How do I SSH using Two-Factor Authentication

As part of C&IT's continued efforts to protect critical campus resources, two-factor authentication is required for Secure Shell (SSH) logins on our production Linux servers.


Two-factor authentication for SSH is operated via the same system as all other Wayne State two-factor authentication. To learn more, watch a quick demo here.


Software recommendations


Although most common SSH applications will allow for two-factor authentication, the Information Security Office has some guidelines for software that is known to work more seamless than other applications.


  • Windows: For Windows, we highly recommend PuTTY. Additionally you can use PSFTP and PSCP for secure file transfer.
    • Alternately, for secure file transfer via scp or sftp, you may also wish to use WinSCP.
  • macOS & Linux: On machines running macOS, we recommend running the SSH command from For secure file transfers you may also use the SCP command from the command line. A nice alternative to is iTerm2.
    • For Linux machines, you can SSH and SCP from the command line. If you are using a GUI interface, you can use the terminal application that is installed with the distribution. Examples are gnome-terminal and konsole.