SSH agent forwarding and screen
When connecting to a remote server via SSH it is often convenient to use SSH agent forwarding so that you don't need a separate keypair on that server for connecting to further servers.
This is enabled by adding the
option to any of your
Host entries in
~/.ssh/config (or alternatively with the
-A option). Don't set this option in a wildcard
Host * section since any user on the remote server that can bypass file permissions can now als use keys loaded in your SSH agent. So only use this with hosts you trust.
The problem with screen
Unfortunately, this doesn't work as-is with GNU screen. On every new SSH connection, agent forwarding is setup via a socket specified in the
SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable (usually somewhere in
/tmp). So the socket location will be different on each connection. However, your typical screen session will live over several SSH connections and the shells in your screen session won't know where to find the current socket (their environments are not updated).
Fixing agent forwarding with screen
A simple fix is to symlink to the current socket from a fixed location on each new connection and have SSH look for the socket in that fixed location (specified by the
SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable). We'll use
~/.ssh/ssh_auth_sock for the symlink location.
To have SSH within a screen session use the symlink, add the following line to
setenv SSH_AUTH_SOCK $HOME/.ssh/ssh_auth_sock
To update the symlink we'll use the
~/.ssh/rc file which is executed by SSH on each connection. This can be any executable file, so something like the following script will do:
if test "$SSH_AUTH_SOCK" ; then ln -sf $SSH_AUTH_SOCK ~/.ssh/ssh_auth_sock fi
Unfortunately, this will break X11 forwarding because SSH runs
xauth on each connection, except when there is a
~/.ssh/rc file. We can fix this by running
xauth from our
~/.ssh/rc as suggested in the
sshd(8) manual page.
This is our complete
#!/bin/bash # Fix SSH auth socket location so agent forwarding works with screen. if test "$SSH_AUTH_SOCK" ; then ln -sf $SSH_AUTH_SOCK ~/.ssh/ssh_auth_sock fi # Taken from the sshd(8) manpage. if read proto cookie && [ -n "$DISPLAY" ]; then if [ `echo $DISPLAY | cut -c1-10` = 'localhost:' ]; then # X11UseLocalhost=yes echo add unix:`echo $DISPLAY | cut -c11-` $proto $cookie else # X11UseLocalhost=no echo add $DISPLAY $proto $cookie fi | xauth -q - fi
Credits go to this blog post: Managing SSH Sockets in GNU Screen