Minimize sshd log clutter/spam from unauthenticated connections

Carsten Andrich carsten.andrich at
Sat Mar 18 23:15:29 AEDT 2023

Dear OpenSSH developers,

a publicly accessible sshd on port 22 generates a lot of log clutter 
from unauthenticated connections. For an exemplary host on a university 
network, sshd accumulates 5~20k log lines on a single day (more than 90% 
of the total amount of syslog lines). That is despite the host having a 
restricted configuration (no SSH password authentication, firewall rate 
limit for new SSH connections on /24 subnets permitting a few 
connections per hour, however with a shorter timeout). I'd expect even 
more log messages for a default configuration (password auth enabled and 
no firewall rate limit).

Would you be open to introducing a new config option to suppress any log 
messages from yet unauthenticated connections? If such a suggestion has 
been discussed before, please direct me to it. I haven't found anything 
in the archives.

Any log messages including successful authentication and afterwards are 
still desired, so changing the log level to above INFO will not help. 
Additionally, even unauthenticated connections cause messages with 
levels ERROR ("kex_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote 
host") or even CRITICAL ("Timeout before authentication"). As I 
periodically scan my hosts' syslogs for messages with level WARNING or 
above, I currently have to filter these messages to keep my inbox from 

Thanks and best regards,

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