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So I want to harden my SSH daemon when Remote Login is enabled.

So far I've found:

  • /private/etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist -> protected by SIP
  • /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Why are there 3 locations, and what is the difference?

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If you look at the specific files you'll see that there are actually only two files (/etc/ssh/sshd_config and /private/etc/ssh/sshd_config is the same file unless your setup is non-standard).

  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist is used by the system to start sshd, usually you don't need to change this
  • /private/etc/ssh/sshd_config is the global configuration file for sshd, and the place where you need to change whatever is required to harden SSH on your Mac.

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