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the format of the ssh known_hosts file

Here’s a sample:

|1|KnbIIJIPrL/1p7ofUV74sK+j/Gc=|wrjOFnPgoF0afgH0PeRtRqSdgvc= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAq2A7hRGmdnm9tUDbO9IDSwBK6TbQa+PXYPCPy6rbTrTtw7PHkccKrpp0yVhp5HdEIcKr6pLlVDBfOLX9QUsyCOV0wzfjIJNlGEYsdlLJizHhbn2mUjvSAHQqZETYP81eFzLQNnPHt4EVVUh7VfDESU84KezmD5QlWpXLmvU31/yMf+Se8xhHTvKSCZIFImWwoG6mbUoWf9nzpIoaSjB+weqqUUmpaaasXVal72J+UX2B+2RPW3RcT0eOzQgqlJL3RKrTJvdsjE3JEAvGq3lGHSZXy28G3skua2SmVi/w4yCE6gbODqnTWlg7+wC604ydGXA8VJiS5ap43JXiUFFAaQ==

“|1|” is the HASH_MAGIC. The first part between the separators “|” is the salt encoded in Base64. When a new host is added, the salt is generated randomly. The second one is the hostname HMAC (“Hash-based Message Authentication Code”) generated via SHA1 using the decoded salt and then encoded in Base64.

If you use an older version of openssh or if you have

HashKnownHosts No

Set in your /etc/ssh/ssh_config or ~/.ssh/config, the entries are not hashed and look more like this:

remotehostname,192.168.1.100 ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAq2A7hRGmdnm9tUDbO9IDSwBK6TbQa+PXYPCPy6rbTrTtw7PHkccKrpp0yVhp5HdEIcKr6pLlVDBfOLX9QUsyCOV0wzfjIJNlGEYsdlLJizHhbn2mUjvSAHQqZETYP81eFzLQNnPHt4EVVUh7VfDESU84KezmD5QlWpXLmvU31/yMf+Se8xhHTvKSCZIFImWwoG6mbUoWf9nzpIoaSjB+weqqUUmpaaasXVal72J+UX2B+2RPW3RcT0eOzQgqlJL3RKrTJvdsjE3JEAvGq3lGHSZXy28G3skua2SmVi/w4yCE6gbODqnTWlg7+wC604ydGXA8VJiS5ap43JXiUFFAaQ==

Sometimes you might see two entries added when a new host is added.

|1|wwwwwwwwwwwwwww=|wwwwwwwwww= ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 AAAAAAAAAA+AAAAA=
|1|vvvvvvvvvvvvvvv=|vvvvvvvvvv= ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 AAAAAAAAAA+AAAAA=

This is because one will be for a hostname and the other for the ip address of the same host. This is because only one hashed hostname may appear on a single line.