Presently, OpenSSH 7.8 (Fedora 28/Arch) is unable to negotiate with a OpenSSH 7.4 (CentOS 7) server utilizing a certificate signed key, as described in a bug filed on redhat's bugzilla. OpenSSH release notes indicate a change in the signature negotiation algorithm must now be explicitly defined. While 2 new signatures algorithms are now allowed (since 7.7), a bug or by intention, [email protected] user certificate are no longer able to be used for authentication.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -f test
  2. ssh-keygen -s cert.key -I "signedcert" -n testuser test.pub
  3. ssh -i test -vvv user@serverip

I am attempting to work around this issue by modifying the algorithm utilized in the certificate signing process.

ssh-keygen -L -f test.crt
    Type: [email protected] user certificate
    Public key: RSA-CERT SHA256:<fingerprint>
    Signing CA: RSA SHA256:<fingerprint>

The default for ssh-keygen is to sign the key in [email protected].

According to OpenSSH 7.8 doc, PROTOCOL.certkeys.

All certificate types include certification information along with the
public key that is used to sign challenges. In OpenSSH, ssh-keygen
performs the CA signing operation.

Certified keys are represented using new key types:

    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

Two additional types exist for RSA certificates to force use of
SHA-2 signatures (SHA-256 and SHA-512 respectively):

    [email protected]
    [email protected]

This tells me there are 7 key types available, how do I specify one in ssh-keygen certificate signing process.

Please Note:

  • The following configuration change on client or server does not work for me.

    PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes rsa-sha2-256,rsa-sha2-512,[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

  • Signing the key in ed25519 format is not backward compatible to servers with openssh 5.3, such as CentOS 6 and thus will not be considered a solution.

Two solutions are possible here.

  1. Find a suitable workaround to allow [email protected] user certificates again.
  2. Find a way to change the certificate signing algorithm in ssh-keygen.

Update: ( 1 day later )

According to a user on #openssh, a certificate signature algorithm is set by the key used to sign the private key. This means, if I can figure out how to change the RSA algorithm from RSA:SHA1 to RSA:SHA2 I might be able to force the certificate signing algorithm to be sha2-256, which is possible on both sides with an additional work around.

Update: ( 12 day later )

Watching the bug report submitted, there has been little progress made... or so it appeared. I was able to have an informal conversation with a RHEL employee who took a look at my bug and stated the right people are looking at it and since this is also effecting RHEL will likely have a fix with RHEL/CentOS 7.6

1 Answer 1


The linked article documents the following approach:

ssh-keygen -s cert.key -I "signedcert" -n testuser  -t rsa-sha2-256 test.pub

The key being the -t rsa-sha2-256 parameter.

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