Setting up dropbear - beginner's guide

sindi keesan keesan at
Thu Apr 3 09:08:41 WST 2008

On Tue, 1 Apr 2008, Rob Landley wrote:

> On Monday 31 March 2008 10:52:01 sindi keesan wrote:
>> I have compiled dbclient scp dropbear dropbearkey for version 0.49, both
>> dynamically against glibc 2.2.5 using gcc 2.95.3 and statically against
>> uclibc 0.9.27.
> So, every step in the chain is at least a year out of date. :)

The rest of my 'distro' (based on Slackware 4.0) is much older.  I 
upgraded gcc and glibc a while ago.

dropbear will not accept passwords after starting to log in.

> Dropbear has "host" keys.  If you've ever sshed to a machine and it said
> unknown host key (or if it was reinstalled, complains "the host key has
> changed!" and refuses to proceed), that's the key it's talking about.
> As root, go:
>  mkdir -p /etc/dropbear
>  ./dropbearkey -f /etc/dropbear/dropbear_dss_host_key -t dss -s 2048
> (You can leave off the -s if you want, that just says to make a nice big
> paranoid sized key.)

I had done this part already (according to README).

> If you're ever curious what dropbear is actually _doing_, run it this way:
>  dropbear -F -E
> That way it'll log everything it's doing to stdout.  (It'll also only handle
> one incoming connection and then exit, because it's been put into a debugging
> mode, but oh well.)  So if it can't find a file or has some other problem,
> it'll complain and you can fix it.

When I run dropbear like this it tells me I have a blank password.
(Without the '-F -E' the password is simply not accepted).

This distro came set up for root with no password (just type Enter) and I 
added password for root and user.  Maybe dropbear is looking at old or 
wrong information?  What file should I edit, and how, to make it work?

The passwords work fine for regular login and for fttpd (which I think has 
a config file listing accepted users).


> Rob
> -- 
> "One of my most productive days was throwing away 1000 lines of code."
>  - Ken Thompson.

keesan at
SDF Public Access UNIX System -

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