IN.RSHD(8) Maintenance Commands and Procedures IN.RSHD(8)


in.rshd, rshd - remote shell server


in.rshd [-k5eciU] [-s tos] [-S keytab] [-M realm]
[-L env_var] host.port


in.rshd is the server for the rsh(1) program. The server provides remote
execution facilities with authentication based on Kerberos V5 or
privileged port numbers.

in.rshd is invoked by inetd(8) each time a shell service is requested.

When Kerberos V5 authentication is required (this can be set with
Kerberos-specific options listed below), the following protocol is

1. Check Kerberos V5 authentication.

2. Check authorization according to rules in krb5_auth_rules(7).

3. A null byte is returned on the initial socket and the command
line is passed to the normal login shell of the user. (The
PATH variable is set to /usr/bin.) The shell inherits the
network connections established by in.rshd.

In order for Kerberos authentication to work, a host/<FQDN> Kerberos
principal must exist for each Fully Qualified Domain Name associated with
the in.rshd server. Each of these host/<FQDN> principals must have a
keytab entry in the /etc/krb5/krb5.keytab file on the in.rshd server. An
example principal might be:


See kadmin(8) for instructions on adding a principal to a krb5.keytab
file. See for a discussion of Kerberos authentication.

If Kerberos V5 authentication is not enabled, then in.rshd executes the
following protocol:

1. The server checks the client's source port. If the port is not
in the range 512-1023, the server aborts the connection. The
client's host address (in hex) and port number (in decimal)
are the arguments passed to in.rshd.

2. The server reads characters from the socket up to a null (\0)
byte. The resultant string is interpreted as an ASCII number,
base 10.

3. If the number received in step 2 is non-zero, it is
interpreted as the port number of a secondary stream to be
used for the stderr. A second connection is then created to
the specified port on the client's machine. The source port of
this second connection is also in the range 512-1023.

4. A null-terminated user name of at most 16 characters is
retrieved on the initial socket. This user name is interpreted
as the user identity on the client's machine.

5. A null terminated user name of at most 16 characters is
retrieved on the initial socket. This user name is interpreted
as a user identity to use on the server's machine.

6. A null terminated command to be passed to a shell is retrieved
on the initial socket. The length of the command is limited by
the upper bound on the size of the system's argument list.

7. in.rshd then validates the user according to the following
steps. The remote user name is looked up in the password file
and a chdir is performed to the user's home directory. If the
lookup fails, the connection is terminated. If the chdir
fails, it does a chdir to / (root). If the user is not the
superuser, (user ID 0), and if the pam_rhosts_auth PAM module
is configured for authentication, the file /etc/hosts.equiv is
consulted for a list of hosts considered "equivalent". If the
client's host name is present in this file, the authentication
is considered successful. See the SECURITY section below for a
discussion of PAM authentication.

If the lookup fails, or the user is the superuser, then the
file .rhosts in the home directory of the remote user is
checked for the machine name and identity of the user on the
client's machine. If this lookup fails, the connection is

8. A null byte is returned on the initial connection and the
command line is passed to the normal login shell of the user.
The PATH variable is set to /usr/bin. The shell inherits the
network connections established by in.rshd.


The following options are supported:

Same as -k, for backwards compatibility

Requires Kerberos V5 clients to present a cryptographic
checksum of initial connection information like the name of
the user that the client is trying to access in the initial
authenticator. This checksum provides additionl security by
preventing an attacker from changing the initial connection
information. This option is mutually exclusive with the -i

Requires the client to encrypt the connection.

Ignores authenticator checksums if provided. This option
ignores authenticator checksums presented by current
Kerberos clients to protect initial connection information.
Option -i is the opposite of option -c.

Allows Kerberos V5 authentication with the .k5login access
control file to be trusted. If this authentication system
is used by the client and the authorization check is
passed, then the user is allowed to log in.

-L env_var
List of environment variables that need to be saved and
passed along.

-M realm
Uses the indicated Kerberos V5 realm. By default, the
daemon will determine its realm from the settings in the
krb5.conf(5) file.

-s tos
Sets the IP TOS option.

-S keytab
Sets the KRB5 keytab file to use. The /etc/krb5/krb5.keytab
file is used by default.

Refuses connections that cannot be mapped to a name through
the getnameinfo(3SOCKET) function.


rshd and in.rshd are IPv6-enabled. See ip6(4P). IPv6 is not currently
supported with Kerberos V5 authentication.

The Kerberized rshd service runs on port 544 (kshell). The corresponding
FMRI entry is: :

svc:/network/shell:kshell (rshd with kerberos (ipv4 only))


in.rshd uses pam(3PAM) for authentication, account management, and
session management. The PAM configuration policy, listed through
/etc/pam.conf, specifies the modules to be used for in.rshd. Here is a
partial pam.conf file with entries for the rsh command using rhosts
authentication, UNIX account management, and session management module.

rsh auth required

rsh account required
rsh session required
rsh session required

rsh session required

If there are no entries for the rsh service, then the entries for the
"other" service are used. To maintain the authentication requirement for
in.rshd, the rsh entry must always be configured with the module.

in.rshd can authenticate using Kerberos V5 authentication or pam(3PAM).
For Kerberized rsh service, the appropriate PAM service name is krsh.



File containing Kerberos principals that are
allowed access.

Kerberos configuration file.


rsh(1), svcs(1), pam(3PAM), getnameinfo(3SOCKET), ip6(4P), hosts(5),
krb5.conf(5), pam.conf(5), attributes(7), environ(7), krb5_auth_rules(7),
pam_authtok_check(7), pam_authtok_get(7), pam_authtok_store(7),
pam_dhkeys(7), pam_passwd_auth(7), pam_rhosts_auth(7),
pam_unix_account(7), pam_unix_auth(7), pam_unix_session(7), smf(7),
inetadm(8), inetd(8), kadmin(8), svcadm(8)


The following diagnostic messages are returned on the connection
associated with stderr, after which any network connections are closed.
An error is indicated by a leading byte with a value of 1 in step 8 above
(0 is returned above upon successful completion of all the steps prior to
the command execution).

locuser too long

The name of the user on the client's machine is longer than 16

remuser too long

The name of the user on the remote machine is longer than 16

command too long

The command line passed exceeds the size of the argument list (as
configured into the system).

Hostname for your address unknown.

No entry in the host name database existed for the client's machine.

Login incorrect.

No password file entry for the user name existed.

Permission denied.

The authentication procedure described above failed.

Can't make pipe.

The pipe needed for the stderr was not created.

Try again.

A fork by the server failed.


The authentication procedure used here assumes the integrity of each
client machine and the connecting medium. This is insecure, but it is
useful in an "open" environment.

A facility to allow all data exchanges to be encrypted should be present.

The pam_unix(7) module is no longer supported. Similar functionality is
provided by pam_authtok_check(7), pam_authtok_get(7),
pam_authtok_store(7), pam_dhkeys(7), pam_passwd_auth(7),
pam_unix_account(7), pam_unix_auth(7), and pam_unix_session(7).

The in.rshd service is managed by the service management facility,
smf(7), under the service identifier:


Administrative actions on this service, such as enabling, disabling, or
requesting restart, can be performed using svcadm(8). Responsibility for
initiating and restarting this service is delegated to inetd(8). Use
inetadm(8) to make configuration changes and to view configuration
information for this service. The service's status can be queried using
the svcs(1) command.

illumos June 20, 2021 IN.RSHD(8)