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Thread: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

  1. #11
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    If there was a way to unlock an encrypted folder without a passphrase, the whole point of encryption would be ruined, because then anybody could just do the same thing you did!
    email: me@rory.sh
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  2. #12
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Quote Originally Posted by blazemore View Post
    If there was a way to unlock an encrypted folder without a passphrase, the whole point of encryption would be ruined, because then anybody could just do the same thing you did!
    Whoa! It's not without a passphrase!

    When you install Ubuntu 9.10 and ask for an encrypted folder, it creates a 32-character passphrase. It stores this passphrase encrypted by your own password.

    However, the installer tells you what the passphrase is, and warns you to save it and keep it safe in case you have to access your data with a Live CD.

    That's the passphrase that Dustin Kirkland means. (If you haven't kept it safe, then you can't access your home folder should your Karmic die.)

    I may have a chance to test this tomorrow.
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  3. #13
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy Landau View Post
    It doesn't work, sadly.

    I've left a post on the page.
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  4. #14
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Just a few notes...

    #1: If you back up your sensitive data and that backup is not secure, neither is your data.

    #2: If you write down a passphrase or an unlock code, your system is as secure as that piece of paper is.

    #3: The ONLY time you would want to secure your entire home directory is if you were afraid someone would steal your computer and have access to your whole system.

    #4: IF #3 is the case AND you would foolishly want to "lend" a "friend" your highly secure and confidential system with delicate client information (which is about as stupid as breathing acid), THEN you would logically set up your secured account separately from the common login account, so if you needed to lend someone your laptop, you would be able to do so without any issue - your /home/self folder would be encrypted and secured while they would be using the /home/guest section.

    Of course, your BEST security (While allowing this annoying friend to keep borrowing your laptop when he really needs to go buy his own and quit mooching off you) would be to have the entire drive encrypted and have a secondary drive that could be swapped so your "friend" could use the laptop without any issue at all and the client data remains tucked away in a secure location (such as a safe).

    #5: Communications with clients should NEVER be logged and kept in a commonly located folder - if they must be logged, the files should be cut and pasted into a secure backup, such as an encrypted usb drive that is kept on your person at all times.

    There's the illusion of being secure and then there's actually being secure.

    It sounds like you're looking more for the illusion - otherwise you'd be talking to a systems security specialist who would teach you how to think like this.

    Cheers,
    Ghost

  5. #15
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Thanks for the replies, Ghost.

    I'm aware of all these things that you mention, and they are good points for newbies.

    In my case, the encrypted drive is not to guard against state secrets, but against casual thieves who would be unlikely to spend much time trying to crack the key (or even know that there is such a thing as a key).

    Having gone through this route for a friend, I think that a secured backup will be far easier to manage than recovering from a disk.
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  6. #16
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    You're welcome for the post, glad you're aware of the security levels and I'm sure you'll put the information to good use.

    Secure backup is definitely an option if the data isn't sensitive to exposure but critical for record keeping.

    Cheers,
    Ghost

  7. #17
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Ta da! I found the answer.

    Check it out:
    Recovering Files from eCryptfs Encrypted Home

    This should be in the official documentation.
    Problems with WINE?
    Full Circle Magazine :: Confused "allot"? :: Cheap Linux stickers
    In my day, we had outdoors in which to run, play, and socialise. Now we have computers to do those.

  8. #18
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    Re: How to unlock (recover) an encrypted home folder

    Actually, it's not too hard to get your passphrase again.

    Go to terminal and type in

    Code:
    sudo ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase /home/.ecryptfs/username/.ecrpytfs/wrapped-passphrase
    and then it will say "Passphrase:" and you type in your user password and it will give you back your passphrase. If you can't access your account, you can do it from another account or a live CD, but if you do it from a live CD, make sure to do it from it's original mount point at /media/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx/.

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