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I'm trying to create a user on a Linux box that can only log on via ssh with a key specified in authorized_keys. The user should not be able to log on via password, neither via ssh nor locally at the console. How would I do this?

Currently I do:

useradd -m myuser
passwd myuser
vi /etc/shadow

and replace the password field with '*'. There must be a better way? If I don't set the passwd first, ssh won't work either saying in the log "User myuser not allowed because account is locked"

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passwd -l myuser will effectively disable user password

  • Didn't know about that flag. Thank you. – Johannes Ernst Jan 25 '15 at 21:04
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Give them a password and don't tell them what it is.

  • Never mind the user; the machine is on the public internet, and I simply don't want the possibility of anybody logging on without ssh keys which are stronger than any password. – Johannes Ernst Jan 25 '15 at 4:57
  • @JohannesErnst If you use head -c57 /dev/urandom | base64 to generate the password, then nobody is going to guess that password. – kasperd Jan 25 '15 at 9:00

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