Use Only FIPS 140-2 Validated MACs


Limit the MACs to those hash algorithms which are FIPS-approved. The following line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config demonstrates use of FIPS-approved MACs:

MACs hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha1

The man page sshd_config(5) contains a list of supported MACs.

The rule is parametrized to use the following MACs: .


DoD Information Systems are required to use FIPS-approved cryptographic hash functions. The only SSHv2 hash algorithms meeting this requirement is SHA2.


Shell script

The following script can be run on the host to remediate the issue.


# Remediation is applicable only in certain platforms
if [ ! -f /.dockerenv ] && [ ! -f /run/.containerenv ]; then

sshd_approved_macs='<xccdf-1.2:sub idref="xccdf_org.ssgproject.content_value_sshd_approved_macs" use="legacy"/>'

# Strip any search characters in the key arg so that the key can be replaced without
# adding any search characters to the config file.
stripped_key=$(sed 's/[\^=\$,;+]*//g' <<< "^MACs")

# shellcheck disable=SC2059
printf -v formatted_output "%s %s" "$stripped_key" "$sshd_approved_macs"

# If the key exists, change it. Otherwise, add it to the config_file.
# We search for the key string followed by a word boundary (matched by \>),
# so if we search for 'setting', 'setting2' won't match.
if LC_ALL=C grep -q -m 1 -i -e "^MACs\\>" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"; then
    escaped_formatted_output=$(sed -e 's|/|\\/|g' <<< "$formatted_output")
    LC_ALL=C sed -i --follow-symlinks "s/^MACs\\>.*/$escaped_formatted_output/gi" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
    if [[ -s "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" ]] && [[ -n "$(tail -c 1 -- "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" || true)" ]]; then
        LC_ALL=C sed -i --follow-symlinks '$a'\\ "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
    printf '%s\n' "$formatted_output" >> "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"

    >&2 echo 'Remediation is not applicable, nothing was done'


The system needs to be rebooted for these changes to take effect.