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Thread: Teach me about encryption

  1. #1
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    Default Teach me about encryption

    I have a spreadsheet, not too big or complicated, that I would like to encrypt and store online. It shows income in a very small business (my next post will be about gnucash!) When I searched through my menu, I have 2 encryption programs installed: Kleopatra and Kgpg. I began each but canceled before either finished.

    I was given options I didn't understand and questions related to keys. I didn't get far enough along to see if I needed to create a password or if "magic" would happen and the file would get encrypted. My first concern is that I encrypt the file using the wrong options and then can't unencrypt it when I need it.

    Checking the spelling on Kleopatra, it seems it's NOT an encryption program??

    Any advice or a basic how-to would be appreciated.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    Have a look at ccrypt, it's quick and easy. But it may not be what you want because it's so simple.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    On 2012-04-04 23:26, Prexy wrote:

    > have 2 encryption programs installed: Kleopatra and Kgpg. I began each
    > but canceled before either finished.


    You should insist on both. I do not use KDE, so I can't comment much on
    them. Both are based on GPG, and that is as strong as you can get.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard

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    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    On Wed, 04 Apr 2012 23:38:05 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

    > On 2012-04-04 23:26, Prexy wrote:
    >
    >> have 2 encryption programs installed: Kleopatra and Kgpg. I began each
    >> but canceled before either finished.

    >
    > You should insist on both. I do not use KDE, so I can't comment much on
    > them. Both are based on GPG, and that is as strong as you can get.
    >
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard


    Well, GPG isn't an encryption algorithm, but it does use some of the
    strongest algorithms out there (such as AES). It also uses some of the
    weakest "strong" algorithms out there (3DES, for example).

    But I don't know that GPG is good for file-level encryption. Something
    like encfs or truecrypt is going to provide a more convenient way of
    encrypting filesystem data, while using the same algorithms.

    Jim

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    I think the most important thing to understand about encryption starts
    with the Wikipedia article:

    <quote url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encryption">
    In cryptography, encryption is the process of transforming information
    (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called a cipher) to make
    it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge,
    usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted
    information (in cryptography, referred to as ciphertext). The reverse
    process, i.e., to make the encrypted information readable again, is
    referred to as decryption (i.e., to make it unencrypted)
    </quote>

    The plaintext in your case is your file. The cipher in your case is
    whatever the encryption option ends up being (AES, for example). Now
    let's think about some basic stuff. Pretend your ciphertext (the
    encrypted form of your file) gets into the public. What keeps evil
    people from getting your data? Sure, you encrypted it, but it wasn't
    encrypted with your DNA or fingerprint or anything. So why can't
    anybody with kgpg or kleopatra simply decrypt it like you can? The
    answer is that you need to have a unique key of some sort which nobody
    else has.

    There are two general types of encryption, asymmetric and symmetric. In
    the case of asymmetric one key is used for encryption (public key) while
    another is used for decryption (private key). In the case of symmetric
    encryption the same key is used for encryption and decryption.

    Now, consider your options. You can either have two pieces of
    information, usually files, to handle your files' encryption and
    decryption, or you can have one. What's really nice is that if you have
    one it does not need to be a file, but can be a passphrase.

    Quickly reviewing upsides/downsides of these, the biggest one for most
    people is the potential for losing the encryption key. If you use
    public/private-key encryption you encrypt your file with the public key,
    and then you keep the private key as long as you want to be able to
    decrypt the file. If you lose the file, your data are lost permanently.
    If you use symmetric-key encryption with a passphrase your ability to
    lose the passphrase is tied to forgetting it (vs. losing it) so if you
    choose a good passphrase and do not forget it then you're set. Worst
    case, write it down and lock it in a safe or something equally secure,
    maybe writing down halves of it and placing it in different secure
    locations.

    Good luck.
    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
    Version: GnuPG v2.0.18 (GNU/Linux)
    Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/

