Set up your first SSH keys

Oct 07, 2019 Manage SSH keys. This section of cPanel’s SSH Access interface allows you to create, import, manage, and remove SSH keys. The system will use these keys when you confirm that a specific computer has the right to access your website’s information with SSH. Generate a New Key. Quick steps: Create and use an SSH public-private key pair for Linux VMs in Azure.; 4 minutes to read +4; In this article. With a secure shell (SSH) key pair, you can create virtual machines (VMs) in Azure that use SSH keys for authentication, eliminating the need for passwords to sign in. Dec 18, 2019  Using SSH keys is more secure and convenient than traditional password authentication. In this tutorial, we will walk through how to generate SSH keys on Ubuntu 18.04 machines. We will also show you how to set up an SSH key-based authentication and connect to your remote Linux servers without entering a password. Creating SSH keys on Ubuntu #.

Kali Linux SSH Server Kali Linux SSH server is installed by default. You need to just start, stop and restart service to activate it. Remote access Kalli Linux Secure Shell - SSH can be. SSH keys can serve as a means of identifying yourself to an SSH server using public-key cryptography and challenge-response authentication.The major advantage of key-based authentication is that in contrast to password authentication it is not prone to brute-force attacks and you do not expose valid credentials, if the server has been compromised.

Use SSH keys for authentication when you are connecting to your server, or even between your servers. They can greatly simplify and increase the security of your login process. When keys are implemented correctly they provide a secure, fast, and easy way of accessing your cloud server.

Follow our guide and learn how to set up your first SSH keys for authentication using OpenSSH or PuTTYTray.

Preparing your server

To add an SSH key pair, first, create a hidden folder to your user account home directory on your cloud server with the following command.

Then restrict the permissions to that directory to just yourself with the command below.

This creates a secure location for you to save your SSH keys for authentication. However, note that since the keys are stored in your user home directory, every user that wishes to connect using SSH keys for authentication has to repeat these steps on their own profile.

Using OpenSSH to generate a key pair

Now continue on your own computer if you are using Linux or any other OS that has OpenSSH. PuTTY users should skip to the next section.

Create ssh key

1. Generate a new key pair in a terminal with the next command

The key generator will ask for location and file name to which the key is saved to. Enter a new name or use the default by pressing enter.

2. (Optional) Create a passphrase for the key when prompted

This is a simple password that will protect your private key should someone be able to get their hands on it. Enter the password you wish or continue without a password. Press enter twice. Note that some automation tools might not be able to unlock passphrase-protected private keys.

3. Copy the public half of the key pair to your cloud server using the following command

Replace the user and server with your username and the server address you wish to use the key authentication on.

Generate Ssh Keys Via Server

This also assumes you saved the key pair using the default file name and location. If not, just replace the key path ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub above with your own key name.

Enter your user account password for that SSH server when prompted.

You can now authenticate to your server with the key pair, but at the moment you would need to enter the passphrase every time you connect.

4. (Optional) Set up SSH Agent to store the keys to avoid having to re-enter passphrase at every login

Enter the following commands to start the agent and add the private SSH key.

Type in your key’s current passphrase when asked. If you saved the private key somewhere other than the default location and name, you’ll have to specify it when adding the key.

Afterwards, you can connect to your cloud server using the keys for authentication, and only having to unlock the key by repeating the last 2 steps once after every computer restart.

Using PuTTYTray to generate a key pair

If you are running Windows and PuTTYTray for SSH, you can use the built-in key generator from PuTTY to create a new key pair.

1. Click the Keygen button at the bottom of the PuTTY Configuration window to get started.

Then in the Key Generator window, check that the Type of key to generate at the bottom is set to SSH-2 RSA. The older SSH-1 was the first version on the standard but is now generally considered obsolete. Most modern servers and clients support SSH-2.

2. Click the Generate button to begin.

3. Keep moving your mouse over the blank area in any manner to help generate randomness for a few moments until the progress is complete.

With the keys finished, PuTTY will show the relative information about the pair along with the public key for easier copying.

4. (Optional) Enter a key passphrase in the 2 empty fields for the added security before continuing. The passphrase will protect your key from unauthorized use should someone be able to copy it. However, some automation tools might not be able to unlock passphrase-protected private keys.

