Just set up a new EC2 instance, downloaded the pem file and currently cannot get into the box. I'm using the command...

$ ssh -i .ssh/key.pem ubuntu@ec2-176-34-183-***.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com

...and being asked for a passphrase. I didn't assign a passphrase when I generated the key pair though! Why would this be happening?

Anway, I had a dig around and found out how to remove passphrase from the key:

$ openssl rsa -in key.pem -out key-nopass.pem

Still no joy, although passphrase has indeed been removed. Here's my detailed output:

OpenSSH_5.3p1 Debian-3ubuntu7, OpenSSL 0.9.8k 25 Mar 2009
debug1: Reading configuration data /home/bob/.ssh/config
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to ec2-176-34-183-***.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com [176.34.183.***] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file key-nopass.pem type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_5.3p1 Debian-    3ubuntu7
debug1: match: OpenSSH_5.3p1 Debian-3ubuntu7 pat OpenSSH*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_5.3p1 Debian-3ubuntu7
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REQUEST(1024<1024<8192) sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_GROUP
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_INIT sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REPLY
debug1: Host 'ec2-176-34-183-***.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com' is known and matches the RSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/bob/.ssh/known_hosts:1
debug1: ssh_rsa_verify: signature correct
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Trying private key: key-nopass.pem
debug1: read PEM private key done: type RSA
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
debug1: No more authentication methods to try.
Permission denied (publickey).

BTW pem file permissions are set at 600. Why can't I log in?

  • 1
    If it had asked you for a passphrase, and you didn't encrypt the private key file, is it possible you're actually not using the right key file? – cjc Apr 26 '12 at 14:54

There could be a few things going on here. First of all, it looks like you are trying to log into the ubuntu user. Are you sure that user exists and that that key pair is associated with that user? I'd try logging in as root instead and see if that works.

Another possibility is that your private key is wrong. Did you download it directly or did you create a key using copy/paste? If the latter, you may not have not pasted it correctly.

The permissions are correct, so it must be one of the above. The private key is either not in authorized_keys where you are trying to log in, or you have the wrong/corrupt key.

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