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I changed my permissions in my .ssh folder and now when I use a piece of software that uses my private key, I have to type my password each time. What should my permissions be on my id_rsa file to not have to type a password each time I use an app that uses it?

Currently my permissions are set to:

-rw-------@ 1 Jody  staff   114 Nov  4 23:29 config

-rw-------  1 Jody  staff  1743 Oct 21  2009 id_rsa

-rw-------@ 1 Jody  staff   397 Oct 21  2009 id_rsa.pub

-rw-------@ 1 Jody  staff  3855 Sep 13 22:35 known_hosts


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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 27 '10 at 2:02

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4 Answers 4

Typically you want the .ssh directory permissions to be 700 (drwx------) and the public key (.pub file) to be 644 (-rw-r--r--). Your private key (id_rsa) should be 600 (-rw-------).

I am asssuming that you mean that you have to enter your system/user password each time, and that previously you did not have to. cdhowie's response is assuming you set a password/passphrase when generating your keys, and if you did then as he says you will have to enter your password every time unless you use an ssh agent.

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I found elsewhere that if using the authorized_keys file, that it should be chmod'd to 640, ie -rw-r----- . –  AnneTheAgile Sep 11 '14 at 21:19
Where I can find this info in man pages? –  Sonique Nov 17 '14 at 15:56
I have come back to this post about 30 times now. I cant believe I cant remember it. –  JREAM Apr 2 at 21:35

Also ensure that your home directory is not writeable by other users.

chmod g-w,o-w ~

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chmod g-w,o-w ~ –  Kokizzu Apr 6 '13 at 13:22

Permissions shouldn't have anything to do with this. Your private key is encrypted with the password, so you need to enter it for the private key to be decrypted and usable.

You might consider running an ssh agent, which can cache decrypted keys and will supply them to applications that need them.

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Thanks for the additional info about the ssh agent. Looks like there is one built into Leopard so I think I'll do that. Having a bit of trouble with it but I'll ask another question. –  Jody G Nov 26 '10 at 22:18
Do not underestimate permissions. They definitely still come into play. –  Alex W May 15 at 19:49

Felipe is correct -- the directory containing your .ssh directory must not be writeable by group or other. Thus chmod go-w ~ is the next logical thing to try if you are still prompted for a password when ssh'ing after running ssh-keygen -t rsa; cp ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ~/.ssh/authorized_keys, assuming you don't assign a passphrase in the ssh-keygen command, and your .ssh directory is in your home directory.

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