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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)

  • 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)

  • NoMachine\NX
    SHA256 E7 1D 95 A6 9D B4 A4 99 5B 1A 77 8E 2C FD CF FF D3 5E ED 32 BC 63 9E EB A4 46 F1 76 0F 66 49 23 (RSA)
    SHA256 E3 2B 16 1A 97 39 02 FA D0 A8 D8 78 CD F7 EE DB 15 F3 90 B3 55 B5 A9 1F A0 6A F0 F7 E7 68 57 1 (ECDSA)
    SHA256 98 C7 54 41 60 76 9B 71 33 D3 B0 43 11 0B C0 D6 9A 70 8F C9 D7 4C FA AE D9 72 48 88 90 86 24 AD (ED25519)


The ssh fingerprints can be obtained via:

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


Depending on the ssh client you use to connect to NERSC systems, you may see different key fingerprints. For example, Putty uses different format of fingerprints as follows:

  • Cori

    ssh-rsa 4096 f6:36:aa:ed:60:9c:d5:f1:29:af:35:81:58:f6:26:45

  • DTN[01-04]

    ssh-ed25519 256 09:11:1a:d7:fc:d9:db:cb:11:c2:ea:6e:61:96:c3:3e
    You may see the following warning when connecting to Cori with Putty, but it is safe to ingore.

PuTTY Security Alert
The server's host key is not cached in the registry. You have no guarantee that the server is the computer you think it is.
The server's rsa2 key fingerprint is:
ssh-rsa 4096 f6:36:aa:ed:60:9c:d5:f1:29:af:35:81:58:f6:26:45
If you trust this host, hit Yes to add the key to PuTTY's cache and carry on connecting.
If you want to carry on connecting just once, without adding the key to the cache, hit No.
If you do not trust this host, hit Cancel to abandon the connection.

Host Keys

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

Cori ssh-rsa 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


"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 Iris to clear login failures.


If you are still unable to login, contact NERSC Account Support at

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.