Virtual Encryption Fun

Earlier this month, I found myself wondering, “Just what is the password for my encrypted hard drives?” I remember encrypting the drives, but then after putting them away, forgot.

Image Source

VMWare Workstation Player
The problem? I had been spending too much time on my Surface Book, exploring Windows 10, etc. Dual booting Win10 and UbuntuLinux on a Surface Book has eluded me. Yes, while there are a few tutorials out there, I’m not quite ready to jump in and give it a shot. Fortunately, I was able to get VMware Workstation Player (available for free for noncommercial use, thank you!) and load up Lubuntu Linux, which I figured would run light on resources on my 8gig Surface Book. Thank goodness that was true.

Workstation Player is perfect for students, faculty, businesses and corporate users who need a small sandbox environment for testing or control. A simple user interface provides a streamlined approach and enables more focused use cases. 

I’m actually writing this via the Opera browser on my VM running Lubuntu on the Surfacebook. It’s not a great accomplishment technically, but it was fun to spend some time today.

Encrypting Hard Drives
Now that I’m back in, looking at my old data from many years, much of which I migrated to the cloud, I’m finding myself wondering why I bothered encrypting it. It’s not like there was anything top secret. Still, it was fun to encrypt entire devices and save my work there, knowing that it wouldn’t be stolen if the drive fell into the wrong hands.

The process for LubuntuLinux (or Ubuntu for that matter) really involves just one or two steps. On Lubuntu, it involved typing this command then plugging in my USB external drives:

sudo apt-get install cryptsetup

I could then manipulate the drives using Disks, which looks like this:

After plugging the drive in, I was able to enter my remembered password and my data showed right up. Encrypting the drive is really just a matter of playing with the options.

Keeping Data Secure
But, let’s say you don’t want to encrypt an entire drive. You can always use a cross-platform tool like Secure Space Encryptor (SSE). It allows you to encrypt folders or multiple files into a single encrypted (*.enc) file.

If you need something more complex, check out Go Anywhere’s Open PGP Studio.

GoAnywhere OpenPGP Studio is a free desktop tool that makes it easy to protect sensitive files using the popular Open PGP encryption standard. Documents can be encrypted, decrypted, signed and verified from your PC or workstation using this intuitive tool.  An integrated key manager allows you to quickly create, import, export and manage Open PGP keys needed to encrypt and decrypt files. 

GoAnywhere OpenPGP Studio will run on almost any operating system including Windows®, Linux, Mac OS X®, Solaris and UNIX. You can download and install it to your desktop within just a few minutes.

Anyways, what fun to revisit encryption. Here are some other tools I typically install:

  • Secure-Delete (sudo apt-get install secure-delete) includes an assortment of tools to protect/wipe data
  • Keepass (sudo apt-get install keepass) is a friendly, easy to use file manager you can use to keep track of a zillion passwords.
Another tool I learned about today is iPGMail, which is an iOS app that allows you to use your GPG/PGP public key encryption to protect your emails. I often rely on ProtonMail these days, or just use Gmail with Secure Space Encryptor’s companion app, PTE (text encryption). Still, somebody somewhere may prefer iPGMail.
What made me give this all a try again? Well, it was fun to watch Sunday Morning and see David Pogue talking about data centers and the cloud.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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