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I will receive some secret key from server which I will use as an authentication key for a MAC function in the future. But my question is how do I store this key securely on my machine? Will I have to re encrypt it with some other key and store it like that?

marked as duplicate by Xander, TildalWave, Gilles 'SO- stop being evil', AJ Henderson, Rory Alsop Nov 8 '13 at 23:06

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  • Unless you go for fancy measures like a HSM key extraction is likely on machine compromise. Even with a HSM it's probably possible to induce it to compute valid MACs. – CodesInChaos Nov 8 '13 at 14:15
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A good idea is to encrypt the key and then store on your system. Using a good encryption algorithm like AES with a strong key is advisable.TrueCrypt is one such tool which can help you in saving your key securely.

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    The problem is that this shifts the problem to keeping the TrueCrypt key safe. For hot data that isn't much of a gain. For cold data it might work. – CodesInChaos Nov 8 '13 at 14:16
  • @CodesInChaos: Yes exactly where do I store the TrueCrypt key then safely? – user32987 Nov 8 '13 at 15:03
  • As Cory J mentioned, at some point you need to store the trusted information in your head. – Alex Blackwood Nov 8 '13 at 18:18
  • You can use a keyfile along with a password. It will be a hassle when the key is used frequently, but ensures security. – Jor-el Nov 8 '13 at 18:28
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One possibility would be to utilize something like steghide to hide your key in an image or audio file.

Maybe combine this with the TrueCrypt suggestion. Put your key in a TrueCrypt volume, steghide the TrueCrypt keyfile and remember the passphrase in your head.