5. Click the Save private key button and store it somewhere safe. Generally anywhere in your user directory is fine as long as your PC is password protected. Before closing the keygen, you may want to copy the public key to your clipboard, but you can always get it later as well.

Now that you have a new key saved on your computer, you’ll need to import it into the PuTTY key agent.

6. Click the Agent button to open the key manager in the PuTTY Configuration window.

7. Click Add Key button in the Key List, then browse to the location you saved the private key, select it and click Open.

Enter your key passphrase if asked.

This will import the key to your PuTTY client, but you still need to copy the public key over to your server.

8. Open an SSH connection to your cloud server and go to the SSH key directory.

9. Open or create the default file OpenSSH looks for public keys called authorized_keys.

10. Paste the public key into the file by simply right-clicking the SSH client window. Make sure the key goes on a single line for OpenSSH to be able to read it.

When you’ve copied the public key over to the authorized keys list, save the file and exit the editor. You can now test the public key authentication by logging in to your server again. You should not get asked for your password, but instead logged straight in with the key. If it’s not working, check that your private key is unlocked at your SSH Agent and try again.

Turn off password authentication

With SSH key authentication configured and tested, you can disable password authentication for SSH all together to prevent brute-forcing. When logged in to your cloud server.

1. Open the SSH configuration file with the following command.

2. Set the password authentication to no to disable clear text passwords.

3. Check that public key authentication is enabled, just to be safe and not get locked out from your server. If you do find yourself unable to log in with SSH, you can always use the Web terminal at your UpCloud control panel.

Then save and exit the editor.

4. Restart the SSH service to apply the changes by using the command below.

With that done your cloud server is now another step along towards security. Malicious attempts to connect to your server will results in authentication rejection, as plain passwords are not allowed, and brute-forcing an RSA key is practically impossible.

Conclusions

Remember to always keep your private keys safe. You can use the same key from multiple computers if you wish, or generate new ones on each client connecting to your cloud server for added security. Each user should generate their own key pair and passphrase for secure access control. With proper management, even in case one of the private keys gets compromised you won’t have to replace them all.

How do I generate ssh keys under Linux / UNIX / Mac OS X and *BSD operating systems for remote login?
SSH uses public-key cryptography to authenticate the remote computer and allow the remote computer to authenticate the user, if required. You can create ssh keys as follows on any Linux or UNIX-like operating systems including Mac OS X.[donotprint][/donotprint]
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ssh-keygen command to Generate SSH Keys

Generate Ssh Key Windows

The ssh-keygen command generates, manages and converts authentication keys for ssh client and server usage. Type the following command to generate ssh keys (open terminal and type the command):
$ ssh-keygen
Generate SSH keys looks as follows:

The above command creates ~/.ssh/ directory. So if your user name is vivek, than all files are stored in /home/vivek/.ssh/ or $HOME/.ssh/ directory as follows:

  • $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa – Your private key. Do not share this file with anyone. Keep it private
  • $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub– Your public key.

Generate Ssh Key Pair

Please note that the passphrase must be different from your current password and do not share keys or passphrase with anyone. Also, make sure you have correct and secure permissions on $HOME/.ssh/ directory:

Generate Ssh Keys Via Server Password

SSH Keys Are Generated, What Next?

You need to copy $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub file to remote server so that you can login using keys instead of the password. Use any one of the following command to copy key to remote server called vpn22.nixcraft.net.in for vivek user:
ssh-copy-id [email protected]
On some *nix system such as OS X ssh-copy-id command may not be installed, use the following commands (when prompted provide the password for remote user account called vivek) to install/append 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'

To login simply type:
ssh [email protected]
The following command will help to remember passphrase
exec ssh-agent $SHELL
ssh-add
ssh [email protected]

Optional ssh-keygen command 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/aws.key -C 'My AWs cloud 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/aws.key : Specifies the filename of the key file.
  • -C 'My AWs cloud key' : Set a new comment.

Now install the ~/.ssh/aws.key, run:
ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/aws.key [email protected]
Test it with the ssh command:
ssh -i ~/.ssh/aws.key [email protected]
See “How To Set up SSH Keys on a Linux / Unix System” for more info.

Conclusion

You learned how to create and generate ssh keys using the ssh-keygen command.

  • 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
  • Openssh man pages here
  • Man pages – ssh-keygen(1)

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