How to insert, how to heal keys

  Preferred insertion method      What to insert      Alternative inserting method  

  Healing keys with Crypto Key     File renaming of existing keys     Healing SSK keys     Summary by moony 

Uploaded: 2014-02-16 (UTC)

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How file keys can be healed

As the number of freesites is growing, I think it’s time to remind people that keys for freesites need to be inserted a certain way, to make healing of keys possible. Freesite maintainers, and any other freenet user can heal keys by following the examples below.

It is impossible to heal others keys without additional information. This must have information is provided by Fuqid if you right-click a key in Fuqids download list and select “Copy full info”.
To successfully heal a CHK key, the following information is required: Crypto key, Compatibility, Compression and MD5.

The “Copy full info” option in Fuqid provides this information; in the download frame of Fuqid you can right-click a line, choose ‘copy full info’ and paste it in a text editor(see example at the bottom ). Personally, I always “Copy full info” from all my inserts in Fuqid, and save this information in a text file. If you delete your insert queue, you could always re-insert to the same key by having this information.

Also required is that the file you re-insert is the same as the inserted file bit by bit, the MD5 checksum must match.

If everyone inserts CHK keys using the following methods below, then keys could potentially work indefinitely as anyone who downloaded the file could heal them anonymously.

What to insert

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It matters what you insert.

If you insert a movie, if at all possible do not rar or zip or it and do not split the file.
Movies are always encoded so they are already compressed, there usually is nothing to gain by rarring- you’ll end up with a file size equal to or even bigger than the original.

It is impossible to re-pack something to get the same MD5 as the original. That means, matching a key of a rar archive is only possible if you have the original rar.

When inserting picture collections, alas there is no option but to make rar or 7z archives because it is not a good idea to insert large numbers of jpegs individually.
Unless you would make a .tar file instead of a compressed archive but up til now no one on Freenet does that so you’ll likely get a lot of protest.

As an inserter, saving the .rar for future healing of the key is a service! Also of course, downloaders can save the original .rar for healing too.
Should you be reluctant to contribute to the Frost/Freenet community but still like to give back, by being a silent, anonymous key healer you remain ‘unseen’ and get    a great karma !   

Preferred insertion method:

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The easiest and best way to get keys that anyone can heal, is by inserts using Fuqid build 56 or newer.

1. In Fuqid, click the button ‘Insert queue’. The bottom half of Fuqids window changes into a frame with a list for files to be inserted, and a ‘file select’ dialog pops up.

2. Locate the file(s) you want to insert on your hard disk, click OK.
The file(s) are now in the list in the bottom half of Fuqid.

3. In the image, ‘advanced mode’ is chosen. Select ‘Insert Mode "Simple - No Crypto key" ’ instead. All fields are now greyed out and can not be changed, any more.

4. Click the button ‘Update’. Check that the line for your insert now reflects what you chose as options.

5. Click ‘Add’. The bottom frame of Fuqid changes back to the list of downloads, and your new insert is added to the insert queue in the top frame.

6. Once the file is uploaded, any Fuqid user that reinserts the file with Insert Mode ‘Simple - No Crypto key’ will get the same CHK key again and so, heal the key.


If for whatever reason you can’t use Fuqid, you can use Frost.

1. In Frost, to insert keys that anyone can heal, you will need to insert the file in the “Uploads” tab.

2. Click the folder icon in top left corner and select the file you want to insert. A file dialog opens, navigate to the file you want to insert and click ‘OK’.

3. An “Add new uploads” window opens. The file(s) you selected are listed and there is a ‘compression’ column with checked v buttons. Uncheck, remove the v. Make sure Compatibility mode is set to “COMPAT_CURRENT”, if it is not, you can right-click the file(s) and choose ‘Change compatibility mode > COMPAT_CURRENT’.
If you want, you can set priorities in this window by pressing 1 – 6 with the file(s) selected.
Click ‘OK’ to close the window, your files are added to the upload tab list.
Cherish your patience until the progress states ‘finished’.

4. Once the file is inserted, any Frost user that reinserts the file with ‘Disable Compression’ should get the same CHK key returned, meaning she/he has healed the key.

Alternative insertion method

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Alternative insert method
(Fuqid build 56 and newer only)

SSK keys can not be healed, a re-insert always gives a new key. That is why SSK keys are something of the past, the preferred way of inserting is ‘CHK’, no crypto key, no compression. This method has the disadvantage it is less secure. BUT:

If you only inserted SSK keys in the past because it is the safer way, then the following method is as secure as using SSK keys, while still allowing others to heal the keys. BTW, it is a service to the healers if you provide the crypto key when you post the key.

1. In Fuqid select Insert Mode ‘Simple’. None of the other fields can be updated, but a random crypto key will be generated similar to how SSK keys use.

2. Once the insert is finished, you can provide the “Crypto Key” to the freesite maintainer who’s then able to heal the key without figuring out all data himself.

