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Logging in to SCINet

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All users should have received their login credentials in an email. If you have not, please email the Virtual Research Support Core at scinet_vrsc@USDA.GOV.

Before accessing various SCINet resources, new users need to ssh either to Ceres or Atlas cluster and change the temporary password. Note that home directories on Atlas are not created right away, so it is recommended to wait a day after receiving email with the credentials before logging to Atlas cluster.

Using ssh to Connect

From Windows 10

Windows 10 that is up to date has an ssh client in the Windows Power Shell. To use that client, click on the Start button and start typing “power”. Select Windows PowerShell from the list.

In the PowerShell window, you can type one of two options:

1) ssh user.name@ceres.scinet.usda.gov (for Ceres Connections)
2) ssh user.name@atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu (for Atlas Connections)

NOTE: Be sure to replace “user.name” in both options above with your assigned username.

It is also recommended to create a config file on your computer. You may do so using Notepad. The file you create must be titled “config” with no extension for this method to work properly (i.e. “config” not “config.txt”). Note: Do not copy the code into the terminal itself, it must be in a separate file.

Create a ~/.ssh/config file replacing USER.NAME with your actual username, all in lowercase. To save this config file to your .ssh folder, you must save it to your user folder. The path to the .ssh file is as follows: C>Users>(Your Account)>.ssh

Host ceres-login
HostName ceres.scinet.usda.gov
User USER.NAME
TCPKeepAlive yes
ServerAliveInterval 20
ServerAliveCountMax 30

Host atlas-login
HostName atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu
User USER.NAME
TCPKeepAlive yes
ServerAliveInterval 20
ServerAliveCountMax 30

If you don’t want to use the config file method above, add the following title to the ssh command replacing USER.NAME with your actual username, all in lowercase.

ssh -o TCPKeepAlive=yes -o ServerAliveInterval=20 -o ServerAliveCountMax=30 USER.NAME@ceres.scinet.usda.gov

and

ssh -o TCPKeepAlive=yes -o ServerAliveInterval=20 -o ServerAliveCountMax=30 USER.NAME@atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu

After you have followed either of the options above, enter the 6-digit “Verification Code” generated by the Google Authenticator app when prompted. Note that the code and your password will not be visible on the screen when typed. If the code is correct, the system will then prompt you for your password.

Please Note: If you are connected to the SCINet VPN, you will not be prompted to enter the Google Authenticator Code. If you make a mistake entering the code, you will be prompted to enter the verification code once more, but you must wait for a new code to be generated.

screenshot of logging in

If your password has expired (new temporary passwords expire right away, and the passwords set by users expire after 60 days) you will be prompted to change your password. To paste from a clipboard into PowerShell, perform single right click with the mouse and then press Enter. Please see below for a detailed guide on changing your password.

When Changing Your Temporary Password (Mandatory Prompt When First Connecting):

  1. Enter either of the following: A. $ ssh user.name@ceres.scinet.usda.gov B. ssh user.name@atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu
  2. Enter the 6-digit verification code generated by the Google Authenticator app when prompted.
  3. Enter your temporary password found in your welcome email when prompted for the password.
  4. When prompted for your “Current Password”, re-enter your temporary password.
  5. Enter your “new password” twice when prompted. Note: The new password requirements are listed below the Mac and Linux instructions.

After updating your password, you will be prompted to answer Yes or No to entering a cell phone. It is strongly recommended to add a cell phone just in case you need to reset your Google Authenticator in the future. Enter “y” and then enter your cellphone number with no dashes or parenthesis, as shown in the image below.

screenshot of cellphone entry

From Older Windows Versions

To begin, download Putty.exe. Once downloaded, start PuTTY and use the following instructions:

  1. In the left-hand menu select the ‘Session’ category, then on the right side type into the ‘Host Name’ either ceres.scinet.usda.gov (for Ceres connections) or atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu (for Atlas connections).
  2. In the left-hand menu select the ‘Connection’ category, then on the right side replace 0 with 60 for “Seconds between keepalives” and check the “Enable TCP keepalives”
  3. In the left-hand menu select “Data” category under the ‘Connection’ category and type your username on the right side
  4. To save these settings for later logins select the ‘Session’ category, and in the “Saved Sessions” type SCINet Ceres or SCINet Atlas, then click on “Save” button.
  5. Hit “Open”
  6. Enter the 6-digit verification code generated by the Google Authenticator app when prompted. Note that when you type the code or the password, nothing will be shown on the screen. If you made a mistake when typing 6-digit code, you will be prompted for Verification code once again, but you must wait for the new code to be generated before entering the code again. If system accepts the code it will prompt you for current password. If you are logging in for the first time, enter your temporary password provided in your welcome email. If you are changing your password, you may enter your current password. To paste from a clipboard into Putty, perform single right click with the mouse and then press Enter. (However, this form of copy and paste may no longer be functional) Note: The new password requirements are listed below the Mac and Linux instructions.

