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How to manage disk encryption passphrases and key slots

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Now, when you do a cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sdaX, you will see that you now have two key slots (key slot 0 and key slot 1) in ENABLED status.

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Two active key slots

With a backup passphrase in place, it is now save to delete the first key that you wanted to delete. And you delete a key, that is, disable a key slot, by typing cryptsetup luksKillSlot /dev/sdaX Y. In this command, “Y” is the key slot that you want to disable. In this particular case, the command will be cryptsetup luksKillSlot /dev/sda7 0 because we are attempting to delete the passphrase stored in the first key slot (key slot 0).

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Deleting a passphrase

If you do another cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sdaX, you will see that the first key slot, key slot 0, is in DISABLED status.

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Key dump

Now that you have just one active passphrase, you may want to create another one as a backup, and you can create one in any of the available key slots, including the one you just disabled.

I hope the information presented here has given you some insight into disk encryption passphrase management. This is introductory information. There are more advanced key management tasks that I will address in a future post. Corrections and questions are welcome.

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3 Comments

  1. Tim says:

    Opensuse also supports disk encryption (and LVM) natively in its GUI install program.

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