I am wondering how PuTTY stacks up against other SSH implementations with respect to scrutiny and security of its SSH2 protocol implementation.

PuTTY is probably the most-used SSH client on the Windows platform, so its importance cannot be understated.

I am aware that there have been several very crafty attacks in past years against SSL/TLS implementations (and, also, against the protocols themselves, but that is another issue).

In that light, I wonder if anyone has done work to validate/break SSH clients on the Windows platform and whether PuTTY fares well.

  • 6
    Resisting the need to point out that if you're using Windows then security must not be one of your core concerns. Must...not..state...the...obvious.. – tylerl Feb 19 '15 at 8:15

Putty being open-source, there have been a number of informal security audits, some resulting in vulnerability reports and patches.

There may have also been some formal security audits commissioned by users of the product. Some searching revealed a bit of unverifiable evidence of such, but most importantly:

Simon doesn't advertise or reference any official audit of his code. Any audits done were done by a private party, for a private party, and may not have been scoped in such a way as to be applicable to your circumstances.


Note that form what I've seen the official source for PuTTY is http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/ by the author and maintainer Simon Tatham.

Sadly this page is not available over TLS and the GPG signatures for the binaries link to an external page, so there is a serious risk of somebody tampering with your connection when you download putty potentially inserting malicious code or even redirecting to a different page for the signatures.

I've wanted to vent about this situation for a long time when I stumbled upon this question, a high-profile security critical software like PuTTY really shouldn't be distributed over plain HTTP.

  • Seems to have https now. It's using an acme cert. – txyoji Jun 24 '19 at 16:40

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