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SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES 10) Installation and Administration
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48.0 Encrypting Partitions and Files

Every user has some confidential data that third parties should not be able to access. The more connected and mobile you are, the more carefully you should handle your data. The encryption of files or entire partitions is recommended if others have access over a network connection or direct physical access. For laptops or removable media, such as external hard disks or USB sticks, that are prone to being lost or stolen, it is also very useful to encrypt partitions (or parts of your file system) that hold confidential data.

There are several ways to protect your data by means of encryption:

Encrypting a Hard Disk Partition

You can create an encrypted partition with YaST during installation or in an already installed system. See Section 48.1.1, Creating an Encrypted Partition during Installation and Section 48.1.2, Creating an Encrypted Partition on a Running System for the details. This option can also be used for removable media, such as external hard disks, as described in Section 48.1.4, Encrypting the Content of Removable Media.

Creating an Encrypted File as Container

You can at any time create an encrypted file on your hard disk or on on a removable medium with YaST. The encrypted file can then be used to store other files or folders. For more information, refer to Section 48.1.3, Creating an Encrypted File as a Container.

Encrypting Single Files

If you only have a small number of files that hold sensitive or confidential data, you can encrypt them individually and protect them with a password using the vi editor. Refer to Section 48.2, Using vi to Encrypt Single Files for more information.

WARNING: Encrypted Media Is Limited Protection

Be aware that with the methods described in this chapter, you cannot protect your running system from being compromised. After the encrypted media is successfully mounted, everybody with appropriate permissions has access to it. However, encrypted media is useful for cases such as loss or theft of your computer or to prevent unauthorized individuals from reading your confidential data.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES 10) Installation and Administration
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