With the visual host key fingerprint, users can tell whether they recognize an ssh key by its pattern. When using SSH to connect to other machines, a representation of the key is displayed for review.
OpenSSH 5.1 and later supports visual remote host fingerprinting. The basic concept is that it’s much easier to notice a change in a visual pattern than in a string of hex digits. To activate, add the following line to your ~/.ssh/config file.
Next, restart ssh to enable the change. This may be done with a command in "gnome-terminal" or other consol client:
service sshd restart
When you go SSH into a server, you’ll see a visual representation of the remote host fingerprint, as shown below:
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
| . |
| + . |
| . B . |
| o * + |
| X * S |
| + O o . . |
| . E . o |
| . . o |
| . . |
In this format, the DSA key may be read and memorized in a meaningful way. Take note if the pattern changes over time.
|Date||Thu, 10 Dec 2009 8:00:00 EST|