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Reducing the number of passwords

For a list of commands to execute, see the quickstart guide for

Windows

or

Mac OSX and Linux.

RSA (and DSA) key pairs provide an alternative to using passwords. They are called a key pair because they consist of two parts, a private key part and a public key. The public key part can be shouted to the world, but the private key part should be kept secret (just like a password).

To use a key pair to connect to MASSIVE, you must place your public key in a special file (see the quick start guides). This configures MASSIVE to let anyone with the corresponding private key access your account (hence the need to keep your private key secret).

To make the private key secure, you usually encrypt it with a passphrase (this way if your laptop is stolen, its not easy for the theif to gain access to your MASSIVE account).

To make using the keypair convenient you usually load the private key into a keychain or agent and provide the passphrase the first time you use it. The next time you connect to MASSIVE you won't need your MASSIVE password (because your using the key) or the private key passphrase (because the agent will remember this for you till you next reboot).

To make the keypair even more convenient you can configure "Agent Forwarding". Consider the situation where you have two computers, say MASSIVE and NCI. You can log into either of these with your keypair(s) without a password. What you would really like to do though is copy files from NCI to MASSIVE without using your passwords. One way to solve this is to create another keypair on MASSIVE and configure NCI to trust that key. A Better way is with Agent fowarding. In this case if you are loggd into MASSIVE and attempt to connect to NCI, NCI will try to verify your identity using your keypair, but rather than MASSIVE trying to provide the verification it will Forward the request back to your laptop or workstation to verify your identity.

 

Now that you've read the explination of what keypairs are please go onto the Quickstart guides for

Windows

or

Mac OSX and Linux.

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