Keep sensitive data encrypted in dotfiles

    • zsh
    • dotfiles
    • passwordstore
    • gpg
  • modified:
  • reading: 2 minutes

In my previous post I showed you how I keep all my scripts and dotfiles in sync between my computers using git. Also I suggested to use own private git repository for security reasons, as it easier to maintain sensitive information. I still believe that it is true, but sometimes you may need to sync your dotfiles and scripts on some machines, which you may share with somebody else.

And even if you are on hundred percent sure that nobody has access to your dotfiles, it is still better to add additional level of security. Especially if it so easy to do with passwordstore.

To install it on OS X use brew

brew install pass

In .zshrc you can specify location for the password store and keys

# Where to keep my encrypted passwords
export PASSWORD_STORE_DIR=~/.dotfiles/pass
# Where to keep encryption keys
export GNUPGHOME=~/.dotfiles/gnupg

As you can see I keep both encrypted passwords and keys in my dotfiles repository. Not the best idea, but no mater how I’m going to store them anyway I always need to sync these keys between machines.

And I also enforce passphrase to access my private key, to do that you need to call gpg first (don’t know why passwordstore does not support passphrases with init)

gpg --get-key

Enter all required information and at the end also enter passphrase.

After that you can initialize your passwordstore database using these keys. At first you need to find the identity of the keys, just list the keys

gpg --list-keys

The output will be similar to

pub   4096R/DEB94552 2015-09-15
uid                  Your Name <someemail@somedomain>
sub   4096R/B32EB207 2015-09-15

You will need to use the pub key id DEB94552 to initialize passwordstore database

pass init DEB94552

After that you are ready to add all keys/passwords to database. For example to add GitHub API token you can run

pass insert github.api.token

And later in your scripts you can use it as

brew-token () {
	export HOMEBREW_GITHUB_API_TOKEN=$(pass show github.api.token)

So when you will try to execute this function you will get request for the passphrase to decrypt this password, like

$ (brew-token && brew update)

You need a passphrase to unlock the secret key for
user: "Your name <someemail@somedomain>"
4096-bit RSA key, ID B32EB207, created 2015-09-15 (main key ID DEB94552)

Enter passphrase:

One note that you can include gnupg/random_seed in .gitignore file as it will be regenerated every time you will try to get access to the database.

See Also