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I'd like to setup a new user in raspbian Jessie that does not have a password and is only accessible with the correct SSH key to have a very secure of using SSH to connect to the Pi. The commands passwd and usermod won't let me unlock the user because they'll be without a password.

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As root (you may need to run sudo -i or sudo su -) create a new user,

root@pi# useradd -m myuser

then su to the user

root@pi# su - myuser

and edit the file (as myuser) ~/.ssh/authorized_keys and add the public key of another computer to it,

myuser@pi$ echo "your-public-key-in-here" >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
# or just open in vi/nano and paste the key inside it

Also make sure that the file permissions are Read/Write only for the owner -- myuser in this case

root@pi# chmod 600 /home/myuser/.ssh/authorized_keys
root@pi# chown myuser:myuser /home/myuser/.ssh/authorized_keys
  • when trying sudo nano ~/.ssh/authorized_keys from myuser@raspberrypi system is asking me for myuser's password which doesn't exist. should i simply place the key with root user into myuser's auth_keys? – RapidFireArts Jan 3 '17 at 20:57
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    no, just edit the file as myuser you don't need sudo for that. – Rabin Jan 3 '17 at 20:59
  • i used sudo now as it didn't permit me to execute that without the correct password, but everything is working, i can ssh into myuser using the private key. is chmod 600 authorized_keys to be executed by myuser or su? it was created by su – RapidFireArts Jan 3 '17 at 21:04
  • Hi @RapidFireArts , just added some context to the commands – Rabin Jan 3 '17 at 21:12

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