multi-luks is a shell script, which makes it possible to encrypt multiple partitions with LUKS using the same password
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multi-luks is a shell script, which makes it possible to encrypt multiple partitions with LUKS using the same password. It does this by hashing the password with different hash algorithms multiple times and passing intermediate results as passwords to the different LUKS partitions. The script can be freely configured which hashing algorithms to use, how many times to apply them and which salt to use.

It has the advantage over decrypt_derived, that one does not have access to all partitions if one can crack the master key of the first partition in the chain. If one simply uses the same password for all partitions one has access to all data if one breaks this one password. With the different hash algorithms used in multi-luks, this task becomes a bit harder.


If you use this script you should have basic knowledge about cryptography, hashing functions and LUKS. You should understand what this script does and probably you should read and understand the whole script before you actually use it.


As multi-luks is a bash script you need version 4.0 of the bash or later. In addition you need LUKS. If have tested the script with version 1.1.0 of LUKS, but it should work with previous versions, too. Of course you need to have the crypto algorithms you want to use enabled in your kernel. To calculate the hash values multi-luks uses openss. I have tested it with openssl version 0.9.8, but it should work with previous versions, too.


You just need to copy the script bin/multi-luks somewhere to your path and make it executable. By default multi-luks searchs in /etc/multi-luks for configuration files, but you can overwrite this path at the command line. You can have multiple configuration files in this directory if you have multiple disc arrays. You have to specify the name of the configuration you want to work with when invoking multi-luks from the command line.

You can find a documented sample configuration in the etc/ directory of this repository.


If you want to run the hash functions more the a dozen times, it will take very long to calculate the hashes. This is because for every single iteration the openssl executable is called.

I implemented the repeated hashing of one password with the same algorithm and the same salt in C++. You can find the source code in the src/ directory. If you compile this program and put it in your path, multi-luks will automatically find and use it. This will speed up the hash calculations rapidly, if you use a big number of repititions:

$ # calling the batch function:
$ time echo -n 'password' | multi-hash sha1 1000 'some salt'

real    0m4.873s
user    0m16.600s
sys     0m2.980s

$ time echo -n 'password' | multi-hash sha1 10000 'some salt'

real    0m50.715s
user    2m48.290s
sys     0m31.780s

$ # calling the compiled executable:
$ time echo -n 'password' | ./multi-hash sha1 1000 'some salt'

real    0m0.005s
user    0m0.000s
sys     0m0.010s

$ time echo -n 'password' | ./multi-hash sha1 10000 'some salt'

real    0m0.015s
user    0m0.020s
sys     0m0.000s

You can build the executable by simply running make in the src/ directory. You will need g++ and openssl installed. On Ubuntu you need the development version of the ssl library: libssl-dev.


If you want to execute multi-luks you have to give it a command and a config file. The command can be one of:

  • format: Asks you twice for the password and runs cryptsetup luksFormat on all configured partitions.
  • open: Asks you for your password and decrypts the configured partitions.
  • close: Closes all configured partitions using cryptsetup luksClose.
  • backup: Backup the luks header, partition table (if available) and the corresponding configuration file to a bz2 compressed tar archive in the current working directory.

Optionally you can overwrite the default config path (/etc/multi-luks) with the --config-dir option.

If you invoke multi-luks without any parameters, it prints a short help message and the available configurations:

$ multi-luks
Usage: multi-luks [--config-dir|-c <dir>] <command> <config-file>

    --config-dir: Specify the directory to search for config files

    format: Set up the encryption as descriped in the config file
    open:   Open the devices as described in the config file
    close:  Close all given mappings
    backup: Backup all relevant information of a given config file

config file:
    A file which describes which devices to encrypt and how to
    generate the passphrases. The file has to be in /etc/multi-luks/

available configurations:
    - sample