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Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey(3pm) User Contributed Perl Documentation Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey(3pm)


Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey - Virtual Base Class for SSH Public Keys


    use Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey;

      # Either parse a string (without leading whitespace or comments):
    my $key = Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey->parse( $line );

    if(defined $key) {
          # ssh-1 or ssh-2
        print "Key parsed, type is ", $key->type(), "\n";
    } else {
        die "Cannot parse key '$line'";

      # ... or create an object yourself:
    my $pubkey = Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey->new(
        options  => { from                  => '', 
                      "no-agent-forwarding" => 1 },
        key      => "123....890",
        keylen   => 1024,
        exponent => 35,
        type     => "ssh-1",


Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey is a virtual base class for ssh public keys. Real implementations of it are Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH1 and Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH2.

The only way to using it directly is by calling its parse() method, and passing it an authorized_keys string (aka a line from an authorized_keys file). If it recognizes either a ssh-1 or a ssh-2 type key, it will return a Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH1 or a Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH2 object, both of which support the accessor methods defined in the FIELDS section below.

The as_string() method will cobble the (perhaps modified) fields together and return them as a string suitable as a line for an authorized_keys file.


"parse( $line )"
Reads in a single text line containing a ssh-1 or ssh-2 key. Returns a Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH1 or a Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH2 object, or "undef" in case of an error.
Returns a MD5 hex hash of the parsed key. The hash is unique for functionally identical keys. Fields not contributing to the key's functional uniqueness are ignored.
Returns the last parsing error encountered as a text string.
"as_string( )"
Return the object as a string suitable as a autorized_keys line.


All of the following fields are available via accessors:
Type of ssh key, usually "ssh-1" or "ssh-2".
Public key, either a long number (ssh-1) or a line of alphanumeric characters (ssh-2).
Length of the key in bit (e.g. 1024).
Two-digit number in front of the key in ssh-1 authorized_keys lines.
Returns a reference to a hash with options key/value pairs, listed in front of the key.


The key parsers implemented in this distribution are implemented similarily as the authorized_keys file parser in the openssh source distribution.

Openssh contains the authorized_keys parser in its auth2_pubkey.c file. The user_key_allowed2() function opens the file and reads it line by line, ignoring leading whitespace, empty and comment lines.

After that, if a line doesn't contain a plain key, the parser skips ahead until the first whitespace (zooming through quoted areas "..." and interpreting '\"' as an escaped quote), then skips this whitespace and tries to read a key one more time.

Regarding options, the Perl parser isn't as elaborate with semantic peculiarities as openssh's auth_parse_options(), but this might be added in the future.


If you're just using Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey to parse keys, the following section doesn't concern you. It's only relevant if you add new subclasses to this package, on top of what's already provided.

Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey is a (semi-)virtual base class that implements options handling for its SSH1 and SSH2 subclasses.

SSH key lines can contain options that carry values (like command="ls") and binary options that are either set or unset (like "no_agent_forwarding"). To distinguish the two, and to provide a set of allowed option names, the subclass has to implement the method option_type(), which takes an option name, and returns

  • undef if the option is not supported
  • "s" if the option is a "string" option that carries a value
  • 1 if the option is a binary option

The subclasses Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH1 and Net::SSH::AuthorizedKey::SSH2 are doing this already.


Copyright 2005-2009 by Mike Schilli, all rights reserved. This program is free software, you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


2005, Mike Schilli <>
2018-06-01 perl v5.26.2