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Let's say that I have a folder, within my Documents folder, that has files I want no one to access without a password.

Is there a way to lock down that folder so that it's password protected / encrypted?

In fact, is it possible to password-protect any individual folder?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I find that TrueCrypt works nicely.

http://www.liberiangeek.net/2011/11/encrypt-folders-partitions-in-ubuntu-11-10-oneiric-ocelotpart-i/

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1  
Or ecryptfs is another similar option which is simple to set up and use. –  Richard Holloway Feb 15 '12 at 21:27
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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Please edit your answer to include that information. –  Bruno Pereira Feb 15 '12 at 22:14
    
Im sorry for the inconvenience of having to click the link for info. As I would much rather have typed out the criteria involved in the downloading, installation and configuration of the application. I was just offering quick advice as I was pressed for time at the moment but thought the link was an excellent resource for the time being. I will be more careful in how I proceed to answer questions in the future. My apology –  Scott Stookey Feb 15 '12 at 23:47
    
I installed Truecrypt and it certainly does a decent job. Thanks for the tip. This may sound silly, but what if I installed a new version of Ubuntu? I will have to re-install Truecrypt but will I be able to access the encrypted files again (as long as I know the passwords)? –  Gonzoza Feb 16 '12 at 6:17
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@ScottStookey Why is TrueCrypt a good solution? What if the website liberiangeek goes down/invalidates in a year from now? What Bruno is saying boils down to this: you are doing more than answering the question here at SE, you are building knowledge. Cryptic or incomplete replies only help the original poster - what about the thousands who will wander onto this page in the future? Sometimes it takes work to make a good answer great! –  Hooked Feb 21 '12 at 6:47
 sudo apt-get install cryptkeeper

                                After installing, go to Applications –> System Tools –> Cryptkeeper.

                                        Cryptkeeper will automatically attach itself to the top panel

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                     To create an encrypted protected folder, click on Cryptkeeper applet and select                                                                             ‘New encrypted folder’

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                          Then type the folder name and where to save the folder and click ‘Forward’.

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                                                              Type the password and click ‘Forward’.

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                                                      The folder will be created and ready to be used.

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                   To access all encrypted folder, click on Cryptkeeper applet on the panel and select                                                                                                each folder.

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                                                   Type the password before it is mounted to be accessed.

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                                                       Done

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                 To delete a folder or change the password, right-click the folder in the panel-applet.

                                                                                      For More Help

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3  
In case you can't see the panel icon run gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']" and unity --replace. –  Jakob Feb 17 '12 at 9:01
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@OneZero - +1 excellent answer –  fossfreedom Feb 17 '12 at 10:58
    
@fossfreedom , When the Gurru say its excellent , then it's a excellent answer . thankyou –  One Zero Feb 17 '12 at 11:21
    
Is there a way to auto-mount this set-up on login? –  naught101 Jul 16 '12 at 22:41
    
@Jakob At least in 13.10, com.canonical.Unity.Panel doesnt exist, and systray-whitelist is an invalid key in all available Unity. schemas :( –  RedactedProfile Apr 28 at 8:00

You have 2 choices if you want to lock down a folder from other users

  • Encrypt or create a compressed password protect archive of the files. The methods in http://askubuntu.com/a/104545/25863 and http://askubuntu.com/a/104984/25863 are perfect for this case when you need to be 100% sure no one will ever look at your files without knowing the password used there.

  • Use your computer folder / file permissions to deny access to your folder to other user.

The fist involves making sure that the result cannot be opened by any user without knowing the password used.

The second will only change the file / folder privileges so that another user without rights cannot open it. The folder still exists, can be accessed by any user with sudo rights in your system or using a LiveCD and reading the partition. It is also simpler to implement and does not require that you type a password all the time you need to open / mount the encrypted folder / archive.

An easy and fast way to do so is using chmod to change the privileges for a file or folder.

Open a terminal and navigate to the place where your folder is, lets assume that the folder name is foo and that we are currently located where the folder is.

chmod 700 foo

will make foo only available for your eyes, its not encrypted (that is also possible) but only your user (and or a user with sudo privileges) can read or open that file / folder.

You can also do it graphically by right clicking on a file or folder and changing its permissions manually. In the example bellow you as owner have all privileges and you deny any other group or user from accessing, reading or modifying that file / folder

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For more information about file / folder permissions visit the Ubuntu Understanding and Using File Permissions wiki page.

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+1 can't go wrong with those elusive yet simple solutions. –  BryceAtNetwork23 Feb 16 '12 at 1:03
    
Sounds great, but doesn't make much sense. How do I simply "change the privileges" for a while or folder? –  Gonzoza Feb 16 '12 at 7:12
    
You're dealing with newbies here. What does "using the command" mean? If I click on a folder, then how do "use a command"? –  Gonzoza Feb 16 '12 at 9:50
    
I have added that to the answer also, right click a folder and go to the permissions and have a look at it. The example given would make the file / folder only accessible by you or a user with sudo rights. It is the same as issuing chmod 700 <folder_name> in a terminal. –  Bruno Pereira Feb 16 '12 at 10:01
    
Brilliant. I shall try that. EDIT: Hang on. Doesn't that only work if someone else is logged on to my PC? Right now, I am logged on - and am the only user - so therefore, I can access all those folders without typing in a password. –  Gonzoza Feb 16 '12 at 12:55

You can try Vault, recent project by an ubuntu-gr member (greek local community): http://clepto.github.com/ - https://github.com/Clepto/Vault

PPA: https://launchpad.net/~vault/+archive/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vault/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vault

It's a gui utility for encfs (package in repositories). I quote the package description:

$ apt-cache show encfs
Package: encfs
[...]
Description-en: encrypted virtual filesystem
 EncFS integrates file system encryption into the Unix(TM) file system.
 Encrypted data is stored within the native file system, thus no
 fixed-size loopback image is required.
 .
 EncFS uses the FUSE kernel driver and library as a backend.
Homepage: http://www.arg0.net/encfs

You create a mountpoint/folder which you can then close or delete. If you close it, you need a password to open it.

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Then search for and install ‘ecryptfs-utils’ in Ubuntu Software Center

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After installing, go to Applications –> Accessories –> Terminal and run the command below:

ecryptfs-setup-private

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You’ll be prompted to type your login passphrase (password), and to create one for your private folder.

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When you’re done creating your password, Log Out and Log back in.

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Next, go to Places –> Home Folder.

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And new folder should be created in your home directory called ‘Private’. This folder in encrypted and password-protected. Move all your personal stuff into this folder to secure them.

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Users without access to the folder will be denied.

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For More Help

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Another way, depending on your needs is to archive the folder as a password protected zip file.

This is similar to another question about password protecting files.

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