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Admin Tip: KeePass Plugin to call SSH Session

[Windows Only]

When you have to administrate several systems one thing you learn is how to save time. There are plenty of time-consuming tasks and you want to find a way how to automate the most hideous admin task you have to do over the course of the day  just so you can spend your precious time on the real-important tasks,  like fixing the system that doesn’t come up again or the process within your most important data stream which decided to take a unexpected vacation.

Depending on the Landscape and security logging into your main system can be also challenging so if you are a friend of shortcuts and easy 2 click ready to roll ways then this is something for you.

We will use 2 tiny Open-Source tools to keep our passwords safe and open connections to our Server
straight from the password manager… You will be having those tools most likely handy in your
environment, if not and your companies software policies allow for tiny open-source products to be used
this is what you need.

The Tools

PuTTY: is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Windows and Unix platforms, along with an xterm
terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by
Simon Tatham.

KeePass: is a pretty decent open-source (OSI certified) password manager which helps you remember the countless login’s for all of your systems but also has some neat features to auto-login to the remote system by making a remote call via supported API’s.

Lets configure Putty

First we want a setup a generic profile that will be loaded every time its called. If you are like me and got 10+ Terminal Sessions open it is a good idea to create a couple of profiles with different color preferences  for example to distingish between different environments like Development and Production. As this is only working on Windows little mistakes are easy done because you will use the famous [CTRL-C / CTRL-V] function and one day by mistake you paste it into the wrong window… so better be save than sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Open Putty and Enter a name of your liking in the Field “Host Name or leave it blank.
2. chose the Protocol or change the Port manually if its a specific one.
3. Enter a name you want to save the Session under, I have 3 sets I use. Oracle / Solaris / Unix
and for each set
I got 3 sub profiles where I change the colors between the different environments.
4. Click Save


Logging and other settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Go to the Category “Session | Logging” and enter the desired logging level under
“Session Logging”. This is always a good idea because sometimes you need to look up what you
have done to fix the issue to complete your documentations or because you have done so many
changes that you cant recall every single step. I use “Log all session output” as a standard setup.
In the Field “Log file name” browse to the directory where you want to save it and add the following
variables to the name itself

[cc lang=”Bash”] /logs/putty/&H_&D&M&Y_&T.log
&H = Hostname
&Y = Date
&T = Time
[/cc]

this way you will have your log files structured and it will be easier to find what you looking for.
Under the next Section check the box “Always append to the end of it”.

6. Next go to Category “Window” and choose your default Terminal size you like to work with.
I choose 24 Rows and 80 Columns. Also something handy is to increase the number for “Line
of scroll back” default
is 200 and I set it to 5000 because when you administrate big log files
the buffer is reached very quick.

 

7.  Under Category “Window | Colors” we want to choose a specific set of color’s  to your liking
so we can distinguish between our different environments. This is only an example so if you don’t
want too just leave it to the default settings. I did something like this:

Production:   background = white
foreground = red

Pre Production:   background = black
foreground = blue

Development:      background = blue
foreground = green

8. That’s it for now, of course you can change / adapt all the other settings to your needs.
Click on the top menu
Category “Session” and click on Save.

 

Next up Configure KeePass

Open KeePass and create a “new Master Password / Key”. After you have re-entered it the
default window opens. Delete the Container on the left so that nothing is left and click
“File | Save AS” to store the new password database (.kdb) somewhere safe.

1. Create a New Password Group in the left panel of the Screen (right click in windows) and
let us call it UNIX for the test.
2.  Now we need to add a new Entry under the new Group. All Unix Host you will add need
to be setup in the same way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Title – here you enter the exact Hostname or IP address of the remote Server you want to connect too.
  • Username – this would be the Login Username for the remote host
  • URL – here you add the following command:
    cmd://”C:Program FilesPuTTYputty.exe” -load “GIZMO11” {USERNAME}@{TITLE} -pw {PASSWORD}

  • Password – this would be the password coresponding to the remote User

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Function (KeePass plugin)

In the URL we going to call a command [cmd://C:Program FilesPuTTYputty.exe] to call the
application Putty, make sure you enter here the correct path to your putty Application. [
-load “UNIX_PRD] this will load our profile we setup and with [{USERNAME}@{TITLE} -pw {PASSWORD}] it will build the correct
ssh command using the information in the Title for the Host. Make sure that the Host is correctly written down,
sometimes you require to add the domain suffix.

Now Press OK / then hit the Save button and you are all done.


enjoy

 

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