what is ssh-sgent?

John K Masters johnmasters at oxtedonline.net
Sat May 3 19:40:34 UTC 2008

On 20:11 Sat 03 May     , andy baxter wrote:
> Hello,
> Could someone tell me what ssh-agent is? I have the following process 
> running on my computer, and I'm not sure what it does:
> root at monkey:~# ps ax | grep 5474
>  5474 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/bin/ssh-agent /usr/bin/dbus-launch 
> --exit-with-session x-session-manager
> 16932 pts/1    R+     0:00 grep 5474

ssh-agent is part of the ssh suite of programs. Basically it allows you
to have a secure connection to another machine using public/private
keys. Once you have authenticated your connection using your passphrase
via ssh-add, the session details are kept in RAM on the client machine
and you can access the server securely without needing a password. 

If you have not explicitly installed ssh on your machine (IIRC it is not
installed by default) then I would look closely at the possibility your
machine has been compromised. However, depending on what applications
you have installed, ssh may have been pulled in as a dependancy.

Wisdom is divided into two parts 
  1.  Having a great deal to say
  2.  Not saying it
Regards, John

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