Frequently Asked Questions - Account Access

A complete tutorial is available on how to get into your HCS account for the first time.

Unix (including Macs): type
ssh Your-FAS-Username@fas.harvard.edu
into a terminal prompt ("Terminal" on Macs) and enter your FAS password.
Say yes to any questions about authentication.

Windows: download SecureCRT from here and connect to fas.harvard.edu with your FAS username and password.

Then: From the fas% prompt, type
ssh your-group-name@hcs.harvard.edu
(note the hcs (that's us!) in place of the fas above)
If you are on the access list for the group, you should get a prompt at your group account (something like hera:~>), and if you aren't you will be asked for a password, which you won't know (we only provide access through FAS or with SSH keys).

You probably don't have one! Passwords set with sftppasswd are reset each morning at 4am. We regulate access to our accounts with access lists instead. To get into your account you need to be on this access list, in which case you won't be asked for a password. Other people on the access list can add you-- see "How do I add/remove somebody from the group's access list?" below.

Log in to your group account, and type access. You'll want to use option B for people with fas accounts and option E for everyone else.

We authenticate non-fas users via RSA/DSA keys. You can generate a public/private key pair as follows:

Unix (including Macs): type
ssh-keygen -t dsa
into a terminal prompt ("Terminal" on Macs), and it will run you through the process (selecting the default settings/values is fine). The OpenSSH keyfile, also known as the public key, is the long string of random characters that gets printed to the screen at the end (also found by default at ./.ssh/id_dsa.pub)

Windows: SecureCRT can do it, under Tools>Create Public Key...

Not sure how to make this work? We now have an in-depth tutorial on setting up OpenSSH keys with your HCS account.