UPDATE May 15, 2018: The change was put into place. Off-campus SSH logins are now supported using multi-factor authentication (MFA). If you run into trouble, please contact rescomputing@duke.edu.


When you’re off-campus, you have had to use Duke’s VPN in order to do a login on the Duke Compute Cluster. This had had the upside of helping to keep the cluster a more safeguarded computing environment, but VPN has had a downside: data transfers have suffered because of the “narrow pipe” that people share on the network.

Beginning on May 15, 2018, researchers who are off-campus will be able to make a direct SSH connection to a Duke Compute Cluster “slogin” machine and use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). The process calls upon the same kind of resources (encryption and multi-factor authentication) that help make VPN a useful tool. But the process will be more direct, and it should help make data transfers more efficient.

Of course, cluster users are familiar with the command-line interface. The new login process will use that interface — not a “fancy” graphical interface. Everything happens in the terminal window.

Logging in for a terminal session

The terminal session looks like this:

Boink-Mac:~ fzt9382$ ssh dcc-slogin.oit.duke.edu
################################################################################
# You are about to access a Duke University computer network that is intended  #
# for authorized users only. You should have no expectation of privacy in      #
# your use of this network. Use of this network constitutes consent to         #
# monitoring, retrieval, and disclosure of any information stored within the   #
# network for any purpose including criminal prosecution.                      #
################################################################################
fzt9382@dcc-slogin-dev-01.oit.duke.edu's password: 
Duo two-factor login for tm103

Enter a passcode or select one of the following options:

   1. Duo Push to XXX-XXX-7378
   2. Phone call to XXX-XXX-7378
   3. SMS passcodes to XXX-XXX-7378 (next code starts with: 1)

Passcode or option (1-3): 2
Calling your phone...
Dialing XXX-XXX-7378...
Answered. Press any key on your phone to log in.
Success. Logging you in...
Last login by user fzt9382: Tue May 32 13:27 - 13:50 (00:00) from: 10.354.257.179
fzt9382@dcc-slogin-dev-01  /hpchome/frts/fzt9382 $ 

The rest of your session will proceed as normal.

Using SCP (“SecureCoPy”) for data transfer

For an example of transferring data to the cluster, your session is similar, except you must choose option 1 (Duo Push) in order for the transfer to work.

Boink-Mac:~ fzt9382$ scp somefile-to-transfer.txt fzt9382@dcc-slogin.oit.duke.edu/hpchome/frts/fxt9382

Enter a passcode or select one of the following options:
  1. Duo Push to XXX-XXX-7378
  2. Phone call to XXX-XXX-7378
  3. SMS passcodes to XXX-XXX-7378 (next code starts with: 1)

Passcode or option (1-3): 1

Use the Duo client to respond, and your transfer will proceed.

Consult the SCP man page for other options.

If you run into trouble, let rescomputing@duke.edu know.