SCP troubles: BoKS OpenSSH versus F-Secure

2011-04-06 00:01:00

It is not uncommon for network environments to mix different versions of SSH software, especially when you are still transitioning towards a BoKS-ified network. In such situations you'll often run into little snags that make the seemingly trivial rather impossible. Case in point: SCP (Secure Copy).

Whereas SSH and SFTP are standardized protocols that have been properly documented, SCP isn't so lucky. Sadly there is no such thing as a standard SCP and what "SCP" is depends completely on the SSH software you're using. The Wikipedia page linked above makes a very important point: "The SCP program is a software tool implementing the SCP protocol as a service daemon or client. It is a program to perform secure copying. The SCP server program is typically the same program as the SCP client."

Meaning that if you're using F-Secure on one side, it is going to expect F-Secure on the other side. If you try and have an OpenSSH client talk SCP to an F-Secure server, then you'll undoubtedly run into errors like these: "scp: FATAL: Executing ssh1 in compatibility mode failed (Check that scp1 is in your PATH)."

What if you're migrating an F-Secure-based environment to BoKS? There are a few possible solutions:

Option #2 is a bit redundant if you're going to be installing BoKS on the hosts later on. You might as well get it over with as soon as possible, you don't have to actively use BoKS from the get-go. Option #3 is a useful enough kludge, especially if there are servers that will never switch to BoKS.

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