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Two-factor authentication is becoming more and more of standard operating procedure for large organizations. Oregon State University is no different and two-factor authentication will soon be mandatory. Many of you are accustomed to using Duo to authenticate when logging into your email or Canvas.

What some of you may not have realized is that two-factor authentication is now required for logging into Flip. This can cause problems with people who are not using a terminal to access the school servers as there is an additional prompt that requires a response. This is of particular inconvenience to those using FTP programs.

Below are guides to help streamline logging onto Flip without the need of involving Duo.

Windows Guide

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For this you will need:

  • PuTTY Key Generator - a program to generate ssh private and public keys (download here)
  • PuTTY (available here)
  • Filezilla (available here)


  1. Open up PuTTY Key Generator, click "Generate," and follow the on-screen instructions

  2. Once the key is generated, you will need to save the public key

    Save public key

    Save it to a location you will be able to easily find it and name it

  3. Now you need to save the private key

    Save public key

    Ignore the warning about the passcode. Save it to the same location as before and name it id_rsa.ppk

  4. Using PuTTY, log onto Flip and enter your password when prompted

  5. You will be presented with a Duo two-factor prompt. Enter 1 and press enter. This will send a request to your Duo Mobile app which you will need to accept

    Duo prompt

  6. You are now logged onto Flip

  7. Use your favorite command text editor (mine is emacs) to open up ~/.ssh/authorized_keys which should be an empty file. If it does not exist, create it

  8. Now, locate the public key file you saved and open it with notepad and copy the key as shown in the image below

    Copy public key

  9. Back in the editor on Flip, type ssh-rsa followed by a space and the paste the copied public key and save the changes

    Update authorized keys

  10. Back in PuTTY, you want to create a Saved Session you have not done so already

  11. In Host Name entere

    Enter host name

  12. Below in the Saved Sessions field enter flip and click Save

    Save session name

  13. Click Connect->SSH->Auth on the sidebar

    Open Connection->SSH->Auth

  14. On this screen, Browse to the location of your private key file: id_rsa.ppk. Now click the Open Button at the bottom

    Load private key

  15. You should not be logged onto Flip without needing to provide a password OR two-factor authorization

    SSH Key success

  16. Now we need to set up FileZilla

  17. Open Filezilla and go to File->Site Manager

    Open Site Manager

  18. Create a New Site and name it flip

    Create new site

  19. To the right in the General Tab, Select SFTP for the Protocol and enter the Host as

    Enter Host

  20. For Logon Type select Key file, enter your username for User, and then browse to the location of your `id_rsa.ppk' file.

    Set User and load key

  21. Click Connect at the bottom and you should now be connected to Flip without the need of two-factor authentication!

macOS Guide

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For this you will need:

  • Access to a terminal
  • Cyberduck (available here)


  1. Open up your terminal application and type ssh-keygen -t rsa

    Generate keys

  2. You will then be asked to choose a save location for the keys. You can choose the default by pressing enter. Then hit enter two more times to skip creating a passcode

    Choose save location

  3. Once the key is generated you should see something similar to the image below. Please ensure you remember where your id_rsa file is saved

    Generated key

  4. Still in the terminal, type ssh-copy-id This will publish your public key to Flip

    Publish public key to Flip

  5. When prompted enter your password

    Enter password

  6. You should now see the two-factor Duo authentication. Enter 1 to send a push to your Mobile Duo app

    Send Duo push

  7. Now you need to create a config file in the directory where you have your saved keys. If you used the default save location you can do this by entering touch ~/.ssh/config

    Create config file

  8. Once created, you can use your favorite text edit (mine is emacs) to open the file

    Open config file

  9. To this file you need to add three lines

    1. Host flip - where flip is the name of the shortcut you want to create
    2. HostName
    3. User your_username

    Edit config file

  10. To log into Flip using the key simply type ssh flip and you will connect without having to enter a password or do two-factor authentication

Ssh with key

  1. Now it is time to configure Cyberduck for FTP

    1. Open up Cyberduck and click the Open Connection button

      Open connection

    2. You need to select the connection type and change it to SFTP

      Select SFTP

    3. Now you must enter your username

      Enter username

    4. Do not enter a password and change SSH Private Key from none to the location of your id_rsa file. If you followed the default settings it should already be listed without needing to browse

      Select private key

    5. Finally click the Connect button and you will be logged into Flip without the need for a password or 2-factor authentication

      Connect SFTP

Linux Guide

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Given the large amounts of different Linux distributions there is no one guide that will work for all. You can use Steps 1-10 of the macOS Guide to generate your keys and publish them to Flip. From that point on you will need to use your FTP client of your choice.


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I wanted to make sure I acknowledged the very talented and motivated members of OSU's unofficial Slack group ( They were the motivation to create these guides and much of the content was covered users' discussions, but it is my hope this will provide a more permanent source of information.

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