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Using YubiKey with ssh-keygen for Enhanced Security

Using YubiKey with ssh-keygen for Enhanced Security

In today's world, security is one of the most important aspects of any online activity. One of the most commonly used methods for secure access to remote servers is by using the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. However, even with SSH, there is still a risk of unauthorized access and data theft. One way to enhance the security of your SSH connections is by using a YubiKey.

YubiKey is a hardware-based authentication device that can be used for secure access to online services, including SSH connections. In this article, we will discuss how to use YubiKey with ssh-keygen to enhance the security of your SSH connections.

Step 1: Obtain a YubiKey

The first step is to obtain a YubiKey. You can purchase one from the Yubico website or from a third-party vendor. Once you have your YubiKey, you need to set it up for use with your system.

Step 2: Install OpenSSH

The next step is to install OpenSSH if it is not already installed on your system. To install OpenSSH on Ubuntu, for example, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Step 3: Generate SSH key pair

The next step is to generate an SSH key pair. To generate an SSH key pair using ssh-keygen, use the following command:

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

This command generates a new SSH key pair using the ed25519 algorithm with a key derivation function (KDF) rounds parameter of 100. The private key is stored in the ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey file.

Step 4: Add public key to authorized keys

The next step is to add the public key to the authorized keys file on the remote server. To do this, copy the contents of the ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey.pub file to the authorized_keys file on the remote server using the following command:

cat ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey.pub | ssh user@remote-server 'mkdir -p ~/.ssh && cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys'

Step 5: Configure ssh-agent

The next step is to configure ssh-agent to use the YubiKey. To do this, first, ensure that the ssh-agent is running using the following command:

eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"

Then, add the private key to the ssh-agent using the following command:

ssh-add -K ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey

Step 6: Test the SSH connection

The final step is to test the SSH connection. To do this, use the following command:

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_yubikey user@remote-server

If the SSH connection is successful, you should now be able to access the remote server using your YubiKey for authentication.

So, using a YubiKey with ssh-keygen can significantly enhance the security of your SSH connections. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily set up a YubiKey for use with your SSH connections. Remember to always keep your YubiKey in a safe place and never share your private key with anyone.

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  • That's it for this post. Keep practicing and have fun. Leave your comments if any.

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