Linux graphical encryption program

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VeraCrypt is probably the most user-friendly and the most flexible Linux graphical encryption program. So, in this post, I will show you how to use it.

INTRODUCTION

I previously showed you how to encrypt the hard drive in Linux with a command line tool, in this post, I will show you how to make encryption in Linux with a beautiful graphical program. This program is called VeraCrypt.

VeraCrypt – the best Linux graphical encryption program

If you used the encryption on Linux before, you probably have heard about the program TrueCrypt. If you have not, TrueCrypt was a graphical utility for encrypting folders and partitions to protect your data. However, it is not secure anymore and it is not developed anymore. VeraCrypt is a current alternative of TrueCrypt.

VeraCrypt is an open source software application, which serves to encrypt and hide data that a user considers confidential. It uses fairly current and secure encryption protocols. And for me, it is the best Linux graphical encryption program.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

How to install VeraCrypt

First, download the Linux version from the official VeraCrypt website. By the way, VeraCrypt is cross-platform, so, you can install it on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and FreeBSD.

Screenshot of the VeraCrypt Download page
VeraCrypt Download page

Then, open your file browser, select the downloaded file and right click on it and extract the archive.

Extract the downloaded file
Extract the downloaded file

Open a terminal and change the current directory to the folder generated by the decompression and list all the files.

cd Downloads/veracrypt-*-setup/ 
ls -l
list the Veracrypt downloaded files
List the Veracrypt downloaded files

Among all the files, you should see a file with gui in its name. There are two such files one is for 32 and the other one is for 64-bit systems. I believe most users nowadays use x64 systems.

So, to start the installation, you run this command:

sudo ./veracrypt-X.XX-setup-gui-x64

Then, you have to choose the installation option. Type 1 to install Veracrypt.

Installing VeraCrypt
Installing VeraCrypt

Next, it is necessary to accept the license terms. Type yes to accept.

Veracrypt License terms
Veracrypt License terms

After accepting the license terms, the program will start the installation. In the end, you should see a message on the terminal saying Press Enter to exit.

Terminal window showing that Veracrypt has been installed successfully
Veracrypt has been installed successfully

To run it, just type veracrypt from your terminal and press enter. Of course, you can also launch it from the main menu of your system.

This is what the program looks like once you have started it. It is a very simple interface but it is very powerful.

The VeraCrypt main window
The VeraCrypt main window

Create an encrypted VeraCrypt volume

Now it is time to create a VeraCrypt volume. Click on the Create Volume button.

You can just create an encrypted file container. In short, it is a virtual folder which is encrypted. Or you can also encrypt the whole partition or the whole drive. Choose whatever you want the principle is basically similar for the two options. In this example, I will just create an encrypted container.

Create an encrypted container

Veracrypt options: an encrypted file container or an encrypted partition/drive
Veracrypt options: an encrypted file container or an encrypted partition/drive

In the next screen, I suggest you use a standard VeraCrypt volume but if you want more security, you can use the hidden volume option. I will choose to create a Standard VeraCrypt volume.

Choose the Veracrypt volume type
Choose the Veracrypt volume type

In this section, you have to select where you want this encrypted volume to be located. Click on the Select File button and set the place and name. After that, click on the Next button.

Set the Veracrypt Volume Location
Set the Veracrypt Volume Location

VeraCrypt provides several encryption algorithms like AES, Twofish or Camellia. I usually choose AES. This should be secure enough. Click on the Next button.

Select the algorithm encryption for the Veracrypt volume
Select the algorithm encryption for the volume

Now, you have to define the space of the container. Veracrypt shows you how much disk space is available and you can create a volume of this size or smaller. In my case, I will create a 1Gb volume.

Define the Veracrypt volume size
Define the volume size

Choose a security level (password, PIM, keyfile)

Now, it is time to define your password. It will be used to decrypt the volume. You have to define a very strong one.

Set a Veracrypt volume password and the keyfile to decrypt  the volume
Set a volume password and the keyfile to decrypt the volume

Usually, setting a password is secure enough. However, if you want to be your encryption as secure as possible, you can also enable the PIM option, this means you just need to specify a specific number during the mounting process. I never use it. If you want more security I recommend you to use a key file. This is a very useful option. So, I will create a KeyFile to show you the process.

Create a KeyFile

To create a key file, just click on the Generate random key file button.

Generate a random keyfile for Veracrypt
Generate a random keyfile

You need to move your mouse randomly as much as possible to create some random numbers which will be stored in this key file. You can move it until the Randomness bar is completely full. After that, you give it a name, click on the Generate and Save Keyfile option and choose a place to save it.

Now, you can generate and save the keyfile in Veracrypt
Now, you can generate and save the keyfile

Once the keyfile is created, it is necessary to add it to the volume so that they are connected. Normally, the keyfile is generated in the same directory where VeraCrypt is located. In this case, /home/alu/Download/. So, Click on the add button and select the keyfile.

