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I have been working on a openSSL.cnf file that I intend to use to create my own PKI. I was not done working on that file yet, but I had to do something else. So I wrote it to disk unfinished, detached my screen session and logged out. Ever since, I cannot log back into the machine using SSH w/ a private key (which is the only way of getting to the machine).

If I run ssh -vvv example.com, I get the following

OpenSSH_4.6p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8e 23 Feb 2007
debug2: ssh_connect: needpriv 0
debug1: Connecting to example.com [1.2.3.4] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /c/Users/user/.ssh/identity type -1
debug3: Not a RSA1 key file /c/Users/user/.ssh/id_rsa.
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type '-----BEGIN'
debug3: key_read: missing keytype
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type 'Proc-Type:'
debug3: key_read: missing keytype
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type 'DEK-Info:'
debug3: key_read: missing keytype
debug3: key_read: missing whitespace
  ^^^ this line 24 more times ^^^
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type '-----END'
debug3: key_read: missing keytype
debug1: identity file /c/Users/user/.ssh/id_rsa type -1
debug1: identity file /c/Users/user/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

It looks like ssh is complaining about the formatting of my ~/.ssh/id_rsa. However, the same key still works for different servers. Anyway, here's what my identity file looks like:

-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
Proc-Type: 4,ENCRYPTED
DEK-Info: DES-EDE3-CBC,...

...
-----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----

On the client, I am using the ssh implementation that ships with GitBash, since this gives me the most detailed output. (Putty is not so talkative in the debug department).

Did I mess up the sshd configuration on the server? Can I somehow still force my way in using ssh and the appropriate identity files? The server runs debian 6

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  • 1
    Why are you using an ssh and ssl that's nearly six years old? Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 22:34
  • You know how it goes: You inherit a server and don't have the time to polish all the bells and whistles.
    – derabbink
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 7:55
  • Updating ssh 4.6 is not polishing. Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 15:04
  • 1
    Allright. I'll do that. In the mean time, I'd still like to know an answer to my question.
    – derabbink
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 19:32

1 Answer 1

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I figured out the answer myself, once I gained access to the server again.

The answer is yes. Moving my incompletely edited /etc/ssl/openssl.conf to /root/messed-up.openssl.cnf fixed the problem for me.

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