screenshot of Putty software

From Mac and Linux

Open a terminal window. We recommend setting up a config file to make logging in easier and use settings to provide a more stable connection. This can be done by creating a config file u sing the following code and then saving it to your .ssh file. The file you create must be titled “config” for this method to work properly. Note: Do not copy the code into the terminal itself, it must be a separate file on your computer.

Create a ~/.ssh/config entry similar to this, replacing USER.NAME with your actual username, all in lowercase:

Host ceres-login
HostName ceres.scinet.usda.gov
User USER.NAME
TCPKeepAlive yes
ServerAliveInterval 20
ServerAliveCountMax 30

Host atlas-login
HostName atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu
User USER.NAME
TCPKeepAlive yes
ServerAliveInterval 20
ServerAliveCountMax 30

Note: To save this config file to your .ssh folder, you must save it to your user folder. However, the .ssh file is currently hidden to you. To reveal the hidden files, you will press and hold CMD + SHIFT + . (Period Key) when choosing a location to save your file. The .ssh file will now be visible for you to save the config file.

That will send a “keepalive” signal every 20 seconds and keep retrying for up to 30 failures. This also simplifies your login to just:

ssh ceres-login or ssh atlas-login

If you don’t want to use the config file method above, add the following title to the ssh command replacing USER.NAME with your actual username in lowercase.

ssh -o TCPKeepAlive=yes -o ServerAliveInterval=20 -o ServerAliveCountMax=30 USER.NAME@ceres.scinet.usda.gov

and

ssh -o TCPKeepAlive=yes -o ServerAliveInterval=20 -o ServerAliveCountMax=30 USER.NAME@atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu

After typing ssh command, enter the 6-digit code verification code generated by the Google Authenticator app when prompted for the Verification Code. Note that when you type the code or the password, nothing will be shown on the screen. If system accepts the code it will prompt you for password.

Please Note: If you are connected to the SCINet VPN, you will not be prompted to enter the Google Authenticator Code. If you make a mistake entering the code, you will be prompted to enter the verification code once more, but you must wait for a new code to be generated.

screenshot of logging in

When Changing your Password (Mandatory Prompt when First Connecting):

  1. Enter either of the following: $ ssh user.name@ceres.scinet.usda.gov OR ssh user.name@atlas-login.hpc.msstate.edu
  2. Enter the 6-digit verification code generated by the Google Authenticator app when prompted.
  3. Enter your temporary password found in your welcome email when prompted for the password.
  4. When prompted for your “Current Password”, re-enter your temporary password.
  5. Enter your “new password” twice when prompted.
    Note: The new password requirements are listed below.

After updating your password, you will be prompted to answer Yes or No to entering a cell phone. It is strongly recommended to add a cell phone just in case you need to reset your Google Authenticator in the future. Enter “y” and then enter your cellphone number with no dashes or parenthesis, as shown in the image below.

screenshot of cellphone entry

Password Requirements

  1. AT LEAST 14 characters long
  2. Your last 24 passwords cannot be reused.

Frequently Asked Questions

It didn’t ask me for the Verification Code from Google Authenticator. What do I do?
If you are connected to the VPN, the code will be waived, no need to worry about entering it.

I can’t find the .ssh folder when saving my config file. Where is it located?
The .ssh file is usually hidden to you. You must show all hidden files when saving your file before you will be able to save to the .ssh file.

My password/Google Authenticator Verification Code isn’t showing up when I type it. What is wrong?
There is nothing wrong with your terminal, the password and GA Verification Code will never show when you type. That is why it is important to be careful when entering the information. For passwords, copy + paste are extremely helpful to avoid mistakes.

After creating my account and changing my temporary password, I was prompted for my cell phone. Should I include this?
It is highly recommended to include your cell phone when setting up your account. This will be used if you need to perform a self-reset on your Google Authenticator code. Without the cell phone in your account, you may need to reapply for a SCINet account.