How can I force ssh to accept a new host fingerprint from the command line?

I'm getting the standard

WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED!
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NASTY!
Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.
The fingerprint for the RSA key sent by the remote host is

error message. However, the system (Appworx) that executes the command (sftp I think, not that it matters) is automated and I can't easily accept the new key, even after checking with the third party vendor that it is a valid change. I can add a new shell script that I can execute from the same system (and user), but there doesn't seem to be a command or command-line argument that will tell ssh to accept the key. I can't find anything in the man page or on Google. Surely this is possible?

Answers


Here's how to tell your client to trust the key. A better approach is to give it the key in advance, which I've described in the second paragraph. This is for an OpenSSH client on Unix, so I hope it's relevant to your situation.

You can set the StrictHostKeyChecking parameter. It has options yes, no, and ask. The default is ask. To set it system wide, edit /etc/ssh/ssh_config; to set it just for you, edit ~/.ssh/config; and to set it for a single command, give the option on the command line, e.g.

ssh -o "StrictHostKeyChecking no" hostname

An alternative approach if you have access to the host keys for the remote system is to add them to your known_hosts file in advance, so that SSH knows about them and won't ask the question. If this is possible, it's better from a security point of view. After all, the warning might be right and you really might be subject to a man-in-the-middle attack.

For instance, here's a script that will retrieve the key and add it to your known_hosts file:

ssh -o 'StrictHostKeyChecking no' hostname cat /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key.pub >>~/.ssh/known_hosts

The answers here are terrible advice. You should never turn off StrictHostKeyChecking in any real-world system (e.g. it's probably okay if you're just playing on your own local home network – but for anything else don't do it).

Instead use:

ssh-keygen -R hostname

That will force the known_hosts file to be updated to remove the old key for just the one server that has updated its key.

Then when you use:

ssh user@hostname

It will ask you to confirm the fingerprint – as it would for any other "new" (i.e. previously unseen) server.


Add following file

~/.ssh/config

and this in the file as content

StrictHostKeyChecking no

This settings will make sure that ssh will never ask for fingerprint check again.


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