Linux Generate Key Pair Rsa

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Jun 22, 2012  Generating a key pair provides you with two long string of characters: a public and a private key. You can place the public key on any server, and then unlock it by connecting to it with a client that already has the private key. When the two match up, the system unlocks without the need for. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Step By Step Guide. Generating a Keypair. To begin using GnuPG, you must first generate a new keypair: a public key and a private key. To generate a keypair, at a shell prompt, type the following command. (default) (2) DSA (sign only) (5) RSA (sign only) Your selection? $ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C '' This creates a new ssh key, using the provided email as a label. Generating public/private rsa key pair. When you're prompted to 'Enter a file in which to save the key,' press Enter. This accepts the default file location. Jul 17, 2017  1.Generating Key Pairs. To generate an RSA key pair for version 2 of the SSH protocol, follow these steps: Generate an RSA key pair by typing the following at a shell prompt: $ ssh-keygen or $ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -v. Optional: To increase the security of your key.

recently read that SSH keys provide a secure way of logging into a Linux and Unix-based server. How do I set up SSH keys on a Linux or Unix based systems? In SSH for Linux/Unix, how do I set up public key authentication?
This page explains a public key and shows you how to set up SSH keys on a Linux or Unix-like server. I am assuming that you are using Linux or Unix-like server and client with the following software:
  • OpenSSH SSHD server
  • OpenSSH ssh client and friends on Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, {Free,Open,Net}BSD, RHEL, CentOS, MacOS/OSX, AIX, HP-UX and co).

What is a public key authentication?

OpenSSH server supports various authentication schema. The two most popular are as follows:

  1. Passwords based authentication
  2. Public key based authentication. It is an alternative security method to using passwords. This method is recommended on a VPS, cloud, dedicated or even home based server.

How to set up SSH keys

Steps to setup secure ssh keys:

  1. Create the ssh key pair using ssh-keygen command.
  2. Copy and install the public ssh key using ssh-copy-id command on a Linux or Unix server.
  3. Add yourself to sudo or wheel group admin account.
  4. Disable the password login for root account.
  5. Test your password less ssh keys login using ssh user@server-name command.

Let us see all steps in details.

How do I set up public key authentication?

You must generate both a public and a private key pair. For example:

  • – You store your public key on the remote hosts and you have an accounts on this Linux/Unix based server.
  • – Your private key stays on the desktop/laptop/ computer (or local server) you use to connect to server. Do not share or give your private file to anyone.

In public key based method you can log into remote hosts and server, and transfer files to them, without using your account passwords. Feel free to replace and names with your actual setup. Enough talk, let’s set up public key authentication. Open the Terminal and type following commands if .ssh directory does not exists:

1: Create the key pair

On the computer (such as, generate a key pair for the protocol.

Sample outputs:

You need to set the Key Pair location and name. I recommend you use the default location if you do not yet have another key there, for example: $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa. You will be prompted to supply a passphrase (password) for your private key. I suggest that you setup a passphrase when prompted. You should see two new files in $HOME/.ssh/ directory:

  1. $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa– contains your private key.
  2. $HOME/.ssh/ – contain your public key.

Optional 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/vps-cloud.web-server.key -C 'My web-server key'

  • -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/vps-cloud.web-server.key : Specifies the filename of the key file.
  • -C 'My web-server key' : Set a new comment.

2: Install the public key in remote server

Use scp or ssh-copy-id command to copy your public key file (e.g., $HOME/.ssh/ to your account on the remote server/host (e.g., To do so, enter the following command on your

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OR just copy the public key in remote server as authorized_keys in ~/.ssh/ directory:

A note about appending the public key in remote server

On some system ssh-copy-id command may not be installed, so use the following commands (when prompted provide the password for remote user account called vivek) to install and append the public key:

3: Test it (type command on

Linux Generate Key Pair Rsa

The syntax is as follows for the ssh command:

Or copy a text file called foo.txt:

You will be prompted for a passphrase. To get rid of passphrase whenever you log in the remote host, try ssh-agent and ssh-add commands.

What are ssh-agent and ssh-add, and how do I use them?

