Now that OpenSSH supports Elliptic curve security keys (since version 8.2), it's possible to generate a ed25519-sk key on a hardware security key:

$ ssh-keygen -t ed25519-sk -C comment

This generates a public and a private key parts. How sensitive is the private part that goes into file ~/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk?

As it seems it's required for the ability to use the security key on another machine, so I assume it's necessary to distribute it to all client machines usable with the key or store on some removable medium. Does it pose a security risk, or is the private file simply useless without the hardware key?

And somewhat related question: Does this process overwrite the key stored on the hardware, that is, is it possible to have only one such SSH key for each hardware key?

1 Answer 1


From the "FIDO/U2F Support" section in OpenSSH 8.2 Release Notes

The private key file should be useless to an attacker who does not have access to the physical token.

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