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Configuring an Air-gapped, Offline Computer
Store and safeguard the sensitive secret (private) keys for your stake pool using an air-gapped, offline computer. The most effective technique to prevent private key exposure is to guarantee that a necessary private key is never held for any length of time on any Internet-connected computer, also known as a hot node. Your air-gapped, offline computer may also be referred to as a cold environment.
Your air-gapped, offline computer:
  • Protects against key-logging attacks; malware- or virus-based attacks; and, other firewall or security exploits
  • Must not have a wired or wireless network connection
  • Is not a virtual machine (VM) on a computer having a network connection
  • Is physically isolated from the rest of your network
Read more about requirements to Air Gap.

The system requirements for the air-gapped, offline computer that you use to support your stake pool operation are minimal. The computer must support the same operating system that you install on your hot nodes. For example, you may use a Raspberry Pi or an upcycled older computer or laptop.
Your cold environment requires a USB port to facilitate transporting files to and from your block-producing node using a USB stick or other removable media.

Copy the cardano-cli binary that you produced when Compiling Cardano Node to your air-gapped, offline computer.
To copy the cardano-cli binary to your cold environment:
  1. 1.
    Insert the removable media that you want to use to transfer files into a hot node where you compiled the cardano-cli binary.
  2. 2.
    If you followed the Coin Cashew guide, then copy the cardano-cli binary located in the folder /usr/local/bin/ to the removable media that you inserted in step 1
If you do not know the location of the cardano-cli binary, then type which cardano-cli
  1. 1.
    Eject the removable media from your hot node, and then insert the removable media into your air-gapped, offline computer.
  2. 2.
    On your air-gapped, offline computer, copy the cardano-cli binary from the removable media to the /usr/local/bin/ folder.
  3. 3.
    To give execute permissions to the cardano-cli binary, type:
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/cardano-cli

For convenience when following the Coin Cashew guide, create a NODE_HOME environment variable on your air-gapped, offline computer set to the same file path that you set on your block-producing and relay nodes when Installing GHC and Cabal.
To create a NODE_HOME environment variable:
  1. 1.
    On your air-gapped, offline computer, open the file $HOME/.bashrc using a text editor, and then add the following line at the end of the file:
export NODE_HOME="$HOME/cardano-my-node"
  1. 1.
    To create the folder set for the NODE_HOME environment variable in the $HOME/.bashrc file, type:
mkdir $HOME/cardano-my-node
  1. 1.
    To reload your shell profile, type:
source $HOME/.bashrc

To use the cardano-cli binary on your air-gapped, offline computer you must also install the libsecp256k1 library that you installed on your hot nodes. Use the following procedure to install libsecp256k1 without connecting your air-gapped, offline computer to the Internet.
Alternately, thanks to TerminadaPool, if you prefer you can create your own Debian (DEB) package to install libsecp256k1 offline.
To install the libsecp256k1 library on your air-gapped, offline computer:
  1. 1.
    On the air-gapped, offline computer, open the $HOME/.bashrc file using a text editor, and then add the following lines at the end of the file:
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/usr/local/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH"
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"
  1. 1.
    Save and close the $HOME/.bashrc file.
  2. 2.
    To reload the $HOME/.bashrc file, type:
source $HOME/.bashrc
  1. 1.
    On the air-gapped, offline computer, if the /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig folder does not exist, then type the following command to create the folder:
sudo mkdir /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig
  1. 1.
    Using removable media, copy the following four files from a block-producing or relay node where you installed libsecp256k1 to the same location on your air-gapped, offline computer:
/usr/local/lib/libsecp256k1.a
/usr/local/lib/libsecp256k1.la
/usr/local/lib/libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0
/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig/libsecp256k1.pc
  1. 1.
    To set file permissions and ownership for the libsecp256k1 library files on the air-gapped, offline computer, type the following commands using a terminal window:
cd /usr/local/lib
sudo chown root:root libsecp256k1.*
sudo chmod 644 libsecp256k1.a
sudo chmod 755 libsecp256k1.la
sudo chmod 755 libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0
sudo chown root:root ./pkgconfig/libsecp256k1.pc
sudo chmod 644 ./pkgconfig/libsecp256k1.pc
  1. 1.
    To create symbolic links, type:
sudo ln -s libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0 libsecp256k1.so
sudo ln -s libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0 libsecp256k1.so.0
  1. 1.
    Type ls -la and then confirm that in step 7 you created the following symbolic links:
lrwxrwxrwx root root libsecp256k1.so -> libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0
lrwxrwxrwx root root libsecp256k1.so.0 -> libsecp256k1.so.0.0.0
  1. 1.
    To update available symbolic links for currently shared libraries, type:
sudo ldconfig
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System Requirements
Copying the cardano-cli Binary
Setting the NODE_HOME Environment Variable
Installing libsecp256k1