Git Operations Fail - Permission denied - publickey

Troubleshooting Git

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Symptoms

Having  enabled SSH access in Stash (and having added SSH keys to the correct user profile in Stash: Windows/Linux/Mac) git operations fail with the following message on the console:

[drohan@test_box]$ git pull
Permission denied (publickey).
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly

Diagnosis

Enable debug logging for git to see the command that is failing (NOTE: curl isn't used for the SSH protocol):

export GIT_TRACE_PACKET=1
export GIT_TRACE=1

 

Sample output:

[drohan@test_box]$ git pull
trace: exec: 'git-pull'
trace: run_command: 'git-pull'
trace: built-in: git 'rev-parse' '--git-dir'
trace: built-in: git 'rev-parse' '--is-bare-repository'
trace: built-in: git 'rev-parse' '--show-toplevel'
trace: built-in: git 'ls-files' '-u'
trace: built-in: git 'symbolic-ref' '-q' 'HEAD'
trace: built-in: git 'config' '--bool' 'branch.master.rebase'
trace: built-in: git 'config' '--bool' 'pull.rebase'
trace: built-in: git 'rev-parse' 'q' '-verify' 'HEAD'
trace: built-in: git 'fetch' '--update-head-ok'
trace: run_command: 'ssh' '-p' '7999' 'drohan@kidney' 'git-upload-pack '\''/repo.git'\'''
Permission denied (publickey).
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly

Enable verbose logging for SSH (-v Verbose mode) to identify why the error is happening:

% ssh -p 7999 -vT git@localhost

OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1.4, OpenSSL 1.0.1 14 Mar 2012
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to localhost [127.0.0.1] port 7999.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_rsa type 1
debug1: Checking blacklist file /usr/share/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: Checking blacklist file /etc/ssh/blacklist.RSA-2048
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/josh/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version SSHD-CORE-0.13.0
debug1: no match: SSHD-CORE-0.13.0
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1.4
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: sending SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_INIT
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: RSA e8:6d:e4:fd:47:54:fe:12:d7:a1:85:43:fd:e0:cb:c5
debug1: Host '[localhost]:7999' is known and matches the RSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/josh/.ssh/known_hosts:2
debug1: ssh_rsa_verify: signature correct
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: Roaming not allowed by server
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_REQUEST sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering RSA public key: /home/josh/.ssh/id_rsa
debug1: Server accepts key: pkalg ssh-rsa blen 279
Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.
debug1: Trying private key: /home/josh/.ssh/id_dsa
debug1: Trying private key: /home/josh/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug1: No more authentication methods to try.
Permission denied (publickey).

 

Cause

There are several causes (examples will be added as they become available):

  1. In the example above, the wrong private keys were being referenced: /home/josh/.ssh/id_dsa and /home/josh/.ssh/id_ecdsa

Resolution

  1. Verify that identity file you generated is working:
    1. Verify the correct private key is works by explicitly sourcing it:

      ssh -p 7999 -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa -vT git@localhost
    2. If the test above works, set the correct default SSH key location. The correct location for the source of the private key can be redefined:

      % ssh-agent
      % ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Last modified on Mar 30, 2016

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