DuoConnect for SSH Access

DuoConnect lets you easily access your organization’s SSH servers and RDP hosts without needing to use a VPN when your organization has deployed Duo Network Gateway.

DuoConnect is supported on 64-bit versions of Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. To use DuoConnect, you'll need to install the DuoConnect client software on your workstation, then perform some configuration steps for SSH or RDP to work. Your Duo administrator will send you the detailed connection information you’ll need to update your SSH and RDP connections.

Windows Clients

Install DuoConnect

  1. Download the latest DuoConnect Installer for Windows on your computer while logged in as an administrator. View checksums for Duo downloads.
  2. Double-click the downloaded MSI file to launch the installer.
  3. On the "DuoConnect Setup Wizard" page, click Next.
  4. On the "Destination Folder" page leave the default destination selected and click Next.
  5. Click Install on the "Ready to install DuoConnect" page. If a pop-up appears asking "Do you want to allow the following program to install software on this computer?", click Yes.
  6. Click Finish on the "Completed the DuoConnect Setup Wizard" page to exit the installer.

Configure SSH

Now that you’ve installed DuoConnect, you need to update your SSH client configuration to use it.

PuTTY

  1. Open up PuTTY and load a saved PuTTY session for the SSH server you'll be connecting to with DuoConnect.
  2. Expand the Connection category on the left-hand side of the PuTTY session window, and then click on Proxy. The "Options controlling proxy usage" appear on the right-hand side of the window.
  3. Under "Proxy type" select Local.
  4. Under "Telnet command, or local proxy command" copy and paste in the DuoConnect connection string you received from your Duo administrator.

    Here's an example of what the command might look like:

    duoconnect -host %host:%port -relay=https://server-ssh.example.com
  5. Return to the saved PuTTY session window and click Save to update the session with the DuoConnect information.
  6. Repeat the saved session configuration steps for all SSH servers you will access using DuoConnect.
    DuoConnect PuTTY Configuration
  7. Test your SSH connection.

Git, Cygwin, and Other OpenSSH based Terminals

  1. Open your ~/.ssh/config file in a text editor. If you don't have this file, create it.
  2. Copy and paste in the DuoConnect connection strings you received from your Duo administrator into the end of your config file.

    Here's an example of what the command might look like:

    Host server.example.com
      ProxyCommand duoconnect -host=%h:%p -relay=https://server-ssh.example.com
  3. Repeat these steps for all SSH servers provided to you by your Duo administrator.
  4. Save the ~/.ssh/config file.
  5. Test your SSH connection.

Configure RDP

DuoConnect for RDP access does not support shared client computers. If you try to use DuoConnect with RDP on a computer shared by multiple users you may experience issues. For the best results you should be the only user of the computer where you set up RDP access with DuoConnect.

Install Duo Device Health

To access RDP hosts with DuoConnect you also need Duo Device Health app version 2.24 or later installed on your computer.

Check to see if Duo Device Health 2.24.0 or later is already installed on your computer:

  1. Open the Start Menu with Windows key ⊞ key or click the Windows logo on the far left of the taskbar.
  2. Type DuoDeviceHealth and click the application search result.
  3. If Duo Device Health is already installed, open it.
  4. Click the menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines) in the upper right and go to Preferences.
  5. Verify the installed version is 2.24.0 or later.

If Duo Device Health is installed but is not version 2.24.0 or later, click the Check now button shown in Preferences to check for an update. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update.

If Duo Device Health app is not present, then you need to install it before continuing. Duo Device Health supports Windows 10 and later.

Download the Device Health installer from this link.

View checksums for Duo downloads.

Duo Device Health app installation requires that you have administrator privileges on your computer. If you do not have administrative rights on your computer or encounter issues installing Duo Device Health, please contact your organization's Duo administrator or Help Desk.

Update DuoConnect

RDP access requires DuoConnect 2.0.2 or later. If you installed DuoConnect before April 2022 you might need to update it.

To check your installed DuoConnect version:

  1. Open the Start Menu with Windows key ⊞ key or click the Windows logo on the far left of the taskbar.
  2. Type Add or remove programs and click the Add or remove programs system settings item.
  3. Scroll down the "Apps & features" list until you locate DuoConnect.
  4. Click on DuoConnect in the list to see the installed version.
  5. Verify the installed version is 2.0.2 or later.

