

#RSAAuthentication yes
#PubkeyAuthentication yes
#AuthorizedKeysFile     .ssh/authorized_keys

# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts
#RhostsRSAAuthentication no
# similar for protocol version 2
#HostbasedAuthentication no
# Change to yes if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for
# RhostsRSAAuthentication and HostbasedAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts no
# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
#IgnoreRhosts yes

# To disable tunneled clear text passwords, change to no here!
#PasswordAuthentication yes
#PermitEmptyPasswords no
PasswordAuthentication yes

# Change to no to disable s/key passwords
#ChallengeResponseAuthentication yes
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

# Kerberos options
#KerberosAuthentication no
#KerberosOrLocalPasswd yes
#KerberosTicketCleanup yes
#KerberosGetAFSToken no

# GSSAPI options
#GSSAPIAuthentication no
GSSAPIAuthentication yes
#GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes
GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes

# Set this to 'yes' to enable PAM authentication, account processing,
# and session processing. If this is enabled, PAM authentication will
# be allowed through the ChallengeResponseAuthentication mechanism.
# Depending on your PAM configuration, this may bypass the setting of
# PasswordAuthentication, PermitEmptyPasswords, and
# "PermitRootLogin without-password". If you just want the PAM account and
# session checks to run without PAM authentication, then enable this but set
# ChallengeResponseAuthentication=no
#UsePAM no
UsePAM yes

#AllowTcpForwarding yes
#GatewayPorts no
#X11Forwarding no
X11Forwarding yes
#X11DisplayOffset 10
#X11UseLocalhost yes
#PrintMotd yes
#PrintLastLog yes
#TCPKeepAlive yes
#UseLogin no
#UsePrivilegeSeparation yes
#PermitUserEnvironment no
#Compression yes
#ClientAliveInterval 0
#ClientAliveCountMax 3
#UseDNS yes
#PidFile /var/run/sshd.pid
#MaxStartups 10
#ShowPatchLevel no

# no default banner path
#Banner /some/path

# override default of no subsystems
Subsystem       sftp    /usr/libexec/openssh/sftp-server

Notice the highlighted line in red. That should be changed to reflect the following:

Protocol 2

So the new output would be:
root@amber [/etc/ssh]# cat sshd_config
#       $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.69 2004/05/23 23:59:53 dtucker Exp $

# This is the sshd server system-wide configuration file.  See
# sshd_config(5) for more information.

# This sshd was compiled with PATH=/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin

# The strategy used for options in the default sshd_config shipped with
# OpenSSH is to specify options with their default value where
# possible, but leave them commented.  Uncommented options change a
# default value.

#Port 22
Protocol 2
#ListenAddress 0.0.0.0
#ListenAddress ::

# HostKey for protocol version 1
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key
# HostKeys for protocol version 2
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
#KeyRegenerationInterval 1h
#ServerKeyBits 768

# Logging
#obsoletes QuietMode and FascistLogging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
SyslogFacility AUTHPRIV
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
#PermitRootLogin yes
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6

#RSAAuthentication yes
#PubkeyAuthentication yes
#AuthorizedKeysFile     .ssh/authorized_keys

# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts
#RhostsRSAAuthentication no
# similar for protocol version 2
#HostbasedAuthentication no
# Change to yes if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for
# RhostsRSAAuthentication and HostbasedAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts no
# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
#IgnoreRhosts yes
root@amber [/etc/ssh]# cat sshd_config
#       $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.69 2004/05/23 23:59:53 dtucker Exp $

# This is the sshd server system-wide configuration file.  See
# sshd_config(5) for more information.

# This sshd was compiled with PATH=/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin

# The strategy used for options in the default sshd_config shipped with
# OpenSSH is to specify options with their default value where
# possible, but leave them commented.  Uncommented options change a
# default value.

#Port 22
Protocol 2
#ListenAddress 0.0.0.0
#ListenAddress ::

# HostKey for protocol version 1
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key
# HostKeys for protocol version 2
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
#KeyRegenerationInterval 1h
#ServerKeyBits 768

# Logging
#obsoletes QuietMode and FascistLogging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
SyslogFacility AUTHPRIV
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
#PermitRootLogin yes
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6

#RSAAuthentication yes
#PubkeyAuthentication yes
#AuthorizedKeysFile     .ssh/authorized_keys

# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts
#RhostsRSAAuthentication no
# similar for protocol version 2
#HostbasedAuthentication no
# Change to yes if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for
# RhostsRSAAuthentication and HostbasedAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts no
# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
#IgnoreRhosts yes

# To disable tunneled clear text passwords, change to no here!
#PasswordAuthentication yes
#PermitEmptyPasswords no
PasswordAuthentication yes

# Change to no to disable s/key passwords
#ChallengeResponseAuthentication yes
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

# Kerberos options
#KerberosAuthentication no
#KerberosOrLocalPasswd yes
#KerberosTicketCleanup yes
#KerberosGetAFSToken no

# GSSAPI options
#GSSAPIAuthentication no
GSSAPIAuthentication yes
#GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes
GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes

# Set this to 'yes' to enable PAM authentication, account processing,
# and session processing. If this is enabled, PAM authentication will
# be allowed through the ChallengeResponseAuthentication mechanism.
# Depending on your PAM configuration, this may bypass the setting of
# PasswordAuthentication, PermitEmptyPasswords, and
# "PermitRootLogin without-password". If you just want the PAM account and
# session checks to run without PAM authentication, then enable this but set
# ChallengeResponseAuthentication=no
#UsePAM no
UsePAM yes

#AllowTcpForwarding yes
#GatewayPorts no
#X11Forwarding no
X11Forwarding yes
#X11DisplayOffset 10
#X11UseLocalhost yes
#PrintMotd yes
#PrintLastLog yes
#TCPKeepAlive yes
#UseLogin no
#UsePrivilegeSeparation yes
#PermitUserEnvironment no
#Compression yes
#ClientAliveInterval 0
#ClientAliveCountMax 3
#UseDNS yes
#PidFile /var/run/sshd.pid
#MaxStartups 10
#ShowPatchLevel no

# no default banner path
#Banner /some/path

# override default of no subsystems
Subsystem       sftp    /usr/libexec/openssh/sftp-server



You notice now it only reads two. Now, restart the sshd service. On RHEL or fedora:

root@amber [/etc/ssh]# service sshd restart
Stopping sshd:                                             [  OK  ]
Starting sshd:                                             [  OK  ]
root@amber [/etc/ssh]#
Only most other Linux/Unix systems
root@amber [/etc/ssh]# /etc/init.d/sshd restart
Stopping sshd:                                             [  OK  ]
Starting sshd:                                             [  OK  ]
root@amber [/etc/ssh]#


Using "service" instead of /etc/init.d/ only works in red hat based systems as they put a link in for that command.

Double Checking

So you want to test me huh? Maybe I just gave you a bunch of balljive... Here's your reassurance. Open a telnet connection, and specify your machine with port 22 (ssh) as the destination:
root@amber [/etc/ssh]# telnet amber.orlandotechworks.net 22
Trying 74.52.23.162...
Connected to amber.orlandotechworks.net (74.52.23.162).
Escape character is '^]'.
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_3.9p1


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