Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cryptic - Be Prepared

During the installation process, Ubuntu provides a facility to encrypt your /home directory. Whilst I consider all of my files to be private, I know that most of them aren't particularly sensitive and the prospect of waiting for my /home directory to be decrypted every time I boot my pc isn't particularly appealing.

Fortunately, there is a way to encrypt individual files in Ubuntu and, in this first of two posts, I'll outline how to prepare Ubuntu and create an encryption key:

  • Open the Ubuntu Software Centre and type decrypt into the search dialog. Select the Decrypt File plugin and install the package.

    Ubuntu Software Centre
    Install the Decrypt File Plugin from the Ubuntu Software Centre
  • When the plugin has been installed, open the Passwords and Encryption Keys application from the Accessories Menu and click on the My Personal Keys tab.

  • Open the Passwords and Encryption Keys Application
    Open the Passwords and Encryption Keys Application
  • Click File and then select New...
Create a New PGP Key
  • In the Create New... dialog, select the PGP Key option and click Continue.
Select the PGP Key option and Click Continue
  • Complete the New Key dialog box and click Create and you will be prompted for a passphrase.
Complete the fields in the New PGP Key dialog

  • Once you have entered and confirmed your passphrase, you are ready to encrypt data using Natilus.

In the next post, I'll outline how to encrypt and decrypt files using the GUI rather than the CLI.


  • PGP is an acronym for Pretty Good Privacy
  • GUI is an acronym for Graphical User Interface
  • CLI is an acronym for Command Line Interface
Sources & References:

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