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Why does ssh -v say:

debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering RSA public key: /home/<user>/.ssh/id_rsa

This message seems to say that it sends my private key (id_rsa) over the network? But I suspect that I misunderstand what is meant by "Offering" here.

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The message is about public key and it's derived from the private key. – gronostaj Jul 9 '13 at 9:07
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's trying to authenticate automatically via your SSH public key. By default it uses the public counterpart for the key /home/<user>/.ssh/id_rsa. If you had some other key that you would prefer to use, you could do, for example, $ ssh-add /home/<user>/.ssh/other_key.

It's nothing to worry about since only your public key is being sent, which is, by definition, OK to be sent in the open.

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