Transparent SSH keys – ways in which they can be useful

I’m sure you’ve read time and time again that ssh keys without a passphrase are bad, and that they should never be created, because they create an easy attack onto your system should someone get hold of your ssh public and private key pair somehow. However I find them very useful when accessing the development boxes at work, and I’m sure that anyone else who has to connect to multiple development servers or any internal servers come to mention it will agree; one less password / passphrase saves so much time. Be it connecting to the server to find a file, or scp’ing a file somewhere, or to run some remote command.

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My ideal ssh client config set-up

Recently I was asked how I’d managed to set up alias’s for all of the development servers I use on a day to day basis on my work laptop (a MacBook Pro), and how I had managed to set a default username for all outgoing connections. To which I replied I’d just set up my most commonly used connections in my ssh config file. What follows is a sample of my ssh config, which will hopefully help you to write your own.
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