If you need to update DuoConnect, download and run the latest DuoConnect Installer for Windows on your computer while logged in as an administrator. View checksums for Duo downloads.

When you have installed the latest DuoConnect version then you can continue setting up RDP access.

Configure DuoConnect in Duo Device Health

You need to update the Device Health app settings with information about your organization's Duo Network Gateway server. If you do not know the hostname you should enter ask your Duo administrator or Help Desk.

  1. Click on the Duo Device Health icon in the system tray to open the Duo Device Health application.
  2. Click the menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines) in the upper right.
  3. Click on the DuoConnect menu item to open the "Welcome to DuoConnect" page. Click Get Started. If you do not see this menu item, make sure that you have both DuoConnect 2.0.2 or later and Duo Device Health 2.24.0 or later installed, and install updated versions if needed.
  4. On the "DuoConnect" app screen, enter the hostname of your Duo Network Gateway (such as "portal.example.com") as the Server hostname and then click Add Hostname. This adds your Duo Network Gateway hostname to the list of configured DuoConnect hostnames.
    Configure DuoConnect Server Hostname in Device Health App on Windows
  5. Click anywhere else on the Windows desktop to minimize Duo Device Health's window back to the system tray.

If you need to change the configured Duo Network Gateway hostname, return to the DuoConnect menu item in the Duo Device Health app to view the list of configured hostnames, and click the X icon to the right of the hostname to delete it and enter a new one.

Create an RDP Server Connection

Your organization's Duo administrator or Help Desk should provide you the RDP hostname to enter when configuring the RDP connection.

  1. Open the Start Menu with Windows key ⊞ key or click the Windows logo on the far left of the taskbar, or click the search icon in the task bar.
  2. Type Remote Desktop and click the application search result.
  3. Enter the RDP hostname provided by your administrator, such as rdp1.external.example.com, as the "Computer" name.
    Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection App on Windows
  4. Set any other options you want for this remote computer connection by clicking Show Options to expose the settings tabs. If you enable the "Allow me to save credentials" for the Windows credentials, then you'll be able to save your password for the remote system for future connections, instead of entering your login information every time.
  5. Click Connect to launch the RDP connection.

macOS Clients

Install DuoConnect

  1. Download the latest DuoConnect Installer for macOS on your computer while logged in as an administrator. View checksums for Duo downloads.
  2. Double-click the pkg file to launch the installer.
  3. On the "Welcome to the DuoConnect Installer" page, click Continue.
  4. On the "Select a Destination" page leave the default destination selected and click Continue.
  5. Click Install on the "Select Install on HD" page.
  6. When the installer prompts you to enter your username and password, enter the required information and click Install Software.
  7. Click Close on the "The installation was completed successfully" page. When asked if you'd like to move the installer to trash, click Move to Trash to delete the installer package from your system.

Configure SSH

Now that you’ve installed DuoConnect, you need to update your SSH client configuration to use it.

Terminal

  1. Open your ~/.ssh/config file in a text editor. If you don't have this file, create it.
  2. Copy and paste in the DuoConnect connection strings you received from your Duo administrator into the end of your config file.

    Here's an example of what the command might look like:

    Host server.example.com
      ProxyCommand duoconnect -host=%h:%p -relay=https://server-ssh.example.com
  3. Repeat these steps for all SSH servers provided to you by your Duo administrator.
  4. Save the ~/.ssh/config file.
  5. Test your SSH connection.

Configure RDP

DuoConnect for RDP access does not support shared client computers. If you try to use DuoConnect with RDP on a computer shared by multiple users you may experience issues. For the best results you should be the only user of the computer where you set up RDP access with DuoConnect.

Install Duo Device Health

To access RDP hosts with DuoConnect you also need Duo Device Health app version 2.24 or later installed on your computer.

Check to see if Duo Device Health 2.24.0.0 or later is already installed on your computer:

  1. Open Spotlight with Command key ⌘ + Space bar.
  2. Type Duo Device Health and click the application search result.
  3. If Duo Device Health is already installed, open it.
  4. Click the menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines) in the upper right and go to Preferences.
  5. Verify the installed version is 2.24.0.0 or later.

