KeyBox is a web-based SSH console that centrally manages administrative access to systems. Web-based administration is combined with management and distribution of user's public SSH keys.
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Latest commit 74f0d5b Mar 19, 2017 @skavanagh set as release


KeyBox is a web-based SSH console that centrally manages administrative access to systems. Web-based administration is combined with management and distribution of user's public SSH keys. Key management and administration is based on profiles assigned to defined users.

Administrators can login using two-factor authentication with FreeOTP or Google Authenticator. From there they can manage their public SSH keys or connect to their systems through a web-shell. Commands can be shared across shells to make patching easier and eliminate redundant command execution.

KeyBox layers TLS/SSL on top of SSH and acts as a bastion host for administration. Protocols are stacked (TLS/SSL + SSH) so infrastructure cannot be exposed through tunneling / port forwarding. More details can be found in the following whitepaper: The Security Implications of SSH. Also, SSH key management is enabled by default to prevent unmanaged public keys and enforce best practices.



To Run Bundled with Jetty

If you're not big on the idea of building from source...

Download keybox-jetty-vXX.XX.tar.gz

Export environment variables

for Linux/Unix/OSX

 export JAVA_HOME=/path/to/jdk
 export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH

for Windows

 set JAVA_HOME=C:\path\to\jdk
 set PATH=%JAVA_HOME%\bin;%PATH%

Start KeyBox

for Linux/Unix/OSX


for Windows


How to Configure SSL in Jetty (it is a good idea to add or generate your own unique certificate)

To Build from Source

Export environment variables

export JAVA_HOME=/path/to/jdk
export M2_HOME=/path/to/maven
export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$M2_HOME/bin:$PATH

In the directory that contains the pom.xml run

mvn package jetty:run

**Note: Doing a mvn clean will delete the H2 DB and wipe out all the data.

Managing SSH Keys

By default KeyBox will overwrite all values in the specified authorized_keys file for a system. You can disable key management by editing file and use KeyBox only as a bastion host. This file is located in the jetty/keybox/WEB-INF/classes directory. (or the src/main/resources directory if building from source)

#set to false to disable key management. If false, the KeyBox public key will be appended to the authorized_keys file (instead of it being overwritten completely).

Also, the authorized_keys file is updated/refreshed periodically based on the relationships defined in the application. If key management is enabled the refresh interval can be specified in the file.

#authorized_keys refresh interval in minutes (no refresh for <=0)

By default KeyBox will generated and distribute the SSH keys managed by administrators while having them download the generated private. This forces admins to use strong passphrases for keys that are set on systems. The private key is only available for download once and is not stored on the application side. To disable and allow administrators to set any public key edit the

#set to true to generate keys when added/managed by users and enforce strong passphrases set to false to allow users to set their own public key

Supplying a Custom SSH Key Pair

KeyBox generates its own public/private SSH key upon initial startup for use when registering systems. You can specify a custom SSH key pair in the file.

For example:

#set to true to regenerate and import SSH keys  --set to true

#SSH Key Type 'dsa' or 'rsa'

#private key  --set pvt key

#public key  --set pub key

#default passphrase  --leave blank if passphrase is empty

After startup and once the key has been registered it can then be removed from the system. The passphrase and the key paths will be removed from the configuration file.

Adjusting Database Settings

Database settings can be adjusted in the configuration properties.

#Database user
#Database password
#Database JDBC driver
#Connection URL to the DB

By default the datastore is set as embedded, but a remote H2 database can supported through adjusting the connection URL.

#Connection URL to the DB

External Authentication

External Authentication can be enabled through the

For example:

#specify a external authentication module (ex: ldap-ol, ldap-ad).  Edit the jaas.conf to set connection details

Connection details need to be set in the jaas.conf file

ldap-ol { SUFFICIENT

Administrators will be added as they are authenticated and profiles of systems may be assigned by full-privileged users.


Auditing is disabled by default and is only a proof of concept. Can be enabled in the

#enable audit  --set to true to enable

Using KeyBox

Open browser to https://<whatever ip>:8443

Login with



  1. Create systems
  2. Create profiles
  3. Assign systems to profile
  4. Assign profiles to users
  5. Users can login to create sessions on assigned systems
  6. Start a composite SSH session or create and execute a script across multiple sessions
  7. Add additional public keys to systems
  8. Disable any administrative public key forcing key rotation.
  9. Audit session history




More Terminals

Manage Systems

Manage Users

Define SSH Keys

Disable SSH Keys


Special thanks goes to these amazing projects which makes this (and other great projects) possible.

Third-party dependencies are mentioned in the


Sean Kavanagh

(Follow me on twitter for release updates, but mostly nonsense)


Dontations are always welcome!

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