MAN Solaris - chkey (1)



chkey - change user’s secure RPC key pair


See Also


chkey [-p] [-s nisplus | nis | files | ldap]
    [-m <mechanism>]




chkey is used to change a user’s secure RPC public key and secret key pair. chkey prompts for the old secure-rpc password and verifies that it is correct by decrypting the secret key. If the user has not already used keylogin(1) to decrypt and store the secret key with keyserv(1M), chkey registers the secret key with the local keyserv( 1M) daemon. If the secure-rpc password does not match the login password, chkey prompts for the login password. chkey uses the login password to encrypt the user’s secret Diffie-Hellman (192 bit) cryptographic key. chkey can also encrypt other Diffie-Hellman keys for authentication mechanisms configured using nisauthconf(1M).

chkey ensures that the login password and the secure-rpc password(s) are kept the same, thus enabling password shadowing. See shadow(4).

The key pair can be stored in the /etc/publickey file (see publickey(4)), the NIS publickey map, or the NIS+ cred.org_dir table. If a new secret key is generated, it will be registered with the local keyserv(1M) daemon. However, only NIS+ can store Diffie-Hellman keys other than 192-bits.

Keys for specific mechanisms can be changed or reencrypted using the -m option followed by the authentication mechanism name. Multiple -m options can be used to change one or more keys. However, only mechanisms configured using nisauthconf(1M) can be changed with chkey.

If the source of the publickey is not specified with the -s option, chkey consults the publickey entry in the name service switch configuration file. See nsswitch.conf(4). If the publickey entry specifies one and only one source, then chkey will change the key in the specified name service. However, if multiple name services are listed, chkey can not decide which source to update and will display an error message. The user should specify the source explicitly with the -s option.

Non root users are not allowed to change their key pair in the files database.


The following options are supported:


Re-encrypt the existing secret key with the user’s login password.

-s nisplus

Update the NIS+ database.

-s nis

Update the NIS database.

-s files

Update the files database.

-s ldap

Update the LDAP database.

-m <mechanism>

Changes or re-encrypt the secret key for the specified mechanism.





See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:



keylogin(1), keylogout(1), keyserv(1M), newkey(1M), nisaddcred(1M), nisauthconf(1M), nsswitch.conf(4), publickey(4), shadow(4), attributes(5)


NIS+ might not be supported in future releases of the Solaris operating system. Tools to aid the migration from NIS+ to LDAP are available in the current Solaris release. For more information, visit

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SunOS 5.11 chkey (1) 29 Nov 2005
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