How to solve “sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation”?

Run ssh-add on the client machine, that will add the SSH key to the agent.

Confirm with ssh-add -l (again on the client) that it was indeed added.

After upgrading Fedora 26 to 28 I faced same issue. And following logs were missing



[email protected]  ~  ssh [email protected]
sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation
[email protected]'s password:

error message is not pointing actual issue. Issue resolved by

chmod 700 ~/.ssh
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/*
Fernando Munoz

I was having the same problem in Linux Ubuntu 18. After the update from Ubuntu 17.10, every git command would show that message.

The way to solve it is to make sure that you have the correct permission on the id_rsa and

Check the current chmod number by using stat --format '%a' <file>. It should be 600 for id_rsa and 644 for

To change the permission on the files use

chmod 600 id_rsa
chmod 644

That solved my issue with the update.

I had the error when using gpg-agent as my ssh-agent and using a gpg subkey as my ssh key

I suspect that the problem was caused by having an invalid pin entry tty for gpg caused by my sleep+lock command used in my sway config

bindsym $mod+Shift+l exec "sh -c 'gpg-connect-agent reloadagent /bye>/dev/null; systemctl suspend; swaylock'"

or just the sleep/suspend

Reset the pin entry tty to fix the problem

gpg-connect-agent updatestartuptty /bye > /dev/null

and the fix for my sway sleep+lock command:

bindsym $mod+Shift+l exec "sh -c 'gpg-connect-agent reloadagent /bye>/dev/null; systemctl suspend; swaylock; gpg-connect-agent updatestartuptty /bye > /dev/null'"

To this error:

# git pull
sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation
[email protected]: Permission denied (publickey).    
fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights and the repository exists.

Verify or add again the public key in Github account > profile > ssh.

I solved like this:

# chmod 400 ~/.ssh/id_rsa

# ls  ~/.ssh/id_rsa -ls  
4 -r--------. 1 reinaldo reinaldo 1679 Jul 26  2017 /home/reinaldo/.ssh/id_rsa

# git pull                                 
remote: Counting objects: 35, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (19/19), done.
remote: Total 35 (delta 9), reused 34 (delta 9), pack-reused 0
Unpacking objects: 100% (35/35), done.

Thank you.

There could be various reason for getting the SSH error:

sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation

Some of them could be related to the issues highlighted by the other answers (see this thread answers), some of them could be hidden and thus would require a closer investigation.

In my case I've got the following error message:

sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation

[email protected]: Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic)

The only way to find the real problem was to invoke the -v verbose option which resulted in printing a lot of debugging info:

debug1: Connecting to [] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/user/.ssh/ type 0
debug1: key_load_public: No such file or directory
debug1: identity file /home/user/.ssh/ type -1

Please note that the line saying key_load_public: No such file or directory is referring the next line and not the previous line.

So what SSH really says is that it could not find the public key file named and that seemed to be the problem in my case since my public key file did not contain the -cert suffix.

Long story short: the fix in my case was just to make sure that the public key file was named as expected. I could never suspected that without debugging the connection.

The bottom line is USE THE SSH VERBOSE MODE (-v option) to figure out what is wrong, there could be various reasons, none that could be found on this/another thread.

This should be rather a SuperUser question.

Right I have the exact same error inside MacOSX SourceTree, however, inside a iTerm2 terminal, things work just dandy.

However, the problem seemed to be that I've got two ssh-agents running ;(

The first being /usr/bin/ssh-agent (aka MacOSX's) and then also the HomeBrew installed /usr/local/bin/ssh-agent running.

Firing up a terminal from SourceTree, allowed me to see the differences in SSH_AUTH_SOCK, using lsof I found the two different ssh-agents and then I was able to load the keys (using ssh-add) into the system's default ssh-agent (ie. /usr/bin/ssh-agent), SourceTree was working again.

Yes. Run ssh-add on the client machine. Then repeat command ssh-copy-id [email protected]

For me the problem was a wrong copy/paste of the public key into Gitlab. The copy generated an extra return. Make sure what you paste is a one-line key.

I got a sign_and_send_pubkey: signing failed: agent refused operation error as well. But in my case the problem was a wrong pinentry path.

In my ${HOME}/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf the pinentry-program property was pointing to an old pinentry path. Correcting the path there and restarting the gpg-agent fixed it for me.

I discovered it by following the logs with journalctl -f. There where log lines like the following containing the wrong path:

Jul 02 08:37:50 my-host gpg-agent[12677]: ssh sign request failed: No pinentry <GPG Agent>
Jul 02 08:37:57 my-host gpg-agent[12677]: can't connect to the PIN entry module '/usr/local/bin/pinentry': IPC connect call failed