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Q: How do I configure SSH to always delegate my Kerberos tickets?

Answer

Delegation and athena.dialup.mit.edu
When using Kerberos over SSH, you can choose to merely use Kerberos to authenticate yourself, or you can choose to use Kerberos to delegate your tickets in addition to authentication. While some workstations may let you log in without delegation, athena.dialup.mit.edu does not. The reason for this is that without delegation, athena.dialup.mit.edu cannot obtain Kerberos tickets for you to use once logged in, and cannot obtain AFS tokens necessary to access your files. Rather than let you end up logged in without access to your files, athena.dialup.mit.edu requires that you delegate tickets, use traditional password-based authentication, or explicitly opt-in to public-key authentication.

For more information on public-key authentication with athena.dialup.mit.edu, please see How do I connect to the Athena dialup servers using public-key authentication?

Most ssh client configurations (such as those on MacOS X and Ubuntu) do not delegate (forward) Kerberos tickets by default, to avoid inadvertently exposing your Kerberos tickets to a malicious machine. Normally, you must use ssh -K to delegate your tickets on a per-connection basis. For example, instead of typing:

ssh athena.dialup.mit.edu

you would now type:

ssh -K athena.dialup.mit.edu

NOTE for Mac OS X: Kerberos Extras will configure your ssh client to delegate kerberos tickets.

Delegating by default

If you wish to delegate your tickets by default, you can add a line like the following to your ~/.ssh/config file:

Host athena.dialup.mit.edu
    GSSAPIDelegateCredentials yes

That will cause ssh to delegate your credentials when connecting to athena.dialup.mit.edu (but not when connecting to other machines). You can specify multiple hosts like so:

Host athena.dialup.mit.edu some-other-machine.mit.edu 
    GSSAPIDelegateCredentials yes

You can even specify wildcards, though we do not recommend you do this:

Host *.mit.edu 
    GSSAPIDelegateCredentials yes

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

January 29, 2014

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