Steel: cmdline password manager

terminalSteel is a purely cmdline sqlite based password manager. Though my favourite pick for a password manager is KeePassX (v2), a terminal based utility is always welcome. Steel works offline and hence there’s little chance of someone else snooping into your password unless they have physical access to your system.


  • AES in CFB mode with 256 bit keys
  • Fast and lightweight, written in C
  • Integrates with standard Unix tools
  • Output is easy to parse
  • Supports secure deletion of databases (shredding)
  • Uses SQLite, easy to write data importers from other password managers
  • Backup and restore
  • Verifies data integrity
  • Manage multiple password databases with ease
  • Generate secure passwords
  • Open source and free (GPL)


To install Steel on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install libmhash-dev libmcrypt-dev libsqlite3-dev
$ git clone
$ cd steel
$ make
$ sudo make install


Here’s a sequence of commands to demonstrate the usage of Steel.

  1. Initialize new Steel database
    $ steel -i ./keybase
  2. Open the database
    $ steel -o ./keybase
  3. Close the open databases
    $ steel -c
  4. Add a new entry
    $ steel -a gmail myusername "My email ID."
  5. List all entries
    $ steel -l
    Id		1
    Title		gmail
    Username	myusername
    Passphrase	zeroin
    Notes		My email ID.
  6. Show all options
    $ steel -h

Webpage: Steel

6 thoughts on “Steel: cmdline password manager”

  1. I still prefer to create text file with passwords – randomly generated to highest safety, typically 32-64 char, which then mutated and written in a special way. No dependence on any software and I can safely loose the list or print and pin it anywhere. Can also change all passwords, without requirement to remember them. Even if someone hacks one, he can’t figure out the others. I just keep the method to decipher them in my head, which I also can change at any time as needed.

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