Connections to VSC clusters are always encrypted to secure your data. Hence, you will need a personal cryptographic key to connect to the VSC clusters via the terminal interface. This secure connection uses the SSH protocol and we might refer in the following to the security keys as SSH keys.
Create a public/private key pair#
A key pair consists of a private and a public key.
The private key is stored on the computer(s) you use to access the VSC infrastructure and always stays there.
The public key is stored on the VSC systems you want to access, allowing to prove your identity through the corresponding private key.
It is clear from the above that it is very important to protect your private key well. Therefore:
You should choose a strong passphrase to protect your private key.
You should not share your key pair with other users.
If you have accounts at multiple supercomputer centers (or on other systems that use SSH), you should seriously consider using a different key pair for each of those accounts. In that way, if a key would get compromised, the damage can be controlled.
For added security, you may also consider to use a different key pair for each computer you use to access your VSC account. If your computer is stolen, it is then easy to disable access from that computer while you can still access your VSC account from all your other computers. The procedure is explained on a separate web page “Access from multiple computers”.
How to generate such a key pair depends on your operating system. We describe the generation of key pairs in the client sections below:
Upload public key to VSC account page#
Every time that you make a new SSH key pair for your VSC account, you have to upload the public part of the key to your VSC account page. Once uploaded it will be distributed across the VSC clusters.
Allow for at least half an hour for any change to your public keys to propagate through the VSC systems and be able to log in with them.
The upload procedure is slightly different depending on the motivation for the new SSH key.
First key of your account#
You already have an active VSC account and this is the first public key you will add to it:
Additional key for your account#
You already have an active VSC account with a public key and want to add an additional key to be able to connect to the VSC clusters from a different computer:
Replace compromised key#
You already have an active VSC account with a public key, but it got compromised and must be replaced with a new one:
Scroll down to Manage public keys
Select the Delete this key checkbox of the compromised key
Scroll down to the section Add public key
Click Browse to select the file of your new public key
Click Upload extra public key and wait for the upload to complete
Verify that the new public key is listed under Manage public keys