Enable arcfour and Other Fast Ciphers on Recent Versions of OpenSSH

22 Oct 2014

After a recent update to my Arch Linux box I noticed that some of my backup scripts started complaining about not being able to connect to my machine. The error message I was seeing was:

mgalgs@remote-host $ ssh -c arcfour my-machine
no matching cipher found: client arcfour server aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

This was after updating openssh from 6.6p1-2 to 6.7p1-1:

$ grep openssh /var/log/pacman.log | tail -1
[2014-10-20 13:51] [PACMAN] upgraded openssh (6.6p1-2 -> 6.7p1-1)

The no matching cipher found error message is a result of OpenSSH 6.7 disabling a few ciphers by default for security reasons. However, I’m only making these connections within my trusted LAN so frankly I don’t care about the security of my ssh cipher. Heck, I’d even be ok with clear-text.

To get these fast (but insecure) ciphers back, you need to add a Ciphers line to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config, like:

Ciphers cipher1,cipher2,cipher3

Check the man page on your system for the default value and just add arcfour to it. You can also get a list of all available ciphers by querying your system with ssh -Q. Pipe that sucker into paste and you have yourself a line suitable for pasting into /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

$ ssh -Q cipher localhost | paste -d , -s -
3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,arcfour,arcfour128,arcfour256,aes128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,[email protected],aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

Here’s what I ended up adding to my /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

# enable all ciphers!
# obtained with ssh -Q cipher localhost | paste -d , -s -
Ciphers 3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,arcfour,arcfour128,arcfour256,aes128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,[email protected],aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

Remember, only do this if you don’t care about security (i.e. you never accept connections from outside your trusted network).

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