Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Cryptic - EncFS & Cryptkeeper

Encrypting individual files and emails is all very well, but what if you want to protect a whole directory? Fortunately, it is easy to create and manage encrypted directories in Ubuntu1 using EncFS (encrypted File System) and a small system tray applet called Cryptkeeper.

First you should ensure that you have the package, encfs installed. You can do this from Synaptic or by opening a terminal and typing:

sudo apt-get install encfs

Next, open the Ubuntu Software Centre and search for the Cryptkeeper applet.

Just click the Install button and, when the applet has finished installing, reboot your system.

If all has gone well, you should see the Cryptkeeper applet appear in your Gnome-panel (or your system tray applet in the dock of your choice). Right-clicking the applet presents a pop-up menu - click the New encrypted folder option to create your new directory.

Choose a name and location for your directory and click the Forward button.

Enter and confirm a password and click Forward.

That's all there is to it! The directory is not mounted by default and you must select it from the applet's pop-up menu when you want to access your files. When you select the directory that you want to open, you'll be prompted for your password. It's worth taking a few minutes to browse the linked pages below: this is not a block device encryption method and there are advantages and disadvantages to using this process for protecting your files.

Sources & References:


  1. This is only partially true: the following instructions work for releases prior to 11.04 but not in Unity. To use the systray applet as described here, you'll need to revert to Ubuntu Classic if you're using 11.04 or above!
    Alternatively, type man encfs into a terminal and use the commands to manage encryption without the Cryptkeeper applet.

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