Verify Virtual Machine Images on the Command Line
Digital software signatures can increase security but this requires knowledge. Learn more about digital software signature verification.
In order to verify the Whonix ™ image, GnuPG must be installed. GnuPG is the common OpenPGP implementation for Linux: it is installed by default in Debian, Ubuntu, Whonix ™ and many other distributions.
1. Import the signing key.
Refer the the more secure, detailed Whonix ™ Signing Key instructions.
2. Download the cryptographic (OpenPGP) signature corresponding to the virtual machine image you want to verify.
3. Save the signature in the same folder as the virtual machine image.
Whonix ™ VirtualBox CLI:
Whonix ™ VirtualBox XFCE:
4. Start the cryptographic verification.
This process can take several minutes.
5. Check the output of the verification step.
If the file is verified successfully, the output will include
Good signature, which is the most important thing to check.
Should look similar to the following example.
gpg: Good signature from "Patrick Schleizer <email@example.com>" [unknown] gpg: Signature notation: firstname.lastname@example.org=6E979B28A6F37C43BE30AFA1CB8D50BB77BB3C48 gpg: Signature notation: file@name=Whonix-22.214.171.124.ova gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature! gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner. Primary key fingerprint: 916B 8D99 C38E AF5E 8ADC 7A2A 8D66 066A 2EEA CCDASubkey fingerprint: 6E97 9B28 A6F3 7C43 BE30 AFA1 CB8D 50BB 77BB 3C48
This output might be followed by a warning as follows.
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature! gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
gpg: WARNING can be ignored since it does not alter the validity of the signature related to the downloaded key. Rather, this warning refers to the level of trust placed in the developers signing key and the web of trust. To remove this warning, the developers signing key must be personally signed with your own key.
Check the GPG signature timestamp makes sense. For example, if you previously saw a signature from 2021 and now see a signature from 2020, then this might be a targeted rollback (downgrade) or indefinite freeze attack. 
The first line includes the signature creation timestamp; see the example below.
gpg: Signature made Mon 19 Jan 2015 11:45:41 PM CET using RSA key ID 77BB3C48
Note: OpenPGP signatures sign files, but not file names. 
file@name OpenPGP notation in Whonix ™ release signatures describes the file name. This helps to confirm that the file name has not been tampered with; see the example below.
If the Virtual Machine image is not correct, the output will inform that the signature is bad:
gpg: Signature made Sun Nov 25 21:48:54 2012 UTC gpg: using RSA key 77BB3C48 gpg: BAD signature from "Patrick Schleizer <email@example.com>"
When a GPG error is encountered, first try a web search for the relevant error. The security stackexchange website can also help to resolve GPG problems. Describe the problem thoroughly, but be sure it is GPG-related and not specific to Whonix ™.
More help resources are available on the Support page.
- As defined by TUF: Attacks and Weaknesses:
Whonix ™ VirtualBox/Verify the virtual machine images using the command line wiki page Copyright (C) Amnesia <amnesia at boum dot org>
Whonix ™ VirtualBox/Verify the virtual machine images using the command line wiki page Copyright (C) 2012 - 2021 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details see the wiki source code.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; see the wiki source code for details.