Next, add the contents of the public key file into /.ssh/authorizedkeys on the remote site (the file should be mode 600). If you are a developer and you want to access debian.org systems with such a key, it's possible to have the developer database propagate your key to all of the debian.org machines. How to generate an SSH key and add your public key to the server for authentication Step 1: Check for SSH Keys. First, check for existing SSH keys on your computer. Step 2: Generate a new SSH key. With your command line tool still open, enter the text shown below. Step 3: Add your key to the. Nov 13, 2019 Adding your SSH keys to a remote server from your Mac can seem like a hassle, but there is a command line tool that will make life extremely easy for you. Plus, once you add your SSH keys to the remote server, you won’t need your password every time (unless you choose to generate a passphrase)! Easy and secure!

Introduction

Secure Shell (SSH) is an encrypted protocol used by Linux users to connect to their remote servers.

Generally, there are two ways for clients to access their servers – using password based authentication or public key based authentication.

Using SSH keys for authentication is highly recommended, as a safer alternative to passwords.

This tutorial will guide you through the steps on how to generate and set up SSH keys on CentOS 7. We also cover connecting to a remote server using the keys and disabling password authentication.

1. Check for Existing Keys

Prior to any installation, it is wise to check whether there are any existing keys on the client machines.

Open the terminal and list all public keys stored with the following command:

The output informs you about any generated keys currently on the system. If there aren’t any, the message tells you it cannot access /.ssh/id_*.pub , as there is no such file or directory.

2. Verify SSH is Installed

To check if thw package is installed, run the command:

If you already have SSH, the output tells you which version it is running. Currently, the latest version is OpenSSH 8.0/8.0p1.

Note: Refer to our guide If you need to install and enable SSH on your CentOS system.

Steps to Creating SSH keys on CentOS

Step 1: Create SSH Key Pair

1. Start by logging into the source machine (local server) and creating a 2048-bit RSA key pair using the command:

If you want to tighten up security measures, you can create a 4096-bit key by adding the -b 4096 flag:

2. After entering the command, you should see the following prompt:

3. To save the file in the suggested directory, press Enter. Alternatively, you can specify another location.

Note: If you already have a key pair in the proposed location, it is advisable to pick another directory. Otherwise it will overwrite existing SSH keys.

4. Next, the prompt will continue with:

Although creating a passphrase isn’t mandatory, it is highly advisable.

5. Finally, the output will end by specifying the following information:

Now you need to add the public key to the remote CentOS server.

You can copy the public SSH key on the remote server using several different methods:

  1. using the ssh-copy-id script
  2. using Secure Copy (scp)
  3. manually copying the key

The fastest and easiest method is by utilizing ssh-copy-id. If the option is available, we recommend using it. Otherwise, try any of the other two noted.

1. Start by typing the following command, specifying the SSH user account, and the IP address of the remote host:

If it is the first time your local computer is accessing this specific remote server you will receive the following output:

2. Confirm the connection – type yes and hit Enter.

3. Once it locates the id_rsa.pub key created on the local machine, it will ask you to provide the password for the remote account. Type in the password and hit Enter.

4. Once the connection has been established, it adds the public key on the remote server. This is done by copying the ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub file to the remote server’s ~/.ssh directory. You can locate it under the name authorized_keys.

5. Lastly, the output tells you the number of keys added, along with clear instructions on what to do next:

1. First, set up an SSH connection with the remote user:

2. Next, create the ~/.ssh directory as well as the authorized_keys file:

3. Use the chmod command to change the file permission:

chmod 700 makes the file executable, while chmod 600 allows the user to read and write the file.

4. Now, open a new terminal session, on the local computer.

5. Copy the content from id_rsa.pub (the SSH public key) to the previously created authorized_keys file on the remote CentOS server by typing the command:

With this, the public key has been safely stored on the remote account.

1. To manually add the public SSH key to the remote machine, you first need to open the content from the ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub file:

2. As in the image below, the key starts with ssh-rsa and ends with the username of the local computer and hostname of the remote machine:


3. Copy the content of the file, as you will need later.

4. Then, in the terminal window, connect to the remote server on which you wish to copy the public key. Use the following command to establish the connection:

5. Create a ~/.ssh directory and authorized_keys file on the CentOS server with the following command:

6. Change their file permission by typing:

7. Next, open the authorized_keys file with an editor of your preference. For example, to open it with Nano, type:

8. Add the public key, previously copied in step 2 of this section, in a new line in (under the existing content).

9. Save the changes and close the file.

10. Finally, log into the server to verify that everything is set up correctly.

Once you have completed the previous steps (creating an RSA Key Pair and copying the Public Key to the CentOS server), you will be able to connect to the remote host without typing the password for the remote account.

All you need to do is type in the following command:

If you didn’t specify a passphrase while creating the SSH key pair, you will automatically log in the remote server.

Otherwise, type in the passphrase you supplied in the initial steps and press Enter.

Once the shell confirms the key match, it will open a new session for direct communication with the server.

Although you managed to access the CentOS server without having to provide a password, it still has a password-based authentication system running on the machine. This makes it a potential target for brute force attacks.

You should disable password authentication entirely by following the outlined steps.

Note: Consider performing the following steps through a non-root account with sudo privileges, as an additional safety layer.

1. Using the SSH keys, log into the remote CentOS server which has administrative privileges:

2. Next, open the SSH daemon configuration file using a text editor of your choice:

3. Look for the following line in the file:

4. Edit the configuration by changing the yes value to no. Thus, the directive should be as following:

5. Save the file and exit the text editor.
6. To enable the changes, restart the sshdservice using the command:

7. Verify the SSH connection to the server is still functioning correctly. Open a new terminal window and type in the command:

In this article, you learned how to generate SSH key pairs and set up an SSH key-based authentication. We also covered copying keys to your remote CentOS server, and disabling SSH password authentication.

Next, You Should Read:

How do I install my SSH public key ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub onto a remote Linux and UNIX server automatically from Linux workstation or Apple OS X laptop without using scp and/or copy & paste method?
You need to use the ssh-copy-id script that uses ssh to log into a remote machine using a login password. The syntax is as follows:
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ssh-copy-id [email protected][donotprint][/donotprint]

OR

Ssh Add Authorized Key

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub [email protected]

OR

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub [email protected]

OR use specific port on remote host such as tcp port # 4242:

ssh-copy-id -i /path/key/file.pub '[email protected] -p 4242'

Install ssh-copy-id on a OS X Unix systems

Type the following command:

Sample outputs:

Step # 1: Create the Keys

Type the following ssh-keygen command to generates, manages and converts authentication keys for your workstation / laptop:
ssh-keygen
Make sure you protect keys with the passphrase.

Step # 2: Install the public key

Install key in a remote server called www-03.nixcraft.in, enter:
ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub [email protected]

Note: If ssh-copy-id command not found on your system, try the following commands to append/install the public key on remote host:
ssh [email protected] 'umask 077; mkdir .ssh'
cat $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ssh [email protected] 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys'

Step #3: Use keychain for password less login

OpenSSH offers RSA and DSA authentication to remote systems without supplying a password. keychain is a special bash script designed to make key-based authentication incredibly convenient and flexible (see how to install keychain script on unix). Add following lines to your ~/.bash_profile or shell login file:

Save and close the file.

Generate Ssh Key And Add To Remote Server Password

References:
And
  • Man pages – ssh-copy-id(1)

Ssh Key Add Remote

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