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Warning: Remote Host Identification Has Changed error and solution

September 8, 2019

When I run ssh command I get an error which read as follows:

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
@ WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED! @
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NASTY!
Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.
The fingerprint for the RSA key sent by the remote host is
5c:9b:16:56:a6:cd:11:10:3a:cd:1b:a2:91:cd:e5:1c.
Please contact your system administrator.
Add correct host key in /home/user/.ssh/known_hosts to get rid of this message.
Offending key in /home/user/.ssh/known_hosts:1
RSA host key for ras.mydomain.com has changed and you have requested strict checking.
Host key verification failed.

How do I get rid of this message?

If you have reinstalled Linux or UNIX server with OpenSSH, you will get the above error from client computer as follows:

Fig.01: “WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED” error

To get rid of this problem add correct host key in $HOME/.ssh/known_hosts. You can try the following command to get rid of offending key. Only use the following commands if you have changed the ssh key or modified by new operating system installation or the recent OpenSSH server installation.

Solution #1: Remove keys using ssh-keygen

Use the -R option to removes all keys belonging to hostname from a known_hosts file. This option is useful to delete hashed hosts. If your remote hostname is server.example.com, enter:
$ ssh-keygen -R {server.name.com}
$ ssh-keygen -R {ssh.server.ip.address}
ssh-keygen -R {ssh.server.ip.address} -f {/path/to/known_hosts}
$ ssh-keygen -R server.example.com

Sample output:

/home/vivek/.ssh/known_hosts updated.
Original contents retained as /home/vivek/.ssh/known_hosts.old

Now, you can connect to the host without a problem.

Solution #2: Add correct host key in /home/user/.ssh/known_hosts

It is not necessary to delete the entire known_hosts file, just the offending line in that file. For example if you have 3 server as follows.
myserver1.com,64.2.5.111 ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIEA11FV0EnGahT2EK8qElocjuHTsu1jaCfxkyIgBTlxlrOIRchb2pw8IzJLOs2bcuYYfa8nSXGEcWyaFD1ifUjfHelj94AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIEA11FV0E
nGahT2EK8qElocjuHTsu1jaCfxkyIgBTlxlrOIRchb2pw8IzJLOs2bcuYYfa8nSXGEcWyaFD1ifUjfHelj94H+uv304/ZDz6xZb9ZWsdm+264qReImZzruAKxnwTo4dcHkgKXKHeefnBKyEvvp/2ExMV9WT5DVe1viVwk=
myserver2.com,125.1.12.5 ssh-rsa
AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAtDiERucsZzJGx/1kUNIOYhJbczbZHN2Z1gCnTjvO/0mO2R6KiQUP4hOdLppIUc9GNvlp1kGc3w7B9tREH6kghXFiBjrIn6VzUO4uwrnsMbnAnscD5EktgI7fG4ZcNUP 5+J7sa3o+rtmOuiFxCA690DXUJ8nX8yDHaJfzMUTKTGxQz4M/H2P8L2R//qLj5s3ofzNmgSM9lSEhZL/IyI4NxHhhpltYZKW/Qz4M/H2P8L2R//qLj5s3ofzNmgSM9lSEhZL/M7L0vKeTObue1SgAsXADtK3162a/Z6MGnAazIviHBldxtGrFwvEnk82+GznkO3IBZt5vOK2heBnqQBfw=
myserver3.com,125.2.1.15 ssh-rsa
5+J7sa3o+rtmOuiFxCA690DXUJ8nX8yDHaJfzMUTKTGx0lVkphVsvYD5hJzm0eKHv+oUXRT9v+QMIL+um/IyI4NxHhhpltYZKW
as3533dka//sd33433////44632Z6MGnAazIviHBldxtGrFwvEnk82/Qz4M/H2P8L2R//qLj5s3ofzNmgSM9lSEhZL/M7L0vKeTObue1SgAsXADtK3162a/Z6MGnAazIviHBldxtGrFwvEnk82+GznkO3IBZt5vOK2heBnqQBfw==

To delete 2nd server (myserver.com), open file:
# vi +2 .ssh/known_hosts
And hit dd command to delete line. Save and close the file. Or use following
$ vi ~/.ssh/known_hosts
Now go to line # 2, type the following command
:2
Now delete line with dd and exit:
dd
:wq

Or you can use the sed command as follows to delete offending key at line # 44:
$ sed -i 44d ~/.ssh/known_hosts

Solution 3: Just delete the known_hosts file If you have only one ssh server

$ cd
$ rm .ssh/known_hosts
$ ssh ras.mydomain.com

Try connecting with ssh again

Now you should be able to connect your server via ssh:
ssh [email protected]
ssh [email protected]

Next, you will get a fresh prompt to add key to ~/.ssh/known_hosts as follows:

The authenticity of host '10.86.115.66 ()' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is 4e:10:42:39:53:85:7f:89:89:dc:89:84:8d:79:e7:ed.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '10.86.115.66' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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