Enabling ssh

# Enable SSH
sudo systemsetup -f -setremotelogin on
# Disable SSH
sudo systemsetup -f -setremotelogin off
# Check if SSH is enabled/disabled
sudo systemsetup -getremotelogin

Tip: Add the -f flag to --force your systemsetup to disable a confirmation prompt when running your command. After all, confirmation messages are failsafes and those are only for people who make mistakes.

  • Generating an ssh key on your computer

  • Converting a private GPG authorization secret RSA subkey (RFC 4880 compliant) to a PEM-encoded private SSH PKCS #1 v2.2 authorization key (RFC 8017 compliant)

    gpg --export-secret-subkeys <auth_key_id>! | openpgp2ssh <auth_key_id> > ~/.ssh/id_rsa

    Tip: If you don’t have that command, it’s this perl script

Once you have that key, you ought to convert it into make a bunch of different types

  • Making a PKCS #1 v2.2 private key (RFC 8017)

    cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa ~/.ssh/id_pkcs1
    ssh-keygen -p -m pem -f ~/.ssh/id_pkcs1
    head !$
    # -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- #
  • Making a PKCS #8 private key (RFC 5958)

    cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa ~/.ssh/id_pkcs8
    ssh-keygen -p -m pem -f ~/.ssh/id_pkcs8
    head !$
    # -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY----- #
  • Making an SSH v2 private key (RFC 4716)

    cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa ~/.ssh/id_ssh
    ssh-keygen -p -m rfc4716 ~/.ssh/id_ssh
    head !$

Public Key Conversions

  • Obtaining the public key corresponding with an RSA private key (RFC 4253)

    # Note: this key format is supported by the SSH server
    #       running on macOS, Linux, and Windows
    ssh-keygen -y -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa > ~/.ssh/
  • Making an SSH2 public key (RFC 4716)

    # Note: this key format is rarely used in practice
    ssh-keygen -y -m rfc4716 -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa > ~/.ssh/
  • View the ASCII randomart of an SSH key

    ssh-keygen -lv -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Copying your ssh keys to someone else’s computer

There are two ways for you to have your ssh key added to another person’s computer. Say you are the user tommy and you want tina to give you permission to enter her computer without a password.

# Option one: from tommy's computer
ssh-copy-id tina@

# Option two: from tina's computer
curl >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Using ssh to log into a known user

  • The -l flag specifies the user to log in as on the remote server.

  • Signing into as the user tommy

    # using @
    # using -l
    ssh -l tommy -p 22
    # using a URI
    ssh ssh://

Opening applications on remote computer

You can use the DISPLAY=0.0 command to tell your ssh session to open the application on the remote computer. You won’t be able to see the app being opened, but it will launch on the remote computer.

Opening a single application

DISPLAY=:0.0 open -a Safari

Use the export keyword in your shell to open all applications on your remote computer

export DISPLAY=:0.0
open -a Safari
open -a Mail

Seeing if anyone is logged into your computer

# shows the IP address of all local/remote users (including you!)

# (prints just your active session)
who am i

# (kills the session associated with ttys001)
pkill ttys001

Transferring clipboard content from local machine to remote machine

# local machine -> remote machine
pbpaste | ssh pbcopy


I wrote a program called $ myip which will tell you your current public and private IP address. If you’d like to use it, copy the script below into your terminal.

# Method 1
brew tap austintraver/taps
brew install myip

# Method 2
brew install austintraver/taps/myip

Now, you can type myip on your terminal, and it will print your current public & private IP address.


When you combine an IP address and a port number, the pair is known as a socket. An example of a local socket is An example of a remote socket is

In order for a connection attempt to a socket to succeed, something must be “listening” on that socket.

The port that a SSH server listens with in order to accept incoming connections is known as the target port.

The port that a SSH client listens with to receive information from the SSH server is known as the source port.

Therefore, the source socket or client socket is the combination of the client’s IP address and the source port. The target socket or remote socket is the combination of the server’s IP address and the target port

Multiple clients can connect using the same target socket.

ssh Tunneling

Tunneling, also known as “port forwarding” reroutes a connection to pass through a ssh connection. ssh uses the TCP/IP protocol on port 22 as a transport mechanism. It’s useful not only for forwarding ssh data, but also for encrypting data passed through SMTP, IMAP, HTTP, etc.

A bastion refers to a small computer, hosted remotely, that works as a jump box to help you reach the computer that has initiated a “reverse tunnel” or “inbound port forwarding” to that bastion.

Configuring your SSH Client

Tip: If you need to better understand what a given setting means for your SSH server, you can type $ man ssh_config

Configuring your SSH Server

The config file for a computer’s SSH server (used to handle incoming SSH connections) is located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config

If you open up this file (use sudo) you’ll notice that most of the settings are commented out. If a setting is commented out, that means that it’s a default setting. If you uncomment it, nothing would change, so don’t go nuts uncommenting files. It’s useful to leave the comments. That way, when a preference is not commented out, you know it’s a setting you’ve manually reconfigured.

Tip: If you need to better understand what a given setting means for your SSH server, you can type $ man sshd_config

Enabling/Disabling Access to Users

If you’re having trouble connecting to a user on a server, modify the AllowUsers setting in sshd_config. To configure remote users login permissions for local users tommy, tina, and billy, add this line to the super user’s sshd_config

AllowUsers tommy tina
DenyUsers billy

You can also allow login functionality to all users within a certain group by modifying the AllowGroups setting. To configure login permission for all users in the trojan and bruin groups, add this line to the super user’s sshd_config

AllowGroups trojans
DenyGroups bruins

Accepting remote connections

You’ll have to edit the sshd_config file to support incoming connections from a remote user.

Go into the bastion, and add/change the line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config that says #GatewayPorts no to GatewayPorts yes

Then, on your local machine (not the bastion) give your computer the following instructions:

  • Build reverse tunnel, allowing users to enter your computer if they first jump through the bastion host

    # When connections are made to
    # user: "jump"
    # port: 1337
    # ip:
    ssh -fNR 1337: jump@
    # ...forward it to my local machine (, on port 22
  • Make an SSH connection, jumping from bastion host port 22, to bastion host port 1337 (which forwards to the remote machine)

    # Connect to the machine that opened the connection
    ssh -J ssh://user@

Restarting the SSH Server

  • On macOS

    sudo launchctl kickstart -kp system/com.openssh.sshd
  • On Linux

    sudo service ssh restart

Running Local Machine Commands

You don’t have to exit the session if you forgot to send over a file, or need to run a local command. Simply press ‘enter’, followed by ‘~’, followed by ‘C’ and you will be given a prompt on your local machine.

ssh> !scp ~/Desktop/forgot.txt

If you want to change ~ to be a different key, you can change it in the file ~/.ssh/config

Host *
  EscapeChar C

Now, you could type “⏎ C C !” to open up the >ssh prompt and issue commands on your local machine


The Secure Copy Protocol or SCP is designed to make sending and receiving files from the terminal as secure as possible. You can use the scp program in the terminal to send and receive files as follows:

# Upload local file
scp ~/Downloads/file.txt john@
# Download remote file
scp john@ ~/Documents/

Tip: If you need to edit a file on a remote computer, you can actually use scp to do so, as follows

# Option 1: Specifying the path relative to the user's home directory
vi scp://
# Option 2: Specifying the absolute path
vi scp://

Allow others to view your jupyter notebook

ssh -fNR 42069: