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Why does SSH work with no PKI and no shared secret?

Posted on 2011-09-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
The theory behind secure protocols is - as I understand it - that they rely on symmetric or asymmetric keys.  Either a shared secret or a private/public key pair.  So a question I've had in the back of my mind for some time is:  How is it I can setup a router or firewall and enable ssh on the device and in the next moment SSH to the device from my workstation?  No Certificate Authority has been setup,  and clearly I never entered a shared key on my ssh client nor at the router/firewall.  Is the router just acting as its own CA?  Is putty or other just sending out some default public key and somewhere along the install created a private key?  It all seems to work as seamlessly as telnet.  But how??  Thanks!
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Question by:amigan_99
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nativevlan earned 500 total points
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When you enable ssh the router creates the keys and is it's own CA. That's why when you connect via putty and ssh for the first time you will get a warning about the certificate. If you are setting up ssh on a Cisco router or switch the key generation become quite obvious. "crypto key generate rsa general-use"
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by:amigan_99
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Thank you.
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