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Thread: Can I simply transfer private RSA keys?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Beans
    131
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Can I simply transfer private RSA keys?

    I understand this may be a bit basic, but I do appreciate any help that is offered.

    I set up RSA key authentication between my laptop (running 12.04) and my web server so I an ssh to the server without a password. It all works flawlessly.

    Lets say I wanted to reinstall 12.04 for some reason. Or, maybe I wanted to authenticate my desktop (also running 12.04) to my web server. Can I simply copy the RSA keys in my ~/.ssh directory to the ~/.ssh directory of the other computer and have everything work flawlessly?

    It's simply the _presence_ of the key in the proper directory that authenticates the computer, correct?
    The 800lb penguin in the room

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Beans
    1,531

    Re: Can I simply transfer private RSA keys?

    Kind of. There's a public and a private key. When you generated keys on the laptop, you transferred the public key over to the server. You never share the private key.

    I would generate new keys on the desktop and transfer the public key over to the server if you want to also ssh from the desktop to the server.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Beans
    131
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Can I simply transfer private RSA keys?

    Gotcha, thank you for the response
    The 800lb penguin in the room

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