I want to set up a development machine.

Since during the development there might be some sensitive data I will have to work on - intellectual property is the main issue. I would like to have a secure/encrypted system, so that if the machine gets into wrong hands, the data is still secure.

So the question is, how can I achieve that under Linux? I heard about TrueCrypt, but it seems that I can't do a boot time encryption. So I have to use some strategy with encrypted home folder + something else. In which case Ubuntu has something built in, no?

But the question is, how good is the built in system, and what happens with temp data, that is known to spill out of home directory into unencrypted directories.

Anyone have any suggestions?


You can install Ubuntu on an encrypted partition using dm-crypt. The /boot partition needs to be unencrypted, but the entire rest of the disk will reside in one encrypted volume. Here is a nice how-to.


what wallenborn suggests is the only way to achieve system encryption. I think you should follow the link he provides properly.

AFAIK /boot partition is kept outside encryption because it holds the kernel image and grub cannot boot through an encrypted partition. You can just separate 100 to 200 MB space for /boot. The main thing you should remember is you need ubuntu alternate iso as the default desktop installer/iso provides only home encryption facility and not system encryption.

I myself dual boot Arch and Ubuntu on LVM over LUKS and the encryption suport is quite nice and secure from my experience.

  • Is there anything I should be aware when installing from alternate iso? There seem to be no server/desktop when choosing alternate. – Coder Jan 11 '12 at 19:23
  • I didn't even notice that. One thing: if you're a bit lazy when it comes to removing old kernel images (i am), /boot should be 200MB rather than 100MB. I have 200 and still get the occasional partition almost full warning when an update includes a new kernel. – wallenborn Jan 11 '12 at 20:18

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