Having problem logging into a Debian (stable-slim) docker trough SSH.

Dropbear is started (using supervisord or manually) with:

dropbear -E -B -m -F -p 2222 -r /home/warbandserver/.config/dropbear/dropbear_rsa_host_key -c '/home/warbandserver/.ssh_login.sh'

And appears to be running fine, (and is being ran by the same user attempting to login trough ssh.)

But, upon trying to ssh into the dropbear , dropbear will complain

User account 'warbandserver' is locked

But having checked, i can't for the life of me see how the account would be locked..

sudo passwd --status warbandserver


warbandserver P 08/02/2020 0 99999 7 -1

sudo grep warbandserver /etc/shadow



This problem happens with both the debian packaged version and with build of the latest dropbear from github sources.

Could it perhaps be related to this (passwd / shadow) problem: https://serverfault.com/a/952633 , even though the error message differs?

Some notable links:

1 Answer 1


Seems like the problem is indeed related to /etc/shadow , and not actually a case of the user account being locked or disabled..

Since i've yet to find a better solution for Debian than when i encountered the similar problem on Alpine. It seems the best way to fix this is (again) to add the user running Dropbear to the group 'shadow'

If the server is run as non-root, you most likely won't be able to allocate a pty, and you cannot login as any user other than that running the daemon (obviously). Shadow passwords will also be unusable as non-root.

(ref: https://github.com/mkj/dropbear)

(Note: This work-around is probably not ideal where high security is top priority)

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