This is a problem I've been having for a long time, but every time I try to figure something out I get lost, so I figured I'd better ask here where maybe someone more experienced could help me.
My Raspberry Pi is running Raspbian Jessie, and I use SSH often to login into it and execute commands remotely. During my first SSH sessions I noticed that an
ssh-agent process was spawned on the RPi every time I logged in, but never killed when
exiting: logging in and out several times caused a bunch of
ssh-agent processes to be spawned just to be left hanging there doing nothing. Fiddling around and reading man pages and answers here and there I recently understood the purpose of
ssh-agent, and I also learned that it should normally get killed when logging out, so I began to ask myself why it wasn't. Furthermore, I noticed that issuing
source ~/.bashrc causes another instance of
ssh-agent to be spawned. I read on the relative man page that the environment variable
SSH_AGENT_PID should be defined because the
ssh-agent program should be started within an
eval to execute its output and define such variables, which are then used by other SSH-related commands, including
ssh-agent -k (to kill the agent relative to the current session), so I ran
echo $SSH_AGENT_PID and
echo $SSH_AUTH_SOCK, but they were both empty. I suddenly realized: probably the process doesn't get killed on logout because
ssh-agent -k tries to read its PID from the environment variable which is not set.
ssh-agent is not being killed on logout, and this for sure happens because the needed environment variables aren't set, it can only mean one thing: whoever calls
ssh-agent on login probably doesn't do it in the proper way (which would be
eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"). So I thought: well, what's the problem? I'll just find whichever configuration file, service, or login script gets executed to start the agent and manually fix it! Where on earth could it be?
What I've tried
Since I noticed that an
ssh-agent is spawned every time I call
source ~/.bashrc, this was the first file I inspected, but nothing there even remotely referenced anything related to SSH. I kept searching using
vi for the string
ssh inside all the following files, but found nothing:
~/.bashrc ~/.profile /etc/bash.bashrc /etc/profile /etc/profile.d/ (every file in this folder) /etc/environment
Is there some more file that could be involved in
source ~/.bashrc? I don't really know.
Then I searched for relevant
systemd services, but only found
ssh.service, which is
WantedBy=multi-user.target, and therefore is not run on login (and well, that's obvious since this is the SSH server daemon).
I also tried moving every single file in my
/home/pi folder to a temporary folder and logging out and back in again, but
ssh-agent still spawned.
Eventually, I also fired the last shot I had in the chamber: I ran
find / -name 'ssh-agent' as root, which only printed
/usr/bin/ssh-agent, an executable, so I created a fake executable which basically only logged the parent command:
#! /bin/bash ps -o args= $PPID > /home/pi/LOG cat /proc/$PPID/cmdline >> /home/pi/LOG
I renamed the real
/usr/bin/ssh-agent and replaced it with the fake one setting the right permissions/user/group, ran
source ~/.bashrc again, then printed the
Not a single clue on what is going on.
Some more details
I'm adding some more details, I don't know if they could be helpful or not, but you know... better safe than sorry.
I created a new user named
useradd -m dummy, and logging into it doesn't start any
ssh-agent(I feel like this could mean something). The
diff /home/pi/.bashrc /home/dummy/.bashrcshows basically nothing (just a comment I made), same for
diff /home/pi/.profile /home/dummy/.profile.
The agent socket is created without problem even though
SSH_AUTH_SOCKis not set:
pi:~$ ls -lAh /tmp/ssh-vQRTAyj7DJry/ total 0 srw------- 1 pi pi 0 Jan 28 03:12 agent.1328
Not sure why, but the number on the socket filename is always the one immediately before the PID of the
PID USER PRI NI VIRT RES SHR S Command 1 root 20 0 5472 3900 2728 S /sbin/init 1329 pi 20 0 3696 224 16 S └─ ssh-agent -s
Installed packages matching
pi:~$ apt list --installed | grep ssh libpam-chksshpwd/oldstable,now 1.1.8-3.1+deb8u2+rpi3 armhf [installed] libssh-gcrypt-4/oldstable,now 0.6.3-4+deb8u2 armhf [installed,automatic] libssh2-1/oldstable,now 1.4.3-4.1+deb8u1 armhf [installed,automatic] openssh-client/oldstable,now 1:6.7p1-5+deb8u4 armhf [installed,automatic] openssh-server/oldstable,now 1:6.7p1-5+deb8u4 armhf [installed,automatic] openssh-sftp-server/oldstable,now 1:6.7p1-5+deb8u4 armhf [installed,automatic] ssh/oldstable,now 1:6.7p1-5+deb8u4 all [installed] sshpass/oldstable,now 1.05-1 armhf [installed]
ssh-agent -srecursively using
/libyields no results.
I have no desktop environment installed, but I have a
/etc/X11folder with some configuration files in it. I tried renaming the folder to something else and rebooting just in case, but the process still gets spawned, so apparently that doesn't have much to do with this.
Now, to make it as simple as possible, I've only got two questions:
- Where and how is this
ssh-agentspawned, who issues the command?
- Why doesn't it get called in the proper way, without setting the needed environment variables, and therefore leaving the process to hang there indefinitely?