Tweets for Today

  • 12:08 On the way to Kaohsiung on HSR; Wang Jin-Pyng is a few rows in front of us. #
  • 14:01 – LSM birthday promo in Kaohsiung Subway #
  • 16:17 – Aihe Kaohsiung Subway #
  • 16:17 – Aihe Kaohsiung 2 #
  • 16:21 – Catering Promo #
  • 16:25 – IMAG0091 #
  • 16:33 – Another Kaohsiung Subway #
  • 16:33 – Dining area #
  • 16:33 – Sandwich counter #
  • 17:25 – subway grafitti #
  • 00:45 Cleaning up my followers list. If I don’t know you and you don’t follow anyone I know then I will block you. Email me in case of mistakes. #
  • 00:47 For those anxiously following the progress: My Kindle is in Houston waiting for a Fedex plane to Taipei. Should arrive Monday at the latest. #

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ssh logins for any user on QNAP TS-409

The QNAP NAS servers run a Linux OS and out of the box supports ssh logins as the “admin” user (basically root with a different name). But if you add a user and try to log in, it just closes the connection. If you look at /etc/ssh/sshd_config you’ll notice that there is a configuration line for “AllowUsers admin” which may lead you to believe that you just need to modify this line. Unfortunately the ssh server itself is also hard coded to allow admin logins only.

There are several guides for how to get around this restriction. The solution involves installing openssh either in addition to or as a replacement of the built in sshd. Many of these guides seemed overly complex to me, so I took several of them and came up with what I think is the simplest approach to replace the existing sshd with one that allows logins by all users.

This guide is known to work with the QNAP TS-409 running firmware 2.1.2 Build 1112T. It will probably work with other QNAP models, or other firmware versions, but no guarantees. This assumes you know how to ssh to your NAS as admin, you’ve created a new user and you already have ipkg installed and working. If you don’t have ipkg, see this and follow the “Sit Back” approach.

First install openssh:

ipkg update
ipkg install openssh

Now let’s swap out the stock server with the ipkg version:

mv /usr/sbin/sshd /usr/sbin/sshd-orig
cp /opt/sbin/sshd /usr/sbin/

Now on QNAP servers the filesystems are a bit strange because the OS is loaded from firmware onto a ramdisk. As a side effect of this, some system modifications will disappear upon reboot unless you follow special procedures to preserve them. This is true of the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. We will need to move it to a location outside of the ramdisk.

cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/

Next we need to edit the relocated sshd_config file (use your preferred editor if you don’t like vi):

vi /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/sshd_config

You have two choices when editing this file. Option one is to edit AllowUsers to add the usernames you want to be able to log in. Each username is separated by a space. Alternatively, you can comment out the AllowUsers line completely which will allow any user to log in.

Next copy it back to the normal location:

cp /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh

At this point you can test your configuration. BUT… you are NOT done yet. There’s one more step to make your changes permanent, so don’t just quit after this step.

Log into the web admin interface of your NAS and under the “System Tools” category click on “Remote Login.” Untick “Allow SSH Connection” and press “Apply.” Wait a few seconds, then tick “Allow SSH Connection” and press “Apply” again. This will reset your ssh server and if you did everything right you should now be able to login as users besides admin.

If it does not work, don’t panic. You can restart your NAS and the configuration will be replaced with the original. If you really manage to screw things up, enable telnet and log in that way to try to fix things up.

(Be careful about restarting sshd while logged in via ssh. It is very easy to kill your own connection before the new sshd starts and then you will have to use the web admin interface anyways. If you know what you are doing and are very careful, you can restart it via the shell.)

Now if everything went well, we can make the configuration permanent. We need to create or edit an script which moves the configuration over during boot. First mount the config area:

mount -t ext2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/config

(The device may differ if you have a different model. Check Google if the last step doesn’t work.)

Next we need to edit or create the file:

vi /tmp/config/

If the file doesn’t exist or is empty, insert all of the following. If there is already a script there, skip the first two lines and add the rest at the end of the file:


# SSH Config
cp /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config
/etc/init.d/ restart

After saving it, make sure it is made executable and unmount the filesystem:

chmod +x /tmp/config/
umount /tmp/config

Now you can reboot your NAS and confirm that the configuration was preserved. Keep in mind that it can take 3-4 minutes to reboot. There will be a couple of short beeps during the reboot process and one longer beep when it has completed booting. Be patient and wait for the long beep before trying to login.

In the future be sure to make any configuration changes to sshd_config by editing the non-ramdisk copy like follows:

vi /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/sshd_config
cp /mnt/HDA_ROOT/.config/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh