Minimize sshd log clutter/spam from unauthenticated connections

James Ralston ralston at
Tue Apr 25 15:36:34 AEST 2023

1On Sat, Mar 18, 2023 at 8:23 AM Carsten Andrich
<carsten.andrich at> wrote:

> a publicly accessible sshd on port 22 generates a lot of log clutter
> from unauthenticated connections.

This is not unique to OpenSSH. Any well-known service on any
publicly-accessible host will be probed incessantly.

In addition to source-blocking solutions (portknocking, fail2ban, et.
al.) and log filtering solutions, something that can be surprisingly
effective is to simply configure sshd to listen on a TCP port other
than 22. Virtually no attackers perform full port scans looking for
hidden ssh daemons, because there’s so much low-hanging fruit on port

On my home network, I have a publicly-accessible sshd instance that is
listening on a TCP port <1024 that is not port 22. For more than 10
years (until a botnet finally found it), I was the only person who
ever attempted to connect to it. (In response to its discovery, I
could have simply moved the sshd instance to a different port, but
instead I used that as an excuse to experiment with a portknocker

In InfoSec, obfuscation has a bad rap, because it is frequently
deployed in an attempt to hide a security vulnerability instead of
applying remediation. But there are a few instances where obfuscation
can be a valuable and appropriate tool in one’s toolbox. And reducing
voluminous log noise by evading 99.999% of ankle-biting script kiddies
is one of those instances.

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