SSH folder random default keys are present

Posted September 16, 2020 506 views

Hi, when I create droplets I use the existing functionality provided on the website to automatically add ssh keys to the new server.

I can see my keys are added under /root/.ssh/authorized_keys. That works fine.

However, I have noticed that the /etc/ssh folder has some of it`s own default keys which I never put there.

I cannot delete them because the sshd config defaults to them.

\#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
\#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
\#HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key

At the same time I cannot change the config to point to /root/.ssh/authorized_keys file as it complains about invalid format.

I could not find any documentation explaining the scenario.

edited by bobbyiliev

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1 answer

Hi there @philippe15,

You should not really change the HostKey values in sshd_config to point to the /root/.ssh folder, as the /root/.ssh folder contains your client keys.

The keys that you are seeing in /etc/ssh/ssh_host_<rsa/dsa/ecdsa/ed25519>_key are the host keys. Those host keys are generated automatically by OpenSSH when the server first boots.

For more information on how the SSH Host Keys work I recommend checking out the official documentation here:

Hope that this helps.