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ssh unable to negotiate – no matching key exchange method found


This particular error happens while the encrypted channel is being set up. If your system and the remote system don’t share at least one cipher, there is no cipher to agree on and no encrypted channel is possible. Usually SSH servers will offer a small handful of different ciphers in order to cater to different clients; I’m not sure why your server would be configured to only allow 3DES-CBC.

Now, 3DES-CBC isn’t terrible. It’s slow, and it provides less security than some other algorithms, but it’s not immediately breakable as long as the keys are selected properly. CBC itself has some issues when ciphertext can be modified in transit, but I strongly suspect that the resultant corruption would be rejected by SSH’s HMAC, reducing impact. Bottom line, there are worse choices than 3DES-CBC, and there are better ones. However, always tread carefully when overriding security-related defaults, including cipher and key exchange algorithm choices. Those defaults are the defaults for a reason; some pretty smart people spent some brain power considering the options and determined that what was chosen as the defaults provide the best overall security versus performance trade-off.

As you found out, you can use -c ... (or -oCiphers=...) to specify which cipher to offer from the client side. In this case adding -c 3des-cbc allows only 3DES-CBC from the client. Since this matches a cipher that the server offers, an encrypted channel can be established and the connection proceeds to the authentication phase.

You can also add this to your personal ~/.ssh/config. To avoid making a global change to solve a local problem, you can put it in a Host stanza. For example, if your SSH config currently says (dummy example):

Port 9922

specifying a global default port of 9922 instead of the default 22, you can add a host stanza for the host that needs special configuration, and a global host stanza for the default case. That would become something like…

    Ciphers 3des-cbc
    KexAlgorithms +diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
Host *
    Port 9922

The indentation is optional, but I find it greatly enhances readability. Blank lines and lines starting with # are ignored.

If you always (or mostly) log in as the same user on that system, you can also specify that username:

    Ciphers 3des-cbc
    KexAlgorithms +diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
    User enduser
Host *
    Port 9922

You don’t need to add a Host * stanza if there was nothing in your ~/.ssh/config to begin with, as in that case only compiled-in or system-wide defaults (typically from /etc/ssh/ssh_config) would be used.

At this point, the ssh command line to connect to this host reduces to simply

$ ssh

and all other users on your system, and connections to all other hosts from your system, are unaffected by the changes.

Ok I read the manpage and figured it out.

I did not want to modify my config file, and so I searched the term “cipher”
in the man page which showed me the -c option; this allows me to specify the encryption type. the end command was then:

ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 -c 3des-cbc enduser@

I recently ran into this problem using PuTTY to connect to a newer version of Ubuntu. It seems earlier versions of PuTTY didn’t have updated ciphers. So downloading the latest version of PuTTY fixed the problem. That could be another solution.

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