SSH Support in C-Kermit for Windows

C-Kermit for Windows now includes built-in SSH support based on libssh^1. This is still a work-in progress so not all SSH commands supported by Kermit 95 are available in CKW at this time and bugs are likely. If you find a bug, please report it!

To get started, type help ssh at the kermit prompt but note that not all commands are implemented yet! Full documentation for the built-in SSH client as delivered in Kermit 95 v2.1.3 is available here: - SSH differences between Kermit 95 and C-Kermit for Windows are discussed later in this document.

For convenience C-Kermit currently looks for the known_hosts file as well as your public and private keys in %USERPROFILE%\.ssh. This directory is also used by the version of OpenSSH bundled with Windows 10+ so if you were previously using that your keys and known hosts should be picked up automatically by C-Kermit.

Known Issues

Differences From Kermit 95

The set ssh v2 authentication command only works to turn methods on or off at this time, it does not affect the order in which authentication methods are attempted. This may be corrected in a future release.

The GUI dialogs for the ssh key commands have also been adjusted a little. When GUI dialogs are enabled, these commands will use a standard Windows file dialog rather than having you type in a full pathname if a filename was not specified as part of the command.

New Command Options

These commands are unchanged aside from having some new options. Some options that were supported in Kermit 95 may have been removed.

set ssh v2 hostkey-algorithms {ecdsa-sha2-nistp256, ecdsa-sha2-nistp384, ecdsa-sha2-nistp521, rsa-sha2-256, rsa-sha2-512, ssh-ed25519}
set ssh v2 macs {, hmac-sha2-256,, hmac-sha2-512,, none}

New Commands

The following commands are new to C-Kermit for Windows and so not documented in the Kermit 95 manual.

set ssh v2 key-exchange-methods {CURVE25519-SHA256,
  Specifies an ordered list of Key Exchange Methods to be used to generate
  per-connection keys. The default list is:

    curve25519-sha256 ecdh-sha2-nistp256
    ecdh-sha2-nistp384 ecdh-sha2-nistp521 diffie-hellman-group18-sha512
    diffie-hellman-group16-sha512 diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256
    diffie-hellman-group14-sha256 diffie-hellman-group14-sha1
    diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 ext-info-c}

Removed Commands and Options

The following SSH commands and options have been removed because they are obsolete and not supported by libssh:

set ssh version 1
set ssh {kerberos4, kerberos5, krb4, kerb5, k4, k5}
set ssh v1
set ssh v2 authentication {external-keyex, hostbased, srp-gex-sha1}
set ssh v2 ciphers {arcfour, blowfish-cbc, cast128-cbc, rijndael128-cbc, rijndael192-cbc, rijndael256-cbc}
set ssh v2 macs {hmac-md5, hmac-md5-96, hmac-ripemd160, hmac-sha1-96}
ssh key v1
ssh key display /format:ietf
ssh v2 rekey

Not Yet Implemented (or removed)

The following commands have not been implemented yet. The intention is to eventually implement as many of these as possible but this comes down to what libssh will or will not support. Some will likely be removed entirely in future releases. At this time all of these commands just return an error or do nothing.

SSH [OPEN] /X11-FORWARDING: {on,off}
    LOCAL-PORT-FORWARD local-port host port
    REMOTE-PORT-FORWARD remote-port host port
    ADD identity-file
    DELETE identity-file
    IDENTITY-FILE filename
    XAUTH-LOCATION filename

Supported Authentication Methods

At this time password, public key, gssapi-mic and keyboard interactive authentication are implemented and work.

There is not yet support for using ssh agents but as this is supported by the ssh backend used by C-Kermit support for these may appear in a future release.

Using gssapi-mic (Kerberos) authentication

Standard x86 and x86-64 builds of C-Kermit for Windows supporting SSH include two versions of the SSH backend, ssh.dll and ssh-gssapi.dll. The default SSH backend, ssh.dll, does not support GSSAPI authentcation.

To use GSSAPI authentication you must rename ssh.dll to something else, then rename ssh-gssapi.dll to ssh.dll:

ren ssh.dll ssh.dll.bak
ren ssh-gssapi.dll ssh.dll

You must also Download and Install Kerberos for Windows from MIT. C-Kermit for Windows will not start with the GSSAPI-supporting ssh.dll without this installed. If you later uninstall Kerberos for Windows you'll need to swap the SSH DLLs back around again.

GSSAPI authenticatino is not currently supported on non-x86 builds of CKW as current versions of Kerberos for Windows are only availbale for x86.