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Secure Your Mac with YubiKey SSH

Secure Your Mac with YubiKey SSH

As online security threats continue to increase, it's crucial to take steps to secure your personal devices. One of the best ways to do this is by using multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your SSH connections. YubiKey is a popular MFA device that offers a high level of security and convenience for Mac users.

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of setting up YubiKey SSH on your Mac. By the end of this guide, you'll have a more secure way to log in to your remote servers and protect your sensitive data.

Step 1: Install Homebrew

Before we can install YubiKey, we need to install Homebrew, a package manager for macOS. Open the Terminal app on your Mac and enter the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Step 2: Install YubiKey Manager

Next, we need to install YubiKey Manager, which will allow us to manage our YubiKeys. Enter the following command in Terminal:

brew install yubikey-manager

Step 3: Generate a New SSH Key

Now, we need to generate a new SSH key that will be stored on our YubiKey. Enter the following command in Terminal:

ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -o -a 100 -f ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey

You can replace "id_ed25519_yubikey" with a name of your choice. This command will generate a new SSH key using the ed25519 algorithm with increased key derivation function (KDF) rounds for added security.

Step 4: Add Your Public Key to Your Remote Server

Now, we need to add our public key to the authorized_keys file on our remote server. Replace "username" and "server" with your username and server address, respectively, and enter the following command:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey.pub username@server

This command will copy your public key to the remote server and add it to the authorized_keys file, allowing you to log in with your YubiKey.

Step 5: Configure Your SSH Client

Finally, we need to configure our SSH client to use our YubiKey for authentication. Enter the following command in Terminal:

nano ~/.ssh/config

This command will open the SSH configuration file in the Nano text editor. Add the following lines to the file:

Host *
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey
IdentitiesOnly yes
PreferredAuthentications publickey

Save the file by pressing Ctrl+X, then Y, then Enter.

Step 6: Test Your YubiKey SSH

To test your YubiKey SSH, try logging in to your remote server using the following command:

ssh username@server

If everything is set up correctly, you should be prompted to insert your YubiKey to complete the authentication process.

So, using YubiKey SSH is an effective way to secure your Mac and protect your sensitive data. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up YubiKey SSH on your Mac and enjoy the benefits of multi-factor authentication. Stay safe online!

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