Europe Union
Published: 01/09/2020

Using Estonian e-Residency card for SSH Authentication

Using Estonian e-Residency card for SSH Authentication

What is an e-Residency?

E-Residency is a government-issued digital identity and status and enables you to be a digital entrepreneur, and start an EU-based company entirely online. The first country to offer such a solution was Estonia.

When you sign up for Estonian e-Residency, you receive a government-issued smart ID card that provides digital identification and authorization. It gives you the opportunity to sign documents remotely, access secure services, and make secure transactions.

As of April 2019, over 53,719 people from over 175 countries have applied for e-Residency.

Is running a business the only application for Estonian e-Residency?

Krzysztof Radecki, CTO at, decided to use Estonian e-Residency for SSH authentication. The SSH supports Public Key based authentication for both interactive and non-interactive connections. The motivation for using public key authentication over simple passwords is security – it provides cryptographic strength. But private keys are only as secure as the account where you store them. To provide even greater security, a copy-resistant and tangible token could be just the right solution. As long as you have that token, you know your security was not compromised.

If you want to connect to a remote machine using an e-Residency card with an additional hardware layer of security, read his article on Medium.

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