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ssh no ports provides ssh to a remote Linux device with out that device having any ports open

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Ssh! No ports

ssh no ports provides a way to ssh to a remote linux host/device without that device having any open ports (not even 22) on external interfaces. All network connectivity is out bound and there is no need to know the IP address the device has been given. As long as the device has an IP address, DNS and Internet access, you will be able to connect to it.

Quick demo


There are two binaries:-

sshnpd : The daemon that runs on the remote device

sshnp : The client that sets up a connection to the device which you can then ssh to via your localhost interface

To get going you just need two atSigns and their .atKeys files and the binaries (from latest release). It's also possible to run from the source here using dart run. Once you have the atSigns (free or paid atSigns from, drop the binaries in place on each machine and put the keys in ~/.atsign/keys directory. You will need a device atSign and a manager atSign, but each device can also have a unique device name using the --device argument.

Once in place you can start up the daemon first on the remote device. Remember to start the daemon on start up using rc.local script or similar.

./sshnpd --atsign <@your_devices_atsign> --manager <@your_manager_atsign> \
--device <iot_device_name> -u

Once that has started up you can run the client code from another machine.

./sshnp --from <@your_manager_atsign> --to <@your_devices_atsign>  \
--host <>  -l --local-port --device <iot_device_name>

The --host specifies a DNS name of the openssh server of the client machine that the remote device can connect to. If everything goes to plan the client will complete and tell you how to connect to the remote host for example.

ssh -p 3456 [email protected]

When you run this you will be connect to the remote machine via a reverse ssh tunnel from the remote device. Which means you can now turn off ssh from listening all all interfaces instead have ssh listen just on

That is easily done by editing /etc/ssh/sshd_config

#Port 22
#AddressFamily any
#ListenAddress ::

And restarting the ssh daemon. Please make sure you start the sshnpd on startup and reboot and check.. As this is beta code it is suggested to wrap the daemon in a shell script or have sysctld make sure it is running.

My preference whilst testing was to run the daemon in TMUX so it is easy to see the logs (-v).

Thoughts/bugs/contributions via PR all very welcome!


sshnpd (daemon)

Run the daemon binary file or the dart file:

./sshnpd <args|flags>
dart run bin/sshnpd.dart <args|flags>
Argument Abbreviation Mandatory Description Default
--keyFile -k false Sending atSign's keyFile if not in ~/.atsign/keys/
--atsign -a true atSign of this device
--manager -m true Manager's atSign, that this device will accept triggers from
--device -d false Send a trigger to this device, allows multiple devices share an atSign "default"
Flags Abbreviation Description
--[no-]sshpublickey -s Update authorized_keys to include public key from sshnp
--[no-]username -u Send username to the manager to allow sshnp to display username in command line
--[no-]verbose -v More logging

sshnpd (daemon) in a docker container

The daemon can also be deployed as part of a pre built docker container, that also has a number of networking tools installed. The container image is located on Dockerhub as atsigncompany/sshnpd:latest or you can build your own using the Dockerfile in the root of the project.

The image expects to have the atKeys for the atSign being used in the /atsign/.atsign/keys directory, this can be mounted as a volume at startup of the docker run command using -v $(pwd):/atsign/.atsign/keys/ assuming you are in the dircetory where the atKeys file is located. The full comand to start the container would be something like this:-

docker run -v <location of atKeys>:/atsign/.atsign/keys/ atsigncompany/sshnpd "-a <atSign> -m <atSign> -d <device name> -v -u"

Once the container is running to log into the container the sshnp command would be used as normal, but you will log into the container not the host, from the container you could then log into the host or any other local network hosts you have access to.

Docker is very well documented and if you want to keep the container running after a reboot if for some reason the container crashes is all easily achieved.

sshnp (client)

Run the binary file or the dart file:

./sshnp <args|flags>
dart run bin/sshnp.dart <args|flags>
Argument Abbreviation Mandatory Description Default
--key-file -k false Sending atSign's atKeys file if not in ~/.atsign/keys/
--from -f true Sending atSign
--to -t true Send a notification to this atSign
--device -d false Send a notification to this device "default"
--host -h true FQDN Hostname e.g. or IP address to connect back to
--port -p false TCP port to connect back to 22
--local-port -l false Reverse ssh port to listen on, on your local machine 2222
--ssh-public-key -s false Public key file from ~/.ssh to be appended to authorized_hosts on the remote device false
--local-ssh-options -o false Add these commands to the local ssh command, useful if you want to tunnel ports
Flags Abbreviation Description
--[no-]verbose -v More logging

Using Ngrok to avoid open ports at the admin end

The instructions above work for a system where the person doing the admin of the machine connected to by sshnp is able to run an SSH daemon that's open to the Internet. But that's often not practical for many of the same reasons why the device can't/won't be reachable directly with an open port. To get around this issue it's possible to use the Ngrok service as a proxy for the inbound SSH connection.

Get an Ngrok account

From their signup page

Add your SSH public key

From the system you're using for admin:

cat ~/.ssh/

Then copy the key and paste it into the New SSH Key box on the SSH Public Keys page.

Configure a local SSH server

Such as OpenSSH. It can run on any port, and only needs to be bound to localhost. The following example illustrates the use of an SSH server bound to port 2222. So the example /etc/ssh/sshd_config above becomes:

Port 2222
#AddressFamily any
#ListenAddress ::

Start a reverse tunnel to Ngrok

It may be useful to do this in a screen or tmux session as another terminal will be needed for sshnp later.

ssh -R 0:localhost:2222 tcp

This will initialise a connection showing something like:

Allocated port 12357 for remote forward to localhost:2222

ngrok (via SSH) (Ctrl+C to quit)

Account     Demo McDemoname (Plan: Free)
Region      us
Forwarding  tcp://

Then invoke sshnp to connect via Ngrok

Command line form:

sshnp -f <@your_manager_atsign> -t <@your_devices_atsign> \
--device <iot_device_name> -h -p 12345 -l 3456

NB: Ngrok is likely to provide a different tunnel server and port each time. So substitute the values from the actual connection for -h and -p 12345


sshnp -f @happyadmin -t @moresecurething \
--device demothing -h -p 10646 -l 3456

The tunnel inside a tunnel will now be ready

Connect to it with something like:

ssh -p 3456 -i ~/.ssh/key_for_device.key [email protected]


  • -p 3456 corresponds to -l 3456 from the sshnp invocation
  • -i ~/.ssh/key_for_device.key is presenting a private key that's trusted by the device in its ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
  • deviceuser is the username for the device

Tunnels in tunnels, an illustration

First a tunnel from Ngrok back to admin_PC:

ssh -R 0:localhost:2222 tcp

                    admin_PC                Ngrok


Then a tunnel initiated by sshnp from the device, through Ngrok to the admin_PC:

sshnp -f @happyadmin -t @moresecurething \
--device demothing -h -p 12345 -l 3456

                    admin_PC                Ngrok
          admin_PC  2222<-------------------12345    Device


Finally an SSH connection through those tunnels from the admin_PC to the device:

ssh -p 3456 -i ~/.ssh/key_for_device.key [email protected]

                    admin_PC                Ngrok
          admin_PC  2222<-------------------12345    Device


Of course that final SSH connection can also be used as a tunnel...

Who is this tool for?

System Admins
Network Admins
IoT Manufacturers
Anyone running ssh where they don't want it to be open to a hostile network!


Created by Atsign

Original code by @cconstab

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Sshnoports" Project. README Source: atsign-foundation/sshnoports
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