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README.md

Niek's Password Vault

A utility for managing an encrypted credential vault.

This hobby project was written because I finally had some time to explore Python3. It should be fine for low-value credentials, but if you are dealing with serious threat scenarios, consider alternatives. Also use 2-factor authenticiation with a separate device whenever possible.

Vault contents are protected using Fernet. This encrypts using AES128 in CBC mode and authenticates using HMAC/SHA256. Fernet's secret token comes from a user password that is key-stretched using PBKDF2 and SHA256. The iteration count for PBKDF2 was dailed in to take about 3 seconds on my 2013 Macbook Air, which comes out to 2M iterations, well over the NIST minimum guideline of 10K. Each vault file gets a unique 18 byte salt generated from urandom.

Core dumps are disabled via rlimit to reduce the chance of passwords being left in a decrypted state.

Usage

First create an empty vault. When prompted for a key you should use a very strong password. This is the one you'll have to memorize to protect your vault contents.

./pman init ~/.pman_vault

Add the new vault file to your environment. For example, a bash user might add the following to their .profile:

export PMAN_VAULT=/home/myuser/.pman_vault

To add or update a credential, use the 'set' command. The inputs are not passed via the command line to avoid exposing credentials in shell history files or via the process list.

./pman set

You can fetch a credential using the 'get' command.

./pman get mycred

You can also list all available credentials ('list') or search credentials using a substring ('search'). To avoid exposing unneeded passwords, these two commands will only show the credential name, username, description, and number of days since the entry was last updated. Once you identify the credential you want, use 'get' to fetch the details.

./pman list

You can 'remove' entries. The entry being deleted will be emitted to stdout in case you make a mistake. (You can use that information with a 'set' to recreate the entry).

./pman remove mycred

If you ever need to change the secret key for your vault, you can use the 'rekey' command. This changes both the encryption password and generates a new random salt for the vault file.

./pman rekey

Dependencies

Weaknesses

I made design choices that I consider acceptable risks. Note that the vault is decrypted every time it is accessed. It does not "unlock" and stay open beyond the duration of the Python script.

  • Decrypts all credentials at once, putting them in process memory.
  • Does not explicitly clear memory after use.

For the first item, if you have sufficient access to read arbitrary memory from arbitrary processes on my computer, then my vault's secret key probably isn't safe from you anyway. (I wrote the preceeding sentence before the era of Meltdown and Spectre, but the statement is still true).

For the second item, I'm dubious you can securely clear memory using pure Python.

Vault Backups

I back up my vault using a simple cron job copying the vault to a private S3 bucket. I have S3 versioning turned on so accidental deletions don't ruin my day.

Author

This was written by Niek Sanders (niek.sanders@gmail.com).

Unlicense

This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.

Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or distribute this software, either in source code form or as a compiled binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any means.

In jurisdictions that recognize copyright laws, the author or authors of this software dedicate any and all copyright interest in the software to the public domain. We make this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of our heirs and successors. We intend this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights to this software under copyright law.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

For more information, please refer to http://unlicense.org/

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