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Once in a time, I get to travel to places that make me worry about the data on my laptop. This time, it is not the US, but another openly democratic country where they kill you for a joint, let alone nude pictures. Enough politics, though.

I have a laptop with the /boot in a separate partition, followed by a /root partition and a /swap. Having a separate /boot is mandatory, as the BIOS has to load an unencrypted kernel and its initrd image before being able to access the encrypted partition. Another option is to keep /boot on a USB stick, but this setup can take a whole other post.

First things first, let us install software for managing encrypted disks and updating the initrd image:

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">aptitude install cryptsetup initramfs-tools</span>

We have to make sure that the encryption modules are present in the initrd image, so I add the following three modules to the initrd config:

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">echo aes-i586 >>/etc/initramfs-tools/modules</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">echo dm-crypt >>/etc/initramfs-tools/modules</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">echo dm-mod >>/etc/initramfs-tools/modules</span><br />

This step is probably unnecessary as initramfs-update is able to figure out the modules needed by parsing /etc/crypttab and /etc/fstab and by checking the loaded modules.

Next step is to inform cryptsetup and inittab of the partition mapping between /dev/hda2 (the physical device) and /dev/mapper/root (its encryption interface).

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">echo "root /dev/hda2 none luks" >>/etc/crypttab</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">sed -i 's#/dev/hda2#/dev/mapper/root#' /etc/fstab</span><br />

We also have to change the root device for grub the same way we did it for inittab:

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">sed -i 's#/dev/hda2#/dev/mapper/root#' /boot/grub/menu.lst</span><br />

Now, recreate the initrd image by issuing

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">update-initramfs -k all -u</span><br />

We are now ready to shutdown and to boot from a LiveCD in order to make a backup, create an encrypted partition and copy back the root filesystem contents on an already encrypted partition. I leave the reader at the exercise of choosing available backup options. A simple “cp -ax /mnt/root/* /mnt/backup” command will be enough to backup, though.

Once the backup is ready, erase the data on the partition by issuing

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">shred -n1 -v /dev/hda2</span><br />

and then create the encrypted partition with

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/hda2</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/hda2 root</span><br />

After the encrypted device is set up and open, create a filesystem, mount it and copy the backup of the root partition to the encrypted device.

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">mkfs.ext3 /dev/mapper/root</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">mount /dev/mapper/root /mnt/root</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">cp -ax /mnt/backup/* /mnt/root/</span><br />

You are now ready to boot into the encrypted root partition.

Once the root encryption works, addding swap encryption is a piece of cake. Just add it to /etc/crypttab and modify the /etc/fstab accordingly:

<span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">echo "swap /dev/hda3 /dev/random swap" >>/etc/crypttab</span><br /><span class="prompt">#</span><span class="input">sed -i 's#/dev/hda3#/dev/mapper/swap#' /etc/fstab</span><br />
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