SSH is a service which most of system administrators use for remote administration of servers. When you install a fresh system, then at the start of the ssh service, it generates the host keys for your system which later on used for authentication. But if due to some reason you need to generate the host keys, then the process is explained below. Jun 13, 2019 We need to install your public key on Sulaco, the remote computer, so that it knows that the public key belongs to you. We do this using the ssh-copy-id command. This command makes a connection to the remote computer like the regular ssh command, but instead of allowing you to log in, it transfers the public SSH key. Ssh-copy-id [email protected] Linux Basics: How To Create and Install SSH Keys on the Shell. Generating a key pair offers users two lengthy strings of characters corresponding to a public as.
Establishing an SSH (Secure Shell) connection is essential to log in and effectively manage a remote server. Encrypted keys are a set of access credentials used to establish a secure connection.
This guide will walk you how to generate SSH keys on Ubuntu 18.04. We will also cover setting up SSH key-based authentication to connect to a remote server without requiring a password.
- A server running Ubuntu 18.04
- A user account with sudo privileges
- Access to a terminal window / command line (Ctrl-Alt-T)
If you are already running an Ubuntu 18.04 server, you can skip this step. If you are configuring your server for the first time, you may not have SSH installed.
1. Start by installing the tasksel package:
The system will first ask for confirmation before proceeding:
2. Next, use tasksel to install the ssh-server:
3. Load the SSH server service, and set it to launch at boot:
On your client system – the one you’re using to connect to the server – you need to create a pair of key codes.
To generate a pair of SSH key codes, enter the commands:
This will create a hidden directory to store your SSH keys, and modify the permissions for that directory. The ssh-keygen command creates a 2048-bit RSA key pair.
For extra security, use RSA4096:
If you’ve already generated a key pair, this will prompt to overwrite them, and those old keys will not work anymore.
The system will ask you to create a passphrase as an added layer of security. Input a memorable passphrase, and press Enter.
This process creates two keys. One is a public key, which you can hand out to anyone – in this case, you’ll save it to the server. The other one is a private key, which you will need to keep secure. The secure private key ensures that you are the only person who can encrypt the data that is decrypted by the public key.
Step 2- Copy Public Key to the Ubuntu Server
First, get the IP address of the Ubuntu server you want to connect to.
How To Ssh Into Centos
In a terminal window, enter:
The system’s IP address is listed in the second entry:
On the client system, use the ssh-copy-id command to copy the identity information to the Ubuntu server:
Replace server_IP with the actual IP address of your server.
If this is the first time you’re connecting to the server, you may see a message that the authenticity of the host cannot be established:
Type yes and press Enter.
The system will check your client system for the id_rsa.pub key that was previously generated. Then it will prompt you to enter the password for the server user account. Type it in (the system won’t display the password), and press Enter.
The system will copy the contents of the ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub from the client system into the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys directory of the server system.
The system should display:
If your system does not have the ssh-copy-id command, you can copy the key manually over the SSH.
Use the following command:
To log in to a remote server, input the command:
The system should not ask for a password as it is negotiating a secure connection using the SSH keys. If you used a security passphrase, you would be prompted to enter it. After you do so, you are logged in.
If this is the first time you’ve logged into the server, you may see a message similar to the one in part two. It will ask if you are sure you want to connect – type yes and press Enter.
Step 4- Disable Password Authentication
This step creates an added layer of security. If you’re the only person logging into the server, you can disable the password. The server will only accept a login with your private key to match the stored public key.
Edit the sshd_config file:
Search the file and find the PasswordAuthentication option.
Edit the file and change the value to no:
Save the file and exit, then restart the SSH service:
Verify that SSH is still working, before ending the session:
If everything works, you can close out and resume work normally.
By following the instructions in this tutorial, you have setup SSH-key-based authentication on an Ubuntu 18.04 server.
The connection is now highly secure as it uses a set of unique, encrypted SSH keys.
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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:
- using the ssh-copy-id script
- using Secure Copy (scp)
- 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.
Ssh Key Setup
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
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
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
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.
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