Add the keyfile to the volume in Veracrypt
Add the keyfile to the volume

Next, press the OK button.

Add the keyfile in Veracrypt
Press the ok button to add the keyfile

Now, to unencrypt this volume you have to use the password and in addition to this, you also need to use a key file. I recommend storing the keyfile on your USB drive, for greater security.

NOTE that If you lose your key file you will not be able to unencrypt this volume. So, make sure you have a backup of this key file.

Next, click on the Next button.

You can continue the volume creation
You can continue the volume creation

Choosing a new filesystem for the volume

Using a Linux graphical encryption program, you can set the file system for the new volume system. So, If you are going to mount the volume in Windows and Linux, you should choose FAT, but if you will only use it for Linux you can choose EXT4.

Choose the filesystem type for the volume in Veracrypt
Choose the filesystem type for the volume

In the next screen, you can choose if you want to mount this encrypted volume on different systems or only on Linux. The former option enables cross-platform compatibility of the encrypted volume.

Veracrypt can enable the Cross-platform support
Veracrypt encryption can have the Cross-platform support

Encrypting the volume

To encrypt the volume, you need to generate some randomness by moving your mouse as random as possible in the next screen. So, wait until the bar is completely filled. Next, click on the Format button.

Encrypting the volume in Veracrypt
Encrypting the volume

You may also need to type your root password during this process.

The administrator password may be required in Veracrypt
The administrator password is required

In the end, you should see the screen saying that the volume has been successfully created. So, you can start using this Linux graphical encryption program.

Volume created successfully
Volume created successfully

Mounting the newly created volume to test it

After you created the encrypted volume, you need to mount it. First, we need to select the volume. So, click on the Select File option.

Select the volume file to mount in Veracrypt
Select the volume file to mount it

Next, navigate and select your volume.

Search for the newly created Veracrypt volume
Search for the newly created volume

After that, you need to select where you want to mount it. Just select the first slot and click on the Mount button.

Mounting the Veracrypt volume
Mounting the volume

In this screen, you have to enter the password you used for your encryption. If you encrypted this container with a keyfile, specify it here too. As you remember, I created the key file, so I will mark the Use keyfiles option and add the keyfile.

Selecting the keyfile to decrypt a Veracrypt volume
Selecting the keyfile

After that, the volume should mount to the /media folder.

The volume has been successfully mounted in Veracrypt
The volume has been successfully mounted

You can see that it is mounted as /media/veracrypt1 in the Mount Directory column. So, open the file manager and go to /media/veracrypt1.

A Veracrypt volume is mounted to /media
The volume is ready to be used

And there is the encrypted volume. You can copy all the files you want to encrypt to this veracrypt1 folder.

Unmounting the encrypted volume

After you finished placing the information to the encrypted volume, you have to close the file manager and unmount it.

So, on the VeraCrypt window, select the volume and click on the Dismount button.

Dismounting the Veracrypt volume
Dismounting the volume

Then, you can close the program by clicking on the Exit button.

Close the Veracrypt program
Close the program

Uninstall VeraCrypt

If you no longer want to use VeraCrypt and need to uninstall it, first enter to the Veracrypt folder and run the following command in the terminal.

sudo veracrypt-uninstall.sh
Uninstalling Veracrypt using the terminal
Uninstalling Veracrypt using the terminal

You will need to enter your password and VeraCrypt will be removed from your system.

CONCLUSION

VeraCrypt is a great program not only because it has a graphical interface but also because it is a very powerful encryption tool. I highly recommend you to use it. You can create an encrypted file container, encrypt a whole hard drive or if you want to make your data very secure, you can also create a hidden encrypted partition.

So, do you know another Linux graphical encryption program? Let me now on the comments section.

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4 thoughts on “Linux graphical encryption program

  1. Silvio

    Hi Alu, this article of yours is interesting as usual, thank you.
    Encryption is important to be sure that some files or folders can be open only by the owner and I have been looking around for a solution; VeraCrypt comes out as number one solution but the project is abandoned if I remember properly. So, looking for other solution I found “gpg”.
    Please, can you tell me if files or folders are safe using it?
    I mean:
    $ gpg -c test.txt # creates the encrypted file (asking pw twice)
    $ gpg test.txt.gpg # open the encrypted file
    Same for folders but needing to compress them (.zip .tar.gz etc.) before starting the gpg process.
    Is gpg enough to be sure that no one can access personal files?
    Ciao 🙂

    Reply
    1. Average Linux User Post author

      1. What makes you think VeraCrypt is abandoned? It is actively developed, check their website. Probably, you mix VeraCrypt with TrueCrypt. The latter was abandoned.
      2. I have not tried gpg, so I cannot comment on it.

      Reply

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