The first thing you will need to do, before connecting to the UofSC VPN, is setup your phone with Duo two-factor authentication and USC requires it for login.

Duo - Two Factor Authentication

If you have not configured Duo previously, you will need to go to:

  1. Login using your USC Network ID and proper password.
  2. Answer and/or establish security questions
  3. Go to the multifactor tab
  4. Enter your phone number, select mobile (+OS) or landline and click add phone.
  5. A line entry for the phone will appear, click “activate” and follow on screen instructions.

From this page you can also generate one-time passwords should you not wish to use a phone, just click generate code and you can use this when logging in from a remote location.

Connect to UofSC VPN

Instructions on how to download and install the VPN software is provided by UTS at this page: UTS Guide: What is a VPN?

To download the VPN client:

  1. go to, login using your University credentials then go to Software for Home -> Security -> Cisco AnyConnect VPN for Students - Personal Use.
  2. Download and install the application, if you encounter any issues with this process you should reach out to UTS. Make sure you are following the instructions provided by UTS, you should only install the Core and VPN packages, all other packages are unnecessary for operation of the University VPN.

Secure Shell (SSH)

SSH is a UNIX-based command interface and protocol for securely getting access to a remote computer.  To connect to one of the Department machines from home you first have to connect via the VPN (above), then you use:

ssh -p222 $USER@$

where $USER is your university username. The list of available $HOSTNAME(s) can be found here.

Note, you will be required to login using your USC credentials to access this webpage.

Not sure what to use for ssh? Try:

  • Linux - native terminal, often launched with ctrl+alt+t
  • Mac - native terminal, often launched with command+spacebar, search for 'terminal'
  • Windows - I recommend MobaXterm as it offers the best user experience.

Copying files (SCP) from/to Linux machines

To copy a file from a Linux lab machine to your laptop you need to use the scp command. The syntax for pulling a file from a remote computer is:

scp -P<port> <user>@<host>:<remote_file_location> <local_destination_path>

For example:

scp -P222 .

Which is assuming that my userid is "rmaustin", that I will pull the file from the machine , that I want to pull the file someFile.txt which is located in my HOME directory (also known as ~ ) and that I want to save it in my current directory in my local computer (also known as . ).

After executing that previous example, the command will copy 'someFile.txt' to my local machine in the current directory. Notice that the . at the end is necessary. As mentioned, it means to transfer the file to the current directory in my local machine (you can pick any other destination path if desired).

Also notice that you have to specify the whole path of the file which in this example was '~/someFile.txt' .

Remember that you need to type this command from a local terminal. That means, without doing the ssh connection to the linux machine (And you DO need the VPN active). After typing the command, and then your password, you will need to approve the DUO Push notification, which will be sent automatically.

After that, the file should be located in the local_destination_path that you specified.

Tip: After transferring the file, Mac users can type open . to open the Finder in the current directory and your file may be there (if . was selected as the local_destination_path ). Windows users can use explorer . or you can just open the explorer/finder and go to the location that you used.

Lastly: scp is a headless command. This means after authenticating with your password you will not see a Duo two-factor prompt. Instead it will automatically use Duo push so you will need to have your phone handy, press accept and the file(s) will transfer.

You can get this guide as a pdf file.