DESCRIPTION
The
/etc/moduli file contains prime numbers and generators for use by
sshd(8) in the DiffieHellman Group Exchange key exchange method.
New moduli may be generated with
sshkeygen(1) using a twostep process. An initial
candidate generation pass, using
sshkeygen G, calculates numbers that are likely to be useful. A second
primality testing pass, using
sshkeygen T, provides a high degree of assurance that the numbers are prime and are safe for use in DiffieHellman operations by
sshd(8). This
moduli format is used as the output from each pass.
The file consists of newlineseparated records, one per modulus, containing seven spaceseparated fields. These fields are as follows:

timestamp

The time that the modulus was last processed as YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.

type

Decimal number specifying the internal structure of the prime modulus. Supported types are:

0

Unknown, not tested.

2

"Safe" prime; (p1)/2 is also prime.

4

Sophie Germain; 2p+1 is also prime.
Moduli candidates initially produced by sshkeygen(1) are Sophie Germain primes (type 4). Further primality testing with sshkeygen(1) produces safe prime moduli (type 2) that are ready for use in sshd(8). Other types are not used by OpenSSH.

tests

Decimal number indicating the type of primality tests that the number has been subjected to represented as a bitmask of the following values:

0x00

Not tested.

0x01

Composite number – not prime.

0x02

Sieve of Eratosthenes.

0x04

Probabilistic MillerRabin primality tests.
The sshkeygen(1) moduli candidate generation uses the Sieve of Eratosthenes (flag 0x02). Subsequent sshkeygen(1) primality tests are MillerRabin tests (flag 0x04).

trials

Decimal number indicating the number of primality trials that have been performed on the modulus.

size

Decimal number indicating the size of the prime in bits.

generator

The recommended generator for use with this modulus (hexadecimal).

modulus

The modulus itself in hexadecimal.
When performing DiffieHellman Group Exchange,
sshd(8) first estimates the size of the modulus required to produce enough DiffieHellman output to sufficiently key the selected symmetric cipher.
sshd(8) then randomly selects a modulus from
/etc/moduli that best meets the size requirement.