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GNOME Keyring

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For the past week or so, people have been talking about a “security issue” in Seahorse. This sums up my opinion on the matter:

This isn't a security issue, and there is no good way to fix it.

A password managing daemon, such as GNOME Keyring, increases the security of stored passwords for the following reasons:

  • Passwords are stored in a database that uses real encryption, not just an obfuscation scheme
  • A single code base needs to be audited to make sure no vulnerabilities exist in the encryption algorithms that are being used
  • The database is protected by a password that is known only to the user who unlocks it
  • Since the database is encrypted, no other user or bootable CD can recover the stored passwords if the unlock password is not known

So, if GNOME Keyring increases the security of user credentials, why can you see your passwords exposed in plain text when you open Seahorse? Because you've unlocked the keyring using your login password.

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