Upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 After April 30

As of May 1, 2019, Ubuntu 14.04 has reached End of Life. If you are still running Ubuntu 14.04 on your Application and Monitor Server, your servers will no longer receive security updates for operating system packages, the kernel, or SecureDrop itself.

That means that a sufficiently severe vulnerability discovered in any of those components may permit an adversary to compromise SecureDrop servers running Ubuntu 14.04.

For this reason, starting May 1, we recommend a reinstall on Ubuntu 16.04 for any SecureDrop still on Ubuntu 14.04. See our installation guide.

This will result in a new .onion address for your Source Interface and your Journalist Interface. You will need to create new user accounts and USB drives for administrators and journalists, and sources you are currently in touch with will no longer be able to log in using their codename. We recommend notifying your sources about this change on your Landing Page.

Unless you have reason to believe that the Submission Key may have been compromised, you do not need to reinstall the Secure Viewing Station. Instead, during this part of the installation process, use a copy of your public key obtained from your Secure Viewing Station.

Saving old submissions

If you require access to old submissions to your SecureDrop, you need to save them securely. We do not recommend using the standard backup procedure via securedrop-admin backup, as restoring such a backup will reinstate secrets and credentials that may have been compromised.

Instead, download any submissions you have not already downloaded to your Secure Viewing Station following the standard process as described in the Journalist Guide. If you do not reinstall the Secure Viewing Station, you will be able to continue to view these submissions on the Secure Viewing Station as before, but you will no longer be able to reply to the sources that sent them, until they create a new account.


If you do reinstall your Secure Viewing Station, you must copy the public and private Submission Key from the old Secure Viewing Station to the new one. Without the keypair, you will not be able to decrypt old submissions on a new Secure Viewing Station.

Contact us

If you have questions or comments regarding this process, please don’t hesitate to reach out:

  • Community support is available at https://forum.securedrop.org
  • If you are already a member of our support portal, please don’t hesitate to open a ticket there. If you would like to request access, please contact us at securedrop@freedom.press (GPG encrypted). Note that your ticket will be visible to all support portal users at your organization; if this is a concern, reach out by email to the above address or to a staff member directly.
  • The Freedom of the Press Foundation offers training and priority support services. See https://securedrop.org/priority-support/ for more information.