Abigail Young

Abigail Young

How to connect to a Kali Linux EC2 instance using SSH


  • Launch a Kali Linux EC2 instance via AWS.
  • Create new key pair and download PEM file when prompted.
    • This happens during the instance setup. If you already have another key pair, you can select it from the dropdown.
    • Make sure you have access to the key, or you won't be able to SSH into your instance.


There are three pieces of info requires for SSH-ing in to your instance:

  1. Username - For Kali Linux, it's kali
  2. IP Address - This is the public IP address for your instance
  3. PEM file - Downloaded during setup

How do I find the instance's public IP address?

To view details for the instance, including its public IP address, start by going to the EC2 console.

  • Under Resources, Click Instances (running)

    • You can also click on Instances in the left sidebar
    • If there are no instances running and you know you launched it, try switching which region you're in using the dropdown in the top right-hand corner. There's a good chance it was created in a different region.
  • Find the Kali Linux instance in the list

  • Scroll right until you find the column labeled Public IPv4. Copy the value.

SSH into the machine

  • Open your terminal
  • Make note of where your PEM file is located
  • Run the following command with your PEM and IP values:
ssh -i <yourpemfile.pem> kali@<publicIPAddress>

Success! Your shell prompt should now show something like (kali㉿kali)-[~] $

Have fun!


My first attempt failed due to a warning message/error like

Permissions 0644 for '/path/to/my/key.pem' are too open.
It is required that your private key files are NOT accessible by others.
This private key will be ignored.
bad permissions: ignore key: /path/to/my/key.pem
Permission denied (publickey).

To fix this error, update the permissions on your PEM file using chmod.

$ sudo chmod 600 /path/to/my/key.pem