When I try to ssh to another box, I get this strange error

$ ssh hostname
Bad owner or permissions on ~/.ssh/config

But I made sure that I own and have rw permissions on the file:

ls -la ~/.ssh/
total 40K
drwx------ 2 robert robert 4.0K Mar 29 11:04 ./
drwx------ 7 robert robert 4.0K Mar 29 11:04 ../
-rw-r--r-- 1 robert robert 2.0K Mar 17 20:47 authorized_keys
-rw-rw-r-- 1 robert robert   31 Mar 29 11:04 config
-rw------- 1 robert robert 1.7K Aug  4  2010 id_rsa
-rw-r--r-- 1 robert robert  406 Aug  4  2010 id_rsa.pub
-rw-r--r-- 1 robert robert 6.1K Mar 29 11:03 known_hosts

I needed to have rw for user only permissions on config. This fixed it.

chmod 600 ~/.ssh/config

As others have noted below, it could be the file owner. (upvote them!)

chown $USER ~/.ssh/config
  • 21
    Sometimes it's not only the permissions, but also the owner that can cause the problem; in my case, I had to do this as well: chown -R robert:robert ~/.ssh – Nicolas C Jan 26 '15 at 12:27
  • 2
    In my case, going from 644 to 600 did the trick. – Magicsowon Oct 18 '16 at 18:15
  • 2
    Just read permission should be sufficient, i.e. 400 – 030 Jan 2 '17 at 0:06
  • 1
    For me, 600 didn't work, only 400 (on Ubuntu Xenial) – Martín Coll Oct 25 '17 at 0:35
  • @030 As long as you don't intend to edit the file.. – Sean the Bean Nov 16 '17 at 13:31

These commands should fix the permission problem:

chown $USER ~/.ssh/config
chmod 644 ~/.ssh/config

Prefix with sudo if the files are owned by different user (or you don't have access to them).

If more files are affected, replace config with *.

In man ssh we can read:

Because of the potential for abuse, this file must have strict permissions: read/write for the user, and not writable by others. It may be group-writable provided that the group in question contains only the user.

  • 2
    This did the trick for me. I am using cygwin and cygwin .ssh is symlinked to windows user .ssh. I had to run those commands in cygwin window. – Damodar Bashyal Apr 27 '16 at 5:54
  • This worked for me. – Viraj.Hadoop May 25 at 7:17

For me it was an issue with my user account not being the owner of the file

sudo chown myuser ~/.ssh/config

protected by Community Jun 13 '18 at 6:31

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