If Duo Device Health is installed but is not version 2.24.0 or later, click the Check now button shown in Preferences to check for an update. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update.

If Duo Device Health app is not present, then you need to install it before continuing. Duo Device Health supports macOS 10.13 and later.

Download the Device Health installer from this link.

View checksums for Duo downloads.

Duo Device Health app installation requires that you have administrator privileges on your computer. If you do not have administrative rights on your computer or encounter issues installing Duo Device Health, please contact your organization's Duo administrator or Help Desk.

Update DuoConnect

RDP access requires DuoConnect 2.0.2 or later. If you installed DuoConnect before April 2022 you might need to update it.

To check your installed DuoConnect version:

  1. Open Spotlight with Command key ⌘ + Space bar.
  2. Type Terminal and click the application search result.
  3. In the Terminal window enter:
    /usr/local/bin/duoconnect -v
  4. Verify the version output is 2.0.2 or later.

If you need to update DuoConnect, download and run the latest DuoConnect Installer for macOS on your computer while logged in as an administrator. View checksums for Duo downloads.

When you have installed the latest DuoConnect version then you can continue setting up RDP access.

Configure DuoConnect in Duo Device Health

You need to update the Device Health app settings with information about your organization's Duo Network Gateway server. If you do not know the hostname you should enter ask your Duo administrator or Help Desk.

  1. Click on the Duo Device Health menu bar icon to open the Duo Device Health application.
  2. Click the menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines) in the upper right.
  3. Click on the DuoConnect menu item to open the "Welcome to DuoConnect" page. Click Get Started. If you do not see this menu item, make sure that you have both DuoConnect 2.0.2 or later and Duo Device Health 2.24.0.0 or later installed, and install updated versions if needed.
  4. On the "DuoConnect" app screen, enter the hostname of your Duo Network Gateway (such as "portal.example.com") as the Server hostname and then click Add Hostname. This adds your Duo Network Gateway hostname to the list of configured DuoConnect hostnames.
    Configure DuoConnect Server Hostname in Device Health App on macOS
  5. Click anywhere else on the macOS desktop to minimize Duo Device Health's window back to the menu bar.

If you need to change the configured Duo Network Gateway hostname, return to the DuoConnect menu item in the Duo Device Health app to view the list of configured hostnames, and click the X icon to the right of the hostname to delete it and enter a new one.

Create an RDP Server Connection

Your organization's Duo administrator or Help Desk should provide you the RDP hostname to enter when configuring the RDP connection.

  1. Open the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection app and click the + to expand the Add menu. Click Add PC.
  2. Type Remote Desktop and click the application search result.
  3. Enter the external hostname equivalent for your internal RDP server. Continuing the previous example setup, to connect to an internal server "rdp1.internal.example.com" with the "external.example.com" to "internal.example.com" subdomains configuration, you'd enter rdp1.external.example.com as the "PC name".
    Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection App on macOS
  4. Set any other options you want for this PC host connection, and then click Add to save it.

    If you choose to have the Remote Desktop app "ask when required" for the Windows credentials, then you will need to enter the username and password for the remote system after establishing the RDP connection though Duo Network Gateway. If you select or add a user account instead, the Remote Desktop Connection app will pass those credentials to the remote Windows system.

  5. Double-click your newly added RDP PC name to launch the RDP connection.

Linux Clients

DuoConnect for Linux does not support RDP server access.

Install DuoConnect

  1. Download the latest DuoConnect Installer for Linux on your computer while logged in as a user with sudo permission. View checksums for Duo downloads.
  2. Open up a terminal window and navigate to the directory where you downloaded the DuoConnect installer gz file.
  3. In your terminal window type the following command to unpack the installer:

    tar xzvf DuoConnect-1.1.1.tar.gz

    Note that the filename may differ slightly from this example to reflect the most recent version.
  4. You can now run the installer by typing:

    sudo ./install.sh
  5. You'll be asked to enter your password. Upon successful installation you'll see the following:

    + cp duoconnect /usr/local/bin/
    + chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/duoconnect
    + chown 0:0 /usr/local/bin/duoconnect

Configure SSH

Now that you’ve installed DuoConnect, you need to update your SSH client configuration to use it.

