ssh-keyscan - still promoted with The authenticity of host '[hostname] ([IP address])' can't be established

Try this:

ssh-keyscan -t rsa [ip_address]

Take the output and paste it in .ssh/known_hosts. Now if you want to hash known_hosts do this:

ssh-keygen -H

edit: Heres the one command solution. It uses hostname and IP addresses and hashes both.

ssh-keyscan -Ht rsa [hostname],[IP address] >> known_hosts

The answer by kschurig will work but it is not necessarily the most secure. It does get bonus points for going the extra mile to let you identify the server by more than one URI-- i.e. hostname and IP address. That is to say you could keep adding valid URIs of that host by extending the comma delimited list.

However, I was searching for a mundane way to bypass the unkown host manual interaction of cloning a git repo as shown below and it should help in explaining what is happening and how you can avoid this one part of scripting some SSH related thing:

brad@computer:~$ git clone [email protected]:viperks/viperks-api.git
Cloning into 'viperks-api'...
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 97:8c:1b:f2:6f:14:6b:5c:3b:ec:aa:46:46:74:7c:40.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

Note the RSA key fingerprint...

So, this is a SSH thing, this will work for git over SSH and just SSH related things in general...

brad@computer:~$ nmap --script ssh-hostkey

Starting Nmap 7.01 ( ) at 2016-10-05 10:21 EDT
Nmap scan report for (
Host is up (0.032s latency).
Other addresses for (not scanned): 2401:1d80:1010::150
Not shown: 997 filtered ports
22/tcp  open  ssh
| ssh-hostkey:
|   1024 35:ee:d7:b8:ef:d7:79:e2:c6:43:9e:ab:40:6f:50:74 (DSA)
|_  2048 97:8c:1b:f2:6f:14:6b:5c:3b:ec:aa:46:46:74:7c:40 (RSA)
80/tcp  open  http
443/tcp open  https

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 42.42 seconds

First, install nmap on your daily driver. nmap is highly helpful for certain things, like detecting open ports and this-- manually verifying SSH fingerprints. But, back to what we are doing.

Good. I'm either compromised at the multiple places and machines I've checked it-- or the more plausible explanation of everything being hunky dory is what is happening.

That 'fingerprint' is just a string shortened with a one way algorithm for our human convenience at the risk of more than one string resolving into the same fingerprint. It happens, they are called collisions.

Regardless, back to the original string which we can see in context below.

brad@computer:~$ ssh-keyscan
# SSH-2.0-conker_1.0.257-ce87fba app-128
no hostkey alg
# SSH-2.0-conker_1.0.257-ce87fba app-129 ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAubiN81eDcafrgMeLzaFPsw2kNvEcqTKl/VqLat/MaB33pZy0y3rJZtnqwR2qOOvbwKZYKiEO1O6VqNEBxKvJJelCq0dTXWT5pbO2gDXC6h6QDXCaHo6pOHGPUy+YBaGQRGuSusMEASYiWunYN0vCAI8QaXnWMXNMdFP3jHAJH0eDsoiGnLPBlBp4TNm6rYI74nMzgz3B9IikW4WVK+dc8KZJZWYjAuORU3jc1c/NPskD2ASinf8v3xnfXeukU0sJ5N6m5E8VLjObPEO+mN2t/FZTMZLiFqPWc/ALSqnMnnhwrNi2rbfg/rd/IpL8Le3pSBne8+seeFVBoGqzHM9yXw==
# SSH-2.0-conker_1.0.257-ce87fba app-123
no hostkey alg

So, ahead of time, we have a way of asking for a form of identification from the original host.

At this point we manually are as vulnerable as automatically-- the strings match, we have the base data that creates the fingerprint, and we could ask for that base data (preventing collisions) in the future.

Now to use that string in a way that prevents asking about a hosts authenticity...

The known_hosts file in this case does not use plaintext entries. You'll know hashed entries when you see them, they look like hashes with random characters instead of or

brad@computer:~$ ssh-keyscan -t rsa -H
# SSH-2.0-conker_1.0.257-ce87fba app-128
|1|yr6p7i8doyLhDtrrnWDk7m9QVXk=|LuKNg9gypeDhfRo/AvLTAlxnyQw= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAubiN81eDcafrgMeLzaFPsw2kNvEcqTKl/VqLat/MaB33pZy0y3rJZtnqwR2qOOvbwKZYKiEO1O6VqNEBxKvJJelCq0dTXWT5pbO2gDXC6h6QDXCaHo6pOHGPUy+YBaGQRGuSusMEASYiWunYN0vCAI8QaXnWMXNMdFP3jHAJH0eDsoiGnLPBlBp4TNm6rYI74nMzgz3B9IikW4WVK+dc8KZJZWYjAuORU3jc1c/NPskD2ASinf8v3xnfXeukU0sJ5N6m5E8VLjObPEO+mN2t/FZTMZLiFqPWc/ALSqnMnnhwrNi2rbfg/rd/IpL8Le3pSBne8+seeFVBoGqzHM9yXw==

The first comment line infuriatingly shows up-- but you can get rid of it with a simple redirect via the ">" or ">>" convention.

As I've done my best to obtain untainted data to be used to identify a "host" and trust, I will add this identification to my known_hosts file in my ~/.ssh directory. Since it will now be identified as a known host, I will not get the prompt mentioned above when you were a youngster.

Thanks for sticking with me, here you go. I'm adding the bitbucket RSA key so that I can interact with my git repositories there in a non-interactive way as part of a CI workflow, but whatever you do what you want.

cp ~/.ssh/known_hosts ~/.ssh/known_hosts.old && echo "|1|yr6p7i8doyLhDtrrnWDk7m9QVXk=|LuKNg9gypeDhfRo/AvLTAlxnyQw= ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAubiN81eDcafrgMeLzaFPsw2kNvEcqTKl/VqLat/MaB33pZy0y3rJZtnqwR2qOOvbwKZYKiEO1O6VqNEBxKvJJelCq0dTXWT5pbO2gDXC6h6QDXCaHo6pOHGPUy+YBaGQRGuSusMEASYiWunYN0vCAI8QaXnWMXNMdFP3jHAJH0eDsoiGnLPBlBp4TNm6rYI74nMzgz3B9IikW4WVK+dc8KZJZWYjAuORU3jc1c/NPskD2ASinf8v3xnfXeukU0sJ5N6m5E8VLjObPEO+mN2t/FZTMZLiFqPWc/ALSqnMnnhwrNi2rbfg/rd/IpL8Le3pSBne8+seeFVBoGqzHM9yXw==" >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts

So, that's how you stay a virgin for today. You can do the same with github by following similar directions on your own time.

I saw so many stack overflow posts telling you to programmatically add the key blindly without any kind of checking. The more you check the key from different machines on different networks, the more trust you can have that the host is the one it says it is-- and that is the best you can hope from this layer of security.

WRONG ssh -oStrictHostKeyChecking=no hostname [command]

WRONG ssh-keyscan -t rsa -H hostname >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts

Don't do either of the above things, please. You're given the opportunity to increase your chances of avoiding someone eavesdropping on your data transfers via a man in the middle attack-- take that opportunity. The difference is literally verifying that the RSA key you have is the one of the bona fide server and now you know how to get that information to compare them so you can trust the connection. Just remember more comparisons from different computers & networks will usually increase your ability to trust the connection.