You better disable update checks in KeePass 2

A security vulnerability in the popular password manager KeePass 2 was disclosed recently affecting all versions of the password manager but only if automatic update checks are enabled.

KeePass 2 ships with an option to check periodically for program updates. While update checks are performed if the feature is enabled, automatic downloads and installations of updates is not supported.

Basically, what happens is that KeePass communicates with a service to see if an update is available. Users may then click on the update notification if an update is available to open a page on the Internet that provides them with a download of the new version of the password manager.

The vulnerability exploits the fact that KeePass 2 performs update checks over HTTP and not HTTPS. An attacker could exploit this by intercepting update requests, for instance on a local network, sending manipulated update information to the KeePass 2 client, and getting users to open a site on the Internet where a fake version of KeePass is offered on (or other things happen, e.g. drive by downloads).

The developer of KeePass won’t fix the issue according to the report.

Update: The KeePass information file will be digitally signed as of KeePass 2.34, and the software will only accept the information if the signature can be verified. Source

How to protect yourself

KeePass 2 update checks

Existing KeePass users have two options when it comes to the issue. The easier option involves disabling update checks in the client.

This is done in the following way:

  1. Open the KeePass 2 software on your system.
  2. Select Tools > Options from the menu at the top.
  3. Switch to the Advanced tab in the options window, and remove the checkmark from “Check for update at KeePass startup” there.

The downside of the method is that you would have to find a way to stay informed in regards to updates. You could visit the developer website regularly for that, or subscribe to the KeePass RSS Feed instead if you are using a RSS reader.

You could keep update checks enabled on the other hand but instead of clicking on the link provided by KeePass when updates are found, visit the KeePass website manually instead to download updates from it this way.

Both methods work just fine but add a level of inconvenience to the update checking and downloading process. Still, it is recommended to make use of either one of them to protect one of the most important programs on the computer.

Now You: How do you handle updates in general?

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