To get rid of a passphrase for the current session, add a passphrase to ssh-agent and you will not be prompted for it when using ssh or scp/sftp/rsync to connect to hosts with your public key. The syntax is as follows:

Type the ssh-add command to prompt the user for a private key passphrase and adds it to the list maintained by ssh-agent command:

Enter your private key passphrase. Now try again to log into and you will not be prompted for a password:

One can list public key parameters of all identities with the -L option:
ssh-add -L
Deleting all private keys from the ssh-agent can be done with the -D option as follows:
ssh-add -D
When you log out kill the ssh agent, run:
You can also add something like the below to your shell startup to kill ssh-agent at logout:
trap 'kill $SSH_AGENT_PID' 0

4: Disable the password based login on a server

Login to your server, type:

Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config on using a text editor such as nano or vim:

Warning: Make sure you add yourself to sudoers files. Otherwise you will not able to login as root later on. See “How To Add, Delete, and Grant Sudo Privileges to Users on a FreeBSD Server” for more info.

$ sudo vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
OR directly jump to PermitRootLogin line using a vim text editor:
$ sudo vim +/PermitRootLogin /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Find PermitRootLogin and set it as follows:

Save and close the file. I am going to add a user named vivek to sudoers on Ubuntu Linux:
# adduser vivek
Finally, reload/restart the sshd server, type command as per your Linux/Unix version:

5: How to add or replace a passphrase for an existing private key?

To to change your passphrase type the following command:
ssh-keygen -p

6: How do I backup an existing private/public key?

Just copy files to your backup server or external USB pen/hard drive:

How do I protect my ssh keys?

  1. Always use a strong passphrase.
  2. Do not share your private keys anywhere online or store in insecure cloud storage.
  3. Restrict privileges of the account.

How do I create and setup an OpenSSH config file to create shortcuts for servers I frequently access?

See how to create and use an OpenSSH ssh_config file for more info.


This page explained how to set up ssh keys for authentication purposes. For more info see the following resources:

  • Man pages – ssh-keygen(1)
  • OpenSSH project homepage here.

And, there you have it, ssh set up with public key based authentication for Linux or Unix-like systems.


Generate Rsa Key Pair

Connect to a server by using SSH on Linux or Mac OS X

This article provides steps for connecting to a cloud server froma computer running Linux® or MacOS® X by using Secure Shell (SSH).It also discusses generating an SSH key and adding a public key tothe server.

Linux Generate Key Pair Rsa Program


SSH is a protocol through which you can access your cloud server and runshell commands. You can use SSH keys to identify trusted computers withoutthe need for passwords and to interact with your servers.

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SSH is encrypted with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which makes it difficultfor these communications to be intercepted and read.

Note: Many of the commands in this article must be run on your localcomputer. The default commands listed are for the Linux command line orMacOS X Terminal. To make SSH connections from Windows®, you can use a clientsimilar to the free program, PuTTY.To generate keys, you can use a related program, PuTTYGen.

Log in

Using the Internet Protocol (IP) address and password for your cloud server, log in byrunning the following ssh command with username@ipaddress as the argument:

The system prompts you to enter the password for the account to which you’reconnecting.

Remote host identification

If you rebuilt your cloud server, you might get the following message:

One of the security features of SSH is that when you log in to a cloudserver, the remote host has its own key that identifies it. When you tryto connect, your SSH client checks the server’s key against any keysthat it has saved from previous connections to that IP address. After yourebuild a cloud server, that remote host key changes, so your computerwarns you of possibly suspicious activity.

To ensure the security of your server, you canuse the web console in the Cloud Control Panel to verify your server’s new key.If you’re confident that you aren’t being spoofed, you can skip thatstep and delete the record of the old SSH host key as follows:

On your local computer, edit the SSH known_hosts file and remove anylines that start with your cloud server’s IP address.

Note: Use the editor of your choice, such as nano on Debian or theUbuntu operating systemor vi on RPM or CENTOS servers. For simplicity, this article just uses nano. If you prefer to use vi,substitute vi for nano in the edit commands.For more on using nano, see

If you are not using Linux or MacOS X on your local computer, thelocation of the known_hosts file might differ. Refer to your OS forinformation about the file location. PuTTY on Windows gives you theoption to replace the saved host key.

Generate a new SSH key pair

You can secure SSH access to your cloud server against brute forcepassword attacks by using a public-private key pair. A public key is placed onthe server and a matching private key is placed on your local computer. If youconfigure SSH on your server to accept only connections using keys,then no one can log in by using just a password. Connecting clientsare required to use a private key that has a public key registered onthe server. For more on security, reviewLinux server security best practices.

