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More About SCP for Linux and OS X

by Michael Greifenkamp (November 15th, 2005)

I encountered a situation last night where my instructions for Secure Copying Without a Password didn't work correctly. I was trying to set it up so that I could copy from a Mac using OS X to a PC running Fedora Core Linux. I followed my instructions, but when I was finished and tried to test it I was still asked for a password.

After a bit of wrangling this morning I found the problem, and to save me (and maybe others) from this frustration I figured I had better put pen to paper and get this written down.

The whole problem for me was that the permissions on the .ssh directory on the machine I was trying to copy to were not strict enough because I created the directory manually (if you do not have a .ssh directory, and you ssh to another machine, Fedora will create the directory for you, and the permissions will be fine--the problem only occurs if you manually create .ssh in your user directory...).

Basically, if after following my instructions your secure copy is still asking for a password, go to the machine you are trying to copy to and change the permissions of /home/yourusername/.ssh to 0700. You may also need to change the permissions on the authorized_keys file to something like 0644 or 0600 as well.

You can read more about this from's frequently asked questions.