Generate Ssh2 Public Key Linux

  1. Begin Ssh2 Public Key
  2. Generate Ssh2 Public Key Linux Download

Before you begin

  1. For keys that were added to the SSH Agent (a program that runs in the background and avoids the need for re-entering the keyfile passphrase over and over again), you can use the ssh-add -L command to list the public keys for keys that were added to the agent (via ssh-add -l). This is useful when the SSH key is stored on a smart card (and access.
  2. PuTTYgen is an key generator tool for creating SSH keys for PuTTY. It is analogous to the ssh-keygen tool used in some other SSH implementations. The basic function is to create public and private key pairs. PuTTY stores keys in its own format in.ppk files. However, the tool can also convert keys to and from other formats.

Using SSH public-key authentication to connect to a remote system is a robust, more secure alternative to logging in with an account password or passphrase. SSH public-key authentication relies on asymmetric cryptographic algorithms that generate a pair of separate keys (a key pair), one 'private' and the other 'public'. You keep the private key a secret and store it on the computer you use to connect to the remote system. Conceivably, you can share the public key with anyone without compromising the private key; you store it on the remote system in a .ssh/authorized_keys directory.

To use SSH public-key authentication:

Generate Ssh2 Public Key Linux
  • The remote system must have a version of SSH installed. The information in this document assumes the remote system uses OpenSSH. If the remote system is using a different version of SSH (for example, Tectia SSH), the process outlined below may not be correct.
  • The computer you use to connect to the remote server must have a version of SSH installed. This document includes instructions for generating a key pair with command-line SSH on a Linux or macOS computer, and with PuTTY on a Windows computer.
  • You need to be able to transfer your public key to the remote system. Therefore, you must either be able to log into the remote system with an established account username and password/passphrase, or have an administrator on the remote system add the public key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file in your account.
  • Two-factor authentication using Two-Step Login (Duo) is required for access to the login nodes on IU research supercomputers, and for SCP and SFTP file transfers to those systems. SSH public-key authentication remains an option for researchers who submit the 'SSH public-key authentication to HPS systems' user agreement (log into HPC everywhere using your IU username and passphrase), in which you agree to set a passphrase on your private key when you generate your key pair. If you have questions about how two-factor authentication may impact your workflows, contact the UITS Research Applications and Deep Learning team. For help, see Get started with Two-Step Login (Duo) at IU and Help for Two-Step Login (Duo).

Set up public-key authentication using SSH on a Linux or macOS computer

To set up public-key authentication using SSH on a Linux or macOS computer:

May 27, 2010  Howto Linux / UNIX setup SSH with DSA public key authentication (password less login) sshpass: Login To SSH Server / Provide SSH Password Using A Shell Script keychain: Set Up Secure Passwordless SSH Access For Backup Scripts.

  1. Log into the computer you'll use to access the remote host, and then use command-line SSH to generate a key pair using the RSA algorithm.

    To generate RSA keys, on the command line, enter:

  2. You will be prompted to supply a filename (for saving the key pair) and a password (for protecting your private key):
    • Filename: To accept the default filename (and location) for your key pair, press Enter or Return without entering a filename.

      Alternatively, you can enter a filename (for example, my_ssh_key) at the prompt, and then press Enter or Return. However, many remote hosts are configured to accept private keys with the default filename and path (~/.ssh/id_rsa for RSA keys) by default. Consequently, to authenticate with a private key that has a different filename, or one that is not stored in the default location, you must explicitly invoke it either on the SSH command line or in an SSH client configuration file (~/.ssh/config); see below for instructions.

    • Password: Enter a password that contains at least five characters, and then press Enter or Return. If you press Enter or Return without entering a password, your private key will be generated without password-protection.
      If you don't password-protect your private key, anyone with access to your computer conceivably can SSH (without being prompted for a password) to your account on any remote system that has the corresponding public key.

    Your private key will be generated using the default filename (for example, id_rsa) or the filename you specified (for example, my_ssh_key), and stored on your computer in a .ssh directory off your home directory (for example, ~/.ssh/id_rsa or ~/.ssh/my_ssh_key).

    The corresponding public key will be generated using the same filename (but with a .pub extension added) and stored in the same location (for example, ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub or ~/.ssh/my_ssh_key.pub).

  3. Use SFTP or SCP to copy the public key file (for example, ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub) to your account on the remote system (for example, [email protected]); for example, using command-line SCP:

    You'll be prompted for your account password. Your public key will be copied to your home directory (and saved with the same filename) on the remote system.

