eCryptfs is a encryption application for Linux that you can use to encrypt your files/folders and prevent others from viewing it. eCryptfs does not require its own partition. You can easily create a dynamic encrypted private directory on your Home folder that will shrink or grow in size according to the files you add to it. Whatever files you place in the private directory will be encrypted and safe from the public eyes.
In Ubuntu Ibex, the eCryptfs package was included in the Ubuntu main to support the use of a secret encrypted folder in the Home folder. To get it working in Ubuntu Hardy, you will have to follow the steps below:
First, install the eCryptfs package:
sudo apt-get install ecryptfs-utils
Create your own secret folder.
Mount the ecryptfs to the secret folder
sudo mount -t ecryptfs ~/secret ~/secret
It will then prompt you to answer a few questions.
1) Selecting your key type for newly created files
Press “1″ to select passphrase
You will be asked to enter and verify your passphrase.
2) Selecting your encryption cipher
The default option is shown in the [ ]. If you are not sure of what to select, simply press Enter to select the default.
3) Select key byte
4) Enable plaintext passthrough
If you want to use unecrypted file inside your secret folder, then select ‘Y’. If not, type ‘N’.
Now, open your Nautilus (Places->Home Folder). You should see a secret drive mounted in the filesystem.
Testing out your secret folder encryption
Add some files to the secret folder.
sudo umount ~/secret
Access the secret folder again and open any of the files that you have just added. You should not be able to open and view the file content. That’s good. All your files are now encrypted.
Creating a launcher
Having a launcher on your desktop allows you to mount the secret folder easily.
On your desktop, right click the mouse and select “Create Launcher“.
Enter the following:
Type: Application in Terminal
Name: eCryptfs (or whatever name you want)
Command: sudo mount -t ecryptfs /home/USER/secret /home/USER/secret key=passphrase,ecryptfs_cipher=aes,ecryptfs_key_bytes=16,ecryptfs_passthrough=n (Replace the USER with your own username)
The next time you want to mount your secret folder, simply click on this launcher. It will pop up a terminal and ask you for your passphrase. Once that is verified, the secret folder will be mounted in the Home folder.