Keyring for Palm OS

introduction | user's guide | crypto | download | conduits
how to help | thanks | faq | changelog | building from source
plans | pre-release
mailinglists | bugs | suggestions | code contribution
sourceforge project | freshmeat record

frequently asked questions

  1. How do I upgrade keyring?
  2. How do I downgrade keyring?
  3. Is there a way to encrypt the names, too.
  4. If I loose my palm, can someone steal the Keyring database?
  5. How can I ensure that my encrypted data is being backed up on the PC?
  6. How do I open the .tar.gz file on Windows?
  7. Keyring doesn't accept my password any more. What can I do?


1. How do I upgrade keyring? «

You just need to hotsync the new prc file to your palm. Don't remove the previous version from your palm, as this also removes the database. You should keep a backup of your keys Keys-Gtkr.pdb. When upgrading from versions before 1.0 your database will automatically converted to the new format. Since 1.0 there was no database change.

2. How do I downgrade keyring? «

In general older versions of the program cannot read databases from newer versions, although the reverse is true. You can always make a backup of your database and try, though. For this reason, we suggest that before upgrading, you make an extra backup of the Keys-Gtkr.pdb file.

3. Is there a way to encrypt the names, too. «

Put that information in the account field or into the freeform notes. Leave the name field empty. Or you can use a short unrestricted identifier as name so you can quickly find the record.

4. If I loose my palm, can someone steal the Keyring database? «

Normally, this is not a problem for Keyring, because all the data is kept encrypted except when it is actually being used for display. However, it is possible that an attacker writes a program that automatically tries all common password (a brute-force attack). This is the reason why you should use a good random password of at least eight characters with letters, digits, and punctuation.

Also it is theoretically possible that somebody could write a malicious application that when installed on your Palm device would steal the secret information next time you unlocked it. The reason is that every application installed on the Palm can read the memory and records of all other applications. This is why the HotSync application and similar utilities can backup all of the data on the handheld.

I don't know of any such program at the moment. In addition, it would need a cooperating PC conduit to take the information off the handheld and to the attacker.

As long as you have a good password and don't have a virus or other malicious program on your handheld, you are fine.

5. How can I ensure that my encrypted data is being backed up on the PC? «

Have a look in the backup directory of your desktop software. You should see a file called Keys-Gtkr.pdb -- this is the data. The date on that file will tell you when the file was last backed up. If you're using Unix, you can use the `pilot-file' command to see the encrypted records inside it and their individual modification times. Because the keys are encrypted you can't look inside it, but there is support for reading on a PC (see conduits).

6. How do I open the .tar.gz file on Windows? «

WinZip will open these files happily. If you'd rather use free or command-line software, there is an excellent port of GNU tar in the CygWin toolset. There are probably other archive tools.

7. Keyring doesn't accept my password any more. What can I do? «

This can have several causes: One is that the "SortInfo" field of a PalmOS database is not restored from backup. 0.11.0 and 0.11.1 are the only versions that uses this field. The other is that the password hash record is moved or erased by the backup or security program. These problems are fixed with recent releases such as keyring-1.2.3.

There is another problem, where HotSync is merging data bases incorrectly and overwrites the new hash record with the old one. In this case, the data is still there but keyring is unable to check the password.

If this happens with keyring 1.1 or later, you can try the following procedure. Download keyring-recover.jar (GPG signature). Look in your Palm backup directory for a file called Keys-Gtkr.pdb (the backup of the keyring database and invoke the java program like this from the command line (you need to have a recent Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed and in the PATH):

java -jar keyring-recover.jar Keys-Gtkr.pdb Keys-Gtkr-Fixed.pdb

Then, install Keys-Gtkr-Fixed.pdb to your palm. On the next invokation, Keyring will report that the database was damaged and will give you the chance to repair it. It will now accept any password, but only with the correct password the records will be readable. If you entered the wrong password you have to reinstall Keys-Gtkr-Fixed.pdb.


Copyright © 1999-2005 by Jochen Hoenicke <> and Martin Pool <> .
All products or company names may be trademarks of their respective owner.
$Id: faq.htp 770 2006-06-27 10:21:21Z hoenicke $