  4. Log into the remote system using your account username and password.
    If the remote system is not configured to support password-based authentication, you will need to ask system administrators to add your public key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file in your account (if your account doesn't have ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, system administrators can create one for you). Once your public key is added to your ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the remote system, the setup process is complete, and you should now be able to SSH to your account from the computer that has your private key.
  5. If your account on the remote system doesn't already contain a ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, create one; on the command line, enter the following commands:
    If your account on the remote system already has a ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, executing these commands will not damage the existing directory or file.
  6. On the remote system, add the contents of your public key file (for example, ~/id_rsa.pub) to a new line in your ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file; on the command line, enter:

    You may want to check the contents of ~/.ssh/authorized_keys to make sure your public key was added properly; on the command line, enter:

  7. You may now safely delete the public key file (for example, ~/id_rsa.pub) from your account on the remote system; on the command line, enter:

    Alternatively, if you prefer to keep a copy of your public key on the remote system, move it to your .ssh directory; on the command line, enter:

  8. Optionally, repeat steps 3-7 to add your public key to other remote systems that you want to access from the computer that has your private key using SSH public-key authentication.
  9. You now should be able to SSH to your account on the remote system (for example, [email protected]) from the computer (for example, host1) that has your private key (for example, ~/.ssh/id_rsa):
    • If your private key is password-protected, the remote system will prompt you for the password or passphrase (your private key password/passphrase is not transmitted to the remote system):
    • If your private key is not password-protected, the remote system will place you on the command line in your home directory without prompting you for a password or passphrase:

    If the private key you're using does not have the default name, or is not stored in the default path (not ~/.ssh/id_rsa), you must explicitly invoke it in one of two ways:

    • On the SSH command line: Add the -i flag and the path to your private key.

      For example, to invoke the private key host2_key, stored in the ~/.ssh/old_keys directory, when connecting to your account on a remote host (for example, [email protected]), enter:

    • In an SSH client configuration file: SSH gets configuration data from the following sources (in this order):
      1. From command-line options
      2. From the user's client configuration file (~/.ssh/config), if it exists
      3. From the system-wide client configuration file (/etc/ssh/ssh_config)

      The SSH client configuration file is a text file containing keywords and arguments. To specify which private key should be used for connections to a particular remote host, use a text editor to create a ~/.ssh/config that includes the Host and IdentityFile keywords.

      For example, for connections to host2.somewhere.edu, to make SSH automatically invoke the private key host2_key, stored in the ~/.ssh/old_keys directory, create a ~/.ssh/config file with these lines included:

      Once you save the file, SSH will use the specified private key for future connections to that host.

      You can add multiple Host and IdentityFile directives to specify a different private key for each host listed; for example:

      Alternatively, you can use a single asterisk ( * ) to provide global defaults for all hosts (specify one private key for several hosts); for example:

      For more about the SSH client configuration file, see the OpenSSH SSH client configuration file on the web or from the command line (man ssh_config).

Set up public-key authentication using PuTTY on a Windows 10 or Windows 8.x computer

The PuTTY command-line SSH client, the PuTTYgen key generation utility, the Pageant SSH authentication agent, and the PuTTY SCP and SFTP utilities are packaged together in a Windows installer available under The MIT License for free download from the PuTTY development team.

After installing PuTTY:

  1. Launch PuTTYgen.
  2. In the 'PuTTY Key Generator' window, under 'Parameters':
    • For 'Type of key to generate', select RSA. (In older versions of PuTTYgen, select SSH2-RSA.)
    • For 'Number of bits in a generated key', leave the default value (2048).
  3. Under 'Actions', click Generate.
  4. When prompted, use your mouse (or trackpad) to move your cursor around the blank area under 'Key'; this generates randomness that PuTTYgen uses to generate your key pair.
  5. When your key pair is generated, PuTTYgen displays the public key in the area under 'Key'. In the 'Key passphrase' and 'Confirm passphrase' text boxes, enter a passphrase to passphrase-protect your private key.
    If you don't passphrase-protect your private key, anyone with access to your computer will be able to SSH (without being prompted for a passphrase) to your account on any remote system that has the corresponding public key.
  6. Save your public key:
    1. Under 'Actions', next to 'Save the generated key', click Save public key.
    2. Give the file a name (for example, putty_key), select a location on your computer to store it, and then click Save.
  7. Save your private key:
    1. Under 'Actions', next to 'Save the generated key', click Save private key.
      If you didn't passphrase-protect your private key, the utility will ask whether you're sure you want to save it without a passphrase. Click Yes to proceed or No to go back and create a passphrase for your private key.
    2. Keep 'Save as type' set to PuTTY Private Key Files (*.ppk), give the file a name (for example, putty_private_key), select a location on your computer to store it, and then click Save.
    3. If you wish to connect to a remote desktop system such as Research Desktop (RED), click Conversions > Export OpenSSH key, give the file a name (for example, putty_rsa), select a location on your computer to store it, and then click Save.
  8. Log into the remote system using your account username and password.

