I want to be able to store the login details all of my remote FTP accounts in one place, securely. Then I'd like clients like autofs/curlftpfs, Filezilla, etc to use this one store of passwords. I'm not interested in GUI-dependent solutions. Is this possible somehow?

1 Answer 1


Ideally those would be SFTP accounts, using SSH public key authentication rather than passwords. You'd gain both security and convenience. But let's assume you don't have a choice of not using FTP with passwords.

You could store the passwords (the .netrc file) on an encrypted filesystem and mount that filesystem only when you want to access it. A simple way to create an encrypted directory tree is encfs. Setup:

# install encfs, e.g. apt-get install encfs
mkdir ~/.passwords.d
encfs ~/.passwords.encfs ~/.passwords.d
mv ~/.netrc ~/.passwords.d
ln -s .passwords.d/.netrc ~
fusermount -u ~/.passwords.d

Daily use:

encfs ~/.passwords.encfs ~/.passwords.d
ftp …
fusermount -u ~/.passwords.d
  • Wow, that's great! In you opinion, would that encrypted directory be safe to upload to a remote backup location? May 16, 2011 at 18:56
  • I connect to most things via SFTP/SCP, but some clients' production servers are FTP only. May 16, 2011 at 18:57
  • 1
    @mattalexx: Yes, you can back up the encrypted directory. Of course, make sure your password is strong enough to withstand brute force attacks. May 16, 2011 at 19:07
  • FTP is insecure, all traffic is plain text, no encription (not even passwords!).
    – vonbrand
    Jan 26, 2013 at 3:04

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