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I am having difficulties logging in to a VPS running CentOS 5.5 using Public key authentication. I can log in to both a standard user account and the root account using password authentication. I am using Windows and Cygwin, all Cygwin and Windows stuff has been working completely fine for months; I am sure the issue is server side.

I have used ssh-keygen to create both an id_rsa private key and an id_rsa.pub public key. I have copied this into the user directory on the server and done cat id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys. My /home/myuser/.ssh directory is set to 700, the authorized_keys file is set to 600.

When logging in my system reports the following (-vvv):

Next authentication method: publickey
Offering RSA public key /.ssh/id_rsa
send_pubkey_test
we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
Authentications that can continue: publickey,password

Then asks me for a password. From my server's /var/log/auth file I have the following related to the public key process

sshd[28249]: input_userauth_request: try method publickey
sshd[28249]: test whether pkalg/pkblob are acceptable
sshd[28249]: mm_key_allowed entering
sshd[28249]: mm_request_send entering: type 21
sshd[28249]: mm_key_allowed: waiting for MONITOR_ANS_KEYALLOWED
sshd[28249]: mm_request_receive_expect entering: type 22
sshd[28248]: monitor_read: checking request 21
sshd[28249]: mm_request_receive entering
sshd[28248]: mm_answer_keyallowed entering
sshd[28248]: mm_answer_keyallowed: key_from_blob: 0x2b6ea1049910
sshd[28248]: temporarily_use_uid: 10022/10022 (e=0/0)
sshd[28248]: trying public key file /home/myuser/.ssh/authorized_keys
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: checking '/home/myuser/.ssh'
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: checking '/home/myuser'
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: terminating check at '/home/myuser'
sshd[28248]: restore_uid: 0/0
sshd[28248]: key not found
sshd[28248]: temporarily_use_uid: 10022/10022 (e=0/0)
sshd[28248]: trying public key file /home/myuser/.ssh/authorized_keys
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: checking '/home/myuser/.ssh'
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: checking '/home/myuser'
sshd[28248]: secure_filename: terminating check at '/home/myuser '
sshd[28248]: restore_uid: 0/0
sshd[28248]: key not found
sshd[28248]: Normalising mapped IPv4 in IPv6 address
sshd[28248]: Failed publickey for myuser from 87.115.220.187 port 59636 ssh2

As if it can't find the authorized_keys file. However the command nano /home/myuser/.ssh/authorized_keys opens the file without issue.

From /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

PubkeyAuthentication yes
AuthorizedKeysFile  .ssh/authorized_keys

Some people have reported that line breaks in the authorized_keys file can cause issues so I've made sure there are none (only 1 key in it anyway). The file begins with ssh-rsa then has the long key and finally a space and M1ke@M1ke-PC.

Anyone got any ideas?

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  • Also the myuser directory is also set to 700. Can't remember if I did that or it was already that way.
    – M1ke
    Mar 10, 2012 at 19:00
  • What about file ownerships? Does myuser own all the relevant dirs and files on the server side? Mar 10, 2012 at 19:58
  • 1
    Can you append the following output to your question: ls -ld /home/myuser/.ssh{,/authorized_keys}. I suspect that perhaps the user doesn't own the directory and file? Mar 10, 2012 at 20:01
  • Run sshd with debug, then it logs very clear info about permission issues via syslog.
    – jirib
    Mar 10, 2012 at 20:28
  • @JiriXichtkniha In RHEL/CentOS this sort of information is logged to /var/log/secure without any modification to the configuration.
    – Kyle Smith
    Mar 10, 2012 at 22:11

2 Answers 2

3

If you really did do this cat id_rsa.pub < authorized_keys then your authorized_keys file won't then contain a public key to match the private key you are using so ssh falls back to password authentication. To fix the problem

cat id_rsa.pub >>authorized_keys

to add the new public key to your authorized_keys.

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  • Um, no. cat id_rsa.pub < authorized_keys doesn't overwrite anything. But it definitely doesn't do anything useful, either. I suspect the question simply has a typo, replacing < for >. Mar 10, 2012 at 23:08
  • You're right! but if the op did that then authorized_keys still won't have the correct public key and would be asked for the password.
    – user9517
    Mar 10, 2012 at 23:11
  • True, but later in the question, OP mentions that he has inspected the authorized_keys file, and that it does contain (what he assumes to be) his public key. Mar 10, 2012 at 23:16
  • ass u me - without any other evidence ...
    – user9517
    Mar 10, 2012 at 23:19
  • Aha, now I believe I can agree with your answer. +1. Mar 10, 2012 at 23:30
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Is SELinux enabled ? If yes, the file requires context to be set.

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  • a) How do I find out if it is enabled? b) If so, how do I "set context"?
    – M1ke
    Mar 11, 2012 at 19:26
  • The link on the post has that information. Anyways, run "sestatus" as root to view the current selinux status. If it is enabled, you could disable selinux altogether as a temporary measure, until you completely read and understand on managing SELinux. Mar 11, 2012 at 19:36
  • I looked up SELinux and ran "sestatus". It is set to "disabled".
    – M1ke
    Mar 11, 2012 at 19:45
  • What are the "PubkeyAuthentication" and "AuthorizedKeysFile" directives in /etc/ssh/sshd_config set to ? Mar 11, 2012 at 20:24
  • Edited it into OP.
    – M1ke
    Mar 12, 2012 at 10:26

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