Can I retrieve the logged-in user's userid and group list using SFTP?

+2 votes
asked May 27, 2010 by Bill W (230 points)
edited May 28, 2010

SftpItem objects provide the owner and group name and IDs, but I do not see a way to check if this applies to the current user except by remembering what name I supplied to Login(). Is it possible using Rebex's SFTP component to retrieve the current user's name, id, and a list of groups the user belongs to?

Applies to: Rebex SFTP

1 Answer

+2 votes
answered May 28, 2010 by Lukas Pokorny (86,990 points)
edited May 28, 2010
Best answer

SFTP protocol itself doesn't make it possible to retrieve this information from the server, but it runs over SSH. If the logged-in user has permission to execute shell commands over SSH and if the server uses a Unix-like OS, you can use SSH's remote exec capability to determine the information needed.

First, you need the following method (C#):

public static string ExecuteCommand(Sftp sftp, string command)
    SshSession ssh = sftp.Session;
    SshChannel channel = null;
        channel = ssh.OpenSession();

        StringBuilder response = new StringBuilder();
        byte[] buffer = new byte[1024];

        while (channel.State == SshChannelState.Connected)
            if (!channel.Poll(sftp.Timeout*1000, SocketSelectMode.SelectRead))

            int n = channel.Receive(buffer, 0, buffer.Length);
            response.Append(Encoding.Default.GetString(buffer, 0, n));

        return response.ToString().TrimEnd();
        if (channel != null)

You can then use this method with an instance of Sftp object to execute simple commands over the underlying SSH session. Unix commands like whoami, groups or id can be used then:

Sftp sftp = new Sftp();

string userName = ExecuteCommand(sftp, "whoami"); // same as "id -un"
string groupsNames = ExecuteCommand(sftp, "groups"); // same as "id -Gn"

string userId = ExecuteCommand(sftp, "id -u");
string groupId = ExecuteCommand(sftp, "id -g");
string groupsIds = ExecuteCommand(sftp, "id -G");

If you prefer VB.NET, please let me know.

commented May 28, 2010 by Bill W (230 points)
This worked perfectly (though I implemented it as an extension method instead), thanks!