Deadman.org: SSH-Agent - A TutorialAug 20, 2000, 17:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Rowe)
[ Thanks to Sam Rowe for this link. ]
"Security is best when it is handy. ssh-agent is pretty darn handy. Ssh-agent can authenticate you to a remote machine via keypairs, rather than the traditional hand-typed username/password combination, with no loss of security."
"In this tutorial, I hope to teach you how to use ssh-agent to automate logging in to your machines securely via the X Window System. One thing to note about this tutorial, my intention isn't to give you the nuts and bolts of ssh or ssh-agent, but rather to give you a quick-and-dirty method to get more secure. I do, however, encourage you to look for other online documentation to learn about the ways that ssh works and the things that are going on behind the scenes in this tutorial. This tutorial also assumes you have some knowledge of X11 and how to start your window-manager/desktop-environment of choice. The machine that I use is running RedHat 6.2 and ssh 1.2.27, but this tutorial should work across platforms."
"The first step in using ssh-agent is to generate your private and public keys. The private key will have a pass-phrase that allows ssh-agent to decrypt it and keep the decrypted key in memory. Pass-phrases should and can be much longer than conventional passwords..."