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All NERSC computers (except HPSS) are reached using either the Secure Shell (SSH) communication and encryption protocol (version 2) or by Grid tools that use trusted certificates.

SSH (Secure Shell) is an encrypted network protocol used to log into computers over an unsecured network. On UNIX/LINUX/BSD type systems, SSH is also the name of a suite of software applications for connecting via the SSH protocol. The SSH applications can execute commands on a remote machine and transfer files from one machine to another. All communications are automatically and transparently encrypted, including passwords. Most versions of SSH provide login (ssh, slogin) a remote copy operation (scp), and many also provide a secure ftp client (sftp). Additionally, SSH allows secure X Window connections.

Password-less logins and transfers

Consult the documentation on using the SSH Proxy service in the MFA documentation section for ways to connect to NERSC systems without reentering your password and one-time password.

SSH certificate authority

NERSC generates SSH certificates for the primary login nodes using a NERSC SSH certificate authority. Most recent ssh clients support these certificates. You can add the following entry to the known_hosts file to make use of this certificate.

@cert-authority * ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA2yKBpvRbdD9MWiu+7wg17vBsKy46AjjuL27DmdpDYiCqRE2mN0om9b0jn4eI91RGykbcRa9wUKJ2qaD0zsD08A8HM+R14H4UsZ5hi7S+xGqscJH7uTmXy5Igo5xEOahS9Z+ecgonDCgWKJnbd/FRu4vITYXrvTlIIGHGRBYj0GzbgLHBzedoMaGNRwhVyadH2SGRaZCgbH+Swevzy0GwYfZJA9zd7EX0jiAClkSYcflIOsygmI3gHv+b35mrvXcHDeQOR/wg8knfpSiFLCkVDpfgnj27Lemzxe6k61Brhv9CUiq+t7WApVDBovhdXZn6pBg+OKeDk1G1OLvRbxJ2bw==

Key fingerprints

NERSC may occasionally update the host keys on the major systems. Check here to confirm the current fingerprints.

  • Cori

    4096 SHA256:35yiNfemgwzHCHFrPGWrJBCCqERqLtOVSrR36s1DaPc (RSA)

  • PDSF

    2048 SHA256:4JGbnhiMkJ5kv1S5+UI5ggTY+Z6DzdEeBQvoFRfN9lw (RSA)

  • DTN[01-04] All of the dtn nodes should have the same fingerprints:

    2048 SHA256:/cIQwTFd8zgeZKVdzE5Jqscu3IX3mRBn7ikaAGH5h6k (RSA)
    256 SHA256:tIO6fLqc2dHa1o3IGmWA5mtxqOURTlxHm3E6lV9zIGg (ECDSA)
    256 SHA256:wirBRUHXris8lXH856CnJMg6JFO2zSWqogXsDmZnZo8 (ED25519)


The ssh fingerprints can be obtained via:

ssh-keygen -lf <(ssh-keyscan -t rsa,ed25519,ecdsa $hostname 2>/dev/null)

Host Keys

These are the entries in ~/.ssh/known_hosts.

Cori ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAACAQCsxGw19ZL8EN+NZ9HhD+O/nATuvgZxcEuy/yXnGqz5wMzJj6rK7TsrdU8rdJNrhZDe3yjpCiKvqkbSKp22jK2/iMAeWDQvYpMgC6KyiNd0hztowtMFJEwb8gVmtkVioqIaf9ufJnOO0LX5A5J/4fQhICfbyPiX8SsjX0p655/kIm3T6hr7t89b4IkRu19/uWufbNaV/mZSFWl7asLKXJNTMhzEn6bsTcAqlm55Tp4NvCe1hvv6OY/vU5luDz09UDmnDfr/uukmVm5aIjtlZBGqbOe7huNJGIWhoGCN/SoArRu9T9c9fjOlRMOHcf0QYMQmxFQnR0TkJZQoJ5N+EYNUIB9dvnJs2mlN0ZEuUU0RwAUOge7RwujiZ2AWp/dV/PNvLGmDVUxiyXC0Uuw57Ga2e49hYisYU/J/NPp9AbHqO8M6kZqYdqWKYueIsM3FDti3vUbjV4J6sL6mOBbxuJpUhUEX5UXxGbR39hDVx9Lsj4dszu+mcBFnDNcpRCDjw3z+hDqdNNpzhIRlbHQErLBWL3vnn2MLnb/3z163gyRtu1iTuR5myBIs9jLDAsX94VbBzKWdCFe22x4Eo6HwB6u+UHlXov0fnBXtAmgwRegc1gQwxi2FXB/ty0q1EO+PYo3fjUVRRb4uqBBIvpFarwtL0T6iYAYgHY11vH9Z2BFAHQ==


"Access Denied" or "Permission Denied"

This is likely a username or password problem.

  1. Make sure you are using the proper NERSC user name.
  2. Log into NIM to clear login failures.


If you are still unable to login, contact the Account Support Office at 1-800-66-NERSC, menu option 2.

Host authenticity

This message may appear when a connection to a new machine is first established:

The authenticity of host '' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is <omitted>
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
  1. Check that the fingerprints match the list above.
  2. If they match accept
  3. If they do not match let us know.

Host identification changed

Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
It is also possible that a host key has just been changed.

Ensure that your ~/.ssh/known_hosts file contains the correct entries for Cori and confirm the fingerprints using the posted fingerprints above. Add the certificate authority line to your known_hosts file if you version of ssh supports SSH certificates.

  1. Open ~/.ssh/known_hosts
  2. Remove any lines referring Cori and save the file
  3. Paste the host key entries from above or retry connecting to the host and accept the new host key after verify that you have the correct "fingerprint" from the above list.