ssh-broker-g3 (ssh-broker-g3.exe on Windows) is a component of Tectia Client and Tectia ConnectSecure. It handles all cryptographic operations and authentication-related tasks for Tectia Client and for the client programs sshg3, scpg3, sftpg3, and ssh-client-g3.exe (on Windows only).
ssh-broker-g3 uses the Secure Shell version 2 protocol to communicate with a Secure Shell server.
You can start the Connection Broker manually by using the ssh-broker-g3 command. This starts ssh-broker-g3 in the background and all following uses of sshg3, sftpg3, or scpg3 will connect via this instance of the Connection Broker instead of starting a new Broker session.
If a command-line client (sshg3, sftpg3, or scpg3) is started when the Connection Broker is not running in the background, the client starts the Broker in run-on-demand mode. In this mode, ssh-broker-g3 will exit after the last client has disconnected.
If there is an ssh-broker-g3 process running in the run-on-demand mode, and the Connection Broker is started from the command line, the new ssh-broker-g3 process sends a message to the old ssh-broker-g3 process to change from the run-on-demand mode to the background mode, keeping the Broker running after the clients disconnect.
The status of the running Connection Broker can be checked using the ssh-broker-ctl and ssh-broker-gui utilities.
The Connection Broker operates automatically as an authentication agent, storing user's public keys
and forwarding the authentication over Secure Shell connections. Key pairs can be created
The Connection Broker can also serve OpenSSH clients as an authentication agent.
The public key pairs used for user authentication are by default stored in the
%APPDATA%\SSH\UserKeys on Windows). See the section called “Files” for more
The Connection Broker automatically maintains and checks a database containing the public host keys
used for authenticating Secure Shell servers. When logging in to a server host for the first
time, the host's public key is stored in the user's
%APPDATA%\SSH\HostKeys on Windows). See the section called “Files” for more
The most important options of ssh-broker-g3 are the following:
Listens to Connection Broker connections on a local address
Sets the debug level string to
Reads the Connection Broker configuration file from
FILE instead of
the default location.
Dumps debug messages to
Stores the process ID of the Connection Broker to
Make the currently running Connection Broker exit. This will terminate all connections.
Re-reads the configuration file (
takes it into use.
Displays program version and exits.
Displays a short summary of command-line options and exits.
The following optional environment variables are required in certain situations:
This variable defines an address to a separate Tectia Connection Broker process to which a connection is made.
This variable becomes necessary to define the location of the Connection Broker process, if you are running it from a non-default location, or using a userID other than that of the ssh-broker-g3 process owner.
ssh-broker-g3 uses the following files:
This is the user-specific configuration file used by ssh-broker-g3 (and sshg3, scpg3, and sftpg3). The format of this file is described in ssh-broker-config(5). This file does not usually contain any sensitive information, but the recommended permissions are read/write for the user, and not accessible for others.
On Windows, the user-specific configuration file is located in
This file is used for seeding the random number generator. It contains sensitive data and its permissions should be read/write for the user and not accessible for others. This file is created the first time the program is run and it is updated automatically. You should never need to read or modify this file.
On Windows, the random seed file is located in
This file contains information on public keys and certificates used for user authentication when contacting remote hosts.
With Tectia Client G3, using the
identification file is not necessary
if all user keys are stored in the default directory and you allow all of them to be
used for public-key and/or certificate authentication. If the
identification file does not exist, the Connection Broker attempts to use
each key found in the
$HOME/.ssh2 directory. If the
identification file exists, the keys listed in it are attempted
The identification file contains a list of private key filenames each preceded by
CertKey). An example file is
This directs the Connection Broker to use
$HOME/.ssh2/mykey when attempting
login using public-key authentication.
The files are by default assumed to be in the
directory, but also a path to the key file can be given. The path can be absolute or
relative to the
$HOME/.ssh2 directory. If there is more than one
IdKey, they are tried in the order that they appear in the
On Windows, the identification file is located in
%APPDATA%\SSH\identification. Key paths in the file can be
absolute or relative to the
%APPDATA%\SSH directory. The default
user key directory is
%APPDATA%\SSH\UserKeys and the default user
certificate directory is
This is the user-specific default directory for storing the public keys of server
hosts. You are prompted to accept new or changed keys automatically when you connect to
a server, unless you have set
yes in the
ssh-broker-config.xml file. You
should verify the key fingerprint before accepting new or changed keys.
