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Free BBSSH App Revives MidpSSH SSH Client for BlackBerry

BBSSH-9000-quick-input For years it has been a struggle to find a solid SSH client for my BlackBerry. I used to use Rove Mobile’s SSH client which I paid $99 for but I have had multitudes of problems since I moved to OS 5.0. Not to mention the fact that Rove idiotically pulled the product off the market and no longer supports it. I then started using MidpSSH and the custom build that was floating around which made life a little easier. The problem was that the MidpSSH project is that its main developer Karl does not have time to maintain the project anymore.

That is where Marc’s creation BBSSH steps in. Marc has been on a mission since the beginning of February to keep the core of MidpSSH but rewrite the rest using BlackBerry’s API’s ripping out the cross device compatibility.

When Luc brought the project to my attention I have to say that Marc’s hard work is paying off. His latest BBSSH 1.1.4 alpha performs very well on my BlackBerry Bold 9700 and I highly recommend it.

Check out the BBSSH project on Marc’s website or the sourceforge project page for more info and download links.

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. This is an interesting app… Just dl’d and trying it out on my linux servers @home.

  2. Supports BBOS Ver 4.6 and up only for now

  3. Now we need someone to fork jmIrc and do the same thing with that codebase. Seriously, someone asks about a BB IRC client every week in FreeNode/##blackberry, and I wish there was something better to offer them. (and the only reason I haven’t done it is because I’m already busy enough with the LogicMail project)

  4. Highly recommended! Thanks again, Ronen.

  5. I’ve been using midpSSH to initiate SSH connections through BES for a while now. I have a few dozen Cisco PIX/ASA devices I have setup to only access SSH connections from my office, and midpSSH does a good job of letting me tunnel through the BES to manage these devices from my handheld. I got BBSSH 1.1.5 installed, but I can’t seem to connect to anything (incomplete ciphers). I went to Key Management, but when I try to generate a new key, nothing happens. When I go to Help, that seems to do nothing as well.

    For me, it doesn’t seem very functional, but it looks nice 🙂

    • Ronen – thanks for the review, I’m glad you’re liking it so far.

      Derek – I’d love to get more details about your trouble.

      Generation of new key is in the “upcoming features” list; though it does support importing of existing keys as of 1.1.4. As for the connection issues I would love to get more details about the issues you’re having. I do know that there are folks who have been using it successfully via BES and TCP both; however I’ve also been learning that each OS + device version has its own quirks.

      • I’m running a Sprint Tour (9630) on OS I can initiate SSH (v1) and telnet connections from midpSSH 1.7.3 through BES without problems, but when I try to initiate an SSH connection from BBSSH (I’ve tried both BIS and BES connections) I just get a message from the device that says ‘incompatible ciphers’ (I mistakenly said incomplete ciphers in my previous post).

        Telnet seems to work fine through BES.

        • Derek – it seems I didn’t sign up for replies to this post, and missed your response. I think I know what’s happened here.

          An SSH v2 configuration can be set up to disallow the default TripleDES/3DES cipher. Even though this is part of the standard, it is easily disabled by changing options in /etc/sshd_config.

          Currently, BBSSH (and midpssh) supports only this encryption method for SSH v2 as it’s what is required for the SSHv2 spec. The SSHv2 spec lists several optional crypto methods — none of which are supported by BBSSH or midpssh at this time. This is something that will be changing as I complete the BB Crypto integration for 1.1.10 – which will resolve the problem you’re experiencing.

          So the next question is – why would midpssh work, and not BBSSH? When you connect via SSHv1, the same limitations are not in place — the default ciphers are less often disabled; but even when they are midpssh has support for 3-4 additional ciphers under SSHv1.

          I removed SSHv1 support from BBSSH in version 1.1.5. While many hosts still accept SSHv1, it is less secure -and so far nobody has reported any case where they’re required to use SSHv1. Hosts that accept v1 usually also accept and prefer v2. It’s become the de facto standard over the last several years. v1 is gradually getting phased out on the server side as well – OpenBSD and others have begun shipping with v1 disabled by default. (Previously v1 and v2 were both enabled.)

          The problem it presents in this case is that when using BBSSH, you won’t be able to work around the unsupported cipher by using SSH v1.

          In the very short term, it sounds like you’re best served by continuing with MidpSSH, because it has v1 support. Your other short-option would be to convince your server admins to enable TripleDES/3DES as a cipher type, but I expect they had their reasons for disabling it.

          In the longer term, Blackberry Crypto integration will be completed within BBSSH over the next month or so. Once that release is completed, you’ll be able to use BBSSH to connect to v2 servers.

          (It’s also worth mentioning that for most folks, this won’t be an issue — by default TripleDES is enabled in SSHv2 servers, and it is the standard encryption algorithm of SSH v2. )

          • I only use SSH to remotely administer Cisco PIX and ASA security apppliances, so if the fix is something server side, I can make whatever change on the Cisco device I need to. When setting up SSH on the devices, I use the default settings, which according to this article (, will accept v1 and v2, using both DES and 3DES ciphers.

            I changed an ASA to only accept V2 connections and turned on SSH debugging, and this is what I see on the appliance:
            SSH1: SSH client: IP = interface # = 2
            SSH: host key initialised
            SSH1: starting SSH control process
            SSH1: Exchanging versions – SSH-2.0-Cisco-1.25

            SSH1: send SSH message: outdata is NULL

            server version string:SSH-2.0-Cisco-1.25SSH1: receive SSH message: 83 (83)
            SSH1: client version is – SSH-2.0-SSH/BBSSH

            client version string:SSH-2.0-SSH/BBSSHSSH1: begin server key generation
            SSH1: complete server key generation, elapsed time = 1790 ms

            SSH2 1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
            SSH2 1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
            SSH2: kex: client->server 3des-cbc hmac-sha1 none
            SSH2: kex: server->client 3des-cbc hmac-sha1 none
            SSH2 0: hostkey algo not supported: client ssh-dss, server ssh-rsaSSH1: Session disconnected by SSH server – error 0x00 “Internal error”

            I double-checked the version I was running ( and noticed I was a bit behind, but after upgrading to the latest version (1.1.80), it seems to connect just fine. I’m not sure what changed between versions, but I don’t have to change anything on the Cisco devices and it’s working beautifully! Thanks for the follow-up comment, I had kinda forgotten about this app…

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