SSH keys are essential to computer security by providing secure, encrypted communication between two systems. They are used to authenticate and authorize access to a remote system, allowing users to log in and manage the remote system securely.
When users desire to access a remote system, they develop a pair of SSH keys: private and public. The private key is stored on the user’s local plan, while the public key is copied to the remote system. When the user tries to log in, the remote system uses the public key to encrypt a challenge message, which can only be decrypted using the user’s private key. If the user can successfully solve the challenge, they are granted access to the remote system.