3. To get the crypto key, in the Fuqid insert queue, select the files you uploaded, right click - “copy to clipboard” - “Copy full info”. Paste this additional information in the message and it will provide the Crypto Key for others to use if the key needs to be healed.

Healing keys with Crypto Key

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Healing keys, inserted with a crypto key
(Fuqid build 56 and newer only)

1. To heal a key that you did not upload originally, you will need to know the information from the following fields: Crypto Key, Compatibility, Compression, and you also need the files MD5.
Many programs are capable of creating and checking MD5 checksums, for Windows for example ‘FreeComander’ and ‘Locate32’. See the Frost FAQ for more info. Look under ‘useful programs’.

2. To get the required information, the inserter has to do the following in Fuqid insert queue: select the files you uploaded, right click - “copy to clipboard” - “Copy full info”, and provide this information to others .

3. Once you downloaded the file (will use file.avi as an example), to heal file.avi do the following: Insert with Fuqid file.avi with the following insert options:

• “Advanced” Insert mode,

• CHK Insert key,

• Compatibility Current,

• Compression NONE,

(copy and paste the crypto key the inserter provided in the “Crypto key” field. For this example it will be:)

• Crypto key:a98c1136c437d7492e7fd71e144456727a0b09363a9b73c2b7e0255b211e4ccc

4. When the insert finalizes, your effort should result in Fuqid reporting the same CHK key as the file had already.
The easiest way to check is to paste the old, and your newly gotten key on two lines in a fixed-width font in a text editor.

“Copy full info” in Fuqid

Below is the extra information retrieved when “Copy full info” is used when copying keys in Fuqid:

Crypto Key:a98c1136c437d7492e7fd71e144456727a0b09363a9b73c2b7e0255b211e4ccc
Started:12.12.11 03:51
Completed:12.12.11 04:00

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Written by datmon.
Frost ID: datmon@a89M0Ll7ONMCookIXFxEtes1z20
Board: child models – girls

File renaming of existing keys

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Using the ‘official’ KeyUtils plugin, it is possible
to convert an SSK or CHK key to a, different,
CHK key, and rename the file if you want.

So, if somebody else inserted a file you would rather have a better name for your freesite, you load KeyUtils and use KeyConverter.
The (other) key Freenet gives you can be healed as long as you use the same crypto key if one is used.

This means too, should you prefer to insert as SSK because it gives better security, you can still publish CHK keys.
You just insert the file with a randomly made up file name but the correct extension, and afterwards convert the gotten SSK key to a CHK key with the correct name.
Inserting large files can take many an hour if not days, converting a key merely minutes.

This way you can ‘have your cake and eat it too’; you can use the safer method of uploading to an SSK key and still get a CHK key that can be healed.
Mind the KeyConverter does not change anything to the file, except of the name. Since file keys get a 'MIME type' assigned by Freenet based on the extension such as .mpg or .rar, you must upload the correct file extension.

With KeyConverter you can change the name, but not the extension.

A disadvantage of this method of inserting is, you always use a crypto key since SSK keys always get one assigned, even if you set the crypto key in Fuqid to NONE.
The preferred, and easiest option is just: ‘simple, no crypto key’.

It is well possible to use Fproxy instead of Fuqid or Frost, fact stays Fuqid is the most convenient tool.

Healing SSK keys

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SSK keys can not be healed.
But, using a trick, you still can;
as long as the key is not completely dead.

If an SSK starts downloading beyond 0%, the top block is okay and you can use KeyConverter to convert the SSK key to a CHK key.

You do that by pasting the SSK key in Key Utils > Key Converter in the box ‘Original file key’.

Copypaste the file name in the box ‘New file name’. You want the file to keep the same name.

Press the button ‘Convert’.

After a few minutes, KeyConverter will give you a CHK key that in fact is a pointer to the same file within Freenet.

This CHK key can be healed the same way a CHK key with crypto key can be healed. Use the method above.

Once you re-inserted the CHK key, you have healed the original SSK key too. This works because an SSK key in fact always has a CHK underlining, this is the key KeyConverter gives you.

Summary by moony

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There are several things you can do
to insert to unpredictable keys.

* Create new rar/zip files. This most likely will result in a file with a different md5sum, so you can insert with CHK and get a new key.

If you insert CHK keys with crypto keys, you may want to publish the crypto key(s) on the freesite (after the inserts are done) to make it easier for people to heal the keys later. If you do, the last option makes it a little easier for reinserters to heal multiple keys at once (a lot less copy/pasting).

There is risk of an approach attack, where an attacker can close in on the node doing an insert, whenever you insert to a key that the attacker can determine. This happens if the key is already published, or if the attacker has the same file from which he can calculate the key. This attack takes time to execute, so larger files carry more risk. Not announcing reinserts before they’re finished reduces your risk, and any of the options above eliminates it.

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