GNOME/Keyring

From ArchWiki


GNOME Keyring is "a collection of components in GNOME that store secrets, passwords, keys, certificates and make them available to applications."

Security model

There was a security issue (known as CVE-2018-19358) reported in the past regarding the behaviour of the GNOME/Keyring API. Any application can easily read any secret[dead link 2024-03-03 ⓘ] if the keyring is unlocked. And, if a user is logged in, then the login/default collection is unlocked. Available D-Bus protection mechanisms (involving the busconfig and policy XML elements) are not used by default and would be easy to bypass anyway.

The GNOME project disagrees with this vulnerability report because, according to the security model, untrusted applications must not be allowed to access the user's session bus socket.

Applications sandboxed via flatpak only have filtered access to the session bus.

Installation

gnome-keyring is a member of the gnome group is thus usually present on systems running GNOME. The package can otherwise be installed on its own. libsecret should also be installed to grant other applications access to your keyrings. Although libgnome-keyring is deprecated (and superseded by libsecret), it may still be required by certain applications.

The gnome-keyring-daemon is automatically started via a systemd user service upon logging in. It can also be started upon request via a socket.

Extra utilities related to GNOME Keyring include:

  • secret-tool — Access the GNOME Keyring (and any other service implementing the DBus Secret Service API) from the command line.
https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/Libsecret || libsecret
  • lssecret — List all secret items using libsecret (e.g. GNOME Keyring).
https://gitlab.com/GrantMoyer/lssecret || lssecret-gitAUR

Manage using GUI

You can manage the contents of GNOME Keyring using Seahorse; install the seahorse package.

Passwords for keyrings (e.g., the default keyring, "Login") can be changed and even removed. See Create a new keyring and Update the keyring password in GNOME Help for more information.

Using the keyring

The PAM module pam_gnome_keyring.so initialises GNOME Keyring partially, unlocking the default login keyring in the process. The gnome-keyring-daemon is automatically started with a systemd user service.

PAM step

Note: To use automatic unlocking without automatic login, the password for the user account should be the same as the default keyring. See #Automatically change keyring password with user password.
Tip:

When using a display manager, the keyring works out of the box for most cases. GDM, LightDM, LXDM, and SDDM already have the necessary PAM configuration. For a display manager that does not automatically unlock the keyring edit the appropriate file instead of /etc/pam.d/login as mentioned below.

When using console-based login, edit /etc/pam.d/login:

Add auth optional pam_gnome_keyring.so at the end of the auth section and session optional pam_gnome_keyring.so auto_start at the end of the session section.

/etc/pam.d/login
#%PAM-1.0

auth       required     pam_securetty.so
auth       requisite    pam_nologin.so
auth       include      system-local-login
auth       optional     pam_gnome_keyring.so
account    include      system-local-login
session    include      system-local-login
session    optional     pam_gnome_keyring.so auto_start
Note: If using the greetd login manager, the file that needs to be modified is /etc/pam.d/greetd, instead of /etc/pam.d/login.

SSH keys

GNOME Keyring can act as a wrapper around ssh-agent. In that mode, it will display a GUI password entry dialog each time you need to unlock an SSH key. The dialog includes a checkbox to remember the password you type, which, if selected, will allow fully passwordless use of that key in the future as long as your login keyring is unlocked.

The SSH functionality is disabled by default in gnome-keyring-daemon builds since version 1:46. It has been moved into /usr/lib/user/gcr-ssh-agent, which is part of the gcr-4 package. The plan is to completely remove the implementation in gnome-keyring-daemon.

Setup gcr

All you need to do is

  1. Enable the gcr-ssh-agent.socket systemd user unit.
  2. Run SSH commands with the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable set to $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/gcr/ssh. There are many ways to set environment variables, and the one you use will depend on your specific setup and preferences.

Using

You can run

$ ssh-add -L

to list loaded SSH keys in the running agent. This can help ensure you started the appropriate service and set SSH_AUTH_SOCK correctly.

To permanently save a passphrase in the keyring, use ssh-askpass from the seahorse package:

$ /usr/lib/seahorse/ssh-askpass my_key

To manually add an SSH key from another directory:

$ ssh-add ~/.private/id_rsa
Enter passphrase for ~/.private/id_rsa:
Note: You have to have the corresponding .pub file in the same directory as the private key (~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub in the example). Also, make sure that the public key is the file name of the private key plus .pub (for example, my_key.pub).

To disable all manually added keys:

$ ssh-add -D

Disabling

If you wish to run an alternative SSH agent (e.g. ssh-agent directly or gpg-agent), it's a good idea to disable GNOME Keyring's ssh-agent wrapper. Doing so isn't strictly necessary, since each agent listens on a different socket and SSH_AUTH_SOCK can be used to choose between them, but it can make debugging issues easier.

To disable gcr-ssh-agent, ensure gcr-ssh-agent.socket and gcr-ssh-agent.service are both disabled and stopped in systemd.

Tips and tricks

Integration with applications

Flushing passphrases

$ gnome-keyring-daemon -r -d

This command starts gnome-keyring-daemon, shutting down previously running instances.

