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man pages section 1M: System Administration Commands

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Updated: July 2017



keyserv - server for storing private encryption keys


keyserv [-c] [-d | -e] [-D] [-n] [-s sizespec]


keyserv is a daemon that is used for storing the private encryption keys of each user logged into the system. These encryption keys are used for accessing secure network services such as secure NFS.

Normally, root's key is read from the file /etc/.rootkey when the daemon is started. This is useful during power-fail reboots when no one is around to type a password.

keyserv does not start up if the system does not have a secure rpc domain configured. Set up the domain name by using the /usr/bin/domainname command. Usually the svc:/system/identity:domain service reads the domain from /etc/defaultdomain. Invoking the domainname command without arguments tells you if you have a domain set up.

The /etc/default/keyserv file contains the following default parameter settings. See Files.


Specifies whether default keys for nobody are used. ENABLE_NOBODY_KEYS=NO is equivalent to the –d command-line option. The default value for ENABLE_NOBODY_KEYS is YES.


The following options are supported:


Do not use disk caches. This option overrides any –s option.


Run in debugging mode and log all requests to keyserv.


Disable the use of default keys for nobody. See Files.


Enable the use of default keys for nobody. This is the default behavior. See Files.


Root's secret key is not read from /etc/.rootkey. Instead, keyserv prompts the user for the password to decrypt root's key stored in the publickey database and then stores the decrypted key in /etc/.rootkey for future use. This option is useful if the /etc/.rootkey file ever gets out of date or corrupted.

–s sizespec

Specify the size of the extended Diffie-Hellman common key disk caches. The sizespec can be one of the following forms:


size is an integer specifying the maximum number of entries in the cache, or an integer immediately followed by the letter M, denoting the maximum size in MB.


This form of sizespec applies to all caches.

Note that the des mechanism, AUTH_DES, does not use a disk cache.




Contains default settings. You can use command-line options to override these settings.


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


See Also

keylogin(1), svcs(1), keylogout(1), svcadm(1M), publickey(4), attributes(5), smf(5)


The keyserv service is managed by the service management facility, smf(5), under the service identifier:


Administrative actions on this service, such as enabling, disabling, or requesting restart, can be performed using svcadm(1M). The service's status can be queried using the svcs(1) command.