3.9.3. Disk Encryption

The default ISO and kickstart files in SIMP now encrypt the first physical volume if the simp_disk_crypt option is provided at the boot command line.


The system is set to automatically decrypt at boot! This means that the password is embedded in the initrd file.


The /boot directory is not encrypted, since that would prevent the system from booting automatically. Method

When enabled, SIMP implements disk encryption, with automatic decryption, so that users have the option to use their own keys in the future. Alternatively, users may remove the system local keys and require that a password be entered at each boot.

The primary goal of providing automatic decryption was to give users a clean and seamless experience when using the initial system. It is understood that this is not best practice since automatic decryption of the disks requires the system to embed the password files in the system initrd.

Disk encryption was not enabled by default for two reasons. The first is that it can take an unacceptable amount of time to build a system if enough entropy is not present. The second is that a lot of hardware contains the ability to encrypt the disk at that level. If this is present, the utility of a second layer of disk encryption is not necessarily warranted or a good idea. Implementation

The system keys are referenced in /etc/crypttab and, by default, reside at /etc/.cryptcreds. At build time, these files are copied into all initrd files present on the system. This ensures that all kernels can successfully boot the system.

The /etc/dracut.conf file is also updated to ensure that any new kernel loads will be able to boot successfully.


The /etc/.cryptcreds file is encrypted when the system is off. However, a copy is in the unencrypted initrd files in /boot and should not be considered secure from physical access to the raw disk image.


Please be aware that all characters in the /etc/.cryptcreds file are part of the password. The lack of a trailing newline is very important. Replacing the Current Password


The underlying system uses LUKS, so any usage outside of this document should refer to the LUKS implementation that matches your system version.

To change the password, you will need to perform the following steps.

  1. Back up the original password file
  • If something goes amiss, you’re seriously going to need this
  1. Get the UUID of your partition
  • This will be in the /etc/crypttab file. You’ll want the entire UUID=<uuid> string
  1. Create the new password
  • Remember that this needs to be exactly what you will use. If you ever expect to type this at the command line, don’t forget to strip your trailing spaces.

    import sys
    import random
    import string
    # The length of the new password
    length = 1024
    # What the password should consist of
    charset = string.lowercase+string.uppercase+string.digits
    passfile = open('/etc/.cryptcreds.new','w')
    passfile.write("".join(random.choice(charset) for i in range(length)))
  1. Update the key
  • There is a faster way to do this in EL 7, but this method works on both systems

    $ cryptsetup luksAddKey --key-slot 1 --key-file /etc/.cryptcreds UUID=<uuid> /etc/.cryptcreds.new
    $ cryptsetup luksKillSlot --key-file /etc/.cryptcreds 0
    $ cryptsetup luksAddKey --key-slot 0 --key-file /etc/.cryptcreds.new UUID=<uuid> /etc/.cryptcreds.new
    $ cryptsetup luksKillSlot --key-file /etc/.cryptcreds.new 1
    # Only do this step if the previous steps succeeded!
    $ mv /etc/.cryptcreds.new /etc/.cryptcreds
  1. Update your initrd files
  • You want to make sure to update all of your initrd files since you’ll want to be able to boot from any kernel.

    for x in `ls -d /lib/modules/*`; do
      installed_kernel=`basename $x`
      dracut -f "/boot/initramfs-${installed_kernel}.img" $installed_kernel
    done Removing the Password File

If you wish to remove the password file from your system, you will need to perform the following steps:

  1. Back up the password file!
  • If you lose this, you won’t be able to get into your system after reboot
  1. Using your favorite text editor, remove the install_items line in /etc/dracut.conf that contains the reference to /etc/.cryptcreds
  2. Remove the /etc/.cryptcreds file from the system
  3. Update your initrd files
  • You want to make sure to update all of your initrd files since you’ll want to be able to boot from any kernel.

    for x in `ls -d /lib/modules/*`; do
      installed_kernel=`basename $x`
      dracut -f "/boot/initramfs-${installed_kernel}.img" $installed_kernel