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Let's say I have a SSH key-pair for accessing my systems. Private key is kept securely in my workstation and public key is distributed to servers and network equipment. Now there becomes a need to access a third party system over SSH. I could simply provide my existing public key to this third-party and they will later delete my public key from their systems once I no longer need access. However, are there any security benefits of generating temporary SSH key-pair for this temporary access? Only benefit I could see is that for example when this third-party forgets to delete my public key from their system and I have deleted my key-pair from my workstation, then if my workstation gets compromised, then third-party system is not in danger because I have deleted my temporary key-pair.

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    Possible duplicate security.stackexchange.com/q/40050/95381
    – Arminius
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:04
  • Security benefit to secure what? If you can define the risks or threats you are concerned about, the answers will be clearer.
    – schroeder
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:50

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Only benefit I could see is that for example when this third-party forgets to delete my public key from their system and I have deleted my key-pair from my workstation, then if my workstation gets compromised, then third-party system is not in danger because I have deleted my temporary key-pair.

If they aren't revoking user privileges, that is their security problem, not yours.


As far as your security, modulo crazy bugs it should be safe to connect to servers with a standard key you use on other machines. The ssh client is specifically designed with this in mind, and similarly the public key you distribute to them is specifically designed to be public.

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