GIT – I’ve been using for quite some time now but never really understood how public key authentication works. I decided to search the web and try it out on different testing machines. So, if you want to find out how it works as well, here’s how it’s done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8ToXKGJA_s

First, you’ll need to log in to your machine, and create a necessary directory, change it’s permissions and go into it.

$ mkdir .ssh/; chmod 700 .ssh/; cd .ssh/

After that, you want to create a file called ‘authorized_keys’. This file contains the public key(s) that are allowed to log-in with your username.

$ touch authorized_keys; chmod 600 authorized_keys

Right now, it should look like this:

$ ls -lh

-rw——- 1 kevin kevin  394 Jun  3 13:00 authorized_keys

It’s time to generate the public/private rsa key pair:

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/kevin/.ssh/id_rsa):

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in /home/kevin/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/kevin/.ssh/id_rsa.pub.

Your .ssh/ directory should look like this right now:

ls -lh

-rw——- 1 kevin kevin 394 Jun 3 13:00 authorized_keys
-rw——- 1 kevin kevin 1.8K Jun 3 14:16 id_rsa
-rw-r–r– 1 kevin kevin 394 Jun 3 14:16 id_rsa.pub

Add the id_rsa.pub key to the authorized_key file

cat id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys

Next, the private key (id_rsa) file to your local machine by using WinSCP.

Open PuTTYgen, click ‘load’ and search for the id_rsa file you just downloaded from your Linux machine. Enter your passphrase and hit OK. Now, click ‘Save private key’ and select a good destination to store your private key file.
At last, open PuTTy, enter the IP address or hostname of your Linux machine and go to Connection -> SSH -> Auth.

At the bottom you will find ‘Private key file for authentication:’. Hit browse, and select the key file we just saved with PuTTYgen. Hit open, enter your username, your passphrase and ta-da.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell

http://www.ubuntu.com/

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

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