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Tomb - CLI-based File Encryption And Personal Backup Tool For Linux


Tomb aims to be a free and open source system for easy encryption and backup of personal files, written in code that is easy to review and links well reliable GNU/Linux components.

Tomb's ambition is to improve safety by way of:

  • A minimalist design consisting in small and well readable code.
  • Adoption of a few standard and well tested implementations.
  • Facilitation of good practices, i.e: key/storage physical separation.

At present, Tomb consists of a simple shell script (Zsh) using standard filesystem tools (GNU) and the cryptographic API of the Linux kernel (cryptsetup and LUKS). Tomb can also produce machine parsable output to facilitate its use inside graphical applications.


  • zsh
  • gnupg
  • cryptsetup
  • pinentry-curses

Note: Install steghide to add functionality for hiding of keys in images.

How to install via a terminal window:

sudo apt install gnupg zsh cryptsetup pinentry-curses steghide

Press Enter,

Next, change directory:

cd Downloads

Press Enter,

Now download the source code using the following command:

wget -c https://files.dyne.org/tomb/Tomb-2.5.tar.gz

Press Enter,

tar -xzvf Tomb-2.5.tar.gz

Press Enter,


cd Tomb-2.5

Press Enter,


Enter password for the user "root".

Press Enter,

You need to install the binary under:


Now you need to enter, the users /home/username/Downloads directory.

Type the following commands:

cd /

Press Enter,

cd /home/username/Downloads/Tomb-2.5

Press Enter,

Run the install command:

make install

After you are done installing tomb, you can generate a tomb, by creating a new key for it and set its password.

To create a Tomb, type these commands:

tomb dig -s 100 linuxexperten.tomb

Press Enter,

Now create the key:

During the creation of the key, Tomb will complain if swap space exists on disk and will terminate if that swap memory is turned on. This is due to a security risk associated with swap memory on disk. Read the manual.

NOTE: Change linuxexperten to whatever you want.

Run the following command:

tomb forge linuxexperten.tomb.key

Press Enter,

You can use the -f flag to force the operation or turn of the swap memory.

Type the following command, for the second choice :

sudo swapoff -a

Press Enter,

Forging the key takes time, but you can speed up the process by moving the mouse cursor around.

When done, type the following command:

tomb lock secret.tomb -k linuxexperten.tomb.key

Press Enter, now if you want to open it as user, you need to exit "root", then.

To open it, type the following:

sudo tomb open secret.tomb -k linuxexperten.tomb.key

Press Enter, The tomb has now been opened and mounted on /media/linuxexperten/ , now you can add your files.

If you have created more than one tomb, then you can list them all with the following command:

sudo tomb list

Press Enter,

Copy files to an open tomb command:

sudo cp -v passwds.txt banks.txt keys.txt -t /media/linuxexperten/

Press Enter, done.

When you are done:

sudo tomb close

Press Enter, closes current active tomb, but if you have more than one open, you can close them all.

Type the following command if that is the case:

sudo tomb close all

Press Enter, done.

Forcing one or more tombs to close:

sudo tomb slam

Press Enter, closes one !

Same command, but add all:

sudo tomb slam all

Press Enter, closes all !

Want to hide the key in an image using steghide, here is how.

Type the following command:

sudo tomb bury -k linuxexperten.tomb.key logo.jpg

Press Enter, done.

To open the newly created jpeg image to open the tomb, type the following command:

sudo tomb open -k logo.jpg linuxexperten.tomb

Press Enter, now it is open.

You can recover a key encoded in a jpeg image with the exhume command.

Type one of the following commands:

sudo tomb  exhume logo.jpg -k linuxexperten.tomb.key

Press Enter,

Or to force the operation if the key exists in current dir:

sudo tomb -f exhume logo.jpg -k linuxexperten.tomb.key

Press Enter,

VERY IMPORTANT:Remember to hide the tomb key, do not keep it in the same directory as the tomb. Recommend you use an external encrypted media. Use the mv-command.

For example:

sudo mv linuxexperten.tomb.key /media/etc/keys/

Press Enter.

For all other possibilities, read the manual.

File Zone

Developers website


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