Logging in to the BIC

Once you have been issued a username and credentials to login to the BIC systems:

  • The only way you can initiate a login session to the BIC is by using a secure, encrypted SSHsession.
  • External access connection host is called login.bic.mni.mcgill.ca.
  • This host acts as a login gateway. No other hosts at the BIC permit external logins.
  • Secured copy (scp) or secured FTP (sftp) and rsync access are available too to transfer data in bulk.
  • While logged inside the BIC, all workstations and some of the core servers can be accessed using a SSH connection.
  • Note that all data servers have restricted access.
  • As for workstations, SSH connections from McGill subnets at large, McGill wireless and of course the BIC DHCP subnet are allowed.
  • Security against multiple login probe attempts (username harvesting by spammers and phishers) is enforced via PAM modules and fail2ban.
  • Careful with Fat Fingers: if you fail to type in a valid password, after the 3rd failed attempts in a time span of 10 minutes, the IP address from your incoming connection will be blackholed for 10 minutes.
  • This is also true for logins to login.bic.mni.mcgill.ca.
  • Read the following to learn how to use ssh-keygen to generate a new SSH key: What is ssh-keygen & How to Use It to Generate a New SSH Key?

If you would like to connect to your personal workstation from home or anywhere else for that matter, we support the use of X2GO at http://wiki.x2go.org, while using login.bic.mni.mcgill.ca as a proxy server. Click here for more info on How To Login to a Workstation. Note that you cannot connect to login.bic.mni.mcgill.ca directly while using X2GO.


  • For these platforms, SSH should be installed by default, so just start up a shell and type:

ssh MY_BIC_USERNAME@login.bic.mni.mcgill.ca

and replace MY_BIC_USERNAME by your BIC username.

  • As noted above, we support the use of X2GO (for workstations only).
  • For those who want/prefer the use of a commercial ($$$$) product go to http://www.ssh.com/support/ and have your wallet ready.


Web browser (Google Chrome only)

One can also run a ssh client inside a web browser - one is available for Google Chrome.

goto Chrome Web Store

type ssh in the search box and it should show up as the first item … the rest and very point-and-clicky …

The client provides an xterm-compatible terminal emulator and stand-alone SSH client. It uses Native-Client to connect directly to ssh servers without the need for external proxies.