    If the remote system does not support password-based authentication, you will need to ask system administrators to add your public key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file in your account (if your account doesn't have ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, system administrators can create one for you). Once your public key is added to your account's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the remote system...

  9. If your account on the remote system doesn't already contain a ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, create one; on the command line, enter the following commands:

    If your account on the remote system already has ~/.ssh/authorized_keys, executing these commands will not damage the existing directory or file.

  10. On your computer, in the PuTTYgen utility, copy the contents of the public key (displayed in the area under 'Key') onto your Clipboard. Then, on the remote system, use your favorite text editor to paste it onto a new line in your ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file, and then save and close the file.
  11. On your computer, open the Pageant SSH authentication agent. This utility runs in the background, so when it opens, you should see its icon displayed in the Windows notification area.
  12. In the Windows notification area, right-click on the Pageant icon, select Add Key, navigate to the location where you saved your private key (for example, putty_private_key.ppk), select the file, and then click Open.
  13. If your private key is passphrase-protected, Pageant will prompt you to enter the passphrase; enter the passphrase for your private key, and then click OK.

    If your private key is not passphrase-protected, Pageant will add your private key without prompting you for a passphrase.

    Either way, Pageant stores the unencrypted private key in memory for use by PuTTY when you initiate an SSH session to the remote system that has your public key.

  14. On your computer, open the PuTTY SSH client:
    1. On the Session screen:
      • Under 'Host Name (or IP address)', enter your username coupled with the hostname of the remote server that has your public key; for example:
      • Under 'Connection type', make sure SSH is selected.
    2. In the 'Category' list on the left, navigate to the Auth screen (Connection > SSH > Auth). On the Auth screen, under 'Authentication methods', select Attempt authentication using Pageant.
    3. Return to the Session screen, and under 'Saved Sessions', enter a name (for example, Deathstar), and then click Save.
    4. Click Open to connect to your account on the remote system. With Pageant running in the background, PuTTY will retrieve the unencrypted private key automatically from Pageant and use it to authenticate. Because Pageant has your private key's passphrase saved (if applicable), the remote system will place you on the command line in your account without prompting you for the passphrase.
    Technically, at this point, the setup is complete. In the future, whenever you log into your Windows desktop, you can run Pageant, add the private key, and then use PuTTY to SSH to any remote resource that has your public key. Alternatively, you can create a shortcut in your Windows Startup folder to launch Pageant and load your private key automatically whenever you log into your desktop. For instructions, finish the rest of the following steps.
  15. Open your Startup folder. Press Win-r, and in the 'Open' field, type shell:startup, and then press Enter.
  16. Right-click inside the Startup folder, and then select New and Shortcut.
  17. In the 'Type the location of the item' text box, enter the path to the Pageant executable (pageant.exe) followed by the path to your private key file (for example, putty_private_key.ppk); enclose both paths in double quotes; for example:
  18. Click Next, and then, in the 'Type a name for this shortcut' text box, enter a name for the shortcut (for example, PAGEANT).
  19. Click Finish.

The next time you log into your Windows desktop, Pageant will start automatically, load your private key, and (if applicable) prompt you for the passphrase.

I recently read that SSH keys provide a secure way of logging into a Linux and Unix-based server. How do I set up SSH keys on a Linux or Unix based systems? In SSH for Linux/Unix, how do I set up public key authentication?
This page explains a public key and shows you how to set up SSH keys on a Linux or Unix-like server. I am assuming that you are using Linux or Unix-like server and client with the following software:Generate Ssh2 Public Key Linux
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  • OpenSSH SSHD server
  • OpenSSH ssh client and friends on Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, {Free,Open,Net}BSD, RHEL, CentOS, MacOS/OSX, AIX, HP-UX and co).

What is a public key authentication?

OpenSSH server supports various authentication schema. The two most popular are as follows:

  1. Passwords based authentication
  2. Public key based authentication. It is an alternative security method to using passwords. This method is recommended on a VPS, cloud, dedicated or even home based server.

How to set up SSH keys

Steps to setup secure ssh keys:

  1. Create the ssh key pair using ssh-keygen command.
  2. Copy and install the public ssh key using ssh-copy-id command on a Linux or Unix server.
  3. Add yourself to sudo or wheel group admin account.
  4. Disable the password login for root account.
  5. Test your password less ssh keys login using ssh [email protected]e command.

Let us see all steps in details.

How do I set up public key authentication?