Terminal

  1. Open your ~/.ssh/config file in a text editor. If you don't have this file, create it.
  2. Copy and paste in the DuoConnect connection strings you received from your Duo administrator into the end of your config file.

    Here's an example of what the command might look like:

    Host server.example.com
      ProxyCommand duoconnect -host=%h:%p -relay=https://server-ssh.example.com
  3. Repeat these steps for all SSH servers provided to you by your Duo administrator.
  4. Save the ~/.ssh/config file.
  5. Test your SSH connection.

Test SSH Login

Once you've installed DuoConnect and updated your SSH client configuration(s), test an SSH connection to make sure everything is working properly.

  1. Start an SSH connection as you normally would to connect to your SSH server.
  2. A browser window will pop-up, prompting you to enter your organizational username and password.
  3. After primary login you'll need to complete Duo two-factor authentication (or enroll yourself in Duo).
  4. The next page instructs you to close the browser tab and return to your SSH client.
  5. You’ll be connected to the SSH server and can then continue with logging in to the remote server like you normally would.

Congratulations! You have successfully accessed your SSH server using DuoConnect!

Test RDP Login

Windows and macOS systems only

Once you've installed DuoConnect and Duo Device Health, configured your Duo network Gateway in Duo Device Health, and created an RDP connection using the hostname provided by your administrator, test an RDP connection to make sure everything is working properly.

  1. From the Remote Desktop client, connect using the new RDP host connection you created.
  2. A browser window will pop-up, prompting you to enter your organizational username and password.
  3. After primary login you'll need to complete Duo two-factor authentication (or enroll yourself in Duo).
  4. The next page instructs you to close the browser tab and return to your RDP client.
  5. After that, you'll complete login at the remote Windows system by entering your username and password for that system (optionally saving them for future connections if you enabled that option in the Remote Desktop Connection client).

Congratulations! You have successfully accessed your RDP server using DuoConnect!


Updating DuoConnect

We'll periodically release new versions of DuoConnect with new features or functionality, bug fixes, or security patches.

DuoConnect updates are either optional or required. You'll be able to skip an optional update and continue connecting to the remote SSH or RDP host, but required updates must be installed before you can access any system.

Optional DuoConnect Updates

If you are not running the latest DuoConnect when attempting to authenticate to an SSH or RDP server we'll let you know that your DuoConnect client is out of date.

DuoConnect Optional Update Page

If you click Update Now, you will be taken to a page to download and install the newest version of DuoConnect for your computer platform.

If you click Update Later, you will complete authentication and successfully log in but will be prompted again to update the next time you need to authenticate to an SSH server.

DuoConnect Update Page

After you install the updated DuoConnect client you will need to reconnect to the remote SSH or RDP server.

Required DuoConnect Updates

If you are not running the minimum required version of DuoConnect when attempting to authenticate to an SSH or RDP server, we'll let you know that your DuoConnect client is out of date and that you must update to continue connecting.

DuoConnect Update Page

After you install the updated DuoConnect client you will need to reconnect to the remote RDP or SSH server.


Frequently Asked Questions

Chrome on macOS opens a blank browser page and doesn't authenticate. What should I do?

There is a macOS issue where Chrome fails to open links correctly with a pending Chrome update. Update and relaunch Chrome to proceed. A fix for this is expected in macOS 10.13.4.

Why do I see a browser pop-up prompting me for first-factor without initiating a connection at the beginning of the day when using VS Code or similar tools?

Your editor is attempting a git fetch every time you go to it. You can disable the auto-fetch feature by changing the following setting: "git.autofetch": false.

You can find more information here: Using Version Control in VS Code.

Why don't I see the DuoConnect setting in Duo Device Health?

If you do not see the DuoConnect item on the Device Health App's menu, make sure that you have both DuoConnect 2.0.2 or later and Duo Device Health 2.24.0.0 or later installed. If not, install the updated versions of these applications using the instructions for Windows or macOS.