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Re: targetted SSH bruteforce attacks
From: Marsh Ray <marsh () extendedsubset com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 14:11:35 -0500

On 6/17/2010 3:21 PM, Paul Schmehl wrote:
--On Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:04:52 -0700 Xin LI <delphij () gmail com> wrote:

Of course it's wise to disable password authentication and just use
public key authentication.

Why?  Ssh is encrypted, so you're not exposing a password when you login.  How 
does public key authentication make you more secure (in a practical sense)?

In the case of SSH password auth you are handing the plaintext password
directly to any server you log in to. For many of us, this is basically
any time we're expecting to contact that server for the first time from
that client machine. For users who are willing to bypass a server key
mismatch warning, they may be giving away their password every time.

I know there's somebody out there who always verifies server
fingerprints through an independent trusted channel before accepting
them. I would like to meet this person.

Often the same password is used on multiple systems (e.g.
kerberos/active directory).

However, if the client is configured to only use public key auth,
accidentally connecting to a malicious server does not automatically
give the bad guy your plaintext password.

- Marsh

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