Linux: Using SSH and sFTP to Access the University's Unix Timesharing Service


Your University Computing Account gives you access to file storage space on the Unix Timesharing Service.  In order to access this space, you must use one of two secure connection methods:  SSH or sFTP.   

•  SSH, which stands for Secure Shell, is a program that enables you to securely log in to a remote computer.  SSH should be used in place of telnet, which is an insecure method of connecting to a remote computer. 

•  sFTP stands for secure file transfer protocol.  It enables you to transfer files securely between two computers.  sFTP should be used in place of FTP because files that are transferred using FTP are not encrypted.

Linux has a built-in SSH client that can be used to access the Unix Timesharing Service.  This built-in utility for Linux is already configured to use the secure SSH connection.  Many Linux systems also include an sFTP client called gFTP.  This document explains how to connect to the Unix Timesharing Service with these programs.  

Accessing UNIX Timesharing on Linux using the Built-in SSH Utility

A built-in SSH utility is included on Linux workstations.  Use SSH instead of rlogin, rsh, or telnet to access the University’s UNIX Timesharing Service.

1.  After logging in to the Linux workstation, right-click on the desktop and select Open Terminal.


2.  At the command prompt from the terminal window, type the following command (where username is your University Computing Account username) and then press Enter.

3.  If you are connecting from your computer for the first time, you may see a warning like the one below.    Type yes and press the Enter key.


4.  You will be prompted for your password.  Type your University Computing Account password and press Enter.  You are now securely connected to the University’s UNIX Timesharing Service.

5.  To terminate your remote login session, type exit and press Enter.

Using gFTP to Establish an sFTP Connection

If your Linux system does not include gFTP, it can be downloaded at no cost at http://gftp.seul.org/.

1.  After logging in to the Linux workstation, select Applications, then Internet, then gFTP. The gFTP window will display.

2.  In the Host field, enter unixs.cssd.pitt.edu.  In the Port field, select 22.  Enter your University Computing Account username in the User field and your password in the Pass field.  Make certain that SSH2 is selected to the right of the Pass field.

3.  Click the Connect button.


4.  You are now securely connected to the Unix Timesharing Service and can copy files back and forth between your computer and the remote system using the arrow buttons that are located between the two columns.

5.  Close the gFTP client window to end your session.