keychain is a manager for ssh-agent, typically run from ~/.bash_profile file on a CentOS Linux. It allows your shells and cron jobs to easily share a single ssh-agent process. By default, the ssh-agent started by keychain is long-running and will continue to run, even after you have logged out from the system. If you want to change this behavior, pass the --clear and --timeout options, described below.
This page shows how to install Keychain manager on a CentOS Linux version 6.x or 7.x using the yum command.
Step 1 – Enable psychotic repo
Type the following rpm command to import gpg key:
$ sudo rpm --import http://wiki.psychotic.ninja/RPM-GPG-KEY-psychotic
Install repository configuration by typing the following command:
$ sudo rpm -ivh http://packages.psychotic.ninja/6/base/i386/RPMS/psychotic-release-1.0.0-1.el6.psychotic.noarch.rpm
Retrieving http://packages.psychotic.ninja/6/base/i386/RPMS/psychotic-release-1.0.0-1.el6.psychotic.noarch.rpm Preparing... (100%################################# [100%] Updating / installing... 1:psychotic-release-1.0.0-1.el6.psy ( 2%################################# [100%]
Step 2 – Install keychain
Type the following yum command to install keychain:
$ sudo yum --enablerepo=psychotic install keychain
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile * base: centos-hn.viettelidc.com.vn * epel: ftp.cuhk.edu.hk * extras: mirrors.vinahost.vn * updates: centos.excellmedia.net Resolving Dependencies --> Running transaction check ---> Package keychain.noarch 0:2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic will be installed --> Finished Dependency Resolution Dependencies Resolved ====================================================================== Package Arch Version Repository Size ====================================================================== Installing: keychain noarch 2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic psychotic 44 k Transaction Summary ====================================================================== Install 1 Package Total download size: 44 k Installed size: 97 k Is this ok [y/d/N]: y Downloading packages: keychain-2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic.noarch.rpm | 44 kB 00:01 Running transaction check Running transaction test Transaction test succeeded Running transaction Warning: RPMDB altered outside of yum. Installing : keychain-2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic.noarch 1/1 Verifying : keychain-2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic.noarch 1/1 Installed: keychain.noarch 0:2.8.0-3.el7.psychotic Complete!
Step 3 – Setup SSH keys with passphrase
You need to setup SSH keys with passphrase. The syntax is:
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa
Assign the pass phrase when prompted. See the following step-by-step guide for detailed information:
- How To Setup SSH Keys on a Linux / Unix System
- Howto Linux / UNIX setup SSH with DSA public key authentication (password less login)
- Howto use multiple SSH keys for password less login
- SSH Public Key Based Authentication
Step 4 – Update your ~/.bash_profile
Once OpenSSH keys are configured with a pass phrase, update your $HOME/.bash_profile file which is your personal initialization file, executed for login BASH shells using a text editor such as vi command/nano command/vim command:
$ vi $HOME/.bash_profile
Append the following:
/usr/bin/keychain $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa source $HOME/.keychain/$HOSTNAME-sh
OR use the eval command as follows in your ~/.bash_profile:
eval $(/usr/bin/keychain --eval --agents ssh id_rsa)
Save and close the file.
Step 4 – Test it
Use the ssh command to login as follows from your desktop/laptop/other servers:
$ ssh root@centos-7-server
$ ssh vivek@centos-7-server-ip-here
Step 5 – What next?
keyhcain is up and running on your CentOS 6.x/7.x box. Now, all you have to do is append your servers key file $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub to other UNIX / Linux / BSD / macOS boxes:
## [ copy file to my MacbookPRO macOS and x230 Ubuntu Linux laptop ] ##
# ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub vivek@macbookpro
# ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub vivek@x230
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: Source of key(s) to be installed: "/root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub" The authenticity of host 'x230 (192.168.2.21)' can't be established. ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:gz7S2ecz/V4kMkVVH4LZOCyA2J17luVfEUS1uxiHVsg. ECDSA key fingerprint is MD5:5d:78:32:df:ac:fe:4f:33:4e:02:93:da:99:d4:4b:b5. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes /usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: attempting to log in with the new key(s), to filter out any that are already installed /usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: 1 key(s) remain to be installed -- if you are prompted now it is to install the new keys vivek@x230's password: Number of key(s) added: 1 Now try logging into the machine, with: "ssh 'vivek@x230'" and check to make sure that only the key(s) you wanted were added.
How do I delete all of ssh-agent’s keys?
The syntax is:
Typically this is used in .bash_profile. The theory behind this is that keychain should assume that you are an intruder until proven otherwise. However, while this option increases security, it still allows your cron jobs to use your ssh keys when you’re logged out. For example, the following grep command shows backup server entry:
$ grep 'keychain' $HOME/.bash_profile
/usr/bin/keychain --clear $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
How do I set a timeout in minutes on my keys?
The syntax is:
keychain --timeout minutes
/usr/bin/keychain --timeout 30 $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
This is conveyed to ssh-agent which does the actual timing out of keys since keychain doesn’t run continuously. For more info see the following resources:
- How to install keychain SSH key manager for OpenSSH running on an Ubuntu/Debian Linux
- Man pages: keychain(1)
- Keychain project home page
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