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man pages section 8: System Administration Commands

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Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2022



newkey - create a new Diffie-Hellman key pair in the publickey database


newkey -h hostname [-s nis | files | ldap]
newkey -u username [-s nis | files | ldap]


newkey establishes new public keys for users and machines on the network. These keys are needed when using secure RPC or secure NFS service.

newkey prompts for a password for the given username or hostname and then creates a new public/secret Diffie-Hellman 192 bit key pair for the user or host. The secret key is encrypted with the given password. The key pair can be stored in the /etc/publickey file or the NIS publickey map.

newkey consults the publickey entry in the name service switch configuration file (see nsswitch.conf(5)) to determine which naming service is used to store the secure RPC keys. If the publickey entry specifies a unique name service, newkey will add the key in the specified name service. However, if there are multiple name services listed, newkey cannot decide which source to update and will display an error message. The user is required to specify the source explicitly with the –s option.

In the case of NIS, newkey should be run by the superuser on the master NIS server for that domain.

In the case of LDAP, newkey should be run by the superuser on a machine that also recognizes the directory manager's bind distinguished name (DN) and password to perform an LDAP update for the host.


–h hostname

Create a new public/secret key pair for the privileged user at the given hostname. Prompts for a password for the given hostname.

–u username

Create a new public/secret key pair for the given username. Prompts for a password for the given username.

–s nis
–s files
–s ldap

Update the database in the specified source: nis (for NIS), files, or ldap (LDAP). Other sources may be available in the future.


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:


See Also

chkey(1), keylogin(1), nsswitch.conf(5), publickey(5), attributes(7)