Using SSH Keys for Secure Access

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15 minutes
  • 5 Learning Objectives

About this Hands-on Lab

Understanding the creation and exchange of SSH keys is a key concept to grasp as a System Administrator. In this lab, we will generate keys on two systems using the ssh-keygen utility and learn how to exchange and verify the keys with a remote system, using `ssh-copy-id` and associated key files on each. At the end of this lab, we will understand how to create secure keys for remote access, how to exchange them, and where to store them on each system involved in the chain.

Learning Objectives

Successfully complete this lab by achieving the following learning objectives:

Generate a New SSH Key Pair for cloud_user on server1

Using the ssh-keygen command, create a new key pair for the cloud_user user on server1:

ssh-keygen
Copy the SSH Key from server1 to server2

Using the ssh-copy-id command, transfer the public key to the remote user’s account:

ssh-copy-id cloud_user@server2
Log into server2 with SSH

If the previous step was done correctly, we should be able to log into server2 without using a password:

ssh cloud_user@server2
Generate a New SSH Key Pair for cloud_user on server2

Using the ssh-keygen command, create a new key pair for cloud_user user on server2:

ssh-keygen 
Copy the SSH Key from server2 to server1 and login to server1

Using the ssh-copy-id command, transfer the public key to the remote user’s account and login without a password.

ssh-copy-id server1
ssh server1

Additional Resources

We have been provided with credentials and connectivity information to two new server instances. The service account the team wishes to use is the cloud_user one that we were provided. Following company security policy, a complex password has been set that is making periodic connections, copies, and service configurations hard for the team. They have asked us to simplify the process and create a trust for the service account between the two systems.

We have determined that the easiest method for making the trust between the two systems, while maintaining security, would be to use SSH keys and exchange them between the systems. We will need to create keys on both servers for the cloud_user service account, and then exchange each server's account key with the other. This will facilitate connections from one system to the other, and the reverse, regardless of the initiating system.

What are Hands-on Labs

Hands-on Labs are real environments created by industry experts to help you learn. These environments help you gain knowledge and experience, practice without compromising your system, test without risk, destroy without fear, and let you learn from your mistakes. Hands-on Labs: practice your skills before delivering in the real world.

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