sshd will refuse to accept public key authentication if the user's home directory is group-accessible, even if
~/.ssh is set to 700? If the permissions on
~/.ssh are acceptable, why do the permissions on
I guess the reason is that if your home directory is writable by someone else, then a malicious user can create
~/.ssh, add desired keys and then change permissions on it to 700.
Even if you already have a
~/.ssh, it can simply be renamed to something else and a new one created.
However, on modern systems such trick is usually not possible due to
chown working only for super-user, this has not always been the case:
In earlier versions of UNIX, all users could run the chown command to change the ownership of a file that they owned to that of any other user on the system. (http://www.diablotin.com/librairie/networking/puis/ch05_07.htm)
Whether chmod behaves one way or another depends on libc compilation options, and for the sake of security OpenSSH server is slightly paranoid.
Okay to fix this you could either go the insecure route and set
StrictModes no in your
/etc/ssh/sshd_config as was already mentioned or you could go the complicated way and store the ssh-keys for all users in a directory accessible to root only. Here a the steps for the latter:
Create a directory to hold the new keys. Here we'll use
/usr/share/sshkeys, wich might not be the best place but the best I can think of out of my head.
sudo mkdir /usr/share/sshkeys
/etc/ssh/sshd_configto include the line
Copy the old authorized key file from your user (here called "exampleuser") to the new directory
mv /home/exampleuser/.ssh/authorized_keys /usr/share/sshkeys/exampleuser
(Optional but recommended since exampleuser will expect to be able to add keys the usual way) Link the new keyfile to the location of the old and give the user access to the new key file
sudo chown exampleuser /usr/share/sshkeys/exampleuser sudo chmod 600 /usr/share/sshkeys/exampleuser ln -s /usr/share/sshkeys/exampleuser /home/exampleuser/.ssh/authorized_keys
Restart the ssh daemon
sudo service sshd restart