SSH public key authentication
I’ve been having fun with SSH lately. Did you know you can set up SSH so you can log in to servers without having to provide a password? It’s called “public key authentication” and is apparently more secure than using a normal password. You generate a public/private key using a program called
ssh-keygen, and store a copy of the public key on the server(s) you wish to authenticate with. When you attempt to log in, the server sends you a message encrypted with your public key—your machine decrypts it and sends back the original message, proving your identity.
I learnt how to set it up from this PDF file (well, actually the Google HTML conversion). PuTTY on Windows has the same capability but needs to be set up in a very different way—information on that can be found in the excellent PuTTY documentation.
I’m probably the last person on earth to cotton on to this, but it’s so neat I just had to share.