On Linux systems, /var/log/secure (or similar, depending on distro) shows all SSH login activity. Is there a similar log for SCP? If not, what's a good approach to enabling logging of scp activity on my servers? Is it SELinux through /var/log/audit/audit.log?

3 Answers 3


You need to adjust your sshd logging level to DEBUG in order to see scp client connections.

Look at the /etc/ssh/sshd_config for the "LogLevel" directive.

LogLevel DEBUG

Or the scp -o LogLevel for testing.


SCP uses SSH connections to transfer files, so SCP logins should appear in the same logs alongside SSH logins. From the man pages:

scp copies files between hosts on a network. It uses ssh(1) for data transfer, and uses the same authentication and provides the same security as ssh(1).

  • 2
    I know it uses SSH and I thought logs would also go to the same place, but it actually doesn't show up in /var/log/secure nor /var/log/messages. The only evidence of SCP is when I have SELinux and auditd running... in which case it gets logged in /var/log/audit/audit.log.
    – JJC
    May 9, 2012 at 11:13
scp -o LogLevel=DEBUG <rest of parameters> 


$ scp -o LogLevel=DEBUG origfile.txt userfoo@serverbar:/home/userfoo/ 
  • 4
    This is already in the top-voted answer. Note that this does not show you the scp activity for the server but the log for that connection. Please make sure that you document your code/commands instead of just posting raw syntax without explanation.
    – schroeder
    Oct 23, 2020 at 11:13

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