Use the following steps to generate an SSH key pair:

  1. Run the following command using your email address as a label.Substitute your email address for inthe command.

    A message indicates that your public-private RSA key pair isbeing generated.

    At the prompt, press Enter to use the default location or entera file in which to save the key and press Enter.

  2. If you want the additional security of a password for the key pair,enter a passphraseand press Enter. If you don’t want to use a passwordwith the key pair, press Enter to continue without setting one.

    Your key pair is generated, and the output looks similar to the following example:

  3. Optionally, add your new key to the local ssh-agent file to enableSSH to find your key without the need to specify its location everytime that you connect:

    You can use an SSH configuration shortcut instead of the ssh-agent fileby following the instructions in the Shortcut configuration sectionlater in this article.

Add the public key to your cloud account

To make it easy to add your key to new cloud servers that you create,upload the public key to your cloud account by following these steps:

  1. Log in to the Cloud Control Panel.
  2. In the top navigation bar, click Select a Product > Rackspace Cloud.
  3. Select Servers > SSH Keys.
  4. Click Add Public Key.
  5. Enter a key name, such as Work Laptop, to remind you which computer this key is for.
  6. Select the region for which you want to store the public key. Tostore your key in multiple regions, repeat these steps foreach region. The key must reside in the same region as the server.
  7. Paste the contents of the file that you created intothe Public Key field. You can get the file contents by eitheropening the file in a text editor or by running the followingcommand:

  8. Click Add Public Key.

If you want to add the key manually, instead of by using the Control Panel, reviewLinux server security best practicesand use the following command:

Create a new server by using a stored key

When you create a new cloud server, you can add a stored key to the newserver.

  1. On the Create Server page, expand the Advanced Options section.

  2. From the SSH Key menu, select your key from the list.

  3. If you don’t see a stored key in the list, you can perform one of the following actions:

    • Switch the region for the new server to the region where you have stored the SSH key.
    • Repeat the steps in the preceding section, Add the public key to your cloud account,to add the key to the region in which you want to create the new server.

Add the key to an existing server

You can’t use the Cloud Control Panel to add a public key to anexisting server. Follow these steps to add the key manually:

  1. On your cloud server, create a directory named .ssh in the homefolder of the user that you connect to by using SSH.

  2. Create or edit the authorized_keys file and add your public key tothe list of authorized keys by using the following command:

    A key is all on one line, so ensure that the key isn’t broken byline breaks. You can have multiple keys in the authorized_keysfile, with one key per line.

  3. Set the correct permissions on the key by using the following commands:

  4. If you have any issues and need to fix permissions issues, run the following comand:

After you have added the public key to the authorized_keys, you can make an SSHconnection by using your key pair instead of the account password.

Shortcut configuration

Use the following instructions to set up a connection shortcut by creating a~/.ssh/config file on your local computer and adding your server and keydetails to it.

  1. Using a text editor, add the following text to the ~/.ssh/config file, changing thevalues to match your server information:

    Each of the following entries describes a feature of the server:

    • Host: A shortcut name that you use to tell SSH to use thisconnection.
    • HostName: The address of the server to which you connect.
    • User: The name of the user account to connect to on theserver.
    • IdentityFile: The location of the private key file (id_rsa).
  2. After you set up the config file, connect to the server by usingthe following command with your shortcut name:


If you have trouble making a new connection after you restart theserver, use the following steps to help you resolve the issue:

  • The best way to troubleshoot SSH or SFTP login issues is to attempt tologin through SSH while logged into the Emergency Console and to watch the log,which typically includes the reason for a failure. If no reason is given,it could be a firewall issue. For RPM servers, run the following command to watch the log:

    For Debian servers, run the following command to watch the log:

  • If you get a connection timeout error, check the IP address thatyou used to ensure that it’s correct. You might also check theserver’s iptables to ensure that it isn’t blocking the port used by SSH.
  • If you get a connection refused error, you might be trying to useSSH with the wrong port. If you changed your server to listen to aport other than 22, use the -p option with SSH to specifythe port.
  • If your login is rejected, then you might have an issuewith your key. Change the sshd configuration to allow passwordconnections by setting PasswordAuthentication to yes. Restartthe server and try again. If you connect after these changes, thenthe issue is with the key and you must verify that the key is in theright place on the server.
  • If all else fails, review your changes and restart the SSH daemon onthe server by running the following command:

    If you get a message that the SSH service is unknown, run thecommand with sshd as the service name instead.

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