sala 1.3

Encrypted plaintext password store

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What's new in sala 1.3:

  • Respect SALADIR when creating subdirectories with 'set'.
  • Add a bash completion script: contrib/sala-completion.bash.
  • Move the repository state to the .sala subdirectory. .salakey becomes .sala/key and sala.conf becomes .sala/config.
  • Add support for hooks in .sala/hooks. Initially, the post-set hook is supported.
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MIT/X Consortium License 
Petri Lehtinen
ROOT \ Utilities
sala is a software that lets you store passwords and other bits of sensitive plain-text information to encrypted files on a directory hierarchy. The information is protected by GnuPG's symmetrical encryption.

Basic usage

Passwords are stored in a directory hierarchy, each file containing one secret, like this:

| |-- +webmail
| | |-- @myuser
| | `-- @otheruser
| `-- +adminpanel
| `-- @admin
`-- my-linux-box
 |-- @myuser
 `-- @root

I use a convention of naming directories after services and using @username as the file name. If a service has groups, categories, subservices, etc., I use subdirectories whose names are prefixed with +. Of course, you can come up with your own scheme, for example if you want to hide the usernames, too.

To create a new password store, first create an empty directory, change into it, and invoke:

sala init

This command asks for the master passphrase you want to use for the store. It then initializes the password store by creating a long random key and encrypting it with the master passphrase.

Create a new password for service/@myuser:

 sala set service/@myuser

This command first asks you for the master passphrase, and then the secret that should be stored to the file service/@myuser. The intermediate directory service is created automatically.

To read the secret you just stored, invoke:

 sala get service/@myuser

This command asks again for the master passphrase, and outputs the secret.

All the files are just normal files, so you can safely remove or rename files if you want to.

The above commands can also be used on multiple files at once:

sala set service2/@myuser service3/@otheruser
sala get service2/@myuser service3/@otheruser

If no command is specified, sala assumes get if the first file exists and set otherwise. That is, the command:

sala foo/@bar

reads the secret foo/@bar if the file exists, and creates a new secret otherwise. Note that this may not work as you expect for multiple files, as the existence of the first file determines whether to read or to write.


sala can be configured with an INI-style configuration file. sala tries to read the configuration from ~/.sala.conf and from sala.conf in the top directory of the password store. Neither of the files are required. If a configuration setting is specified in both files, the the latter takes precedence.

Here's the default configuration:

# All configuration settings are in the [sala] section.

# The cipher to use with GnuPG's symmetrical encryption.
# Run "gpg --version" to list supported ciphers.
cipher = AES256

# Master key length, in bytes
key-length = 64

# A shell command to run to generate password suggestions
password-generator = pwgen -nc 12 10

Changing cipher only affects secrets that are set after the configuration setting is changed, i.e. the old secrets will not automatically be re-encrypted.

Only sala init uses the key-length option. If you want the master key to be of a different size, make sure the configuration file exists before you run sala init.

The password-generator option is run through the shell to generate password suggestions. If the command fails (is not found or exits with non-zero exit status), its output is ignored. Othewise, the output should consist of one or more words separated with whitespace (space, tab, newline, etc.). These words are presented to the user as password suggestions by sala set.

Under the hood

sala uses GnuPG's symmetric encryption. All encrypted files are in the GnuPG plain text (armor) format.

When the password store is initialized, a very long, truly random key is generated and stored to the file .salakey. Only this "master key" is encrypted with your master passphrase. All the other files in the store are encrypted with the master key.


Install sala by invoking:

pip install sala

To install from source, invoke:

python install

Last updated on June 16th, 2012


#store passwords #encrypted passwords #password #storage #encrypted #plaintext

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