Mox – Password-less SSH!

The high performance computing (HPC) cluster (called Mox) at Univ. of Washington (UW) frustratingly requires a password when SSH-ing, even when SSH keys are in use. I have a lengthy, unintelligable password that I use for my UW account, so having to type this in any time I want to initiate a new SSH session on Mox is a painful process.

Today, I finally got fed up with how much time I was wasting (granted, it’s minor in the grand scheme of my day) just logging in to Mox, so I spent some time figuring out how to automate password entry for a new SSH session with Mox.

I tried to handle this using the program sshpass, but I couldn’t get it to read my password from a file – it would just hang in limbo after executing the command.

In the end, I came across a bash script that does this perfectly. Steps to implement this on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

  1. Install expect:
    sudo apt install expect
  2. Create following script (taken from this [StackExchange solution])(
    spawn ssh mox
    expect "Password:"
    send "\r"


    • I have an ~/.ssh/config file that allows me to use “mox” as an alias for my full SSH command

    • Replace with your own UW password.

  3. Change access to script (set read, write, execute for user only):

    chmod u=rwx,go-rwx
  4. Run script from home directory (saved in home directory):

Boom! No having to track down password, copy, and paste!

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