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Debian Switches to Stripped-Down KeePassXC

Debian’s new stripped-down KeePassXC package focuses on core functionality, leaving out advanced features to minimize attack surface and improve security.

In a recent move, the Debian package maintainer for KeePassXC password managers has decided to deliver a stripped-down version of the program. This new package, available in Debian’s unstable and testing repositories, focuses on the core functionality required for secure password storage, leaving out advanced features that could potentially impact security and privacy.

The new KeePassXC package retains only the essentials for secure password management, including:

  • Basic password storage
  • Local system support

Advanced features, such as:

  • Networking capability
  • IPC management code
  • Web browser integration components
  • Auto-password functionality
  • Yubikey key support

have been removed from the standard package.

The primary motivation behind this change is to minimize the attack surface and ensure a more secure password management experience. By removing unnecessary features, the package maintainer aims to reduce potential vulnerabilities and improve overall security.

For users who require the full suite of KeePassXC features, a separate package, keepassxc-full, is available. This package includes all the advanced functionalities that were removed from the stripped-down version.

Proponents of the change argue that each enabled plugin could potentially introduce vulnerabilities or backdoors. They also emphasize that the stripped-down package is only available in unstable and testing repositories, not in stable releases.

KeePassXC developers have clarified that the term “plugins” is inaccurate, as these features are built-in functionality that is disabled by default. They have also addressed concerns about removing external libraries, stating that the code for Yubikey support is no longer tied to the external library libyuibkey, and all necessary components are supplied in the main KeePassXC codebase.

While the change aims to reduce security risks, it comes at the cost of familiar features. It remains to be seen if Debian will revert to the previous version or find a middle ground that satisfies both security and user needs.

Via Mastodon

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