While Encrypting a File with a Password from the Command Line using OpenSSLis very useful in its own right, the real power of the OpenSSL library is itsability to support the use of public key cryptograph for encrypting orvalidating data in an unattended manner (where the password is not required toencrypt) is done with public keys.
The Commands to Run
Generate a 2048 bit RSA Key
You can generate a public and private RSA key pair like this:
Nov 26, 2018 To create an SSH RSA key pair with PuTTYgen: Start PuTTYgen. Click Generate. By default PuTTYgen generates a 2048-bit SSH-2 RSA key. Move the mouse around in the blank area to provide randomness for the key. After the public key is generated, optionally enter and confirm a passphrase. Jul 29, 2019 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: mkdir –p $HOME/.ssh chmod 0700 $HOME/.ssh ssh-keygen. This will create a hidden directory to store your SSH keys, and modify the permissions for that directory. Generating a new SSH key. Open Terminal Terminal Git Bash. Paste the text below, substituting in your GitHub email address. $ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ This creates a new ssh key, using the provided email as a label. Generating public/private rsa key pair.
openssl genrsa -des3 -out private.pem 2048
That generates a 2048-bit RSA key pair, encrypts them with a password you provideand writes them to a file. You need to next extract the public key file. You willuse this, for instance, on your web server to encrypt content so that it canonly be read with the private key.
Export the RSA Public Key to a File
This is a command that is
openssl rsa -in private.pem -outform PEM -pubout -out public.pem
-pubout flag is really important. Be sure to include it.
Next open the
public.pem and ensure that it starts with
-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----. This is how you know that this file is thepublic key of the pair and not a private key.
To check the file from the command line you can use the
less command, like this:
Do Not Run This, it Exports the Private Key
A previous version of the post gave this example in error.
openssl rsa -in private.pem -out private_unencrypted.pem -outform PEM
The error is that the
-pubout was dropped from the end of the command.That changes the meaning of the command from that of exporting the public keyto exporting the private key outside of its encrypted wrapper. Inspecting theoutput file, in this case
private_unencrypted.pem clearly shows that the keyis a RSA private key as it starts with
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----.
Visually Inspect Your Key Files
It is important to visually inspect you private and public key files to makesure that they are what you expect. OpenSSL will clearly explain the nature ofthe key block with a
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- or
-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----.
You can use less to inspect each of your two files in turn:
less private.pemto verify that it starts with a
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
less public.pemto verify that it starts with a
-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----
The next section shows a full example of what each key file should look like.
The Generated Key Files
The generated files are base64-encoded encryption keys in plain text format.If you select a password for your private key, its file will be encrypted withyour password. Be sure to remember this password or the key pair becomes useless.
The private.pem file looks something like this:
The public key, public.pem, file looks like:
Protecting Your Keys
Depending on the nature of the information you will protect, it’s important tokeep the private key backed up and secret. The public key can be distributedanywhere or embedded in your web application scripts, such as in your PHP,Ruby, or other scripts. Again, backup your keys!
Remember, if the key goes away the data encrypted to it is gone. Keeping aprinted copy of the key material in a sealed envelope in a bank safety depositbox is a good way to protect important keys against loss due to fire or harddrive failure.
Oh, and one last thing.
If you, dear reader, were planning any funny business with the private key that I have just published here. Know that they were made especially for this series of blog posts. I do not use them for anything else.
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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:
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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:
Windows Generate Ssh Key Pair
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.
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:
Generate Ssh Rsa Key Pair Windows 6
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:
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4. Edit the configuration by changing the
yes value to
no. Thus, the directive should be as following:
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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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