Encryption is the process of scrambling data stored on a computer in a manner that makes it unreadable to anyone who doesn't possess the key to re-create the data in its original form. Data that has been encrypted can be stored on the local computer, stored on a network share, or transmitted to other users and computers.
You can encrypt an entire hard disk or the partitions of the disk. This should be done at installation. You can also secure data through encryption by creating a directory and encrypting it. For example, if you've set up a file server, you may want to encrypt a directory that holds sensitive information.
Before you go forward with protecting your data, you need to install eCryptfs from the Ubuntu repositories by typing:
sudo aptitude install ecryptfs-utils
When installed, set up a private directory where you can store your encrypted files and folders. To do so, type this command in the terminal:
You'll be asked to enter your login password and then to create a mount pass (or have one generated for you). Write down this passphrase: You'll need it to recover data manually. Log out of your computer, and then log back in. When you are logged in, any folders or files you write in
~/Private will be encrypted.
In an emergency, you may need to recover your encrypted data. You can do so automatically by making sure that your hard drive is mounted, and then opening the terminal. At the prompt, run:
Follow the prompts, and you'll be able to access your data after it has been decrypted. Make sure you save it in another location so you can access it again.