You must generate both a public and a private key pair. For example:
Where,

  • server1.cyberciti.biz – You store your public key on the remote hosts and you have an accounts on this Linux/Unix based server.
  • client1.cyberciti.biz – Your private key stays on the desktop/laptop/ computer (or local server) you use to connect to server1.cyberciti.biz server. Do not share or give your private file to anyone.

In public key based method you can log into remote hosts and server, and transfer files to them, without using your account passwords. Feel free to replace server1.cyberciti.biz and client1.cyberciti.biz names with your actual setup. Enough talk, let’s set up public key authentication. Open the Terminal and type following commands if .ssh directory does not exists:

1: Create the key pair

On the computer (such as client1.cyberciti.biz), generate a key pair for the protocol.

Sample outputs:

You need to set the Key Pair location and name. I recommend you use the default location if you do not yet have another key there, for example: $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa. You will be prompted to supply a passphrase (password) for your private key. I suggest that you setup a passphrase when prompted. You should see two new files in $HOME/.ssh/ directory:

  1. $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa– contains your private key.
  2. $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub – contain your public key.

Optional syntax for advance users

The following syntax specifies the 4096 of bits in the RSA key to creation (default 2048):
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -f ~/.ssh/vps-cloud.web-server.key -C 'My web-server key'
Where,

  • -t rsa : Specifies the type of key to create. The possible values are “rsa1” for protocol version 1 and “dsa”, “ecdsa”, “ed25519”, or “rsa” for protocol version 2.
  • -b 4096 : Specifies the number of bits in the key to create
  • -f ~/.ssh/vps-cloud.web-server.key : Specifies the filename of the key file.
  • -C 'My web-server key' : Set a new comment.

2: Install the public key in remote server

Use scp or ssh-copy-id command to copy your public key file (e.g., $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub) to your account on the remote server/host (e.g., [email protected]). To do so, enter the following command on your client1.cyberciti.biz:

OR just copy the public key in remote server as authorized_keys in ~/.ssh/ directory:

Begin Ssh2 Public Key

A note about appending the public key in remote server

On some system ssh-copy-id command may not be installed, so use the following commands (when prompted provide the password for remote user account called vivek) to install and append the public key:

3: Test it (type command on client1.cyberciti.biz)

The syntax is as follows for the ssh command:

Generate Ssh2 Public Key Linux Download

Or copy a text file called foo.txt:

You will be prompted for a passphrase. To get rid of passphrase whenever you log in the remote host, try ssh-agent and ssh-add commands.

What are ssh-agent and ssh-add, and how do I use them?

To get rid of a passphrase for the current session, add a passphrase to ssh-agent and you will not be prompted for it when using ssh or scp/sftp/rsync to connect to hosts with your public key. The syntax is as follows:

Type the ssh-add command to prompt the user for a private key passphrase and adds it to the list maintained by ssh-agent command:

Enter your private key passphrase. Now try again to log into [email protected] and you will not be prompted for a password:

One can list public key parameters of all identities with the -L option:
ssh-add -L
Deleting all private keys from the ssh-agent can be done with the -D option as follows:
ssh-add -D
When you log out kill the ssh agent, run:
kill $SSH_AGENT_PID
You can also add something like the below to your shell startup to kill ssh-agent at logout:
trap 'kill $SSH_AGENT_PID' 0

4: Disable the password based login on a server

Login to your server, type:

Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config on server1.cyberciti.biz using a text editor such as nano or vim:

Warning: Make sure you add yourself to sudoers files. Otherwise you will not able to login as root later on. See “How To Add, Delete, and Grant Sudo Privileges to Users on a FreeBSD Server” for more info.

$ sudo vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
OR directly jump to PermitRootLogin line using a vim text editor:
$ sudo vim +/PermitRootLogin /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Find PermitRootLogin and set it as follows:

Save and close the file. I am going to add a user named vivek to sudoers on Ubuntu Linux:
# adduser vivek
Finally, reload/restart the sshd server, type command as per your Linux/Unix version:

5: How to add or replace a passphrase for an existing private key?

To to change your passphrase type the following command:
ssh-keygen -p

6: How do I backup an existing private/public key?

Just copy files to your backup server or external USB pen/hard drive:

How do I protect my ssh keys?

  1. Always use a strong passphrase.
  2. Do not share your private keys anywhere online or store in insecure cloud storage.
  3. Restrict privileges of the account.

How do I create and setup an OpenSSH config file to create shortcuts for servers I frequently access?

See how to create and use an OpenSSH ssh_config file for more info.

Conclusion

This page explained how to set up ssh keys for authentication purposes. For more info see the following resources:

  • Man pages – ssh-keygen(1)
  • OpenSSH project homepage here.

And, there you have it, ssh set up with public key based authentication for Linux or Unix-like systems.

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