Generating SSH Identity Key Pairs

Using SSH key pairs is a more secure alternative to using a standard password when authenticating an SSH connection with a remote machine you frequently access. By using the key pair to authenticate, you avoid the risk of sending your password to the machine in order to verify your identity.Once you have created your private and public key pair, you’ll need to copy the public key to the .ssh/authorized_keys file in your user profile on the machine you want to access. Copying the public key will require local access to the machine or the ability to authenticate an SSH connection with a password. After the public key has been placed on the remote machine, you should be able to authenticate automatically with your key.

On VCL, you can add your public key to your User Preferences under the Mange menu. Click General Preferences and add your key(s) in the text box under Public keys. Most Linux reservations you make after adding your key(s) there will automatically get your key(s) added to your .ssh/authorized_keys file in the user profile on the remote VCL resource so that you can log in using your identity key.

For more information on the use of public keys for SSH authentication, please read the excellent description posted on the following site.

The above site’s description is based around the use of PuTTY , PuTTYgen and Pageant. The same description applies to Linux and other Unix based operating systems, but the tools are different.

PuTTY is commonly used in Windows as an SSH application. On Linux and OS X, the ssh command can be used from a terminal to make an SSH connection.

PuTTY – Specifying a private key file for authentication.

ssh – Specifying a private key for authentication.

PuTTYgen is used in Windows to generate an SSH key pair. In Linux, the ssh-keygen command can be used from a terminal to generate an SSH key pair.

PuTTYgen Instructions

ssh-keygen Instuctions

Pageant is used in Windows to hold private SSH keys for the duration of the user’s session. It decrypts password protected SSH key pairs and stores them to be used by the user without the need to enter the password every time an SSH connection is made. In Linux, the ssh-add command can be used from a terminal to decrypt and store an SSH key pair in a running ssh-agent process.

Pageant Instructions:

ssh-add examples:

PuTTY lets you save settings for connections that you make frequently. You can just load those saved session settings later and save time by not having to configure PuTTY over and over again.