How to Store an SSH Key on a YubikeyRead time in minutes: 3
SSH keys suck. They are a file on the disk and you can easily move it to other machines instead of storing them in hardware where they can't be exfiltrated. Using a password to encrypt the private key is a viable option, but the UX for that is hot garbage. It's allegedly the future, so surely we MUST have some way to make this all better, right?
Luckily, there is actually something we can do for this! As of OpenSSH 8.2 (Feburary 14, 2020) you are able to store an SSH private key on a yubikey! Here's how to do it.
here for more
information, or run
nix-shell -p yubikey-manager to run it without installing
it on NixOS), plug in your yubikey and run
$ ykman list YubiKey 5C NFC (5.4.3) [OTP+FIDO+CCID] Serial: 4206942069
If you haven't set a PIN for the yubikey yet, follow this to set a PIN of your choice. Once you do this, you can generate a new SSH key with the following command:
ssh-keygen -t ed25519-sk -O resident
ecdsa-skinstead! Some hardware keys may not support storing the key on the key itself.
Then enter in a super secret password (such as the Tongues you received as a kid
when you were forced into learning the bible against your will) twice and then
add that key to your agent with
ssh-add -K. Then you can list your keys with
$ ssh-add -L firstname.lastname@example.org AAAAGnNrLXNzaC1lZDI1NTE5QG9wZW5zc2guY29tAAAAIKgGePSwpBuHUhrFCRLch9Usqi7L0fKtgTRnh6F/R+ruAAAABHNzaDo= cadey@shachi
Then you can copy this public key to GitHub or whatever and authenticate as
normal. The private key is stored on your yubikey directly and you can add it
ssh-add -K. You can delete the ssh key stub at
then your yubikey will be the only thing holding that key.