SSH: Agent Admitted Failure To Sign Using The Key Error And Solution

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I‘ve recently regenrated and uploaded a new public ssh-key using the ssh-copy-id command. Now I’m getting the following error:

ssh root@server3
Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.
root@server3’s password:

How do I fix this problem?

To fix this problem you need logout of your Unix / Linux / OS X / BSD desktop session and log back in again to force the agent to forget identity. Another recommend option is to run the ssh-add command to add RSA or DSA identities to the authentication agent. This will fix your problem without login out from the current session. The syntax is as follows:

$ ssh-add

Pro tip: If your key located in different path or does not have the default filename, you will need to pass the path to ssh-add command as follows:

$ ssh-add /path/to/my/ssh_key
$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/server3_key

See ssh-add(1) command man page for more information.

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.

37 comment

  1. Came across this answer after trying a million things. I can’t believe it was that simple. Thank you!!!

  2. **Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.**

    ssh-add is ultimate solution for above problem.

  3. Yup: this approach worked for me. Got this error during trial Grid Infrastructure installation over pair of Oracle Linux 6.2 VMs in virtualbox on laptop. Cheers Vivek. No reference to this in E22489-06. Maybe Oracle should pay *you* a license…

  4. Actually i tryed ssh-add command in ubuntu 10.04 when i want to logged in to remote linux system without password ,there is an error message came ”Agent admitted failure to sign using the key” and it asked for password then i try ssh-add command and it works fine.

    Above error came after creating keys.

  5. Thank you for this. I’ve been smashing my forehead against the keyboard all day. ssh-add did the trick for me!

  6. super, i spend whole day to fix issue finally you helped me lot…

    Keep it up very very thanks……

  7. Hi Guys, I am working on Linux 6.5 under VM Machine and on my Oracle Install, I got suck with it, with ssh connectivity, and I tried it on terminal with the ssh-add command and it worked as charm, but later on Install it again failed and I tried on terminal it again started asking me to put the password, Any idea what else is stopping the Agent again and getting the under mentioned Message and who to move on it.
    “” Agent admitted failure to sign using the key””

  8. Thanks for the solution. But here’s a better one, better than restarting the desktop:

    forget about keys:

    ssh-add -D

    and then optionally add your key again:


  9. This does not work for me. After doing ‘ssh-add’, I now get the “Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.” message twice. I didn’t use to get this message at all, but now lately it has started happening. What am I doing wrong?

  10. lol this worked for me too with openshift. wow. I even closed my terminal window, reopened, and restarted zshell by typing `zsh`.

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