portable version of OpenBSD's signify with autoconf
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signify - sign and verify files

Build Status

What is signify

see the blog of original author


  • CentOS 5.6
  • FreeBSD 10.0
  • OS X 10.9

If you confirm another platform or add more platforms, pull requests are welcome.


make install


see LICENSE file; this is ISC/BSD License with the advertising term


     signify -C [-q] -p pubkey -x sigfile [file ...]
     signify -G [-n] [-c comment] -p pubkey -s seckey
     signify -I [-p pubkey] [-s seckey] [-x sigfile]
     signify -S [-e] [-x sigfile] -s seckey -m message
     signify -V [-eq] [-x sigfile] -p pubkey -m message

     The signify utility creates and verifies cryptographic signatures.  A
     signature verifies the integrity of a message.  The mode of operation is
     selected with the following options:

     -C          Verify a signed checksum list, and then verify the checksum
                 for each file.  If no files are specified, all of them are
                 checked.  sigfile should be the signed output of sha256(1).

     -G          Generate a new key pair.

     -I          Inspect the specified keys or signature and print their fin-

     -S          Sign the specified message file and create a signature.

     -V          Verify the message and signature match.

     The other options are as follows:

     -c comment    Specify the comment to be added during key generation.

     -e            When signing, embed the message after the signature.  When
                   verifying, extract the message from the signature.  (This
                   requires that the signature was created using -e and cre-
                   ates a new message file as output.)

     -m message    When signing, the file containing the message to sign.
                   When verifying, the file containing the message to verify.
                   When verifying with -e, the file to create.

     -n            Do not ask for a passphrase during key generation.  Other-
                   wise, signify will prompt the user for a passphrase to pro-
                   tect the secret key.

     -p pubkey     Public key produced by -G, and used by -V to check a signa-

     -q            Quiet mode.  Suppress informational output.

     -s seckey     Secret (private) key produced by -G, and used by -S to sign
                   a message.

     -x sigfile    The signature file to create or verify.  The default is

     The key and signature files created by signify have the same format.  The
     first line of the file is a free form text comment that may be edited, so
     long as it does not exceed a single line.  The second line of the file is
     the actual key or signature base64 encoded.

     The signify utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.  It
     may fail because of one of the following reasons:

     o   Some necessary files do not exist.
     o   Entered passphrase is incorrect.
     o   The message file was corrupted and its signature does not match.
     o   The message file is too large.

     Create a new key pair:
           $ signify -G -p newkey.pub -s newkey.sec

     Sign a file, specifying a signature name:
           $ signify -S -s key.sec -m message.txt -x msg.sig

     Verify a signature, using the default signature name:
           $ signify -V -p key.pub -m generalsorders.txt

     Verify a release directory containing SHA256.sig and a full set of
     release files:
           $ signify -C -p /etc/signify/openbsd-55-base.pub -x SHA256.sig

     Verify a bsd.rd before an upgrade:
           $ signify -C -p /etc/signify/openbsd-55-base.pub -x SHA256.sig bsd.rd

     fw_update(1), pkg_add(1), sha256(1)

     The signify command first appeared in OpenBSD 5.5.