What are SSH Keys?

If you spend enough time in an IT environment, you will likely come across the term SSH keys. If you’ve already come across this IT term, then you might find yourself wondering, what are SSH keys? SSH (Secure Shell) keys are an access credential that is used in the SSH protocol. Read the rest of this post to learn more about what are SSH keys or consider watching webinar below to find out more about the SSH protocol and the basics of SSH authentication.

Before this post delves into an explanation on what are SSH keys, let’s take a quick look at the SSH protocol.

The SSH Protocol

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The first version of the SSH protocol was developed in the summer of 1995 by Tatu Ylonen. Tatu was a researcher at the University of Helsinki when a sniffing attack was discovered on the university network. A sniffing attack intercepts and logs the traffic that takes place on a network, and can provide attackers with usernames and passwords which can then be used to gain access to critical IT assets. Thousands of credentials were impacted, including those belonging to community partnerships. This sniffing attack motivated Tatu to figure out how to make networks more secure, and this ultimately led to the creation of the SSH protocol (SSH.com).

Today, the SSH protocol is widely used to login remotely from one system into another, and its strong encryption makes it ideal to carry out tasks such as issuing remote commands and remotely managing network infrastructure and other vital system components. To use the SSH protocol, a couple pieces of software need to be installed. The remote systems need to have a piece of software called an SSH daemon, and the system used to issue commands and manage the remote servers needs to have a piece of software called the SSH client. These pieces of software are necessary to create a proper communication channel using the SSH protocol (DigitalOcean).

SSH keys are an authentication method used to gain access to this encrypted connection between systems.

What are SSH keys?

SSH Keys

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/what-are-ssh-keys/

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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