About SSH and Telnet
This section includes information about SSH and Telnet.
You can use the SSH server to enable an SSH client to make a secure, encrypted connection to a Cisco NX-OS device. SSH uses strong encryption for authentication. The SSH server in the Cisco NX-OS software can interoperate with publicly and commercially available SSH clients.
The user authentication mechanisms supported for SSH are RADIUS, TACACS+, LDAP, and the use of locally stored usernames and passwords.
The SSH client feature is an application that runs over the SSH protocol to provide device authentication and encryption. The SSH client enables a Cisco NX-OS device to make a secure, encrypted connection to another Cisco NX-OS device or to any other device that runs the SSH server. This connection provides an outbound connection that is encrypted. With authentication and encryption, the SSH client allows for a secure communication over an insecure network.
The SSH client in the Cisco NX-OS software works with publicly and commercially available SSH servers.
SSH Server Keys
SSH requires server keys for secure communications to the Cisco NX-OS device. You can use SSH server keys for the following SSH options:
SSH version 2 using Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman (RSA) public-key cryptography
SSH version 2 using the Digital System Algrorithm (DSA)
Be sure to have an SSH server key-pair with the appropriate version before enabling the SSH service. You can generate the SSH server key-pair according to the SSH client version used. The SSH service accepts two types of key-pairs for use by SSH version 2:
The dsa option generates the DSA key-pair for the SSH version 2 protocol.
The rsa option generates the RSA key-pair for the SSH version 2 protocol.
By default, the Cisco NX-OS software generates an RSA key using 1024 bits.
SSH supports the following public key formats:
IETF Secure Shell (SECSH)
Public Key Certificate in Privacy-Enhanced Mail (PEM)
If you delete all of the SSH keys, you cannot start the SSH services.
SSH Authentication Using Digital Certificates
SSH authentication on Cisco NX-OS devices provide X.509 digital certificate support for host authentication. An X.509 digital certificate is a data item that ensures the origin and integrity of a message. It contains encryption keys for secured communications and is signed by a trusted certification authority (CA) to verify the identity of the presenter. The X.509 digital certificate support provides either DSA or RSA algorithms for authentication.
The certificate infrastructure uses the first certificate that supports the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and is returned by the security infrastructure, either through a query or a notification. Verification of certificates is successful if the certificates are from any of the trusted CAs configured and if not revoked or expired.
You can configure your device for SSH authentication using an X.509 certificate. If the authentication fails, you are prompted for a password.
Beginning with Cisco NX-OS Release 7.0(3)I5(1), you can configure SSH authentication using X.509v3 certificates (RFC 6187). X.509v3 certificate-based SSH authentication uses certificates combined with a smartcard to enable two-factor authentication for Cisco device access. The SSH client is provided by Cisco partner Pragma Systems.
The Telnet protocol enables TCP/IP connections to a host. Telnet allows a user at one site to establish a TCP connection to a login server at another site and then passes the keystrokes from one device to the other. Telnet can accept either an IP address or a domain name as the remote device address.
The Telnet server is disabled by default on the Cisco NX-OS device.