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 SSH session.
  • 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) 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.

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 https://chrome.google.com/webstore/

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.