What are SSH Keys? (Easier than what you learned in Computer Security class)
SSH keys are one of the common authentication techniques people use to log into a Unix session (the most common authentication technique is login & password).
If you are like me, you get sick and tired of typing in your login and password every single time you open a new terminal to connect to a Unix session. This is where SSH keys help me everyday by letting me authenticate against the key once, and every new shell session I start will authenticate using the same SSH key.
All you have to do is create a pair of public and private keys. In this analogy, the public key is the house lock and the private key is equivalent to the house key.
Private Key = House key
Public Key = House locks
Using an SSH key to authenticate is like using one key for all the doors in your house instead of having a bunch of combination padlocks (with the same unlock combination) on all your doors.