Gate is a port of pwd (written in Eiffel), but this time written in Go.
The aim is to provide a very simple interface to a passwords database.
Normal use is through yad.
An administration console is also provided.
The technical aim is to remove a lot of the lower layers of
pwd was written with; and instead, bet on
- enter a pass key, the actual password is copied in X clipboard
- vault encrypted via openssl (Blowfish Cipher) using a master key
- vault merge
- vault up/download
- xclip (mandatory)
- openssl (mandatory)
- yad (mandatory)
- less (mandatory)
- either curl or scp (optional, but useful if you want to keep your vault in the cloud)
- xterm (optional, but useful to let the console open itself in a graphical environments)
For a per-user install:
The configuration file is usually found in your home directory:
A system-wide configuration file may be found at
Some sample files are available in the documentation section of your
package (the default install places those files in
/usr/local/share/doc/gate/). Look at the
Those files are auto-documented. Just open them and read the comments to find how to modify them.
Passwords are kept in a single file, known as the vault. This file is encrypted by a "master pass phrase". It is the only pass you'll need to know!
The passwords are referenced by a unique key. They are never displayed in clear text.
The server is responsible for keeping the vault open using a pass phrase you'll need to type only once.
To close the vault, just type
stop in the administration console
(see below). It will stop the server.
The menu is a very quick and efficient way of getting a password. Just
enter the key of the password you need; the password is made available
in the X clipboard, just type
ctrl-V or click the middle button of
your mouse to paste it in a password form.
The most typical use is all the web login sites (google, facebook, banks...) Never have duplicate passwords anymore!
The administration console
The administration console allows more operations on the vault. The
most useful is ceraintly the
add command, that will add a new vault
entry using the provided key.
add foo will generate a unique random password and
store it in the vault using the key foo. The password is also made
available to the X clipboard for pasting in the form of the new
account you are just creating
You may also specify a recipe for the password generation; for
add foo generate 6n to generate a 6 figures
password. The recipe grammar is:
recipe <- mix ('+' mix)* # all the ingredients will be mixed mix <- quantity ingredient+ # n times the ingredients quantity <- [0-9]* # default 1 ingredient <- 'a' # alphabetic / 'n' # numeric / 's' # symbols
Another usage is
add foo prompt. In that case, the password is not
generated, but you will need to enter it in the dialog that pops
up. The password is then stored in the vault and also made available
in the X clipboard. This usage is not recommended except for
already-known passwords (to fill up your vault), or for sites that
have ugly (and usually weak) password policies.
For other commands, just type
Remoting and merging
OK, now you have a vault at home in your desktop, another on your laptop, a third one at work. How do you merge them?
First, you must define a central location where your vault is to be kept. Preferably a cloud space you own.
Fill in the corresponding fields in the configuration file.
When those fields are correctly set, the administration console provides a few useful commands:
savesaves your local vault up to the cloud
loadloads the vault from the cloud (it overwrites your local one!)
mergeattempts to merge both the local cloud and the one in the vault, saving the result back up to the cloud.
Let's focus on that last operation, which should be the most common. The merge should work as expected. Added keys are added, removed keys are removed.
The only difficult case arise if a key is updated in both vaults. In that case, the one with the greatest number of changes wins; if equal, then the local version wins.
Note that, to help merge take decisions in the latter case, keys are never really deleted from the vault. They are simply marked as being removed.
Proxies are supported when using the curl protocol: the console
ALL_PROXY variable using the following keys in the
[proxy] section of the configuration file:
protocolspecifies the proxy protocol
hostis the only mandatory key; it contains the name of the proxy host
portspecifies a port, if different from the default (e.g. 8080)
usergives a user name, if the proxy needs authentication
passgives a password key, to be retrieved from the vault
Gate is a local password manager. As such, it needs to provide passwords in cleartext to other processes (mainly the X clipboard).
It is important to understand that, under such circumstances, there is no reason to make Gate overly secure. It can be subject to many local exploits (reading its environment variables, its memory sections etc. may provide cleartext passwords).
On the other hand, there should be no remote exploits, because the vault load/save protocol only sends and receives encrypted vault streams.
Just take the needed steps to ensure that your machine is not remotely exploitable.