Git integration

The GNOME keyring is useful in conjunction with Git when you are pushing over HTTPS. The libsecret package needs to be installed for this functionality to be available.

Configure Git to use the libsecret helper:

$ git config --global credential.helper /usr/lib/git-core/git-credential-libsecret

The next time you run git push, you will be asked to unlock your keyring if it is not already unlocked.

GnuPG integration

Several applications which use GnuPG require a pinentry-program to be set. Set the following to use GNOME 3 pinentry for GNOME Keyring to manage passphrase prompts.

~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-gnome3

Another option is to force loopback for GPG which should allow the passphrase to be entered in the application.

Renaming a keyring

The display name for a keyring (i.e., the name that appears in Seahorse and from file) can be changed by changing the value of display-name in the unencrypted keyring file. Keyrings will usually be stored in ~/.local/share/keyrings/ with the .keyring file extension.

Automatically change keyring password with user password

Note: This only affects the default keyring.

Append password optional pam_gnome_keyring.so to /etc/pam.d/passwd:

/etc/pam.d/passwd
...
password	optional	pam_gnome_keyring.so

Using gnome-keyring-daemon outside desktop environments (KDE, GNOME, XFCE, ...)

Launching

The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Reason: At least xinit and SDDM execute all scripts from /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/ and sway provides /etc/sway/config.d/50-systemd-user.conf so the problem is not being "outside desktop environments". If gnome-keyring requires XDG Autostart, the installation/configuration section should say so. (Discuss in Talk:GNOME/Keyring#Launching gnome-keyring-daemon outside desktop environments (KDE,_GNOME,_XFCE,_...))

If you are using sway, i3, or any window manager that does not execute

  • /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-keyring-*.desktop
  • /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/50-systemd-user.sh

your window manager needs to execute the following commands during window manager startup. The commands do not need to be executed in any specific order.

dbus-update-activation-environment DISPLAY XAUTHORITY WAYLAND_DISPLAY

or

dbus-update-activation-environment --all

This command passes environment variables from the window manager to session dbus. Without this, GUI prompts cannot be triggered over DBus. For example, this is required for seahorse password prompt.

This is required because session dbus is started before graphical environment is started. Thus, session dbus does not know about the graphical environment you are in. Someone or something has to teach session dbus about the graphical environment by passing environment variables describing the graphical environment to session dbus.

gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=secrets

During login, PAM starts gnome-keyring-daemon --login which is responsible for keeping gnome-keyring unlocked with login password. If gnome-keyring-daemon --login is not connected to session dbus within a few minutes, gnome-keyring-daemon --login dies. If gnome-keyring-daemon --start ... is started against session dbus in a window manager, gnome-keyring-daemon --login is connected to session dbus. If your login session does not start gnome-keyring-daemon --start ... before gnome-keyring-daemon --login quits, you can also use any program that uses gnome-keyring or secret service API before gnome-keyring-daemon --login dies.

GNOME Keyring XDG Portal

The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Reason: Modifies package files in /usr/share, will be undone on pacman upgrades (Discuss in Talk:GNOME/Keyring)

GNOME Keyring exposes an XDG Portal backend (for use with applications sandboxed through flatpak for example). In order for it to work outside of GNOME, one must add their desktop environment to the /usr/share/xdg-desktop-portal/portals/gnome-keyring.portal configuration file by modifying the UseIn key. For instance, to add sway:

/usr/share/xdg-desktop-portal/portals/gnome-keyring.portal
[portal]
DBusName=org.freedesktop.secrets
Interfaces=org.freedesktop.impl.portal.Secret
UseIn=gnome;sway

See XDG Desktop Portal#Backends for more information about XDG Desktop Portal backends.

Troubleshooting

Passwords are not remembered

If you are prompted for a password after logging in and you find that your passwords are not saved, then you may need to create/set a default keyring. To do this using Seahorse (a.k.a. Passwords and Keys), see Create a new keyring and Change the default keyring in GNOME Help.

Resetting the keyring

You will need to change your login keyring password if you receive the following error message: "The password you use to login to your computer no longer matches that of your login keyring".

Alternatively, you can remove the login.keyring and user.keystore files from ~/.local/share/keyrings/. Be warned that this will permanently delete all saved keys. After removing the files, simply log out and log in again.

Unable to locate daemon control file

The following error may appear in the journal after logging in:

gkr-pam: unable to locate daemon control file

This message "can be safely ignored" if there are no other related issues [2].

No such secret collection at path: /

If you use a custom ~/.xinitrc and receive this error when trying to create a new keyring with Seahorse, this may be solved by adding the following line [3]

~/.xinitrc
source /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/50-systemd-user.sh

Terminal gives the message "discover_other_daemon: 1"

This is caused by gnome-keyring-daemon being started for the second time. Since a systemd service is delivered together with the daemon, you do not need to start it another way. So make sure to remove the start command from your .zshenv, .bash_profile, .xinitrc, config.fish or similar. Alternatively you can disable the gnome-keyring-daemon.service and gnome-keyring-daemon.socket user units.

See also