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I created an ssh key with ssh-keygen, and I got this output as a result:

The key fingerprint is:
84:21:3d:ab:d5:5e:05:a0:b6:ab:0f:33:af:3b:3b:82 cidr@randombox
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ RSA 4048]----+
|             .ooo|
|       o   ..o   |
|      o + .oo .  |
|     . + o....   |
|    +...S  ..    |
|       .o   .    |
|    .  o o ..    |
|   E . .o +      |
|      ......     |

Is there a way to view the randomart image of an existing key? (Also, what's the purpose of randomart in connection to ssh or cryptography?)

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

try this:

ssh-keygen -lv -f .ssh/id_rsa

This can be found in ssh-keygen's manpage. As for randomart's purpose:

"The randomart is meant to be an easier way for humans to validate keys.

Validation is normally done by a comparison of meaningless strings (i.e. the hexadecimal representation of the key fingerprint), which humans are pretty slow and inaccurate at comparing. Randomart replaces this with structured images that are faster and easier to compare."

This text was taken from here:

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Thannks a lot buddy, this helps a lot :) – Iori Sep 6 '12 at 12:06
For more explanation of situations for use, see the SU discussion – New Alexandria Oct 22 '15 at 20:54
Please note that it works also for file: ssh-keygen -lv -f .ssh/ – Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Oct 24 '15 at 14:48
Beware that the randomart generated by older versions of ssh-keygen (say from openSSH_6.6.1p1) will not match that of newer ones (say from openSSH_7.1p2). If the openSSH package-versions differ between your client and server, consider upgrading or checking out workarounds. – SeldomNeedy Apr 28 at 0:27

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