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End Of Life for Kerberized FTP (GSSAPI FTP)

What is happening and when?

On August 14, 2014, IS&T will end support for for Kerberized FTP (a.k.a. "kftp", "GSSAPI FTP") on the Athena Dialup Servers ( and After that date, all file transfers to Athena must now use the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). Attempting to connect via Kerberized FTP will result in a "Connection refused" error.

Does this affect me?

IS&T Server Operations has contacted individual users who are still connecting via Kerberized FTP, so if you received an e-mail from them directing you to this page, you are affected.

The vast majority of the MIT Community will not be affected unless they are using very old software, or legacy configurations in modern software. Please find your file transfer software in the list below to see what action you need to take.

  • SecureFX (SecureCRT): No action needed. SecureFX has always used the SFTP protocol.
  • Fetch 5.6 and above: No action needed.
  • Linux and Mac OS X Terminal users: Ensure you are using the scp command to transfer files, as described here
  • Fetch 5.0 - 5.5: These versions of Fetch are capable of using SFTP, but may also have been configured to use Kerberized FTP.
    • Examine your Fetch shortcuts (choose "Fetch Shortcuts" from the "Window" menu; then select a shortcut and choose "Edit Shortcut" from the "Shortcut Menu") and ensure that "Connect using" is set to "SFTP". If it is, no further action is necessary. For more information, including step-by-step configuration instructions for Fetch, please see Fetch 5.x for Mac - Using Fetch at MIT
  • Fetch 4.x and earlier can no longer be used to connect to the Athena dialup FTP servers.
  • Dreamweaver MX 2004, Dreamweaver 8 and Dreamweaver Creative Suite: These versions of Dreamweaver are capable of connecting via SFTP. Double-check your connection settings to ensure you are connecting via the SFTP protocol.
  • Dreamweaver MX and earlier: These versions are deprecated.
  • FileZilla: FileZilla has been deprecated at MIT since 2006 in favor of SecureFX. Please download the latest version of SecureFX from the IS&T website.
  • Plop: Plop has been deprecated at MIT since 2003. Please download and install the latest version of SecureFX from the IS&T website.
  • Software not listed above: Consult your software's documentation. Most software released in the last 10 years should have some support for SFTP. It may also be called "SSH file transfer", "scp", or simply referred to in the protocol list as "SSH".

I cannot upgrade my software and need to urgently upload files

In an emergency, you may re-configure your software to connect to if you need to urgently upload files to Athena. However, this server will not work after November 1, 2014. After that time, you MUST upgrade to the latest version of either SecureFX (for Windows users) or Fetch (for Mac OS X users).

Why is this change being made?

In the late 1990s, a Kerberos-enabled FTP client was the only feasible option for connecting to an FTP server while keeping your password secure. Over the years, the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) gained popularity, and has proved far more popular than Kerberized FTP, and is supported by more third-party software. As of April 2014, a Kerberos-enabled FTP client and server is no longer provided by default as part of the normal Ubuntu Linux distribution. Rather than maintain two parallel infrastructures, we have decided to retire the Kerberos-enabled FTP server.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

August 08, 2014

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