Bootstrap SSH on Ubuntu Core with out Ubuntu SSO credentials

I was playing around with Snaps and I wanted to try out Ubuntu Core as well. I still had some of those  Orange Pi Zero boards laying around and when you go to the Core Download page – there’s an option for Orange Pi right there – sweet! I downloaded the .img file, wrote it to my microsd card with dd, slapped it in my Orange Pi Zero, found the new IP in my DHCP server and off I went to SSH in.

Then I saw this step on install docs:

you will be asked to enter your Ubuntu SSO credentials

– Core Install Docs

Whhhaaat? Oh, I see, Core’s whole shtick is that it’s secure by default. They say, “Secure by default – Automatic updates ensure that critical security issues are addressed in the field, even if a device is unattended.”.  Cool, I can get behind that. IoT needs some thought leaders in IoT security. However…I still just want to SSH in and poke around a bit – I don’t want to have to set up an account at Ubuntu. 

Then I thought, “What if I just create a .ssh directory in /root/ and put my public key in the authorized keys file?” Assuming you’re on an Ubuntu system, logged in as mrjones and just stuck in your microSD card with the core image on it, that’d look like this:

cd /media/mrjones/writable/system-data/root/
mkdir .ssh
chmod 700 .ssh/
vim .ssh/authorized_keys 
chmod 700 .ssh/authorized_keys

After unmounting the card, inserting it into and rebooting my Pi, I SSHed as root and it just worked – that’s awesome! Now you know how to do it as well!  In fact, this likely will work with the Raspbian, Armbian and Ubuntu images for all kinds of Pi boards as well.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll massively simplify my stubby and pi-hole how to!

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