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The best and worst SSH / MOTD banners

I came across an SSH banner recently that I vehemently disliked, but it reminded me of a similar banner that I'd thought was brilliant.

So here are my best and worst banners...

The worst

This is the banner for an appliance provided by a vendor (that shall remain nameless) in the IT security space.

Technically this is an SSH banner so it's displayed before authentication.

$ ssh somehost
          WARNING! This is a proprietary ZZZZZZ machine and
        any non-authorized person attempting to gain an access
         can and will be prosecuted to the full extent of law!
         Keep out! Due to ever increasing price of ammunition
                           there will be no warning shots!

Wow. There's obviously an attempt at humour here, and that's always subjective. I'm sure I've put things I thought were funny in code comments or issues/tickets before and maybe others weren't so amused.

Doing a quick search online you can buy "funny no trespassing signs" with similar wording.

I really don't like this though. It reflects what I often feel is an unnecessarily militaristic, unpleasant and confrontational attitude and style of communication.

No thanks.

On the other hand...

The best

This is the MOTD on a logitech squeezebox radio (which are great but were sadly discontinued by the manufacturer some time ago - to their credit they open sourced a lot of the squeezebox software, and I believe they continue to support the community around it in some ways).

Technically this is an MOTD so it's displayed after authentication.

$ ssh someradio
This network device is for authorized use only. Unauthorized or improper use
of this system may result in you hearing very bad music. If you do not consent
to these terms, LOG OFF IMMEDIATELY. 
Ha, only joking. Now you have logged in feel free to change your root password
using the 'passwd' command. You can safely modify any of the files on this
system. A factory reset (press and hold add on power on) will remove all your
modifications and revert to the installed firmware.

I suppose the banners are quite similar really. Again this one is making a joke, and perhaps the main difference is that I find this one funny.

The context is different, and this one can be more friendly and jocular as it's a consumer device you wouldn't expect to be hanging out on the open internet (you'd hope!) plus the message is post-authentication etc..

Perhaps other than that it's mostly a matter of tone. I found the contrast between these two pretty stark though.

I've redacted the name of the vendor with the SSH banner I dislike. I'll send them some feedback about this, but didn't want to "name and shame" them before I've done so.