How to Generate a Public/Private KeyPair for Use With Solaris Secure Shell

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Users must generate a public/private key pair when their site implementshost-based authentication or user public-key authentication. For additionaloptions, see the ssh-keygen(1) manpage.

Generating a Secure Shell (SSH) Public/Private Key Pair Several tools exist to generate SSH public/private key pairs. The following sections show how to generate an SSH key pair on UNIX, UNIX-like and Windows platforms.

Before You Begin

Determine from your system administrator if host-based authenticationis configured.

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  1. Start the key generation program.


    where -t is the type of algorithm, one of rsa, dsa, or rsa1.

  2. Specify the path to the file that will hold the key.

    Bydefault, the file name id_rsa, which represents an RSAv2 key, appears in parentheses. You can select this file by pressing the Return key. Or, you can type an alternative file name.


    The file name of the public key is created automatically by appendingthe string .pub to the name of the private key file.

  3. Type a passphrase for using your key.

    This passphraseis used for encrypting your private key. A null entry is stronglydiscouraged. Note that the passphrase is not displayed when youtype it in.


  4. Retype the passphrase to confirm it.


  5. Check the results.

    Check that the path to the keyfile is correct.


    At this point, you have created a public/private key pair.

  6. Choose the appropriate option:

    • If your administrator has configuredhost-based authentication, you might need to copy the local host's publickey to the remote host.

      You can now log in to the remote host.For details, see How to Log In to a Remote Host With Solaris Secure Shell.

      1. Type the command on one line with no backslash.


      2. When you are prompted, supply your login password.


    • If your site uses user authentication with public keys, populateyour authorized_keys file on the remote host.

      1. Copy your public key to the remote host.

        Type thecommand on one line with no backslash.


      2. When you are prompted, supply your login password.

        Whenthe file is copied, the message “Key copied” is displayed.


  7. (Optional) Reduce the prompting for passphrases.

    For a procedure, see How to Reduce Password Prompts in Solaris Secure Shell. For more information, see the ssh-agent(1) and ssh-add(1) man pages.

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Example 19–2 Establishing a v1 RSA Key for a User

In the following example, the user cancontact hosts that run v1 of the Solaris Secure Shell protocol. To be authenticated by v1hosts, the user creates a v1 key, then copies the public key portion to theremote host.


In order to be able to create a digital signature, you need a private key. (Its corresponding public key will be needed in order to verify the authenticity of the signature.)

In some cases the key pair (private key and corresponding public key) are already available in files. In that case the program can import and use the private key for signing, as shown in Weaknesses and Alternatives.

In other cases the program needs to generate the key pair. A key pair is generated by using the KeyPairGenerator class.

In this example you will generate a public/private key pair for the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA). You will generate keys with a 1024-bit length.

Generating a key pair requires several steps:

Create a Key Pair Generator

The first step is to get a key-pair generator object for generating keys for the DSA signature algorithm.

As with all engine classes, the way to get a KeyPairGenerator object for a particular type of algorithm is to call the getInstance static factory method on the KeyPairGenerator class. This method has two forms, both of which hava a String algorithm first argument; one form also has a String provider second argument.

A caller may thus optionally specify the name of a provider, which will guarantee that the implementation of the algorithm requested is from the named provider. The sample code of this lesson always specifies the default SUN provider built into the JDK.

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Put the following statement after the

line in the file created in the previous step, Prepare Initial Program Structure:

Initialize the Key Pair Generator

The next step is to initialize the key pair generator. All key pair generators share the concepts of a keysize and a source of randomness. The KeyPairGenerator class has an initialize method that takes these two types of arguments.

The keysize for a DSA key generator is the key length (in bits), which you will set to 1024.

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The source of randomness must be an instance of the SecureRandom class that provides a cryptographically strong random number generator (RNG). For more information about SecureRandom, see the SecureRandom API Specification and the Java Cryptography Architecture Reference Guide .

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The following example requests an instance of SecureRandom that uses the SHA1PRNG algorithm, as provided by the built-in SUN provider. The example then passes this SecureRandom instance to the key-pair generator initialization method.

Some situations require strong random values, such as when creating high-value and long-lived secrets like RSA public and private keys. To help guide applications in selecting a suitable strong SecureRandom implementation, starting from JDK 8 Java distributions include a list of known strong SecureRandom implementations in the securerandom.strongAlgorithms property of the java.security.Security class. When you are creating such data, you should consider using SecureRandom.getInstanceStrong(), as it obtains an instance of the known strong algorithms.

Generate the Pair of Keys

The final step is to generate the key pair and to store the keys in PrivateKey and PublicKey objects.

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