Weak Debian OpenSSH Keys in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Critical Nessus Plugin ID 32320


The remote SSH host is set up to accept authentication with weak Debian SSH keys.


The remote host has one or more ~/.ssh/authorized_keys files containing weak SSH public keys generated on a Debian or Ubuntu system.

The problem is due to a Debian packager removing nearly all sources of entropy in the remote version of OpenSSL.

This problem does not only affect Debian since any user uploading a weak SSH key into the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file will compromise the security of the remote system.

An attacker could try a brute-force attack against the remote host and logon using these weak keys.


Remove all the offending entries from ~/.ssh/authorized_keys.

Plugin Details

Severity: Critical

ID: 32320

File Name: ssh_debian_find_weak_keys.nasl

Version: 1.19

Type: remote

Agent: unix

Published: 2008/05/15

Modified: 2017/08/28

Dependencies: 10267, 12634

Risk Information

Risk Factor: Critical


Base Score: 10

Temporal Score: 8.3

Vector: CVSS2#AV:N/AC:L/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:C

Temporal Vector: CVSS2#E:F/RL:OF/RC:C


Base Score: 9.8

Vector: CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H

Vulnerability Information

Required KB Items: Host/local_checks_enabled

Exploit Available: true

Exploit Ease: Exploits are available

Vulnerability Publication Date: 2008/05/14

Exploitable With

Core Impact

Reference Information

CVE: CVE-2008-0166

BID: 29179

OSVDB: 45029, 45503

CERT: 925211

EDB-ID: 5720

CWE: 310