    iQIcBAEBAgAGBQJPfOgJAAoJEF+XTK08PnB5RYsP/0bWhOQyXWn+dWFNYS3A0r68
    1Q6ECoA3LLfSuor5/xcI3hCduuG42lrTGErmBw2zgFXr1HngFnalUtImcYUHysgl
    1oCtwe5mPYPUaFu4c/gXAkCyEaoQddBG8TShXTMSbFgTpccxuJUMSBTu2qDPc9wv
    GmMka/WAXHMHwQhMTAp2AAc5fydy+mveTSXDe1KuKToZABKc03slMo14AorbXF4W
    8I4vYEeewmOIbLDmIDUbu3oRpjTsiITFmI3Z+bDQN01H6ltO9duwJ1JWp1lZChVY
    n4t4se03ncv/tV/ty/Sc3NlsbKs67bsdd/uYGZnALINFDKIn8R5uWAn+3eLh/59S
    Yj3FRRT7jnV2I9SCnPkts+5PEk8pqjSM+vdPgbbaNS0HeS+MDUIqXsmz30IqB7u4
    lCFE1wRKdFeA7A2HEGCSMrgilMWe7cdrV1w5nRVTm4x5XIQCwG52elz35q6LEodX
    09oZf63RDih3njApMwFvEnZEBhiRNAaHxquysk5ajptlAytvzMXuxe5oiv8kczdF
    +Z1Cb6QWAJWnEKbyJXbzmttOzTuvbGzdTiBpmWeSe6vYDDx8Tnf9WO4phMdzEzlv
    UyRdSdK7XE0BHdGzVPTIO1qfevMUMziRsRSq9b/ofzLnhjRupFbO/EPr1SsXRsUJ
    HsA28NGzqTl4YW3eLUV4
    =B31x
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    On 2012-04-05 01:51, Jim Henderson wrote:

    > Well, GPG isn't an encryption algorithm, but it does use some of the
    > strongest algorithms out there (such as AES). It also uses some of the
    > weakest "strong" algorithms out there (3DES, for example).


    The software is equivalent to PGP, and that is considered the best available.

    > But I don't know that GPG is good for file-level encryption. Something
    > like encfs or truecrypt is going to provide a more convenient way of
    > encrypting filesystem data, while using the same algorithms.


    But he did not ask for file level encryption. I understand he needs to
    encrypt some files that are going to be uploaded to some storage place in
    internet.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    Thanks for the tips! I have a lot to look through before making a choice.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    On Thu, 05 Apr 2012 01:33:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

    > On 2012-04-05 01:51, Jim Henderson wrote:
    >
    >> Well, GPG isn't an encryption algorithm, but it does use some of the
    >> strongest algorithms out there (such as AES). It also uses some of the
    >> weakest "strong" algorithms out there (3DES, for example).

    >
    > The software is equivalent to PGP, and that is considered the best
    > available.


    By some it is, certainly. But it's not the only option, nor is it the
    easiest to use IMHO. (GPG is itself CLI-only; there are front-ends for
    it, of course)

    >> But I don't know that GPG is good for file-level encryption. Something
    >> like encfs or truecrypt is going to provide a more convenient way of
    >> encrypting filesystem data, while using the same algorithms.

    >
    > But he did not ask for file level encryption. I understand he needs to
    > encrypt some files that are going to be uploaded to some storage place
    > in internet.


    encfs would handle this fine. You mount the encrypted filesystem, save
    the file into it, and then copy the encrypted file to the remote servers.

    I do this myself with some stuff I have sync to dropbox. The encrypted
    directories are in my ~/Dropbox folder, and the whole directory is kept
    in sync.

    Jim



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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    Instead of Kgpg may I recommend truecrypt, it's cross platform (unlike the KDE projects you mention) & it works in Opensuse with no problems.
    Also, it doesn't require much in the way of keys & such just a password or 2.
    Here's the best tutorial I've found on how to use it the instructions are for Windows but they work the same way for Linux:
    TrueCrypt Tutorial (high res) - YouTube
    To get truecrypt go here:
    TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X and Linux
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Teach me about encryption

    On 2012-04-05 08:58, Jim Henderson wrote:
    > On Thu, 05 Apr 2012 01:33:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:


    >> The software is equivalent to PGP, and that is considered the best
    >> available.

    >
    > By some it is, certainly. But it's not the only option, nor is it the
    > easiest to use IMHO. (GPG is itself CLI-only; there are front-ends for
    > it, of course)


    I know; the two programs he mentioned initially are two such frontends.

    >> But he did not ask for file level encryption. I understand he needs to
    >> encrypt some files that are going to be uploaded to some storage place
    >> in internet.

    >
    > encfs would handle this fine. You mount the encrypted filesystem, save
    > the file into it, and then copy the encrypted file to the remote servers.


    Ah... interesting.

    > I do this myself with some stuff I have sync to dropbox. The encrypted
    > directories are in my ~/Dropbox folder, and the whole directory is kept
    > in sync.


    And you can mount directly the remote filesystem?

    Do you have a link to the procedure?

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)

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