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What’s ssh.exe? Is it safe or a virus?

Microsoft's ssh.exe is part of the Windows OS, and is safe to run on your PC. However, when checking our PCs here in our Austin, Texas SpyShelter cybersecurity lab, we didn't find ssh.exe running on any of them, unless it was actively being used.

If ssh.exe is running for no reason you may want to scan your PC with the free built in Windows Security antivirus, or take a look with our SpyShelter Antispyware app. So, what exactly does ssh.exe do, and why might I be concerned if it's launched without me doing so?

ssh.exe is a command-line tool provided by Microsoft Windows to facilitate secure communication through the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. It allows users to securely connect to remote servers and execute commands, transfer files, and tunnel network connections. The SSH protocol encrypts the data transmitted over the network, providing a secure channel for remote access and management of systems. The ssh.exe tool enables users to authenticate themselves to the remote server using passwords or public/private key pairs, ensuring secure communication and access control.

It is an essential tool for system administrators and developers who need to manage remote servers and devices securely. However, if you aren't using SSH and it's running on your PC it may be worthwhile to investigate the issue further with a Windows Security Antivirus scan.

(Researched by Carl @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about ssh.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes ssh.exe?

We’ve found Microsoft Windows should be the publisher of ssh.exe.

How do we know? Our SpyShelter cybersecurity labs focuses on monitoring different types of Windows PC executables and their behaviors for our popular SpyShelter Antispyware software. Learn more about us, and how our cybersecurity team studies Windows PC executables/processes.

What does it mean if someone is the publisher of a PC .exe (executable or process)?

The publisher of an executable is the entity responsible for its distribution and authenticity. Most processes/executables on your PC should be signed. The signature on the executable should have been verified through a third party whose job it is to make sure the entity is who it says it is. Find an unsigned executable? You should consider scanning any completely unsigned .exe on your PC.

Is ssh.exe safe or a virus?

Below are 4 simple steps you can take to see if the ssh.exe process is safe or malware.

  1. Scan the executable with Microsoft's built-in tech
  2. Find ssh.exe's publisher
  3. Search the executable's hash with VirusTotal
  4. Monitor the executable's behavior
Last updated: February 3, 2024

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Why should you trust us?

Our team at SpyShelter has been studying Windows PC executables for over 15 years, to help fight against spyware, malware, and other threats. SpyShelter has been featured in publications like The Register, PC Magazine, and many others. Now we’re working to share free, actionable, and easy to understand information about Windows executables (processes) with the world, to help as many people as possible keep their devices safe. Learn more about us on our "About SpyShelter” page.

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