How to Generate New SSH Keys for Secure Remote Access
SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol that allows you to securely connect to a remote server or device using encryption and authentication. SSH keys are pairs of cryptographic keys that can be used to establish a secure SSH connection without entering a password every time. In this article, you will learn how to generate new SSH keys for your Linux or Windows machine and how to use them to access your remote server.
Why Generate New SSH Keys
Generating new SSH keys has several benefits, such as:
Enhancing the security of your SSH connection by using a unique and strong key pair that only you have access to.
Preventing unauthorized access to your remote server or device by disabling password authentication and only allowing key-based authentication.
Improving the performance of your SSH connection by reducing the overhead of encryption and decryption.
How to Generate New SSH Keys on Linux
If you are using a Linux machine, you can generate new SSH keys using the ssh-keygen command. Here are the steps to follow:
Open a terminal and enter the following command: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C \"email@example.com\". This will create a new RSA key pair with 4096 bits of length and your email address as a comment. You can replace the email address with any identifier you want.
You will be prompted to enter a file name and a passphrase for your key pair. You can accept the default file name by pressing Enter, or choose a different one if you want. The passphrase is optional, but recommended for extra security. It will be used to encrypt your private key and prevent unauthorized use. Enter a strong passphrase and confirm it by typing it again.
Your new SSH keys will be generated and stored in the specified file name (or the default one if you didn't specify one). The public key will have a .pub extension and the private key will have no extension. You can view them by using the cat command, for example: cat /.ssh/id_rsa.pub.
To use your new SSH keys to access your remote server, you need to copy your public key to the server's authorized_keys file. You can do this by using the ssh-copy-id command, for example: ssh-copy-id user@server_ip. This will prompt you to enter your password for the remote server and then append your public key to the authorized_keys file. You can also do this manually by copying and pasting your public key into the file.
Once you have copied your public key to the remote server, you can test your SSH connection by using the ssh command, for example: ssh user@server_ip. If you have set a passphrase for your private key, you will be asked to enter it. Otherwise, you will be logged in without entering a password.
How to Generate New SSH Keys on Windows
If you are using a Windows machine, you can generate new SSH keys using a tool called PuTTYgen. Here are the steps to follow:
Download PuTTYgen from here and run it.
Select RSA as the type of key to generate and 4096 as the number of bits in the key.
Click on Generate and move your mouse randomly over the blank area to generate some randomness for your key pair.
You will see your public key in the text box. You can copy it or save it to a file by clicking on Save public key. You can also enter a comment for your key pair, such as your email address or any identifier you want.
You will also see your private key in another text box. You can protect it with a passphrase by entering it in the Key passphrase and Confirm passphrase fields. This is optional, but recommended for extra security. Then click on Save private key and choose a file name and location for your private key.