Force Rsync Command via SSH but Allow Any Directory

Recently, I needed to sync several directories on a backup / fail-over server with the same directories on a production server. Rsync over SSH takes care of this, but if you want to tighten security, you must use the “command” restriction in the SSH authorized_keys file — This restricts the authenticated key to running a single command, with a specific set of arguments. For example, let’s look at a typical command that might be run from a backup server to rsync daily database dumps:

backup$ rsync -av --delete -e "ssh -i $HOME/.ssh/prod-rsync-key" \
    prod:/var/lib/mysql/dump/ /var/lib/mysql/dump/

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Change Passwords with SSH and Expect

A few years ago I was supporting a very diverse environment with Solaris, AIX, and Linux servers; some with password logins, public/private key authentication, and several with SecurID passwords. All accounts were local, passwords expired every three months, and the accounts locked after three failed logins — so you can imagine the mess this created if you didn’t go around every server at least every three months. After I’d accumulated about half a dozen passwords, I wrote an Expect script to login and change my password and wrapped it with a bash script to try every old password I had. Since some servers needed a SecurID number to login, the bash script would pause on those and prompt me for the token before continuing.

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Autocomplete SSH Hostnames

There are plenty of SSH autocomplete (or command-line completion) scripts available on the web, but I found most don’t go far enough — they usually just parse the ~/.ssh/known_hosts, ignoring the ~/.ssh/config and /etc/hosts files. Some of these scripts also generate a static autocomplete list at login, and can’t include new hostnames added during the session. The following script uses a function call to autocomplete hostnames dynamically, and fetches hostnames from the ~/.ssh/known_hosts, ~/.ssh/config and system-wide /etc/hosts file.

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