Encrypting your Linux system with LUKS and ZFS

Full Protection


When a computer is lost, your data falling into the wrong hands is often more serious than the loss of hardware. In this article, we explain how to use LUKS and ZFS to encrypt a system so you can keep your privacy when you lose your laptop.

Most people would not dream of posting their company's business plan on Facebook. On laptops, however, people often carry their company's business plans around with them and leave them at a coffee shop. In a survey [1], 86 percent of IT security professionals revealed that at least one laptop had been stolen or lost in their company. In 56 percent of these cases, a data security breach occurred. Sixty-one percent of German IT professionals said that data loss is more serious than the material damage; only 13 percent would worry more about losing the hardware.

What Now?

Although conventional Linux laptops use modern filesystems like ext4 or XFS, which ensure the validity of the files, they store the data unencrypted – this is no obstacle to a data thief who has come into the possession of the device. Techniques such as TrueCrypt, however, store data in encrypted containers; in combination with a strong passphrase, this approach is considered safe. However, TrueCrypt cannot encrypt the entire Linux system.

In this article, I'll present a more-or-less fully encrypted system that runs on a heavily encrypted master partition. Only the small /boot partition with the kernel and initramfs remains unencrypted. The filesystem I'll be using is the feature-rich ZFS on Linux (ZoL [2]). The storage space can be distributed dynamically between all ZFS filesystems. ZFS also provides block checksums for data integrity and can compress files transparently, if needed.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

Related content

  • ZFS on Linux

    License issues prevent the integration of ZFS with the Linux kernel, but Linux users can try the highly praised filesystem in userspace.

  • DM-Crypt/ LUKS

    Encrypting a home directory is easy. Encrypting your whole hard disk – including the root filesystem – takes a little more effort.

  • Gentoo Linux

    Gentoo is a powerful and flexible Linux system that you can customize to fit perfectly into your environment. Our workshop describes how to set up Gentoo. We’ll also show you how to install and manage software on your Gentoo system with the popular Portage software management system.

  • DM-Crypt

    If you’re serious about keeping secrets, try hard disk encryption with DM-Crypt and LUKS.

  • Tenth Anniversary Test: Live CD for Gentoo Linux 10.0

    The Gentoo project is celebrating its tenth anniversary, which inspired the Gentoo-Ten team to produce a special DVD that is now available in a test version.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95