Find Out All Failed SSHD Login Attempts on Linux / Unix

Sshd (OpenSSH Server) which replace older rlogin and rsh /telnet, and provide secure encrypted communications between two untrusted hosts over an insecure network. However, OpenSSH is open to many password guessing and cracking attacks. Use the following commands to find out all failed SSHD login attempts in Linux or Unix-like systems.

All failed ssh login attempts logged and saved in the server. One can use cat command or awk command or grep command to display IP address and other information associated such attempts.

How to find all failed SSHD login Attempts in Linux

  1. Use the grep command to find out authentication failure message from /var/log/secure or /var/log/auth.log file
  2. Run the awk and cut command to print IPs/hostname
  3. One can execute the sort command to sort data
  4. Use the uniq command to print total failed sshd login attempts in Linux or Unix


1) Login as the root user

2) Type the following command at shell prompt:

 grep "authentication failure" /var/log/secure | awk '{ print $13 }' | cut -b7-  | sort | uniq -c


 2 DEVssh


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🐧 7 comments so far... add one

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7 comments… add one
  • Asim Dec 27, 2006 @ 1:27

    command does not work i’ve tried it in FC5

  • Ash Dec 28, 2006 @ 18:18

    I got this among valid addresses:

    1 ev/tty2
    1 y2

    Because sometimes log includes “1 more authentication failure” or “2 more authentication failures” instead of “authentication failure”.

    I recommend not to rely on field # 13 and use some more sophisticated command with pattern matching like:

    grep “authentication failure” /var/log/messages | sed -n -e “s/.*rhost=([^ ]*).*/1/p” | sort | uniq -c

    or similar. A.

  • Ash Dec 29, 2006 @ 8:52

    sed -n -e “/sshd/s/.*Invalid user (.*) from ([^ ]*).*/2/p” /var/log/messages | sort | uniq -c

    gives interesting results too. Thanks for nice “sort + uniq -c” hint.

    Nice site, handy and useful articles… great. Ctrl+D.

  • DM Jul 6, 2008 @ 22:28

    Is it good if there is no authentication failure message?


    Just secured my server and it all stopped. I use to get a few per hour.


    see google secure centos server.

  • kashyap Jan 7, 2010 @ 14:42

    guys how abt in ubuntu 9.10 i dont see any thing in /var/log/messages nor in syslog
    in the sshd_config it just says under logging
    SyslogFacility AUTH
    LogLevel INFO

  • Rony Jan 31, 2010 @ 0:06

    Can I get some basic commands to work on Domino server using Linux.

  • kalyanachakravarthy Jan 25, 2017 @ 10:02

    RHEL 7 :

    grep "authentication failure" /var/log/secure | cut -d'=' -f8 | sort |uniq -c

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