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I can connect to my EC2 Linux instance via ssh using the key pair (*.pem). Is it somehow possible to connect it with ssh with out the pem file?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can create a regular user account with a password and use that to log in, but it's not as secure as using SSH keys; you'll be open to script kiddies trying to crack your passwords. You could also enable password access for root if you're really not too worried about security.

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Actually I'm very concerned about security, but I don't like to carry the pem files arround. – Jan Deinhard Aug 4 '10 at 17:40
vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

- PasswordAuthentication no
+ PasswordAuthentication yes

service sshd restart
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This is what should be, it worked for me. Thanks. – Jirapong Feb 3 '11 at 8:09

You can configure whatever login system you like including turning off keys and using pure password authentication, however this is NOT recommended if you have any interest in keeping your box secure.

Your keys should also be pass phrase protected so that the part you are carrying around isn't a free ride if into your server in case you ever use a compromised local machine. I suggest generating your own keys to do this.

You can keep your private key file in a service like dropbox or saved as an attachment to your email if you need access to it on the road and are worried about forgetting it. The combination of password on your email or dropbox account plus the pass phrase on the key itself should be a reasonable degree of security.

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