Restrict SSH Access Using tcpd (TCPWrapper) on Linux or Unix

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How do I use tcpd on a Linux to restrict ssh access?

The tcpd is use to access control facility for internet services. The tcpd program can be set up to monitor incoming requests for telnet, finger, ftp, exec, rsh, rlogin, tftp, sshd and other services that have a one-to-one mapping onto executable files. Your sshd server must be configuring (compiled with) to support tcpd. You can find out tcpd (tcpwrapper) support easily with the following command:
# strings $(which sshd)| grep libwrap
Sample outputs:
libwrap refuse returns

If you see libwrap as output (as shown above) then you can use tcpd as follows to monitor incoming ssh requests.


Open or edit file /etc/hosts.deny using a text editor such as vi. This file lists hosts or IPs that are not allowed to access the system. In this example, you will block sshd server TCP port 22 for selected IPs.


Let us say you would like to deny access to IPs
# vi /etc/hosts.deny
Add/append the following line:


Save and close the file. Next, make sure your rules are correct and run syntax check using the following command:
# tcpdchk -v
Sample outputs:

Using network configuration file: /etc/inetd.conf

>>> Rule /etc/hosts.deny line 20:
daemons:  sshd
access:   denied
See also:

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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2 comment

  1. I would prefer something like

    ldd $(which sshd) | grep wrap

    because its very unlikely to false-positive. Anyway, thanks for that information, it helped me a lot

  2. Using network configuration file: /etc/inetd.conf

    >>> Rule /etc/hosts.allow line 1:
    daemons: sendmail
    clients: all
    access: granted

    >>> Rule /etc/hosts.deny line 21:
    daemons: sshd
    clients: ALL EXCEPT
    access: denied

    >>> Rule /etc/hosts.deny line 22:
    daemons: sshd
    access: denied

    >>> Rule /etc/hosts.deny line 23:
    daemons: sshd
    access: denied

    I have this .. but it doesen’t work :| What to do ?

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