When the host key is received during the first connection to a remote host (or when the host key has changed) and you choose to save the key, its filename is stored by default in hashed format. The hashed host key format is a security feature to make address harvesting on the hosts difficult.
The storage format can be controlled with the
attribute of the
known-hosts element in the
ssh-broker-config.xml configuration file. The attribute value
If you are adding the keys manually, the keys should be named with
key_<port>_<host>.pub pattern, where
<port> is the port the Secure Shell server is running
<host> is the hostname you use when connecting
to the server (for example,
If both hashed and plain-text format keys exist, the hashed format takes precedence.
Note that the identification is different based on the host and port the client is
connecting to. For example, the short hostname
considered different from the fully qualified domain name
alpha.example.com. Also a connection with an IP, for
10.1.54.1, is considered a different host, as is a
connection to the same host but different port, for example
On Windows, the user-specific host key files are located in
For more information on host keys, see Server Authentication with Public Keys.
This is the initialization file for hashed host key names.
On Windows, the salt file is located in
This is the configuration file used by ssh-broker-g3 (and sshg3, scpg3, and sftpg3) that contains the factory default settings. It is not recommended to edit the file, but you can use it to view the default settings. The format of this file is described in ssh-broker-config(5).
On Windows, the default configuration file is located in
This is the global (system-wide) configuration file used by ssh-broker-g3 (and sshg3, scpg3, and sftpg3). The format of this file is described in ssh-broker-config(5).
On Windows, the global configuration file is located in
If a host key is not found in the user-specific
$HOME/.ssh2/hostkeys directory, this is the next location to be
checked for all users. Host key files are not automatically put here but they have to be
updated manually by the system administrator (
If the administrator obtains the host keys by connecting to each host, the keys will
be by default in the hashed format. In this case, also the administrator's
$HOME/.ssh2/hostkeys/salt file has to be copied to the
On Windows, the system-wide host key files are by default located in:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
Data\SSH\HostKeys" on pre-Vista Windows.
C:\ProgramData\SSH\HostKeys" on Windows Vista and
later Windows versions.
This is the initialization file for hashed host key names. The file has to be copied here manually by the same administrator that obtains the host keys.
On Windows, the salt file for all users is by default located in:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application
Data\SSH\HostKeys\salt" on pre-Vista Windows.
C:\ProgramData\SSH\HostKeys\salt" on Windows Vista
and later Windows versions.
This is the default system-wide file used by OpenSSH clients for storing the public key data of known server hosts. It is supported also by Tectia Client.
If a host key is not found in the user-specific
$HOME/.ssh/known_hosts file, this is the next location to be
checked for all users.
ssh_known_hosts file is never automatically updated by Tectia Client or
ConnectSecure, since they store new host keys always in the Tectia user-specific directory
This is the default user-specific file used by OpenSSH clients for storing the
public key data of known server hosts. The
known_hosts file is
supported also by Tectia Client.
known_hosts file contains a hashed or plain-text format entry
of each known host key and the port used on the server, in case it is non-standard
(other than 22). For more information on the format of the
file, see the OpenSSH
sshd(8) man page.
known_hosts file is never automatically updated by Tectia Client or
ConnectSecure, since they store new host keys always in the Tectia directory
$HOME/.ssh2/authorized_keys (on the server host)
This directory is the default location used by Tectia Server for the user public keys that are authorized for login.
On Tectia Server on Windows, the default directory for user public keys is
$HOME/.ssh2/authorization (on the server host)
This is the default file used by earlier versions of Tectia Server (sshd2) that lists the user public keys that are authorized for login. The file can optionally be used with Tectia Server G3 (ssh-server-g3) as well.
On Tectia Server on Windows, the authorization file is by default located in
For information on the format of this file, see the ssh-server-g3(8) man page.
$HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys (on the server host)
This is the default file used by OpenSSH server (sshd) that contains the user public keys that are authorized for login.
For information on the format of this file, see the OpenSSH sshd(8) man page.