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An SSH agent is a utility that holds a decrypted SSH private key in trust for a user to use to automatically authenticate on behalf of a user in the process of establishing SSH-protocol connections (i.e. ssh, scp, sftp, etc.).


OpenSSH ssh-agent

See Also 
key-agent helper scripts for ssh-agent
To use an ssh-agent in any given terminal session, a user is normally required to manually set SSH_AUTH_SOCK and SSH_AGENT_PID environment variables using information provided by ssh-agent. It is often tedious to recall the values beyond the point when ssh-agent is initially started. key-agent helper scripts are usually able to automatically determine appropriate values and assign them to the environment variables.

PuTTY Pageant