Use SSH to execute commands (public/private key login)

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Since RouterOS 2.9.13 support for SSH DSA keys and passing commands via ssh has been available. This allows you to run scripts from a remote machine against RouterOS without too much trouble anymore.

Example commands below are using FreeBSD - should be similiar on other platforms.

You first need to create a key using ssh-keygen.

%ssh-keygen -t dsa

This creates a DSA key pair that is compatible with Mikrotik.

Generating public/private dsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/user/.ssh/id_dsa):
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_dsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:

Make sure to leave the passphrase blank if you are going to be using this key in automated scripts. You do not want to be prompted for a password. Just make sure you keep your private key private (enough said?)!

Now you can ftp your id_dsa key to mikrotik to prepare for import.

Connected to
220 mikrotik FTP server (MikroTik 2.9.16) ready
Name ( admin
331 Password required for admin

ftp> put
226 ASCII transfer complete

ftp> exit

This uploads your public key to the router. Do not upload your private key, it is private.

Now from either Winbox or terminal mode you need to import the key. An example using terminal mode is given.

[admin@mikrotik]> user ssh-keys import 
user: admin-ssh

The user field above determines which user account will be logged in when you pass the key. For security reasons you should never use the 'admin' account (you knew that right?). Create a separate user account.

Now that you've created a key pair and imported the public key into RouterOS you can start running commands from your remote machine.

Some examples are below:

%ssh -l admin-ssh -i /home/user/.ssh/id_dsa "/system gps monitor"
  date-and-time: mar/18/2006 08:30:39
      longitude: "W 117 00' 00''"
       latitude: "N 33 0' 00''"
       altitude: "200.199997m"
          speed: "0.185200 km/h"
          valid: yes


%ssh -l admin-ssh -i /home/user/.ssh/id_dsa "/routing bgp peer print status"
Flags: X - disabled
 0 remote-as=65333 multihop=yes
     in-filter=cymru-in out-filter=cymru-out route-reflect=no hold-time=3m
     ttl=60 tcp-md5-key="" remote-hold-time=3h
     used-hold-time=3m used-keepalive-time=1m state=established
     uptime=1w1d10h54m55s prefix-count=68 refresh-capability=yes


%ssh -l admin-ssh -i /home/user/.ssh/id_dsa "/ip firewall connection print count-only"