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Stemming from my recent aversion to passwords (this thread convinced me), I'm wondering if there's a way to login locally (on my laptop running Crunchbang/Debian) by using public-key encryption.

I figured I could store a private key in a USB stick that I could use to authenticate myself.

I'm both interested in tools, if any, that allow to do this and theory on how to implement it.

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I think it is possible using PAM.

You might find PAM_PKA and PAM-PKCS modules useful.

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