There was a question on a quiz I took, about different authentication methods that SSH uses.

The answers were combintions of the following four:

  • username/password
  • public key authentication
  • shared secret
  • kerberos authentication

I choose the answer which included all four, but I wasn't sure if shared secret is actually used. Here it says that it can be.

Can someone explain this to me?

1 Answer 1


The link you've provided does not mention SSH at all. SSH can be easily configured to use username/password and public key authentication. Major SSH implementation allow for the configuration of Kerberos authentication. But SSH does not allow the use of shared secrets for authentication. The protocol itself just doesn't support it.

SSH isn't really designed for using shared secrets. Shared secrets are often used for long term VPN tunnels between two end-points. While you can tunnel with SSH it is designed to perform secure shell actions. For this you would like to authenticate individual users so that admins can keep track of who is connecting to a particular machine. Shared secrets would only authenticate the machine that is connecting to it, not the user.

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