Public and private keys

If you are bored of typing in passwords, or you want to make the process of remote authentication more secure, you can use public and private keys to identify yourself.

A PPK (Public Private Key) pair consists of two keys:

♦ One you keep secret to you and no one else (the private key).

♦ The other is a public key that you install on all servers you wish to log into that can be read by anybody.

PPKs are useless if you do not have the pair of keys. Even if someone finds your public key, they cannot use it detrimentally because it is used only as the partner of the private key that you have kept secret.

To create a PPK, you need to run the ssh-keygen command. The ssh-keygen command takes quite a few arguments, but we will create a standard SSH2 key pair for our purposes. Consider the example shown in Listing 15-11.

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